WATCH LIVE: FP2 for the Italian Grand Prix on NBCSN and Live Extra from 8am ET

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Off the back of his victory at Spa two weeks ago, Lewis Hamilton continued his impressive form by topping the first free practice session for the Italian Grand Prix on Friday morning.

Complete with an upgraded Mercedes engine for the coming weekend, Hamilton led home a one-two finish for the German marque, finishing half a second clear of teammate Nico Rosberg in second place.

In what looks set to be the story of the weekend, Mercedes finished head and shoulders above the field, with Sebastian Vettel putting up the most resistance in third place over six-tenths of a second back.

All eyes will be on Hamilton and Rosberg to see if they can continue this good form in the second free practice session at Monza on Friday afternoon.

You can watch FP2 for the Italian Grand Prix live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 8am ET. CLICK HERE to watch via live stream.

With straight line speed and engine power being key to mastering Monza, it came as little surprise that the Mercedes-powered cars led the way during the first practice session. Force India, Williams and Lotus also managed to finish inside the top ten thanks to their power unit advantage.

Ferrari will undoubtedly remain in the running for a podium finish this weekend thanks to its own engine upgrade. Of all races, its home grand prix is one where getting Sebastian Vettel and/or Kimi Raikkonen up onto the podium in front of the Tifosi would be most welcome.

FP2 should see the field experiment more with its long run simulations, offering us a better understanding of the pecking order heading into the rest of the weekend.

You can watch FP2 for the Italian Grand Prix live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 8am ET. CLICK HERE to watch via live stream.

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.