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Grosjean, Haas F1 Team happy after first day in Barcelona

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Yes, there was a minor front wing failure that interrupted the day’s running.

But 31 laps and a rebuild of a new front wing later, Romain Grosjean and the Haas F1 Team can take pride in a successful first day of testing Monday at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona.

Grosjean banked 12 early laps in the Haas VF-16 Ferrari before the wing failure, although fortunately for the Frenchman, he was able to bring the car back into pit lane before lunch hour.

Quick work by the crew got him back out for a series of five-lap runs in the afternoon. All laps were done on Pirelli’s P-Zero Medium tires.

“It was a pretty exciting day. The morning went very well until we had a small front wing failure. It compromised our afternoon a little, but it was good that we could put some laps on the car later,” Grosjean said.

“We don’t have any big problems. I’m very happy with the first day. It’s been a really good start for the team. It’s been a positive day. Of course, you always want more and more, but I think the most important thing is that I’m happy with the car. The first impression is really good. The car balance is there straight away.”

Team principal Guenther Steiner more or less echoed Grosjean’s thoughts.

“We had a good start to the day and then we had a problem with the front wing,” he said. “Obviously, we had to stop and evaluate the problem and find a solution. We found an interim solution, but we will have to find a solution by tomorrow morning.

“We got out running again and got a lot of data. It would have been nice to run more, but we still got some laps under our belt and we look forward to tomorrow.”

Esteban Gutierrez takes over tomorrow for his first day of running, with Grosjean on Wednesday and Gutierrez on Thursday.

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. Time just published a brief piece by Wallace saluting Hamilton as a trailblazer.

The idea of Hamilton attending the NASCAR 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 would seem right for 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 — to spend 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).