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Castroneves leads second practice in Detroit

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DETROIT – Helio Castroneves topped the second of two 45-minute practice sessions on Friday for this weekend’s Verizon IndyCar Series Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix Presented by Lear doubleheader.

The driver of the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet posted a best time of 1:15.1511 around the 2.35-mile Raceway on Belle Isle to lead the standings.

Castroneves leads the points standings after finishing second in the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, but is looking to snap a now three-year winless drought that dates to race two here in 2014.

Graham Rahal carried over his morning pace in the afternoon in the No. 15 SoldierStrong/TurnsForTroops.com Honda for RLL Racing at 1:15.3519 with Alexander Rossi third in the No. 98 ShopAndretti.com Honda for Andretti-Herta Autosport at 1:15.4323.

Rossi had an incident at Turns 8 and 9 that ended his session early, as he lost the back end. It’ll require slight rear end repairs but he should be good to go for tomorrow’s qualifying.

Max Chilton also had a brake fire on his No. 8 Gallagher Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing but made it back out later afterwards.

Drivers ran between three and 19 laps in the session, and teams tapped into their first sets of Firestone red alternate tires.

Notes from Thursday and Friday are linked here. More on Esteban Gutierrez’s first session and IndyCar arrival is linked here.

Times are below.

Valtteri Bottas on Silverstone pole; Nico Hulkenberg a surprising third

F1 Bottas Hamilton Silverstone
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Valtteri Bottas nipped Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in Silverstone qualifying Saturday to maintain the team’s hammerlock on F1 results this season while Nico Hulkenberg was a surprise in third.

Hulkenberg is filling in for Sergio Perez for the second consecutive race while the Racing Point driver recovers from coronavirus.

It’s the best F1 start since 2016 for Hulkenberg, who was left without a full-time ride after the 2019 season. He finished 20th at Silverstone last week when an engine problem on the grid prevented him ftaking the green.

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“The last seven to eight days have been crazy,” Hulkenberg said after qualifying. “This weekend I felt much better prepared. Q3 was just head down, full beans, and give it whatever I had.

“I’m a bit surprised to be standing here, but there’s a big smile on my face.”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen qualified fourth and will be among the field trying to derail the Mercedes duo that has won the first four races of an F1 season delayed because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Feels good,” Bottas said after nipping Hamilton by a few hundredths of a second on his final lap for his 13th career pole position. ” I just love qualifying especially, when it goes well. Proud to drive this car. The race pace is there, so our first job is to get a good start off the line tomorrow and go from there.”

The impressive lap came two days after Bottas, who won the season opener in Austria, announced a one-year contract extension with the team.

Mercedes also is set to begin negotiating a new deal with Hamilton, who has won the past three races in F1 but was disappointed Saturday.

“Valtteri did a great job, but for me, it wasn’t a perfect last lap,” he said. “I don’t think many teams will be doing a one-stop race tomorrow so let’s wait and see how things turn out.”