© Getty Images

Hamilton edges Rosberg to lead FP2 at Interlagos

Leave a comment

Lewis Hamilton continued his impressive start to the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend by leading the second Formula 1 practice session at Interlagos on Friday afternoon.

Hamilton topped FP1 in the morning ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, leaving Mercedes teammate and title rival Nico Rosberg to settle for third place in the final timesheets.

Hamilton and Rosberg went head-to-head in FP2, exchanging fastest laps on the soft tire through the mid-part of the session before switching their focus to race runs.

Rosberg dropped a lap of 1:12.301 to sit P1 before Hamilton went 0.03 seconds faster, giving the Briton P1 once again ahead of final practice and qualifying on Saturday in Brazil.

The session saw Williams emerge from the midfield to finish as the second-fastest team, with Valtteri Bottas ending FP2 third ahead of teammate and local favorite Felipe Massa.

Red Bull and Ferrari slipped back to third and fourth in the pecking order respectively, although both are expected to respond later in the weekend amid varying priorities for FP2 running.

Daniel Ricciardo led Red Bull’s charge in fifth ahead of teammate Max Verstappen, while Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen followed in seventh and eighth respectively for Ferrari. Nico Hulkenberg was ninth for Force India, leaving McLaren’s Jenson Button to round out the top 10.

Fernando Alonso ended up 11th in the sister McLaren, but not without an issue that forced him to park up at Turn 3 in the second half of the session, immediately sparking much chatter about a repeat of #PlacesAlonsoWouldRatherBe from 2015 on social media. The Spaniard was a good sport, grabbing a deckchair off a nearby cameraman to watch the end of the session – although his camera skills left much to be desired…

The only other incident of note came early on when Kimi Raikkonen chopped across Carlos Sainz Jr. when diving into the pits. Although there was no contact, the stewards confirmed they would be investigating the incident after the session.

Coverage of the Brazilian Grand Prix continues with FP3 on the NBC Sports app from 8am ET on Saturday, followed by qualifying at 11am ET on NBCSN.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway can have 10,000 fans for IndyCar races

Indianapolis Motor Speedway fans
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Indianapolis Motor Speedway will have crowds for its NTT IndyCar Series race weekend next month, the first time fans are allowed at the track this year.

The track announced Friday that up to 10,000 fans will be allowed in the grandstands daily from Oct. 1-4. The IndyCar Harvest GP race doubleheader will be held on the track’s road course Oct. 2-3.

IMS has played host to several events this year without fans, including the 104th Indianapolis 500 on Aug. 23 and a NASCAR-IndyCar weekend July 4-5 that included the Brickyard 400. Plans originally were made to have fans at the Indy 500 before reversing course a few weeks ahead of the race. In a letter last month, Roger Penske vowed that fans would return for the 2021 Indy 500.

“We can’t wait to see fans come through our gates for the first time in 2020,” IMS president Doug Boles said in a release. “They’ll be greeted by a vastly improved facility, featuring significant upgrades to the spectator experience. We’re also extremely grateful to have a presenting sponsor with the expertise and resources of GMR as we look to implement our detailed and comprehensive health and safety plan.”

Fans will undergo temperature screenings upon entry and also be required to wear face coverings at all times on property. The track said each attendee will receive a mask and bottle of hand sanitizer.

The Friday, Oct. 2 race will be shown at 3:30 p.m. ET on USA, and NBC will broadcast the Saturday, Oct. 3 race at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Here’s the release from Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020 – For the first time in 2020, Indianapolis Motor Speedway will welcome fans to the Racing Capital of the World for the INDYCAR Harvest GP presented by GMR weekend. Up to 10,000 spectators can be in the grandstands each day of racing action Oct. 1-4, per approval from the Marion County Public Health Department.

Tickets are available now via IMS.com and will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

The massive facility, which holds more than 300,000 people, will provide two spectator zones with up to 5,000 fans in each. The zones will be located in Turns 1 and 4 of the oval, offering strong sightlines of the road course. Strict health and safety rules will be in place, including the following:

  • Face coverings must be worn throughout the property at all times;
  • All fans will receive temperature screenings before gate entry;
  • Grandstand seats will be marked for distancing;
  • Attendees must use pre-assigned gates and remain in their designated zones.

Global Medical Response, the world leader in compassionate, quality emergency medical and patient relocation services, will be the presenting sponsor of the penultimate weekend of INDYCAR racing this season.

“We can’t wait to see fans come through our gates for the first time in 2020,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “They’ll be greeted by a vastly improved facility, featuring significant upgrades to the spectator experience. We’re also extremely grateful to have a presenting sponsor with the expertise and resources of GMR as we look to implement our detailed and comprehensive health and safety plan.”

The plan, which includes each attendee receiving a mask and a bottle of hand sanitizer upon entering the track, was developed in consultation with state and local health officials.

This event weekend is highlighted by an NTT INDYCAR SERIES doubleheader, with races Friday, Oct. 2 and Saturday, Oct. 3. It will be the penultimate event of the series’ season as the field pursues the champion’s prestigious Astor Challenge Cup to be awarded Sunday, Oct. 25 at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

The INDYCAR Harvest GP will pay tribute to a storied IMS event, the Harvest Classic in September 1916. The Harvest Classic was the only racing event held outside of May at IMS from 1911 through 1993. The event featured three races, all won by legendary driver Johnny Aitken.

Fans also will see a host of facility improvements during the event weekend, including more than 30 new LED video boards, refreshed concession stands and restrooms, and 5G wireless connectivity throughout the facility.

The first race will air at 3:30 p.m. (ET) Friday, Oct. 2 on the USA Network. NBC will broadcast the second race at 2:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday, Oct. 3, with WTHR-13 airing the action live in Central Indiana.

Also racing that weekend will be the first pairing of two major sports car series — the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli and its North American counterpart, GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS. Former Indianapolis 500 pole winner Ryan Briscoe is among the drivers in the Indianapolis 8 Hour event held Sunday, Oct. 4.

The event also will showcase drivers in SRO America’s Pirelli GT4 America, GT Sports Club America and the TC America series.

The full on-track schedule is available at IMS.com.