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Dixon drops the hammer in Watkins Glen second practice

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WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Four-time Watkins Glen winner Scott Dixon took a strong step towards a fifth by dominating the second practice session for this weekend’s INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen.

Dixon, driving the No. 9 NTT Data Honda, laid down a best time of 1:22.6187 early on in the one-hour session, which held up for the rest of the way, and was set on Firestone’s black primary tire.

As Dixon’s pole time was 1:22.5259 last year, it was a highly impressive time considering both Firestone’s blacks and also red alternate tires can be used in the session. Cool conditions played into the great times, with ambient temperatures only in the 50-degree Fahrenheit range all session.

It was the second straight session a Honda led, after Graham Rahal flew to the top of the charts near the end of the morning session.

Rahal was third this session, behind top Chevrolet runner Will Power in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet. Power was close at 1:22.7129, with Rahal third in the No. 15 United Rentals Honda for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing at 1:22.9716.

Those three drivers were the only three in the 1:22 bracket this session.

Points leader Josef Newgarden was only 10th; Jack Harvey improved to 18th, actually ahead of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports teammate James Hinchcliffe, by just 0.004 of a second.

The session had five extra minutes added on following a red flag for an incident for Max Chilton. The Englishman lost control of his No. 8 Gallagher Chip Ganassi Racing Honda exiting the Bus Stop and tattooed the wall at Turn 5 with the right side of his car.

Helio Castroneves had a minor off exiting the Boot and brushed the guardrail, but returned without any significant damage to his No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet.

Third practice runs from 10:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. ET tomorrow morning. Times are below.

F1: Lewis Hamilton roars back from starting 14th to win German GP, regain points lead

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Heading into Sunday’s German Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton wasn’t given much of a chance after qualifying so poorly (14th) one day earlier.

But in one of the most significant rallies of the 2018 Formula One season, Hamilton roared back to not only win at Hockenheim, but also regain the lead in the F1 drivers championship standings at the halfway point of the season.

Ditto for Mercedes in the Constructors Championship.

“It was so tough out there,” Hamilton told Sky Sports/ESPN. “Conditions were perfect for business time. When it rained, I knew I’d have a good position, but you never know what’s going to happen behind the safety car.”

Despite rainy conditions for part of the race, not to mention wet overall conditions that caused a number of drivers to spin, Hamilton won the 66th race of his F1 career (44th with Mercedes AMG Petronas) in a time of 1:32.29.845 and took home 25 points for his fourth win of 2018.

It’s the furthest back a driver has come from back in the pack to win since Fernando Alonso started 15th and won the Singapore Grand Prix in 2008.

The win comes just a couple days after Hamilton re-signed with Mercedes AMG through the 2020 season, leading him to pay an immediate return on investment, so to speak.

“It’s obviously very, very difficult (to win) from that position and highly unlikely, but you’ve always got to believe,” Hamilton said. “I said a long, long prayer before the race started.

“When we did the parade lap, I could see how much support we had and I just wanted to stay collected and stay calm. The team did such a great job today, the car was fantastic, I’m so grateful.

“I would never have thought you could do something like that today, but I kept pushing and kept believing and it happened, so I really manifested my dreams today. Thanks to God.”

It was also the 125th F1 podium finish of Hamilton’s career.

To make the win even sweeter, Hamilton’s teammate, Valtteri Bottas, finished second, the first time in German GP history that homeland team Mercedes has finished 1-2.

It’s Bottas’ fifth podium of the season, all being runner-up finishes.

Kimi Raikkonen finished third, 6.5 seconds behind Hamilton, followed my Max Verstappen and Nico Hulkenberg. For Raikkonen, it was his 28th podium since his last win.

Sixth through 10th were Romain Grosjean, Sergio Perez, Esteban Ocon, Marcus Ericsson and Brendon Hartley.

Kevin Magnussen finished 11th, followed by Carlos Sainz, Stoffel Vandoorne, Pierre Gasly, Charles Leclerc and Fernando Alonso was the last running car, finishing 16th.

Failing to finish (17th through 20th) were Lance Stroll, pole sitter Sebastian Vettel (who made a mistake and crashed), Sergey Sirotkin and Daniel Ricciardo.

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