Raikkonen hits the front for Ferrari in final Malaysian GP practice

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Kimi Raikkonen rose to the front of the pack in the final Formula 1 practice session for the Malaysian Grand Prix on Saturday morning, heading up a one-two finish for Ferrari.

Ferrari flipped the formbook on its head on Friday by easing clear of the field in FP2 despite chief title rival Mercedes being tipped to dominate proceedings, with the Silver Arrows finishing over a second off the pace.

Ferrari carried its good form through to Saturday as Raikkonen turned in a fastest lap time of 1:31.880, finishing one-tenth of a second clear of teammate Sebastian Vettel at the end of the session.

However, Vettel’s hopes of cutting the gap in the drivers’ championship were put in doubt when he slowed at the end of FP3, with Ferrari’s pit wall telling him to come back to the pits.

Red Bull and Mercedes looked evenly matched through FP3, with Daniel Ricciardo finishing third ahead of the Silver Arrows of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton in P4 and P5.

Mercedes opted to split the aerodynamic setups on its cars to try and find out why it was so far off the pace, with Bottas going two-tenths of a second faster with the updated package.

Max Verstappen took sixth for Red Bull, finishing seven-tenths of a second back from Raikkonen, and the Dutchman was caught up in a bizarre incident with Renault’s Jolyon Palmer in the dying moments of the session.

On a hot lap, Palmer tried to pass a slow Verstappen on the inside of the final hairpin, only for the pair to make contact and the Renault driver to lose a chunk of his front wing.

Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon both finished in the top 10 for Force India, taking P7 and P9 respectively, with Felipe Massa splitting the pair for Williams. Stoffel Vandoorne completed the top half of the order for McLaren.

Qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 5am ET today.

Travis Pastrana leads flag-to-flag in Nitro Rallycross as the series returns to America

Pastrana Nitro Rallycross
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Travis Pastrana waited until the final trip around ERX Motor Park to take his Joker Lap – a longer way around the course that all drivers must do at least once in a race – and came out cleanly to win his first Nitro Rallycross race of 2022. With this win, Pastrana is the third driver to visit Victory Lane in the first three rounds of the 2022-23 season.

“This is the closest to a motocross track,” Pastrana told Katie Osborne on Peacock. “Thank you so much for a beautiful facility. It’s been a rough start to the season and I’m so thankful to be back out here. We had a good run in the side-by-side and now for this. This is much needed.”

Another thing needed was the sense of improvement. And Pastrana earned that affirmation each time he completed a lap around the course.

“I get my lap times read out and they said ‘fastest time of the week,’ ‘fastest time of the week’ (each time around) ” Pastrana said. “This is really special. We’re a long way behind in the championship, but welcome to America.”

In a pre-race press conference, Pastrana said that as Nitro Rallycross heads back to America, it was time for an American to win and he made good on his promise. Pastrana took the early lead over Robin Larsson and let the back of his Subaru hang out, taking risks he might not otherwise take if not for his need to win.

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Larsson’s second-place finish completed a perfect sweep of the podium in three rounds. In fact, he has not yet finished worse than second after winning the opening round at Lydden Hill in the United Kingdom and finishing second at Strangnas in Sweeden.

Fraser McConnel rounded out the podium for his best result of the season. He finished fourth in each of the first two rounds.

Last year, Pastrana finished second in this race to Scott Speed before narrowly edging his teammate for the championship.

Andreas Bakkerud crashed in prelims, but rebounded to finish just off the block in fourth. Bakkerud won the second round ahead of his teammate Larsson.

Oliver Bennett completed the top five.

Minneapolis is the first of three rounds scheduled in the United States. Next on the schedule is Glen Helen, Calif. on Octo 30 and then Phoenix at Wild Horse Pass on November 12th. Nitro Rallycross will then head to Saudi Arabia in December to continue their 2022-23 season.