Vettel chasing third consecutive win in Singapore

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Sebastian Vettel is keen on clinching a third consecutive win at the Singapore Grand Prix next weekend, aiding him en route to his fourth world championship that is looking all-the-more likely.

The German driver currently leads Fernando Alonso by fifty-three points in the drivers’ standings heading into the final seven races of the season, having only hit his top form at this point last year. If Vettel could take a third straight win in Singapore this weekend (winning the race in 2011 and 2012), it would crush any hopes the chasing pack had of stopping him from taking a fourth title in a row this season.

“My wins in 2011 and 2012 were the best [memories of the race] because I think it’s one of the toughest races of the year to be honest, so to win is an amazing moment and you feel you deserve the champagne!” Vettel said in Red Bull’s race preview.

Like many drivers, Vettel has spoken about the physical challenge of the race, making it one of the toughest on the calendar.

“It’s a very long race; the full two hours so the race just seems to go on forever. The circuit itself is a killer because there are so many bumps, there’s no room for mistakes.”

With a fifty-three point lead, it would take a remarkable turnaround for Vettel to lose the championship from this position. However, Red Bull are refusing to become complacent, insisting that so long as their rivals stand a mathematical chance they will continue to push and develop the RB9.

Alex Palou fastest as several go off course during IndyCar practice at IMS

IndyCar Harvest GP practice
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
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Alex Palou paced the opening practice Thursday for the IndyCar Harvest GP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

The Dale Coyne Racing rookie turned a 1-minute, 10.177-second lap around the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course in his No. 55 Dallara-Honda.

Jack Harvey was second, followed by Colton Herta, points leader Scott Dixon and Max Chilton.

PRACTICE CHART: Click here to see the speed rundown from Thursday’s session

FRIDAY AT IMS: Details for watching Race 1 of the Harvest GP

Qualifying for Friday’s race will be at 6:20 p.m. ET Thursday on NBC Sports Gold.

Will Power, who won the pole position for the July 4 race at the track, spun off course with just more than a minute left in the session after the left rear of his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet made slight contact with the right front of Alexander Rossi’s No. 28 Dallara-Honda.

Power was among several drivers who went off track, but there were no damaged cars during the session. Marcus Ericsson missed the final 5 minutes of the practice after being penalized for causing a red flag with a Turn 8 spin.

Arrow McLaren SP drivers Pato O’Ward and Helio Castroneves, who is driving for Oliver Askew (who is recovering from concussion-like symptoms), also veered off course as did rookie Rinus VeeKay and Santino Ferrucci.

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson was in attendance at the session before racing Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. Johnson will be driving a partial schedule of road and street courses in IndyCar next season for Chip Ganassi Racing.

“Literally, the smallest of details, I can pick up on,” Johnson told NBC Sports pit reporter Kevin Lee. “It’s been really nice today just to see how a session starts and obviously to jump on the radio and listen to how the systems work and then obviously you get into the car and the setup and such. I’m at ground zero right now, a 45-year-old rookie trying to learn my way into a new sport essentially.”

Johnson told Lee his sponsorship hunt to run a Ganassi car “has gone really well. The fact that I’m here today and ingrained so deeply in the team is a great sign of where things are going. Looking forward to getting behind the wheel of a car soon and hopefully having some announcements for the world to see soon, too.”

Fans were in attendance Thursday for the first time this season at IMS, which is allowed a limited crowd of 10,000 for its races this weekend.