Hamilton fastest in final Italian GP practice as Rosberg sits out

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Lewis Hamilton has finished fastest in the third and final free practice session for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza today.

The Briton posted a fastest lap of 1:25.519 to finish four-tenths of a second clear of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, as Nico Rosberg was unable to record a time in the sister Mercedes thanks to a gearbox problem.

The final session provided the drivers and teams with one final chance to make sure that all of their systems were running correctly ahead of qualifying later today, and this proved particularly crucial for Mercedes. Following Hamilton’s electrical problem during the second practice session on Friday, Rosberg came unstuck in this session and could complete just three laps thanks to a gearbox issue. The team has confirmed that it will be able to change the relevant parts without receiving a penalty.

Sergio Perez’s session also took a turn for the worse when his car stopped out on track at Curva Grande. He appeared to lose power coming out of the first chicane, and was forced to abandon his VJM07 at the side of the track.

In the early prime tire runs, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Williams’ Valtteri Bottas led the way, so much so that they actually set exactly the same time at one point. Eventually, there was some daylight between them as the session, with Lewis Hamilton – who himself had suffered a DRS failure – leading ahead of the switch to option tires in the final few minutes.

Hamilton managed to find another two-tenths of a second at the top of the timesheets to extend his advantage over Alonso, and ultimately finished the session fastest of all. Felipe Massa was fourth for Williams, with Jenson Button rounding out the top five for McLaren.

With his teammate on the back foot, Hamilton may have the upper hand for qualifying later today. Be sure to join us for the session live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 8am ET.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.