Can anyone trouble the Mercedes drivers in Canada?

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Another Saturday, another pole position and front row lockout for Mercedes. Business as usual. Nico Rosberg snatched pole position away from Lewis Hamilton by just 0.079 seconds when the checkered flag fell, with Sebastian Vettel finishing as the ‘best of the rest’ – some six-tenths of a second further back.

Surely, once again in Canada, we look set for a Mercedes runaway? The added gusto of the German marque’s power unit is particularly crucial here with the long back straight at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, so maybe its advantage will be even greater? Williams – also powered by Mercedes – proved in qualifying that it could make it a clean sweep for the engine supplier on the podium this weekend, relying that Valtteri Bottas or Felipe Massa can beat the Red Bulls from fourth and fifth on the grid.

Pole man Nico Rosberg certainly believes that the fight for the race win will once again be between himself and Lewis Hamilton.

“I expect that it’s going to be between the two of us for now, yes,” he said after qualifying. “But of course there can be surprises so we need to still make sure we push, but I think we have enough of a gap at the moment on race pace.”

Hamilton, on the other hand, remains wary of the likes of Red Bull and Williams.

“I don’t think it’s just between the two of us,” the Briton began. “Obviously in qualifying Sebastian wasn’t as close as perhaps he would like to be but the race pace was great in the last race so I anticipate tomorrow they [Red Bull] should be quite strong.

“We definitely cannot disregard Sebastian or Red Bull. I think we need to be very cautious still, and make sure that we keep pushing.”

Mercedes’ race pace in practice was consistently quicker than that of both Red Bull drivers, so Hamilton’s comments may be more about him erring on the side of caution and not wishing to get too complacent. In reality, though, the fight for the race win in Montreal – and with it, the championship lead – will be an all-Mercedes affair.

IndyCar at IMS Friday: How to watch, start times, live streaming info

IndyCar Indianapolis start times
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With three races remaining in the NTT IndyCar Series season, Scott Dixon has a commanding lead and history on his side entering Friday’s opener of the Harvest GP at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The five-time series champion leads defending champ Josef Newgarden by 72 points.

Since 2014, the points leader with three races left has won the championship in five of the past six years, including Dixon in ’18.

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver has led the championship standings following every round after opening 2020 with three consecutive victories. Dixon also led the points by 78 points with three races remaining when he won the title in 2008.

Dixon, Newgarden, Pato O’Ward, Colton Herta, Will Power, Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato are championship eligible.

Anyone outside 108 points of the lead after Indy will be eliminated heading into the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida.

Here is the IndyCar Harvest GP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course schedule for Friday (all times are ET), including details and start times:


Indianapolis Motor Speedway TV schedule for Friday

IndyCar Harvest GP Race 1: 3:30 p.m., USA Network, NBC Sports Gold and streaming on the NBC Sports App and NBCSports.com); Leigh Diffey is the lead announcer for IndyCar on NBCSN this weekend with analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy.


IndyCar Harvest GP, Race 1 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway start times, information

COMMAND TO START ENGINES: 3:53 p.m.

GREEN FLAG: 4 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 85 laps (207.35 miles) around Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s a 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course in Indianapolis.

TIRE ALLOTMENT: Nine sets primary, five sets alternate (A 10th set of primary tires is available to any car fielding a rookie.) Teams must use one set of primary and one set of alternate tires in the race.

PUSH TO PASS: 200 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 20 seconds per activation.

FORECAST: According to Wunderground.com, it’s expected to be 57 degrees with a 0% chance of rain at the green flag.

QUALIFYING: 6:20 p.m. Thursday (NBC Sports Gold)

ENTRY LIST: Click here for the 25 drivers racing this weekend at Indianapolis