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Will Power paces lone practice for GMR Grand Prix at Indianapolis

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Will Power was off to a strong start Friday in his bid for a fourth victory at the GMR Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

Power turned a lap of 1 minute, 9.9487 seconds (125.526 mph) in his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet to lead the lone practice session for Saturday’s race (noon ET, NBC).

“It’s hot, man,” the Team Penske driver, who won the Indy GP from the pole in 2015, ’17 and ’18, told Marty Snider on the NBC Sports Gold broadcast. “It’s going to be a tough race in that respect. The cooling’s not bad. You’re feeling it out there. Started the session pretty far off, honestly, and I was able to get the car right in the window. Some good things to think about before qualifying here, and I hopefully have a shot at the pole.”

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Qualifying will happen at 4:30 p.m. ET today (NBCSN, NBC Sports Gold).

Santino Ferrucci was second (1 minute, 10.1242 seconds) in the practice session, followed by Marcus Ericsson, Pato O’Ward and Scott Dixon. Ryan Hunter-Reay, Simon Pagenaud, Felix Rosenqvist, Spencer Pigot and Oliver Askew.

Click here for full results from Friday’s IndyCar practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“Our car is really well connected,” Ferrucci told Dave Burns on the NBC Sports Gold broadcast. “Proud of our team and really looking forward to qualifying later today.”

Said Ericsson via Chip Ganassi Racing PR: “It was a good practice session. I think again, like in Texas, all three of us at Chip Ganassi Racing had really strong cars. I was feeling comfortable straight away on the blacks out there. We did some tweaking and some smaller stuff on the setup.

“I think we found some small bits and pieces and then on the reds we felt strong again and competitive. I had a good feeling in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Honda car. Overall, it was a very positive session. I think we are looking good for this afternoon and for tomorrow for the GMR Grand Prix.”

There was one notable incident during the session as Hunter-Reay and Ferrucci made contact in Turn 7 when Ferrucci moved underneath Hunter-Reay’s Dallara-Honda, which just had pulled on track.

Neither car sustained significant damage. Ferrucci was given a 5-minute penalty for avoidable contact, but Hunter-Reay seemed to take responsibility for the crash, radioing his team that he hadn’t seen Ferrucci in his mirrors.

“There’s a rule in IndyCar you can’t impede someone on a hot lap,” Ferrucci told Burns. “I was six tenths down, and you can see him coming down the straight; he’s clearly on an out lap and warming his tires. Normally you check your mirrors. I thought he was going to wide in the corner, and when he didn’t, I tried to stop as fast as I could, I just ended up clipping him.

“I’d say that’s a warning because it’s practice. Because you lose your lap in qualifying because of that.”

Sage Karam also received a 5-minute penalty for stopping on course in Turn 12.

Sergio Perez still has coronavirus; will miss second consecutive F1 race

F1 Sergio Perez out
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SILVERSTONE, England — Sergio Perez will be out for a second F1 race at Silverstone this week after again testing positive for the coronavirus.

The Mexican driver had hoped to return to Formula One after spending seven days in quarantine, but his Racing Point team said this morning he had tested positive.

“He is physically well and recovering,” the team said. “The whole team wishes Sergio and his family well and we look forward to his return.”

That means German veteran Nico Hulkenberg again fills in for Sunday’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix after having also replaced Sergio Perez when he was out for the F1 British Grand Prix at the same venue last week. Hulkenberg did not start that race because of an engine problem.

There are two consecutive weekends of racing at Silverstone as Formula One tries to pack in races following the pandemic-delayed start to the season.

Perez became the first Formula One driver to test positive for coronavirus, and it had been unclear whether he would be available to drive after the period of quarantine was extended to 10 days.

Racing Point also was in the news Friday after being hit with a 15-point penalty in the Formula One constructors’ championship and fined 400,000 euros ($470,000) Friday for using brake ducts based on those from last year’s Mercedes cars.

The stewards ruled that Mercedes was the “principal designer” of the parts, and that Racing Point made only minor changes to computer design data it received from Mercedes.

Rival team Renault filed protests about the legality of the brake ducts, which were added to the “listed parts” under F1 rules for 2020. That means teams must design their own. Racing Point argued it was merely using information about the Mercedes parts to inform its own design.

Racing Point uses customer engines from Mercedes and has admitted basing its 2020 car design on photographs of last year’s Mercedes car. The similarities led to the Racing Point being nicknamed the “pink Mercedes” when it was first seen in testing ahead of the season.

Racing Point can appeal the ruling. The points deduction drops the team from fifth to sixth in the standings, below Renault. The ruling doesn’t affect the points totals for Racing Point’s drivers.