WATCH LIVE: Australian GP Race Day live on NBCSN from 12:30a ET

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With practice and qualifying now in the books, the 2015 Formula 1 season gets fully underway on Sunday with the Australian Grand Prix, giving the drivers their first wheel-to-wheel action of the year.

Lewis Hamilton looks to begin his championship defence in the best possible fashion by claiming a second victory at Albert Park on Sunday.

Starting from pole position, the Briton will fancy his chances after outclassing Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in qualifying.

You can watch the Australian Grand Prix live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 12:30a ET today. CLICK HERE to watch via live stream.

The breaking news heading into the race on Sunday is that Williams’ Valtteri Bottas will not be taking part in the grand prix, having sustained an injury to his back during qualifying on Saturday.

As a result, just 17 cars will line up on the grid at Albert Park following Manor’s failure to qualify and subsequent rap over the knuckles from the stewards.

Behind the all-Mercedes front row, Felipe Massa and Sebastian Vettel share the second row of the grid as the battle to be the ‘best of the rest’ hots up. There was very little to separate Williams and Ferrari throughout pre-season, and this looks set to continue in Australia on Sunday.

The other big point of interest in Australia is how the rookie drivers fare. Roberto Merhi had been due to make his debut for Manor, only for the team to not complete a single lap in practice or qualifying and therefore fail to qualify.

That leaves just three drivers – Carlos Sainz Jr, Max Verstappen and Felipe Nasr – making their debuts on Sunday, and all will be hoping to impress.

Only 17 cars may be starting, but this year’s Australian Grand Prix promises to be a thriller to kick off the 2015 season.

You can watch the Australian Grand Prix live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 12:30a ET today. CLICK HERE to watch via live stream.

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.