Kvyat leads Rosberg in Japanese GP FP2 at Suzuka

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Daniil Kvyat finished at the top of the timesheets in FP2 for the second time in a week as the Formula 1 field was left with another soaking wet Suzuka for practice on Friday afternoon.

Overnight rain extended into FP1 earlier in the day, limiting drivers’ running throughout the first session and allowing Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz Jr. to finish fastest.

Conditions failed to improve for FP2, with the spray on the circuit forcing the drivers to run on the intermediate tire from the outset.

Kvyat managed to produce a fastest lap of 1:48.277 at the halfway point in the session, edging out Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg by 0.023 seconds for P1. Championship leader Lewis Hamilton ran in third place, a half a second further back.

Another bout of rain hit Suzuka before the end of the first hour, soaking the track once again and forcing the drivers to switch back to the full wet tires for the final leg of the session.

As a result, Kvyat’s benchmark went unbeaten, allowing him to finish fastest in a second practice session in just seven days for Red Bull. Teammate Daniel Ricciardo underpinned the team’s good wet weather pace by finishing fourth.

Ferrari struggled to match the pace set by Red Bull or Mercedes in the wet as Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen finished two seconds down on Kvyat’s fastest time. However, with no rain forecast for the remainder of the weekend, the Italian marque still remains capable of a second straight win in 2015.

Sainz was unable to repeat his P1 from FP1 on Friday afternoon, but the Spaniard ran well to finish seventh for Toro Rosso ahead of teammate Max Verstappen. Felipe Nasr and Pastor Maldonado rounded out the top ten.

Valtteri Bottas was the only driver not to take part in FP2 as Williams opted to save his tires in case of further showers, leaving him at the bottom of the timesheets behind American driver Alexander Rossi, whose first wet grand prix session saw him finish 19th.

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”