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F1 enters the night with Singapore Grand Prix on NBCSN

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One of Formula 1’s toughest tests on the calendar is this week’s Singapore Grand Prix, the 14th round of the season and the start of the final seven-race run of flyaway races apart from Europe.

NBCSN will feature live coverage of free practice two, Friday at 8:30 a.m. ET, and the race on Sunday at 7 a.m. ET with an hour of pre-race before lights out at 8.

Qualifying airs live on CNBC on Saturday at 9 a.m. ET, with an encore presentation on NBCSN Saturday night at 8 p.m. ET.

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

Of note, Bob Varsha will fill in for Leigh Diffey this weekend alongside David Hobbs and Steve Matchett, and with Will Buxton in the pits and paddock reporting from Singapore. Diffey will be hosting the Verizon IndyCar Series season finale weekend in Sonoma.

Singapore has been the domain of Sebastian Vettel in recent years around the Marina Bay Street Circuit, and with this track expected to play to Ferrari’s strengths this weekend after successive Mercedes triumphs by Lewis Hamilton in Spa and Monza, Vettel is due to strike back this weekend.

Vettel has won four of the last six Singapore Grands Prix (2011, 2012, 2013 with Red Bull and 2015 with Ferrari) while Nico Rosberg won here last year. Hamilton (2014 with Mercedes, 2009 with McLaren) and Fernando Alonso (2010 with Ferrari, 2008 with Renault) have won the other races at Singapore since this track was added to the calendar.

Top spoiler is Daniel Ricciardo, the Australian at Red Bull who’s been a front row starter and runner-up finisher at Singapore in recent years, and who shaded Rosberg all the way to the flag last year. A win for him – or teammate Max Verstappen – this weekend could throw a curveball in the championship chase.

Hamilton moved into the lead, 238-235, with his second straight win last time out in Monza. But whether he can keep the lead this weekend will depend on how he rebounds from a pair of tough races here the last two years, third in 2016 and retiring in 2015.

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

  • Practice 1: Friday, Sept. 15, 4:30 a.m.-6 a.m. ET (Streaming)
  • Practice 2: Friday, Sept. 15, 8:30 a.m.-10 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Practice 3: Saturday, Sept. 16, 6 a.m.-7 a.m. ET (Streaming)
  • Qualifying: Saturday, Sept. 16, 9 a.m.-10:30 a.m. ET (CNBC)
  • Qualifying (Replay): Saturday, Sept. 16, 8 p.m.-9:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Pre-Race: Sunday, Sept. 17, 7 a.m.-8 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Race: Sunday, Sept. 17, 8 a.m.-10 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Post-Race: Sunday, Sept. 17, 10 a.m.-10:30 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Race (Replay): Sunday, Sept. 17, 11:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. ET (NBCSN)

The next race is the Malaysian Grand Prix, on October 1.

Pirelli reveals new super-hard, hyper-soft F1 tires in Abu Dhabi

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Pirelli has confirmed it will add two new tires to its range for the 2018 Formula 1 season, launching the ‘super-hard’ and ‘hyper-soft’ compounds in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

Pirelli currently makes three of its five dry compounds available to teams for each race weekend, and despite varying selections across the course of the season has struggled to offer much in terms of strategy options, with one-stop races being the norm.

The hope is that the addition of two new tire compounds and a re-alignment of their durability will offer teams more choices in races.

Pirelli confirmed plans to introduce a new softest tire below the current ultra-soft earlier this month, inviting fans to pick a name.

The pink-colored compound will be known as the ‘hyper-soft’ from next year, with the arrival of a new ‘super-hard’ (colored ‘ice blue’) also being confirmed at a launch event in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

“Compared to this year, when the tires grew by 25% to fit a brand-new generation of cars, the changes for next year are less far-reaching,” Pirelli head of car racing Mario Isola said.

“However, we’re pleased to present some important innovations with softer and faster compounds across the range: including the new hypersoft.

“We realized that, under the unique circumstances of this year, some of our 2017 compounds were perhaps conservative: the tires we have created for 2018 addresses this, in line with the objective of having around two pit stops at most races.

“However, the fundamental design concept of the tires hasn’t changed next year, preserving the attributes that all drivers have appreciated this year and allowing them to push hard from the start to the finish of each stint.

“The new range consists of faster tires that should lead to even harder and more spectacular racing in 2018.”

Besides the seven dry compounds made available, there will be the two rain tires – wet and intermediate – taking it to a total of nine for the 2018 season.