WATCH LIVE: Canadian GP qualifying; Hamilton goes for a high 5

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Lewis Hamilton is chasing his fifth pole position of the season in Canada today, and with the track being one of his favorites, the Briton will unquestionably believe that he has ever chance of doing exactly that.

However, he will have to fend off teammate and championship leader Nico Rosberg in the battle for pole, and although the likes of Williams, Red Bull and Ferrari may not fight for pole, they will produce a fascinating subplot.

Qualifying coverage begins live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 1pm ET. CLICK HERE to watch via live stream.

Since 2006, only two men have started on pole position in Montreal: Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel. Given that Vettel has rarely looked capable of hassling the Mercedes driver so far this season, history suggests that it is there for the Briton to take.

Hamilton’s case is also helped by the pace that he showed in FP3, where he finished well clear of the rest of the field despite not posting a lap time on the quicker tire.

Coverage of qualifying should run from 1pm ET until 2:30pm on NBCSN and Live Extra. CLICK HERE to watch via live stream.

Verizon confirms IndyCar title sponsor role exit after 2018

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As perhaps expected, Verizon has confirmed Friday it will end its role as Verizon IndyCar Series title sponsor following the end of its fifth year in 2018.

Reports surfaced shortly after this year’s IndyCar season finale at Sonoma Raceway that Verizon was re-evaluating its role within the series.

Indeed, as it was before becoming title sponsor in 2014, Verizon will remain a partner with Team Penske despite not also carrying the series title sponsor role.

In a statement, Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles thanked Verizon for its support in this overall series role.

“Verizon has been a super sponsor and will continue to be so through all of next season. We appreciate that they reached their decision in a timely way so that we can thoughtfully and deliberately go back into the market for 2019,” Miles said in a statement, via Sports Business Journal.

Roger Penske also issued a statement, also via SBJ, saying, “We want to thank Verizon for the support they have provided the IndyCar Series and the role they have played as they helped us grow the sport as the title sponsor for the past five years. Verizon has helped the series reach new fans through their world-class activation and technology, including the Verizon IndyCar Mobile App. While they will no longer be the Series Title Sponsor after 2018, it is exciting they will still be in the sport through their relationship with our organization.”

The Verizon IndyCar Series has built a wave of momentum over the last few years with its competition level, parity and enthusiasm for some revived events, with Gateway Motorsports Park and Road America standing out as highlights being brought back after an extended hiatus.

The good news for INDYCAR (sanctioning body) is that there’s a new Dallara universal aero kit that’s been busy with testing the last few months and is now in the hands of manufacturers for manufacturer testing, and the series announced long-term extensions with Dallara, Chevrolet, Honda and Firestone earlier this year. New series champion Josef Newgarden has also been busy in a number of media events and appearances since the Sonoma season finale.

With this confirmation, INDYCAR has a new entitlement sponsor to find and a new TV contract to sort, with both existing contracts up after 2018.