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Raikkonen hits the front for Ferrari in final Malaysian GP practice

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Kimi Raikkonen rose to the front of the pack in the final Formula 1 practice session for the Malaysian Grand Prix on Saturday morning, heading up a one-two finish for Ferrari.

Ferrari flipped the formbook on its head on Friday by easing clear of the field in FP2 despite chief title rival Mercedes being tipped to dominate proceedings, with the Silver Arrows finishing over a second off the pace.

Ferrari carried its good form through to Saturday as Raikkonen turned in a fastest lap time of 1:31.880, finishing one-tenth of a second clear of teammate Sebastian Vettel at the end of the session.

However, Vettel’s hopes of cutting the gap in the drivers’ championship were put in doubt when he slowed at the end of FP3, with Ferrari’s pit wall telling him to come back to the pits.

Red Bull and Mercedes looked evenly matched through FP3, with Daniel Ricciardo finishing third ahead of the Silver Arrows of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton in P4 and P5.

Mercedes opted to split the aerodynamic setups on its cars to try and find out why it was so far off the pace, with Bottas going two-tenths of a second faster with the updated package.

Max Verstappen took sixth for Red Bull, finishing seven-tenths of a second back from Raikkonen, and the Dutchman was caught up in a bizarre incident with Renault’s Jolyon Palmer in the dying moments of the session.

On a hot lap, Palmer tried to pass a slow Verstappen on the inside of the final hairpin, only for the pair to make contact and the Renault driver to lose a chunk of his front wing.

Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon both finished in the top 10 for Force India, taking P7 and P9 respectively, with Felipe Massa splitting the pair for Williams. Stoffel Vandoorne completed the top half of the order for McLaren.

Qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 5am ET today.

NBC Sports Group, INDYCAR partner on new TV and digital rights agreement starting in 2019

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NBC Sports Group and INDYCAR officials this morning announced a new partnership beginning in 2019 that will take the sport in an exciting new direction.

The new all-encompassing agreement includes TV and digital rights to all INDYCAR races — including the legendary Indianapolis 500. NBCSN has been INDYCAR’s cable partner since 2009, but this new agreement is all-encompassing and includes broadcast, cable, digital, streaming, and direct-to-consumer rights for all INDYCAR races, qualifying, practices and more.

All races will be carried live, with eight races — including the Indy 500 — on NBC, while the remaining races will be televised on NBCSN.

Here is the official news release announcing the new partnership:



New Agreement Includes Rights to All Races, Qualifying, and Practices

Indianapolis 500 Moves to NBC in 2019

Indy 500 and Seven Additional Races on NBC Annually; Remaining Races on NBCSN; All Races Live Streamed on and the NBC Sports app

NBC Sports Gold Direct-to-Consumer Package Includes Qualifying, Practices, Indy Lights, and Full-Event Replays

STAMFORD, Conn. – March 21, 2018 – NBC Sports Group and INDYCAR announced a new, multi-year media rights agreement today in which NBC Sports has acquired the rights to present all INDYCAR races, qualifying, practices, and Indy Lights races across its platforms beginning in 2019. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The Indianapolis 500 and seven additional Verizon IndyCar Series races will be broadcast annually on NBC, with all remaining races televised on NBCSN. All races will be live streamed to authenticated subscribers on and the NBC Sports app. Details of NBC Sports’ 2019 INDYCAR schedule will be announced at a later date.

NBC Sports Gold – NBC Sports Group’s direct-to-consumer product – will offer a package to INDYCAR fans that features all qualifying and practices not televised live, all Indy Lights races, and full-event replays. Additional details, including the cost of the Gold offering, will be announced at a later date.

“We’re excited to have NBC Sports serve as the exclusive home of INDYCAR, which represents the most competitive open-wheel racing in the world,” said Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC Sports and NBCSN. “We’re honored to bring the Indianapolis 500, one of the most prestigious events in all of sports, to NBC, further enhancing NBC Sports’ Championship Season. We’ve seen consistent growth for INDYCAR on NBCSN in the past decade, and we hope to continue that growth throughout the series by leveraging the television, digital, production and marketing assets that make NBC Sports a powerful media partner.”

“This arrangement brings all of INDYCAR to one home, increases our exposure and includes our first direct-to-consumer offer for our fans,” said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company, which owns INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “We couldn’t be happier to have start-to-finish coverage of INDYCAR’s season with the NBC Sports Group.”

The 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500, set for Sunday, May 26, 2019, will be the first ever on NBC. The Indy 500 will also be included every year in NBC Sports’ Championship Season marketing campaign, which touts numerous high-profile championship events that are presented across NBC Sports platforms from May to July, including the Triple Crown, The PLAYERS, Premier League Championship Sunday, French Open, Stanley Cup Final, Tour de France, and The Open Championship.

The entire Verizon IndyCar Series will receive unprecedented marketing and promotional support from NBC Sports, which will utilize not only its own assets, but many NBCUniversal assets as well. With the Indy 500 and seven additional races on NBC, INDYCAR will have the second-most races on broadcast television in all of motorsports.