Vettel leads shortened final practice in Montreal

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Sebastian Vettel threw Ferrari’s hat into the ring for the fight for pole position in Montreal by topping the final practice session for the Canadian Grand Prix on Saturday morning.

In a session that was cut short following a crash for Kevin Magnussen with 13 minutes remaining, Vettel led the way with a fastest lap time of 1:13.919 to edge out Max Verstappen by two-tenths of a second.

Mercedes entered Saturday hopeful of replicating its Friday form by topping both sessions, but neither Lewis Hamilton nor Nico Rosberg got the chance to truly stretch the legs of the W07 Hybrid car.

Light rain throughout the session left drivers struggling for grip, but Vettel managed to tame the conditions best to led the way for Ferrari.

Armed with the upgraded Renault power unit for the first time this weekend, Verstappen finished the session second ahead of Rosberg, who led Mercedes’ charge in P3.

Kimi Raikkonen finished fourth for Ferrari ahead of Hamilton, who was four-tenths of a second adrift come the end of the session. Daniel Ricciardo finished FP3 sixth in the second Red Bull.

Carlos Sainz Jr. finished seventh for Toro Rosso ahead of McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, while Sergio Perez and Felipe Massa rounded out the top 10 for Force India and Williams respectively.

Magnussen finished the session down in 19th place after crashing at the exit of the second chicane, suffering a hefty impact with the wall.

Although the Dane walked away unharmed, the same could not be said of his car, leaving Renault with a sizeable repair job ahead of qualifying later in the day.

The debris on-track prompted race control to call time on the session with nine minutes remaining on the clock, leaving the teams with many questions unanswered heading into qualifying.

Qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 1pm ET.

IndyCar releases schedule for 2023 season

IndyCar schedule 2023
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The NTT IndyCar Series’ 2023 schedule will feature the same number of races and tracks as this season with some minor reshuffling of dates.

IndyCar will open the 2023 season March 5 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, and will conclude Sept. 10 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. The 107th Indy 500 will take place May 28 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 17-race schedule will conclude with a stretch of eight races in the final nine weeks.

“The NTT IndyCar Series is on an impactful upward trajectory, making progress at a pace that befits our thrilling style of competition,” Penske Entertainment Corp. president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “The 2023 season provides an opportunity to further build on this trend, bringing our sport and its stars to more markets and households and reaching new consumers across the globe.”

There will be 15 events on NBC: 13 races (including six of the final seven) plus Indy 500 qualifying May 20-21. There also are three races on USA Network and the Toronto race exclusively on Peacock. All races on NBC and USA also will have live simulstreams on Peacock.

In partnership with NBC Sports, the 2022 IndyCar season was the most-watched in six years and the most-watched across NBC Sports on record. The 2022 season also was the most streamed season on record.

“We’re very excited for our 2023 NTT IndyCar Series schedule and to build on this past season’s viewership milestones,” NBC Sports vice president of programming Mike Perman said in a release. “In providing comprehensive coverage across NBC, Peacock and USA Network, NBC Sports is once again looking forward to telling the stories of these world-class drivers and this compelling series.”

Notable elements on the 2023 schedule:

–There will be the same balance of seven road course races, five street courses and five ovals.

–St. Pete will be the season opener for the 13th time.

–The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix will move from Belle Isle to the streets of downtown.

–The NASCAR doubleheader weekend at the IMS road course will shift to mid-August.

–The World Wide Technology Raceway event will move from Saturday to Sunday.

Start times for the 2023 events will be announced at a later date.

Here’s the 2023 IndyCar schedule:

Date Race/Track Network/Platform
Sun., March 5 Streets of St. Petersburg NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 2 Texas Motor Speedway NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 16 Streets of Long Beach NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 30 Barber Motorsports Park NBC, Peacock
Sat., May 13 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) NBC, Peacock
Sun., May 28 The 107th Indianapolis 500 NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 4 Streets of Detroit NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 18 Road America USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 2 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 16 Streets of Toronto Peacock
Sat., July 22 Iowa Speedway – Race 1 NBC, Peacock
Sun., July 23 Iowa Speedway – Race 2 NBC, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 6 Streets of Nashville NBC, Peacock
Sat., Aug. 12 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) USA Network, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 27 World Wide Technology Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 3 Portland International Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 10 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca NBC, Peacock

*dates and networks/platforms are subject to change