WATCH LIVE: Italian GP qualifying – will it be ‘Magica’ for Lewis?

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After finishing fastest in the final practice session for the Italian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton will be gunning for his first pole position since the Spanish Grand Prix back in May in this afternoon’s qualifying session.

However, he will have to fend off the advances of teammate and championship rival Nico Rosberg, who was the fastest man in the second session on Friday afternoon when Hamilton was sidelined by an electrical issue.

You can watch qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 8am ET. CLICK HERE to watch via live stream.

Rosberg and Hamilton both had problems on their cars during the final practice session on Saturday morning, which will give Mercedes a few concerns ahead of the session this afternoon. Rosberg did not manage to post a lap time thanks to another electrical issue, and although Hamilton finished as the fastest man, but a DRS failure meant that he could not maximize the pace of the W05 car.

The chasing pack is certainly looking to cause an upset, though. Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen have run well for Ferrari in all of the sessions this weekend, even if many did not give them much hope heading to Monza. It will be interesting to see if the prancing horse can carry this form into qualifying on home soil.

Williams is the team that is expected to put up the most stringent challenge to Mercedes, given that the straight line speed of the FW36 is the best on the grid. Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa face a big ask to repeat their front-row lock-out from Austria, but it is by no means impossible.

Also keep an eye out for the other pretenders in the top ten, such as Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo, Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen.

Monza is called “La Pista Magica” – the magic track – for a reason. It is a circuit that everyone wants to win at; starting from pole is a good way to go about it.

You can watch the complete qualifying session for the Italian Grand Prix live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 8am ET. CLICK HERE to watch via live stream.

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.