Sergio Pérez fastest early on second day of F1 testing in Spain

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MONTMELO, Spain — Racing Point’s Sergio Perez set the fastest time early on the second day of Formula One preseason testing on Thursday, with Lewis Hamilton having another solid session for Mercedes.

Hamilton led the time charts on Wednesday and had the most laps in the morning session on Thursday, though he was only seventh fastest among the 10 drivers who went to the track.

Perez was four tenths of a second ahead of Daniel Ricciardo of Renault at the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit. Alexander Albon was third with Red Bull.

Perez had been third fastest on Wednesday, behind Hamilton and Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.

Hamilton ran 106 laps on Thursday morning, 58 more than Perez.

The Mexican driver’s time was nearly a second quicker than the Day 2 time set by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc last season.

MORE: Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas fastest in Day 1 of practice

A new adjustment system introduced by Mercedes caught everyone’s attention on Thursday after on-board footage showed Hamilton pulling the steering wheel back and forth on the front straight to apparently change the angle of the front wheels.

Drivers will be back on the track on Thursday afternoon, and also on Friday to close out the first week of testing. Teams will have another three days to test next week.

Preseason testing has been reduced from eight to six days to help compensate for the record 22 races on the calendar, including a new Vietnam Grand Prix and the return of the Dutch Grand Prix. Midseason testing also has been eliminated.

The season opens on March 15 at the Australian GP.

The Barcelona-Catalunya track will host the Spanish GP on May 10.

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
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Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.