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Vettel leads final Austria F1 practice, Hamilton suffers brake disc failure

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Formula 1 championship leader Sebastian Vettel bounced back from a difficult Friday to lead final practice for the Austrian Gand Prix on Saturday morning for Ferrari as title rival Lewis Hamilton suffered a brake disc failure late on.

Hamilton led both FP1 and FP2 for Mercedes on Friday, and headed the timesheets for much of FP3 before Vettel was able to move a quarter of a second clear in the final 15 minutes of the session with a best lap of 1:05.092.

Hamilton was unable to respond after suffering a brake disc failure during a flying lap, causing him to run straight on at Turn 3 before nursing his car back to the pits.

“It was a problem with the team side of the brake system for Lewis, i.e. not an issue with components supplied to us by a third party,” a spokesman from Mercedes confirmed.

“The relevant parts will be replaced for qualifying. The result was a disc failure but not caused by an issue with the disc.”

Hamilton’s early lap was still good enough to give him P2 at the end of the session ahead of Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, while Kimi Raikkonen took fourth place for Ferrari.

Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo ended FP3 fifth and sixth for Red Bull at its home track, while Haas enjoyed a strong showing to take P7 and P8 through Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean respectively.

Daniil Kvyat was ninth for Toro Rosso ahead of teammate Carlos Sainz Jr., who bounced back from an early engine issue to complete the top 10.

Qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 8am ET on Saturday.

Reviewing Danica Patrick’s highs and lows at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

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So much of Danica Patrick’s fame can be traced to Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

It’s where she became a household name 13 years ago when she became the first woman to lead the Indianapolis 500 and emerged as a transcendent athlete.

It’s where everything started. This Sunday, it’s where everything will end, too.

In her last warmup before starting the final race of her career, Patrick had a bumpy final practice Friday on Carb Day. She was eighth fastest, but her Dallara-Chevrolet was in the garage most of the session because of an electrical problem in the engine. After returning during the final 10 minutes of the session, Patrick’s No. 13 seemed to be OK.

“At the end of the day, these are things you’re actually glad for, because if this had happened Sunday, we would have been done,” she said. “I’m glad to get the issues out of the way early on. Overall, today felt good. We made some changes when I went out the second time, and I’m feeling good about starting seventh on Sunday.”
Though she has had her share of success – along with a fourth in her debut, there was a third in 2009 and six top 10s in seven starts — Patrick has learned well how to handle frustration at the 2.5-mile track, too.

Fuel mileage might have kept her from winning her debut, a pit collision ruined 2008, and an unstable setup made 2010 a wild ride.

For a review of her up-and-down history at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and her legacy in racing, watch the video essay above that ran during Friday’s NASCAR America Motorsports Special on NBCSN.