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Raikkonen tops second practice at Canadian GP

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Kimi Raikkonen moved Scuderia Ferrari to the fore in second practice for the Canadian Grand Prix, with the first 1:12 lap of the weekend at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal.

Raikkonen’s best time of 1:12.935 occurred in the opening half of the 90-minute session, and wasn’t supplanted after teams switched from qualifying runs to race simulations.

A Raikkonen and Ferrari win at the track would end respective droughts dating to 2005 (Raikkonen) and 2004 (Ferrari), respectively. Of course this is only second practice and even if Raikkonen was to take pole, as he did last race in Monaco, he’d need to back it up in the race.

The Ferrari man that is ahead in the championship, Raikkonen’s teammate Sebastian Vettel, was third this session, 0.265 of a second back.

After Mercedes AMG Petronas was 1-3 in the morning session, it was Ferrari 1-3 this afternoon with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton splitting them in second. Hamilton was just 0.215 of a second back.

Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas was fourth but had a ragged sesssion with a couple lockups and a spin through Turns 1 and 2.

Max Verstappen had an even worse session when his Red Bull TAG Heuer slowed with a lack of power after Turn 7 and stopped on course, which brought out a red flag. Coupled with Daniel Ricciardo being stuck in the garage most of the session as well, it was a day to forget for Red Bull Racing.

Williams’ Felipe Massa was sixth with Esteban Ocon (Force India), Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso), Sergio Perez (Force India) and Romain Grosjean (Haas) completing the top 10. All of the best times were set on Pirelli’s ultrasoft compound.

Grosjean was particularly frustrated during the session, with radio transmissions catching him saying “I’m starting to get a bit fed up” after several spins. Grosjean, who’s had persistent brake issues at Haas, may be in for a long weekend at the brake-heavy circuit that features so many straights and long braking zones.

After a hydraulic issue sidelined Fernando Alonso in the first practice session, the McLaren Honda did make it back out in free practice two. Alonso got within 1.310 seconds in the session on the ultrasofts, which was good for seventh right at the end of the session.

Lance Stroll was 17th for Williams to complete his first day as the first Canadian driver in the Canadian Grand Prix in 11 years.

Third free practice is live Saturday morning at 10 a.m. ET, streaming online and on the NBC Sports App.

Qualifying coverage is live Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. ET on CNBC.

Sergio Perez still has coronavirus; will miss second consecutive F1 race

F1 Sergio Perez out
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SILVERSTONE, England — Sergio Perez will be out for a second F1 race at Silverstone this week after again testing positive for the coronavirus.

The Mexican driver had hoped to return to Formula One after spending seven days in quarantine, but his Racing Point team said this morning he had tested positive.

“He is physically well and recovering,” the team said. “The whole team wishes Sergio and his family well and we look forward to his return.”

That means German veteran Nico Hulkenberg again fills in for Sunday’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix after having also replaced Sergio Perez when he was out for the F1 British Grand Prix at the same venue last week. Hulkenberg did not start that race because of an engine problem.

There are two consecutive weekends of racing at Silverstone as Formula One tries to pack in races following the pandemic-delayed start to the season.

Perez became the first Formula One driver to test positive for coronavirus, and it had been unclear whether he would be available to drive after the period of quarantine was extended to 10 days.

Racing Point also was in the news Friday after being hit with a 15-point penalty in the Formula One constructors’ championship and fined 400,000 euros ($470,000) Friday for using brake ducts based on those from last year’s Mercedes cars.

The stewards ruled that Mercedes was the “principal designer” of the parts, and that Racing Point made only minor changes to computer design data it received from Mercedes.

Rival team Renault filed protests about the legality of the brake ducts, which were added to the “listed parts” under F1 rules for 2020. That means teams must design their own. Racing Point argued it was merely using information about the Mercedes parts to inform its own design.

Racing Point uses customer engines from Mercedes and has admitted basing its 2020 car design on photographs of last year’s Mercedes car. The similarities led to the Racing Point being nicknamed the “pink Mercedes” when it was first seen in testing ahead of the season.

Racing Point can appeal the ruling. The points deduction drops the team from fifth to sixth in the standings, below Renault. The ruling doesn’t affect the points totals for Racing Point’s drivers.