Rosberg quickest in damp first practice for US GP

Leave a comment

The United States Grand Prix weekend in Austin, Texas, kicked off in rather pedestrian style as heavy rain limited running throughout the first practice session on Friday morning, allowing Nico Rosberg to top the timesheets.

As predicted earlier this week, showers struck the Circuit of The Americas overnight and in the morning that left the track damp at the start of FP1.

Drivers headed out on the extreme wet tire early on, with Sauber drivers Marcus Ericsson and Raffaele Marciello setting the pace before the track dried out and allowed for running on the intermediate compound.

None of the teams opted to undertake excessive running, instead preferring to complete the required car checks and installations before some gentle wet laps in the spray.

Rosberg set the pace for Mercedes, posting a fastest lap of 1:53.989 to finish 1.2 seconds clear of the field in P1, drawing first blood at COTA despite completing just a handful of laps.

Red Bull drivers Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo ran well in the damp conditions to finish second and third respectively ahead of Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jr. World champion-in-waiting Lewis Hamilton finished fifth overall, leading home title rival Sebastian Vettel in sixth.

McLaren used the session to get to grips with its power unit upgrades as Fernando Alonso ended FP1 in ninth place, but by finishing third in the speed trap at the end of the back straight, signs of improvement were there to see. Teammate Jenson Button – running with the Sochi-spec power unit – finished 13th.

A brake problem limited Kimi Raikkonen’s running during the session, leaving him eighth with just six laps to his name. Pastor Maldonado failed to post a time due to a gearbox issue that forced Lotus into a rebuild of his car throughout FP1.

Second practice for the United States Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 3pm ET on Friday.

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Leave a comment

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.