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Hamilton heads up Mercedes one-two in second Monza F1 practice

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Lewis Hamilton continued Mercedes’ impressive start to the Italian Grand Prix weekend at Monza by topping the second Formula 1 practice session on Friday afternoon.

After seeing teammate and championship rival Nico Rosberg head the field in the morning, Hamilton bounced back and edged out the German by two-tenths of a second in FP2.

A fastest lap of 1:22.801 was enough to give Hamilton P1 with Rosberg in second place, the Mercedes drivers being followed by the Ferraris in the final timesheets.

Sebastian Vettel put the updated Ferrari power unit to good use, finishing within half a second of Hamilton to end the session third. Teammate Kimi Raikkonen followed close behind in P4.

Red Bull struggled to match the pace of either Mercedes or Ferrari as Max Verstappen finished 0.931 seconds off the P1 time in fifth place. Daniel Ricciardo was three-tenths further back in the second RB12 car.

Fernando Alonso pulled his usual trick of dragging the McLaren-Honda car up the field, finishing seventh ahead of Williams’ Valtteri Bottas and Haas’ Romain Grosjean. Alonso’s teammate Jenson Button rounded out the top 10.

Qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 8am ET on Saturday, with final practice also live on the app from 5am.

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.