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.

IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024

An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”