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Vettel paces third practice at Canadian Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel made it three different leaders in as many practice sessions for the Canadian Grand Prix, with the Scuderia Ferrari driver posting a best time of 1:12.572 on Pirelli’s ultrasoft compounds in the 60-minute third practice session. Live qualifying comes later today, 1 p.m. ET, on CNBC.

The Ferrari driver follows teammate Kimi Raikkonen, who led second practice, and Mercedes AMG Petronas’ Lewis Hamilton, who led opening practice.

Vettel and Raikkonen both dipped into the 1:12 bracket with about 20 minutes to go in the session, at 1:12.704 and 1:12.864, respectively, before Vettel went even quicker by a tenth and a half to his ultimate pacesetting time.

The Mercedes pair were initially out on the supersoft tires before making their runs on ultrasofts, but coming up short of the Ferrari duo, who locked out the front row in Monaco. Hamilton made it to third, a 1:12.926, in his run on ultrasofts, not quite four tenths of a second behind (0.354 of a second)

Max Verstappen got within 0.393 of a second in fourth for Red Bull, with Valtteri Bottas in fifth in the second Mercedes.

Nico Hulkenberg (Renault), Felipe Massa (Williams), Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull), Esteban Ocon (Force India) and Carlos Sainz Jr. (Toro Rosso) completed the top 10.

After a heavy day of spins on Friday there was little to be said in terms of off-course excursions this session, although Kevin Magnussen (Haas) and Marcus Ericsson (Sauber) both had a couple moments from which they escaped without damage.

Again, qualifying for Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix takes place 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.