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Newgarden paces Saturday morning practice in Detroit

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DETROIT – Josef Newgarden led the second and last official practice session – which also doubles as a morning warm-up for today’s race – at the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit Presented by Quicken Loans.

The driver of the No. 21 Preferred Freezer Chevrolet topped the charts at 1:14.6464, ahead of Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, polesitter Simon Pagenaud and Juan Pablo Montoya.

Montoya starts third today with Helio Castroneves starting from second. Will Power led Friday’s first practice session but was 11th in this morning’s session.

For tomorrow’s qualifying session, the group that went first on Friday will go second on Sunday, and vice versa, per INDYCAR. Sunday’s final round of qualifying, which runs from 10:45 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. ET, has this qualification procedure for that session is as follows:

8.3.10.3 Race 2 Qualifications – All Cars shall participate in one (1) of two (2) groups for 115 twelve (12) minutes each, of which five (5) minutes is guaranteed Green Condition time. Group two (2) Cars shall qualify first, followed by a five (5) minute break prior to Group (1), or as determined by INDYCAR.

James Hinchcliffe had a minor incident in this session which will require repairs to his No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda to the left rear wheel pod. But the Canadian should be able to roll off fine from fourth.

Times are below. Today’s race starts at 3:50 p.m. ET.

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Valtteri Bottas on Silverstone pole; Nico Hulkenberg a surprising third

F1 Bottas Hamilton Silverstone
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Valtteri Bottas nipped Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in Silverstone qualifying Saturday to maintain the team’s hammerlock on F1 results this season while Nico Hulkenberg was a surprise in third.

Hulkenberg is filling in for Sergio Perez for the second consecutive race while the Racing Point driver recovers from coronavirus.

It’s the best F1 start since 2016 for Hulkenberg, who was left without a full-time ride after the 2019 season. He finished 20th at Silverstone last week when an engine problem on the grid prevented him ftaking the green.

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“The last seven to eight days have been crazy,” Hulkenberg said after qualifying. “This weekend I felt much better prepared. Q3 was just head down, full beans, and give it whatever I had.

“I’m a bit surprised to be standing here, but there’s a big smile on my face.”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen qualified fourth and will be among the field trying to derail the Mercedes duo that has won the first four races of an F1 season delayed because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Feels good,” Bottas said after nipping Hamilton by a few hundredths of a second on his final lap for his 13th career pole position. ” I just love qualifying especially, when it goes well. Proud to drive this car. The race pace is there, so our first job is to get a good start off the line tomorrow and go from there.”

The impressive lap came two days after Bottas, who won the season opener in Austria, announced a one-year contract extension with the team.

Mercedes also is set to begin negotiating a new deal with Hamilton, who has won the past three races in F1 but was disappointed Saturday.

“Valtteri did a great job, but for me, it wasn’t a perfect last lap,” he said. “I don’t think many teams will be doing a one-stop race tomorrow so let’s wait and see how things turn out.”