What to watch for: British Grand Prix (CNBC, NBC Sports app from 7:30am ET)

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In the week that has followed the Austrian Grand Prix, much has been made of the brewing rivalry between Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

Following their clash on the last lap at the Red Bull Ring, we’ve had stewards decisions, accusations of destroyed dressing rooms, comment retractions and even rules of engagement.

But the simple facts remain unchanged: Rosberg leads the championship by 11 points, Hamilton is on pole for his home grand prix at Silverstone, and the duo are set to fight it out yet again on Sunday from the front row of the grid.

You can watch the British Grand Prix live on CNBC and the NBC Sports app from 7:30am ET on Sunday. Here’s what to watch for in the race.

2016 British Grand Prix – What to watch for

Can Lewis and Nico behave?

It is the same question we asked in our GP preview on Thursday, but remains the big talking point for Sunday. Hamilton and Rosberg have made the conditions clear following their clash in Austria – yet there is still a title to fight for. Who will be able to push the boundaries and gain the upper hand without going over the limit?

Great British weather to play a part

As we saw in Austria last weekend, rain has a great habit of drawing the field close together. Max Verstappen said after qualifying that it could bring Red Bull into the fight for the win should Silverstone be hit with some seasonally-drab British weather, and after a shower in the GP2 race this morning, all eyes will be on the sky this afternoon.

Ferrari, Red Bull’s battle to continue

The momentum between Ferrari and Red Bull has swung back and forth in recent races, but Silverstone appears to be too close to call. Sebastian Vettel will have to fight back from 11th after a grid penalty, but takes confidence in his race pace, while Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo locked out the second row of the grid.

If it remains dry, Mercedes should sweep to victory. The battle to complete the podium is far harder to predict, though.

Any home joy for Button?

Today marks Jenson Button’s 17th British Grand Prix. In 16 previous attempts, he has never finished on the podium, making Silverstone something of an anomaly throughout his impressive career. Starting P17, he is unlikely to break his top-three drought, but fighting back to score points would undoubtedly feel like a victory to the McLaren driver.

Ericsson set to race following Saturday shunt

Marcus Ericsson and Sauber may rarely feature in our ‘what to watch for’ pieces, but seeing him line up on the grid today will be a big achievement. His frightening shunt in FP3 on Saturday morning left him in need of a hospital check-up and his car requiring a total rebuild. Both man and machine have been declared ready to race, keeping the grid at 22 cars for Sunday.

Pirelli strategy prediction

QUICKEST – Two-stopper: two stints on soft of 12 laps each + one 28-lap stint on medium
SECOND-QUICKEST – Three-stopper: three stints on soft of 12 laps each + one 16-lap stint on medium
THIRD-QUICKEST – Two-stopper: one 12-lap stint on soft + one 14-lap stint on new soft + one 26-lap stint on hard
SLOWEST – Two-stopper: one stint on soft of 12 laps + two 20-lap stints on medium

2016 British Grand Prix – Starting Grid

1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
3. Max Verstappen Red Bull
4. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull
5. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari
6. Valtteri Bottas Williams
7. Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso
8. Nico Hulkenberg Force India
9. Fernando Alonso McLaren
10. Sergio Perez Force India
11. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari*
12. Felipe Massa Williams
13. Romain Grosjean Haas
14. Esteban Gutierrez Haas
15. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso
16. Kevin Magnussen Renault
17. Jenson Button McLaren
18. Jolyon Palmer Renault
19. Rio Haryanto Manor
20. Pascal Wehrlein Manor
21. Felipe Nasr Sauber
PL. Marcus Ericsson Sauber

* Vettel drops five places on the grid after receiving a penalty for a gearbox change
** Ericsson to start from pit lane after Sauber broke parc ferme conditions overnight

Texas starting lineup: Felix Rosenqvist back on pole; Scott Dixon qualifies second


FORT WORTH, Texas — For the second consecutive year, Felix Rosenqvist will lead the NTT IndyCar Series starting lineup to the green flag at Texas Motor Speedway.

The Arrow McLaren driver is hoping the third time will be the charm at the 1.5-mile oval, where he has run extremely well but has only a career-best 12th in five starts.

“We’ve always been good here, but this is a whole different confidence level compared to last year,” Rosenqvist told NBC Sports’ Marty Snider. “Let’s try to wrap it up (Sunday).”

