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Rosberg leads second F1 practice in Mexico

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Nico Rosberg bounced back from a brake issue in FP1 on Friday morning to top the second free practice session for the Mexican Grand Prix.

Rosberg posted a fastest lap time of 1:21.531 to finish in P1 ahead of Red Bull drivers Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez as the entire field struggled to get to grips with the slippery track.

Max Verstappen was the first to fall foul of the green track, losing the backend of his Toro Rosso at the final corner and spinning into the wall, bringing his session to an end after just five minutes.

The session soon resumed after the stricken Toro Rosso had been recovered, but drivers still tested the limits of the grip on offer. Lewis Hamilton survived a spin, while Valtteri Bottas somehow kept his Williams out of the wall after losing control at over 200mph, damaging only his front wing.

The majority of the quick times came midway through the session, with Rosberg setting the pace to finish two-tenths of a second clear of Kvyat in second place. Ricciardo followed in third, with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton rounding out the top four.

The Ferrari duo of Sebastian Vettela and Kimi Raikkonen followed Hamilton home in P5 and P6, with Bottas recovering from his spin to finish seventh.

McLaren continued to show signs of improvement after an impressive outing in Austin by ending FP2 eighth and ninth, with Fernando Alonso leading teammate Jenson Button. Felipe Massa rounded out the top ten for Williams.

The on-track action continues in Mexico on Saturday with FP3 and qualifying. For full details on how to watch these sessions live with NBC Sports, click here.

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry.

The idea of Hamilton attending the season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).