F1 Grand Prix of Italy - Practice

WATCH LIVE: FP2 for the Italian Grand Prix

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Following Lewis Hamilton’s timesheet-topping escapades in the first free practice session for the Italian Grand Prix, the rest of the field will get a second chance to cut the gap during FP2 on Friday afternoon at Monza.

Mercedes teammate and championship rival Nico Rosberg had to settle for third place during FP1, and he will be keen to bounce back and redress the balance against Hamilton as their title battle rages on at one of the sport’s most famous circuits.

However, the likes of McLaren, Williams and Red Bull will also be hoping to get in the mix towards the head of the field.

You can watch FP2 live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 8am ET. CLICK HERE to watch via live stream.

Hamilton’s pace in the first session was certainly impressive. The Briton pulled out a six-tenths of a second gap over the rest of the field, and he was followed home by former McLaren teammate Jenson Button. With Kevin Magnussen finishing fifth in the sister MP4-29, the signs are certainly positive for the British team at Monza.

Ferrari showed some promising pace in the first session, but the prancing horse is expecting to struggle on home soil. Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen will have the Monza crowd right behind them, though, and this could yet lift them further up teh grid.

FP2 will see Romain Grosjean, Giedo van der Garde and Kamui Kobayashi all return to their cars after stepping aside in the first session to allow their teams’ junior drivers some seat time. For Kobayashi, this will be his first session since the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Be sure to join us for FP2 live on NBCSN and Live Extra at 8am ET. CLICK HERE to watch via live stream.

Status targets 2016 GP2 title after GP3 exit

2015 GP2 Series Round 8.
Autodromo di Monza, Italy.
Sunday 6 September 2015.
Marlon Stockinger (PHL, Status Grand Prix) 
Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.
ref: Digital Image _G7C2088
© GP2 Series
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Status Grand Prix has set its sights on winning the 2016 GP2 Series championship following its decision to close down its GP3 team at the end of the current season.

Earlier this week, GP3 issued a statement confirming its team roster for the next three seasons that featured new entries from DAMS and Virtuosi Racing.

However, both Carlin and Status did not appear on the list, signalling that both had opted to leave GP3 at the end of 2015.

Status first entered GP3 back in 2010, but only set up a GP2 team in 2015 after taking over the old Caterham Racing operation.

This will now become the main focus for the Irish outfit, though, as explained by team boss Teddy Yip Jr. earlier this week.

“Status Grand Prix has not renewed entry into the GP3 Series from 2016 onwards in order to maximize focus on our GP2 campaign,” Yip said.

“Having finished second in the team championship in the inaugural GP3 Series, we have enjoyed six successful years in the category collecting nine race wins, 26 podium finishes and vying for numerous team and driver titles.

“We are very proud to have given opportunities and achieved success with drivers such as Robert Wickens, Antonio Felix da Costa, Alexander Sims and our current GP2 race winner, Richie Stanaway.

“We now look forward to finishing the 2015 GP2 and GP3 seasons on a high before mounting a robust GP2 title campaign in 2016.”

Both GP2 and GP3 return from a one-month break next weekend in support of the Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix.

Hakkinen: Verstappen is already “a real pro”

during a media interview at the Shanghai Grand Theatre prior to the 2015 Laureus World Sports Awards on April 15, 2015 in Shanghai, China.
© Getty Images
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Two-time Formula 1 world champion Mika Hakkinen has heaped praise upon Toro Rosso rookie Max Verstappen, supporting his decision to ignore team orders during last month’s Singapore Grand Prix.

Verstappen only turned 18 on Wednesday, but has already made a big impression on the F1 world during his first 14 races with his aggressive driving style and mature approach to racing.

In Singapore, Verstappen was told by Toro Rosso to let faster teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. go past, but refused to give up his position and eventually beat the Spaniard to finish eighth.

Writing in his Hermes blog, Hakkinen backed Verstappen’s decision to stay ahead and praised the Dutchman for his performances so far this season.

“A driver must be alert and keep track of what is happening around him at all times,” Hakkinen wrote. “That’s what Verstappen is. He does not simply let anyone pass if it’s not for the world championship, but only a few championship points.

“Verstappen is 18 years old, but the guy’s already a real pro. Young people are developing incredibly fast nowadays, and by that I don’t mean just drivers.”

Despite having more than half a season of F1 racing under his belt, Verstappen only gained his road driver’s license on his 18th birthday, having previously been under the age limit to drive a regular car in public.