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Hamilton fastest, Mercedes 1-2 in second Spanish GP practice

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Lewis Hamilton continued his impressive start to the Spanish Grand Prix weekend by heading up a Mercedes one-two in the second Formula 1 practice session in Barcelona on Friday.

Hamilton dominated proceedings in FP1 earlier today as Mercedes finished almost one second clear of the rival Ferrari team, leaving the Italian marque with plenty of work to do in second practice.

While Ferrari was able to respond and cut the gap to just three-tenths of a second, it was Hamilton who led the way once again for Mercedes, posting a best lap of 1:20.802 to finish 0.090 seconds clear of Bottas at the top of the timesheets.

Kimi Raikkonen led Ferrari’s charge, finishing 0.310 seconds shy of the fastest time, while teammate Sebastian Vettel was one-tenth further adrift in fourth place. Raikkonen reported an engine issue midway through the session, but did not lose any track time.

Max Verstappen slotted in to fifth place for Red Bull, six-tenths off the pace, but was lucky to survive a scare after running wide at Turn 9 and careering through the gravel. The Dutchman was nevertheless able to finish ahead of teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who ended up sixth-fastest.

Renault enjoyed an impressive session as Nico Hulkenberg and Jolyon Palmer finished seventh and eighth respectively, the latter getting his first run of the weekend after stepping aside for development driver Sergey Sirotkin in FP1. Felipe Massa was ninth for Williams, while Carlos Sainz Jr. rounded out the top 10.

Home favorite Fernando Alonso was forced to miss the early part of the session due to an oil leak that sideliend him in FP1, but ultimately completed 21 laps in the McLaren-Honda MCL32.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.