FIA Formula 2

Latifi quickest through final Formula 2 pre-season test in Bahrain

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Nicholas Latifi finished quickest in the final pre-season test ahead of the new FIA Formula 2 campaign, starting in Bahrain on April 15.

The FIA announced last month that it had struck an agreement for the GP2 Series to become F2 for 2017, reviving the championship that last ran in 2012.

In the lead-up to the season-opener, teams were afforded six days of pre-season running, with the second test taking place from Wednesday to Friday at the Bahrain International Circuit.

McLaren junior driver Nyck de Vries closed out the test as the fastest driver, posting the best time in both the morning and afternoon of Friday’s running, yet he was unable to beat Latifi’s benchmark from Thursday.

Latifi’s fastest time of 1:40.541 saw him finish 0.042 seconds ahead of de Vries, with DAMS teammate Oliver Rowland backing him up in third place, rounding out an impressive test for the French team.

Honda youngster Nobuharu Matsushita was fourth overall, but did have his fastest time from Wednesday taken away after being deemed to have speeded under red flags.

Luca Ghiotto ended the test fifth-fastest for Russian Time ahead of teammate Artem Markelov in sixth, while GP3 graduates Antonio Fuoco and Alexander Albon were seventh and eighth. Jordan King was ninth for MP Motorsport, with Ferrari junior Charles Leclerc ending up 10th.

The new F2 season begins on April 15 with the feature race in Bahrain.

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry.

The idea of Hamilton attending the season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).