Hamilton completes practice hat-trick in Shanghai

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Lewis Hamilton has completed his hat-track of P1s in practice for the Chinese Grand Prix by finishing as the fastest driver in FP3 on Saturday afternoon in Shanghai.

The defending Formula 1 world champion topped both FP1 and FP2 on Friday, and carried his form into the final practice session by posting a fastest lap of 1:37.615, giving him an advantage of two-tenths of a second over Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg at the top of the timesheets.

Conditions were dry and sunny once again for final practice in Shanghai, but McLaren’s session was quickly put under a cloud as Fernando Alonso’s car ground to a halt on his outlap at the beginning of the session.

An engine issue on his McLaren MP4-30 forced him to stop out on track, and the team will now be working to ensure he is able to take part in qualifying later today.

The Spaniard’s former team, Ferrari, had no such issues though. Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen laid down an impressive pace on the medium compound tire once again during the first half of the session before going P3 and P4 respectively in the final qualifying simulations.

Red Bull’s revival in China continued in FP3 as Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat finished a comfortable fifth and sixth in the final session, albeit some six-tenths of a second behind the Ferrari cars ahead.

Carlos Sainz Jr. finished an impressive P7 for Toro Rosso as Valtteri Bottas struggled to eighth place for Williams at the flag. Max Verstappen and Romain Grosjean rounded out the top ten.

The battle for pole position does appear to be between Hamilton and Rosberg once again, but in truth, it could be a one-sided battle. Whenever Rosberg has gone fastest in practice, Hamilton has managed to turn up the wick and find an extra few tenths where it matters.

Unless the German driver can turn his fortunes around, Hamilton looks poised to claim a fifth pole position in Shanghai and continue his 100% pole record in 2015.

You can watch qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 3a ET today.

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.