First blood to Hamilton in Abu Dhabi as he tops FP1

Leave a comment

ABU DHABI – Lewis Hamilton has dealt the initial blow in the final showdown for the Formula 1 world championship in Abu Dhabi by topping the first free practice session at the Yas Marina Circuit today.

Hamilton heads into the final race of the year in Abu Dhabi with a 17-point lead over Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg at the top of the standings, and knows that a top two finish at Yas Marina will be enough for him to win a second championship.

However, with double points on offer for the final race of the year, Rosberg is still in with a chance of clinching his first title, but was forced to settle for second place during the first practice session on Friday afternoon. Hamilton’s lap of 1:43.476 was good enough to secure him top spot, with Rosberg 0.133 seconds further back.

With FP1 being run in day time, it is not representative of conditions that the teams can expect to encounter throughout the rest of the weekend. Nevertheless, they completed a good deal of running, ironing out any final issues that there might be with the cars.

Williams, Caterham and McLaren all hit trouble during the 90-minute session, costing them track time. After a piece of Valtteri Bottas’ sidepod came loose from his Williams heading down the back straight, he was pitted for repairs and did not complete any more than eight laps. Felipe Massa was also brought in with just seven laps on the board.

F1 debutant Will Stevens endured a difficult first session, suffering a technical failure that meant he could only head out to complete a flying lap in the final 15 minutes. He propped up the timesheets in 20th place with a fastest lap of 1:50.684.

Jenson Button’s session came to an early end when his car developed a technical issue, which even gave him time to tweet his frustration.

Ultimately though, Mercedes was the class of the field yet again, enjoying a 1.7 second advantage over Fernando Alonso in third place. Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo finished fourth and fifth for Red Bull, with Jean-Eric Vergne finishing an excellent sixth for Toro Rosso.

Esteban Ocon enjoyed an impressive F1 weekend debut, lapping just three-tenths of a second shy of full-time driver Pastor Maldonado. Adderly Fong’s session for Sauber was less notable, though, as he finished 19th and 1.7 seconds behind Esteban Gutierrez.

Be sure to join us for FP2 live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 8a ET today.

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

IndyCar Indianapolis start times
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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