Hamilton pleased with P2 in qualifying after practice crash (VIDEO)

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It’s very rare for Lewis Hamilton to be happy with anything other than first place, but the Mercedes driver was pleased with P2 on the grid during qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix after crashing out in practice early on Saturday morning.

The British driver went straight on at the first corner during FP3 at Suzuka, leaving the Mercedes team with a sizeable repair job on the front of his car in the two-hour window between practice and qualifying.

However, Hamilton enjoyed a trouble-free session on Saturday afternoon, finishing two-tenths of a second shy of teammate Nico Rosberg in the fight for pole position. Although he said qualifying did not go entirely to plan, he was happy with the result under the circumstances.

“It wasn’t the best of sessions today but it was a decent recovery considering the crash in FP3,” Hamilton said. “I just overcooked it this morning and the team did a fantastic job to put the car back together. Our mechanics are the best, they work so hard to get everything perfect.

“I feel good but I just wasn’t quick enough today. Nico did a great job, he looked very quick, particularly in turn eight, but I don’t feel like I’ve quite had the pace all weekend.

“I’m still second and we’ve seen races where we’ve come back from further than that, so I’m excited for tomorrow. I’ve heard there’s some rain coming, it’s going to make it very hard but it makes it more of a lottery.”

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