Rosberg leads Hamilton in first Belgian GP practice

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Nico Rosberg has made the best possible start to the second half of the F1 season by finishing fastest in the first practice session for this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.

The German driver posted a fastest lap time of 1:51.577 to finish less than one-tenth of a second clear of Mercedes teammate and championship rival Lewis Hamilton, with the early signs suggesting that little has changed over the summer break to end the team’s dominant streak.

The session took place in cool and dry conditions at Spa on Friday morning, as the drivers got their first opportunity to try out the 2014-spec cars at one of the sport’s most famous circuits.

Although they were still able to take Eau Rouge flat, a number of the drivers did come unstuck at other sections of the track. Marcus Ericsson spun his Caterham at turn one, whilst Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel also hit trouble on their cars, with the latter being forced to miss the final part of the session.

F1 rookie Andre Lotterer put in a solid display in his first outing in an F1 car since 2002, finishing one-tenth of a second ahead of full-time driver Ericsson. Alexander Rossi finished ahead of both Caterhams in 20th position, but will now hand the reins back over to Max Chilton for second practice later today.

Alonso finished as the best of the rest behind the Mercedes cars, some two-tenths down on Rosberg’s time for P1. Jenson Button was fourth, a further six-tenths back, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Sergio Perez. Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg came home in seventh and eighth place respectively, whilst Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas rounded out the top ten.

Join us for FP2 live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 8am ET today. This will be followed by F1 Extra at 9.30am and then the premiere of Off The Grid: Budapest at 10am.

Recapping the 2018 Dakar Rally with “best of” video highlights

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EDITOR’S NOTE: NBCSN will air additional Dakar Rally highlights on Monday at 7 p.m. ET.

As it has done so for four decades, the 40th annual Dakar Rally – the most grueling test of man and machine anywhere – produced a number of surprise finishes and also several disappointments for drivers or riders who were expected to do well in the nearly 5,600-mile trek that began in Peru and continued through Bolivia and ending in Argentina.

NBCSN has aired highlights from all 14 stages (actually 13, because one stage was completely rained out) during the Rally’s two-week run, which concluded Saturday.

Here’s some of the “best of” highlights from the overall Rally highlights, followed by a quick guide that gives you wrapups to all 14 stages.

So, without further adieu, here’s NBCSN’s “best of” the 2018 Dakar Rally:

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of cars

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of bikes

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of trucks

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of quads

Lastly, here’s a day-by-day wrapup of how the Rally played out.

MORE: Dakar Rally daily stages schedule, NBCSN broadcast schedule, list of all competitors.

MORE: Stage 14 overall Rally wrapup

MORE: Stage 13 wrapup

MORE: Stage 12 wrapup

MORE: Stage 11 wrapup

MORE: Stage 10 wrapup

MORE: Stage 9 cancelled due to weather, impassible course conditions

MORE: Stage 8 wrapup

MORE: Stage 7 wrapup

MORE: Stage 6 wrapup

MORE: Stage 5 wrapup

MORE: Stage 4 wrapup

MORE: Stage 3 wrapup

MORE: Stage 2 wrapup

MORE: Stage 1 wrapup