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Ricciardo doubles up in second Singapore F1 practice as night falls

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Daniel Ricciardo doubled up for Red Bull in the second Formula 1 practice session for the Singapore Grand Prix, finishing half a second clear of the pack as night fell at Marina Bay.

Ricciardo topped the timesheets in the Red Bull RB13 car in FP1 earlier in the day, and went faster still in the more representative second session, taking place under the lights.

A fastest time of 1:40.852 saw Ricciardo head up a one-two finish for Red Bull, with teammate Max Verstappen following half a second further back.

The tight and twisting nature of the Marina Bay Street Circuit has been expected to favor Red Bull, but the team was able to easily pull clear of Mercedes as both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas struggled.

Hamilton was left to settle for third, seven-tenths of a second off Ricciardo’s time, while Bottas was an additional five-tenths in arrears back in P4.

Not for the first time in 2017, Ferrari did not show its true colors through Friday practice as Kimi Raikkonen took ninth and Sebastian Vettel finished 11th, the latter failing to complete a qualifying simulation.

Vettel had been up on Ricciardo’s time through the first sector, only to hit traffic coming through Turn 14, forcing him to scrap his flying lap.

Vettel tried again minutes later, but clipped the barrier coming out of Turn 7 after losing the rear-end of his Ferrari. While the car was unscathed, the knock did cause an advertising hoarding to fall onto the track, prompting a Virtual Safety Car to be thrown to ensure its safe recovery.

Nico Hulkenberg led Renault to an excellent fifth place in FP2, finishing 1.5 seconds shy of Ricciardo, while the McLaren pair of Stoffel Vandoorne and Fernando Alonso charged to sixth and seventh respectively, with the team fancying its chances in Singapore.

Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon gave Force India a double top-10 finish, taking eighth and 10th respectively, with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen splitting them in ninth.

Running resumes in Singapore on Saturday afternoon, with FP3 going green at 6am ET on the NBC Sports app.

NHRA: Dodge/Mopar to unveil new Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car today in Denver

Photos/video courtesy Dodge/Mopar
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If you’re a fan of NHRA Funny Car racing and Dodge/Mopar, you may notice something different at this weekend’s Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway in suburban Denver, Colorado.

Two-time (2011 and 2014) NHRA Funny Car champ Matt Hagan – who has won the last two NHRA national events in the last four weeks – will be piloting a newly-designed 2019 Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, a 10,000-horsepower Funny Car that makes its debut today at Dodge/Mopar’s premier NHRA national event.

The new Charger SRT Hellcat succeeds the former Mopar Dodge Charger R/T, which had been in use since 2015.

“We improved on the body design,” Hagan said of the new Charger Hellcat. “It was already a great design, a great body. But now, we’re going to have a little more downforce, a little more traction on these racetracks and it will be a huge performance advantage.”

The new Hellcat includes a number of innovations, including a new front splitter to increase downforce. Just like its predecessor, the R/T, the Hellcat will go head-to-head with Chevrolet’s Camaro in the NHRA Funny Car ranks.

“We will be able to press harder with more downforce on the nose, which translates into huge amounts of downforce on the run,” Hagan said.

According to a media release, the new Hellcat features major design changes in three key areas: the front end, bodysides and burst panel placement:

* “At the front, the shape of the nose has been tweaked and a new splitter (photo), built of carbon fiber and Kevlar like the rest of the Funny Car body, has been added. The splitter substantially mimics the look and shape of the production vehicle’s splitter while generating greater downforce to help plant the Funny Car to the track.

* “Bodyside scallops have been redesigned to more closely identify with the production Hellcat while also enhancing on-track function and performance. The deeper character lines provide greater visual ties to the street version of the Hellcat, while also helping to mitigate the “body burn” common on all Funny Cars due to the close positioning of the exhaust headers.

* “The location of the burst panel on the hood has also been reworked. The panel is now centered over the top of the engine to more efficiently release energy and pressure in the event of engine issues, a common occurrence in race cars that are pushed to the razor’s edge of performance.”

Since the R/T was first introduced into the Don Schumacher Racing corps, it has gone on to 50 wins, 42 runner-up finishes and 40 No. 1 qualifiers in NHRA national events and one NHRA Funny Car World Championship (Ron Capps, 2016).

The new Charger SRT Hellcat, which can exceed 330-plus mph and covers 1,000 feet in under four seconds, is the drag strip version of the supercharged, 707-horsepower production Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, the quickest, fastest and most powerful sedan in the world.

While Hagan will drive the first Hellcat, his other three Dodge-powered DSR teammates – Capps, Jack Beckman and Tommy Johnson Jr. – will soon take delivery of their own versions of the car over the remaining 11 races of the 2018 season.

One day after winning two weeks ago at Norwalk, Ohio, Hagan and crew chief Dickie Venables put the new Hellcat through its paces with several test runs. The results were so strong that it was decided to debut the car at Denver and run all qualifying and elimination rounds with it.

“We made four good, solid runs in testing at Norwalk,” said Hagan. “We put the body through a lot of different things and were really, really pleased with it.

“I really think it’s going to translate over to performance on the race track, and hopefully more win lights in the future.”

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