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Italian Grand Prix set to cap European season this week on NBCSN

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The Italian Grand Prix concludes Formula 1’s European season this weekend on NBCSN, as the second leg of a back-to-back trip for the series after last week’s Belgian Grand Prix.

NBCSN will feature live coverage for free practice two, qualifying and the race this weekend at the traditional European race time slots of 8 a.m. ET both Friday and Saturday for practice and qualifying, and a full hour of pre-race coverage Sunday for the race.

Usual free practice one and three coverage airs live exclusively on the NBC Sports App, which streams all sessions.

The Autodromo Nazionale di Monza is the spiritual home of F1, and the official home for Ferrari’s fan base – the tifosi – where nothing less than victory will do.

Ferrari has won the Italian Grand Prix 19 times, but hasn’t won there since 2010 when Fernando Alonso did so in his first year with the team. That’s been Ferrari’s lone win in the last decade at Monza since Michael Schumacher’s emotional, memorable 2006 win when he announced his first retirement from the sport the same weekend.

Sebastian Vettel’s won at Monza three times, in 2008 with Toro Rosso in both his and the team’s first career victory, then with Red Bull in 2011 and 2013. With Ferrari, Vettel finished second in 2015 and third last year.

Mercedes has won the last three races at Monza with Nico Rosberg winning last year and Lewis Hamilton winning in 2014 and 2015. Hamilton also has a 2012 Monza win with McLaren on his resume.

A pole for Hamilton this weekend would be his 69th in his career, and set the all-time mark, breaking a tie with Schumacher.

A win for Hamilton would see him become the first driver to win back-to-back races in the 13th round of the season and would, at worse, see him move into a tie with Vettel for the championship lead. Vettel leads Hamilton by seven points, 220-213, the same gap as the difference between first and second in a single race (25 to 18 points).

Alonso, twice a winner at Monza as he also won in 2007 with McLaren, is the only other active Italian Grand Prix winner in the field. Kimi Raikkonen has never won at Monza for Ferrari.

Here’s the schedule, with stream links and TV network if applicable:

  • Practice 1: Friday, Sept. 1, 4 a.m.-5:30 a.m. ET (Story; Watch replay)
  • Practice 2: Friday, Sept. 1, 8 a.m.-9:30 a.m. ET (Story; Watch replay)
  • Practice 2 (Replay): Saturday, Sept. 2, 6:30 a.m.-8 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Practice 3: Saturday, Sept. 2, 5 a.m.-6 a.m. ET (Watch replay)
  • Qualifying: Saturday, Sept. 2, 8 a.m.-9:30 a.m. ET (Watch replay)
  • Qualifying (Replay): Sunday, Sept. 3, 1:30 a.m.-3 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Pre-Race: Sunday, Sept. 3, 7 a.m.-8 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Race: Sunday, Sept. 3, 8 a.m.-10 a.m. ET (Full storyWatch replay)
  • Post-Race: Sunday, Sept. 3, 10 a.m.-10:30 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Formula 2: Sunday, Sept. 3, 6 a.m.-7 a.m. ET (Watch replay)

The next race is the Singapore Grand Prix, on September 17.

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.