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Dixon fastest, Honda strong again in Practice 3 at Watkins Glen

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WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Chip Ganassi’s Racing’s Scott Dixon went fastest in third practice for Sunday’s INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen (1:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN), repeating his feat from second practice on Friday. Dixon’s quick time from Practice 3 (1:22.6441) nearly mirrored his best lap from Practice 2 (1:22.6187).

Honda retained the strong form on display during Friday practice. The Andretti Autosport duo of Alexander Rossi and Ryan Hunter-Reay were second and third, with Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves fourth, the only Chevrolet in the top five. Dale Coyne Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais was fifth, putting four Hondas inside the top five ahead of Saturday afternoon qualifying.

Other notables include Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden in eighth, Simon Pagenaud in ninth, and Will Power in 16th.

The session ran without interruption, although Sebastien Bourdais did have a quick spin entering Turn 8 as the checkered flag came out. However, he slid harmlessly into the runoff area and did not incur any contact.

Times are below. Qualifying rolls off at 3:00 p.m. ET and will air on NBCSN at 7:00 p.m. ET.

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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.