Hamilton draws first blood in Canadian GP practice

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Lewis Hamilton made a perfect start to his Canadian Grand Prix race weekend by topping the timesheets in this morning’s first free practice session at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

The defending Formula 1 world champion posted a fastest lap time of 1:16.212 to beat Mercedes teammate and title rival Nico Rosberg by 0.415 seconds at the end of the 90-minute session.

With engine power being key around the semi-permanent street circuit, the teams using Mercedes engines quickly made their pace clear, filling six of the top ten positions.

Hamilton, a three-time winner in Montreal, did not have a perfect first practice though as he suffered a spin at the hairpin in the final 30 minutes of the session. However, Rosberg was unable to get close to the Briton after he was forced to bail on his quickest flying lap.

Romain Grosjean emerged as the surprise package of the session by finishing in third place for Lotus, albeit 1.5 seconds down on Hamilton’s fastest time. Nico Hulkenberg put in a solid display for Force India to rank fourth ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Williams’ Felipe Massa.

Daniil Kvyat finished as the only Renault-powered driver inside the top ten, coming seventh for Red Bull as the British team’s hopes of a third straight win in Montreal already fade. Pastor Maldonado completed more laps than any other driver en route to P8, whilst Fernando Alonso and Max Verstappen finished ninth and tenth respectively.

Hamilton was not the only driver to spin his car on the slippery circuit, as Bottas and Carlos Sainz Jr also lost control momentarily. Sainz’s session came to an early end after he stopped at the end of the pit lane with ten minutes remaining.

Ferrari may have made some progress with its engine, but for the time being, it appears that Mercedes has lost none of its advantage since the race in Monaco.

Be sure to join us for FP2 live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 2pm ET on Friday. For full details on our broadcasting of the Canadian Grand Prix, click here.

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.