In 2020, Rosenqvist was competing for a podium when he crashed with 10 laps remaining at Texas.

QUALIFYING RESULTS: Click here for speeds from Saturday’s time trials

INDYCAR AT TEXASSchedule, start times, how to watch on NBC, Peacock

Last year, he started first on an oval for the first time in his career but finished 21st because of a broken halfshaft.

“It’s definitely one of my favorite tracks, and naturally, I’ve always been OK here,” Rosenqvist said. “It was the first oval that made sense to me. Every year I’m building on that. But looking at the results, they don’t represent the speed I normally have.

“I don’t want to jinx anything, but I hope tomorrow is going to go a bit better and some luck our way would be nice. It’s been feeling super good. Arrow McLaren has been mega every session, so just keep it rolling.”

Arrow McLaren qualified all three of its Chevrolets in the top five, building on a second for Pato O’Ward and fourth for Alexander Rossi in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

The March 5 season opener was a disappointing start for Rosenqvist who was squeezed into the wall by Scott Dixon on the first lap.

Dixon, a five-time winner at Texas, will start second Sunday, followed by Rossi and Josef Newgarden. O’Ward will start fifth alongside Takuma Sato, who will start on the outside of the third row in his Chip Ganassi Racing debut.

During nearly four hours of practice and qualifying (including a special high-line session), Saturday’s lone incident involved Conor Daly.

The Ed Carpenter Racing driver spun three times but stayed off the wall and in the frontstretch grass. Aside from a front wing change and new tires, there was no damage to his No. 20 Dallara-Chevrolet during the incident midway through the 30-minute session in which drivers were limited to the high line.

“I hadn’t really had a moment before, but it snapped really aggressively,” Daly told NBC Sports after final practice. “Not ideal, but I do know my way around correcting a spin it seems like. I drove NASCAR last weekend and that seemed to help a little bit. I drove in the dirt a lot in USAC Midgets and seemed to be able to save something but not ideal or what we wanted to have happen.”

Daly will start 25th of 28 cars alongside teammate Rinus VeeKay in Row 13. Carpenter qualified 18th.

“Our three of our cars were clearly looking for something. Mechanical grip is for sure what we need. Qualifying we actually expected to be a lot better, but we found an issue there. We’ll see what happens. This race can change a lot. I’m confident in the team to hopefully figure some things out for tomorrow.”

Here’s the IndyCar starting lineup for Sunday’s PPG 375 at Texas Motor Speedway (qualifying position, car number in parentheses, driver, engine and speed):


1. (6) Felix Rosenqvist, Dallara-Chevy, 220.264 mph
2. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 219.972


3. (7) Alexander Rossi, Dallara-Chevy, 219.960
4. (2) Josef Newgarden, Dallara-Chevy, 219.801


5. (5) Pato O’Ward, Dallara-Chevy, 219.619
6. (11) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 219.508


7. (10) Alex Palou, Dallara-Honda, 219.480
8. (12) Will Power, Dallara-Chevy, 219.355


9. (18) David Malukas, Dallara-Honda, 219.256
10. (26) Colton Herta, Dallara-Honda, 219.184


11. (28) Romain Grosjean, Dallara-Honda, 219.165
12. (29) Devlin DeFrancesco, Dallara-Honda, 219.146

ROW 7 

13. (55) Benjamin Pedersen, Dallara-Chevy, 219.100
14. (14) Santino Ferrucci, Dallara-Chevy, 218.892


15. (3) Scott McLaughlin, Dallara-Chevy, 218.765
16. (8) Marcus Ericsson, Dallara-Honda, 218.698


17. (77) Callum Ilott, Dallara-Chevy, 218.427
18. (33) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Chevy, 218.375

ROW 10

19. (78) Agustin Canapino, Dallara-Chevy, 218.367
20. (27) Kyle Kirkwood, Dallara-Honda, 218.227

ROW 11

21. (06) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 218.196
22. (60) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Honda, 218.103

ROW 12

23. (51) Sting Ray Robb, Dallara-Honda, 217.676
24. (15) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 217.611

ROW 13

25. (20) Conor Daly, Dallara-Chevy, 217.457
26. (21) Rinus VeeKay, Dallara-Chevy, 216.880

ROW 14

27. (45) Christian Lundgaard, Dallara-Honda, 216.210
28. (30) Jack Harvey, Dallara-Honda, 216.103