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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.

Report: Spencer Pigot out at Ed Carpenter Racing

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Spencer Pigot will not return to Ed Carpenter Racing in 2020, according to a story Thursday by RACER.com.

The 26-year-old Floridian, who won the 2015 Indy Lights championship, is expected to be replaced in the No. 21 Chevrolet by 2019 Indy Lights runner-up Rinus VeeKay.

“I’m appreciative of the opportunity ECR gave me,” Pigot told RACER.com. “I understand the reasons they had to go in a different direction, and wish them all the best.”

In 56 NTT IndyCar Series starts, Pigot has 15 top 10 finishes, with a best finish of second at Iowa in 2018. He finished 14th in the 2019 point standings.

VeeKay, who tested in an Indy car twice for ECR in 2019, has six wins in 18 Indy Lights starts, including a weekend sweep of the final two rounds of the season at Laguna Seca in September.

A representative from ECR told NBC Sports Thursday that the team currently could not comment on any driver rumors as the team currently does not have any drivers under contract for the 2020 season, although it is presumed that owner/driver Carpenter will return to the No. 20 entry for the oval rounds.

NBC Sports will provide updates on the story once more information becomes available.