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Hamilton paces second Canadian GP practice for Mercedes

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Lewis Hamilton picked up where he left off in the opening practice for the Canadian Grand Prix on Friday by pacing the second session in Montreal for Mercedes.

Hamilton posted a fastest lap time of 1:14.212 to finish two-tenths of a second clear at the top of the timesheets, marking a strong start to the weekend as he goes in search of a fifth victory at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

Hamilton once again traded fastest lap times with Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg during the session, only to once again surge clear.

Using the ultra-soft tire, Hamilton was able to go half a second quicker than Rosberg, leaving the German to settle for third place in the final standings for FP2.

Red Bull had been expected to challenge Mercedes after impressing on the soft tire in the morning session, only for both Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo to struggle.

Even on the ultra-soft tire, Verstappen could only finish fourth-fastest with Ricciardo just behind in P5, both finishing nine-tenths of a second off Hamilton at the top.

Instead it was Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel who posed the most serious challenge to Hamilton in FP2, putting his newly-updated power unit to good use to finish just 0.257s behind in second place.

Valtteri Bottas ended FP2 in sixth for Williams, while McLaren’s Jenson Button survived a scrape with the wall and an issue on his car early in the session to end the day P7.

A reverse programme for Kimi Raikkonen saw him complete his qualifying simulation when others had turned to race pace, but he could only finish eighth. Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr. rounded out the top 10 for Force India and Toro Rosso respectively.

Following Felipe Massa’s shunt in FP1, FP2 proved to be a quieter session in the way of incidents. Daniil Kvyat was one of a handful of drivers to lock up at Turn 1 and trundle over the grass, but Button’s wall-scrape aside, it was a clean 90 minutes of running.

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.”