Hunter-Reay on top in IndyCar third practice at Mid-Ohio

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Ryan Hunter-Reay has led the third practice session for Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN), the second session he’s led this weekend for the Verizon IndyCar Series at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (also led practice one).

Hunter-Reay posted a best time of 1:05.8042 around the 2.258-mile road course. The driver of the No. 28 DHL Honda seeks his fourth win of the season this weekend (Barber, Indianapolis 500, Iowa).

Behind him was several-time Mid-Ohio winner and defending series champion Scott Dixon and Justin Wilson. Dixon has yet to score a win and Wilson has yet to score a podium this season; this would be an ideal place for the two to break through this season.

Qualifying is next. It occurs at 2 p.m. ET and will air on NBCSN at 5:30 p.m. ET later Saturday.

Here’s your practice times:

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How Hamilton, Mercedes can clinch F1 titles at the United States GP

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Sunday’s United States Grand Prix could go down as a memorable race in Formula 1 history as both Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes bid to clinch their fourth world championships (live on NBC and NBC Sports app from 2pm ET).

Hamilton gave his chances of wrapping up the drivers’ title and re-claiming the crown he lost to Nico Rosberg in 2016 a world of good by charging to pole position on Saturday at the Circuit of The Americas.

However, with chief rival Sebastian Vettel starting second for Ferrari and a 16-point swing required, it seems likely that the title race could continue to next weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix.

Nevertheless, here are the permutations for Lewis Hamilton to win his fourth F1 world title on Sunday in Austin, Texas.

  • If Lewis Hamilton wins the race (25 points) and Sebastian Vettel finishes sixth or lower (maximum eight points), he is world champion.
  • If Hamilton finishes second (18 points), Sebastian Vettel finishes ninth or lower (maximum two points), and Valtteri Bottas does not win the race, he is world champion.

While Hamilton’s coronation seems likely to be postponed until the next race in Mexico, Mercedes looks nailed-on to wrap up its fourth consecutive constructors’ championship in Sunday’s USGP.

The German marque currently leads Ferrari by 145 points in the teams’ standings, and requires a lead of 129 after the race to clinch the crown.

As a result, a double top-four finish from Hamilton and Bottas would be enough for Mercedes to wrap up the title, regardless of how Ferrari fares.

The success would see Mercedes become just the fourth team in F1 history take four straight constructors’ titles, following Red Bull (2010 to 2013), Ferrari (1999 to 2004) and McLaren (1988 to 1991).

The United States Grand Prix is live on NBC and the NBC Sports app from 2pm ET on Sunday.