WATCH LIVE: Chinese GP on NBCSN, Live Extra from 1:30am ET

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Nico Rosberg enters Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix with a golden opportunity to extend his early lead at the top of the Formula 1 drivers’ championship after picking up his first pole position of the season in qualifying.

After seeing Mercedes teammate and perennial rival Lewis Hamilton suffer an engine issue in Q1 that resigned him to the back of the grid, Rosberg saw off the challenge from Red Bull and Ferrari to take the 23rd pole position of his F1 career.

With Rosberg at the front and Hamilton at the back, the scales are tipped heavily in the German’s favor as he looks to add to the 17-point advantage he already has over his teammate.

Should Rosberg win, it would mark his sixth victory in a row and third from the start of the season. No driver has achieved either of those feats and not won the championship.

That said, the weight of expectation is heavy on Rosberg’s shoulders, setting the stage for a thrilling race in China on Sunday.

You can watch the Chinese Grand Prix live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 1:30am ET on Sunday. CLICK HERE to watch via live stream.

Hamilton suffered a failure on his MGU-H in qualifying that prevented him from posting a lap time, meaning he will start 22nd.

The last time Hamilton began the race at the back came in Hungary two years ago, and ended up being a hugely successful weekend as he beat Rosberg despite seeing his teammate start on pole.

Will history repeat itself on Sunday? Throw Ferrari’s growing threat into the mix and a wide array of tire strategies, and you can see why many are expecting a classic in China.

You can watch the Chinese Grand Prix live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 1:30am ET on Sunday. CLICK HERE to watch via live stream.