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Rosberg: New Sepang surface ‘challenging’, ‘really enjoyable to drive’

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Nico Rosberg feels that the resurfaced Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia is “challenging” and “really enjoyable to drive” following Friday’s Formula 1 practice sessions.

The track on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur underwent significant renovations earlier this year ahead of the Malaysian Grand Prix, removing many of the bumps previously featuring in the track and altering the fastest line for the final corner.

Drivers got their first taste of the revised track on Friday during practice, with Rosberg leading FP1 before finishing second behind Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in FP2.

“The new track surface is really enjoyable to drive. Challenging, but with good grip,” Rosberg reported after the session.

“It’s tough to get the setup right with such an unknown element as new tarmac, but we’re on the right track. Turn 15 is interesting, as you can now try several different lines if you’re attacking the guy in front, so that will be good for overtaking.”

Both Rosberg and Hamilton were able to complete long runs on the hard compound tire in practice, pointing towards a two-stop race on Sunday.

“Looking at the race, even the soft tire held on pretty well out there, so we don’t expect any big surprises,” Rosberg said.

“Strategy-wise we have to run the hard compound, of course, but otherwise it’s pretty straightforward. I’m looking forward now to qualifying.”

Qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 5am ET on Saturday.

Barber IndyCar iRacing results

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Scott McLaughlin led the final six laps Saturday and finished 0.4241 seconds ahead of teammate Will Power to win the Honda IndyCar Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park.

Scott Speed finished third behind the Team Penske drivers. Alex Palou and Simon Pagenaud rounded out the top five.

Click here for the full boxscore from Saturday’s IndyCar iRacing event at Barber Motorsports Park.

WINNER: Scott McLaughlin holds off teammate Will Power

WHAT DRIVERS SAID: Postrace reactions on social media

Other notable finishers:

Colton Herta (seventh), Robert Wickens (eighth), Jimmie Johnson (12th), Graham Rahal (14th), Alexander Rossi (22nd).

Sage Karam led a race-high 24 laps but retired from the 45-lap event because of a crash and finished 27th of 29 drivers.