Hamilton fastest, Perez rolls in first Hungarian GP practice

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Lewis Hamilton started his Hungarian Grand Prix weekend as he means to go on by finishing fastest in the first free practice session at the Hungaroring.

Hamilton posted a fastest lap time of 1:25.141 to finish one-tenth of a second clear of Mercedes teammate and title rival Nico Rosberg in a session that was marred by a roll for Force India’s Sergio Perez.

Perez appeared to suffer a failure on his right-rear tire at the exit of turn 11, causing his car to spear into the wall before flipping over its front-right wheel and onto its roll bar.

Thankfully, Perez walked away from the incident unscathed, although he did sound a little shaken over the radio when talking to his team.

After a lengthy delay to clear up the debris and repair the barrier that Perez hit, the session resumed with 15 minutes remaining, but none of the drivers managed to improve their times late on.

Kimi Raikkonen rounded out the top three for Ferrari despite suffering a late front wing failure, bringing out a red flag with three minutes remaining. The Finn finished ahead of Red Bull drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat, whilst Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel slotted into P6.

Carlos Sainz Jr finished seventh for Toro Rosso ahead of Perez, who managed to hold on to P8 in spite of his roll. Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen completed the top ten.

Lotus endured a very quiet session after an issue surrounding payments to Pirelli was only resolved in the hour leading up to FP1. Although Pirelli did release tires for Lotus to use, the team spent much of the session stuck in the garage, with reserve driver Jolyon Palmer failing to set a time.

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
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Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.