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Wehrlein leads Manor into Q2 again at Monza, will start 13th

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Pascal Wehrlein led Manor into the second stage of Formula 1 qualifying for the second time in seven days with an impressive display on Saturday at Monza ahead of the Italian Grand Prix.

Wehrlein reached Q2 for the second time in 2016 at Spa last weekend, but was resigned to P15 on the grid after a scruffy run in the session.

This time around, Wehrlein was able to not only edge into Q2 by 0.065 seconds, but he then qualified P14 ahead of McLaren’s Jenson Button and Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jr.

Taking Romain Grosjean’s grid penalty into account, Wehrlein moves up to P13 on the grid for the start of the Italian Grand Prix.

“Really happy with qualifying, especially when you take into account how things were for us this morning,” Wehrlein said.

“We were struggling, I couldn’t get a clear lap; it was frustrating as it wasn’t quite coming together then. But it did in qualifying, when it mattered, and definitely the pace was right there, perhaps more than we expected.

“Although I got the most from the package today, there’s still more to find in the car that I hope we can tap into in the race.

“It will be difficult tomorrow; everyone has a Monza package for Monza! But we’ve put ourselves in the mix and from here we can have a very good race, maybe making the most of some opportunities.

“As for the start, Spa was disappointing – it was racing – but we start again tomorrow. The first two corners are very tight, so we have to watch out, but I’m excited and confident and I want to do a really great job.”

Manor teammate Esteban Ocon was unable to emulate Wehrlein, suffering a failure on his car early in Q1 that prevented him from posting a qualifying time.

“The car just died. The dash went, the engine cut – I had no information,” Ocon explained.

“It looks like a repeat of yesterday’s electrical problem, but we’re taking a good look and exploring everything to make sure that doesn’t happen again tomorrow.”

The Italian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 7am ET on Sunday.

Alex Palou fastest as several go off course during IndyCar practice at IMS

IndyCar Harvest GP practice
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Alex Palou paced the opening practice Thursday for the IndyCar Harvest GP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

The Dale Coyne Racing rookie turned a 1-minute, 10.177-second lap around the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course in his No. 55 Dallara-Honda.

Jack Harvey was second, followed by Colton Herta, points leader Scott Dixon and Max Chilton.

PRACTICE CHART: Click here to see the speed rundown from Thursday’s session

FRIDAY AT IMS: Details for watching Race 1 of the Harvest GP

Qualifying for Friday’s race will be at 6:20 p.m. ET Thursday on NBC Sports Gold.

Will Power, who won the pole position for the July 4 race at the track, spun off course with just more than a minute left in the session after the left rear of his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet made slight contact with the right front of Alexander Rossi’s No. 28 Dallara-Honda.

Power was among several drivers who went off track, but there were no damaged cars during the session. Marcus Ericsson missed the final 5 minutes of the practice after being penalized for causing a red flag with a Turn 8 spin.

Arrow McLaren SP drivers Pato O’Ward and Helio Castroneves, who is driving for Oliver Askew (who is recovering from concussion-like symptoms), also veered off course as did rookie Rinus VeeKay and Santino Ferrucci.

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson was in attendance at the session before racing Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. Johnson will be driving a partial schedule of road and street courses in IndyCar next season for Chip Ganassi Racing.

“Literally, the smallest of details, I can pick up on,” Johnson told NBC Sports pit reporter Kevin Lee. “It’s been really nice today just to see how a session starts and obviously to jump on the radio and listen to how the systems work and then obviously you get into the car and the setup and such. I’m at ground zero right now, a 45-year-old rookie trying to learn my way into a new sport essentially.”

Johnson told Lee his sponsorship hunt to run a Ganassi car “has gone really well. The fact that I’m here today and ingrained so deeply in the team is a great sign of where things are going. Looking forward to getting behind the wheel of a car soon and hopefully having some announcements for the world to see soon, too.”

Fans were in attendance Thursday for the first time this season at IMS, which is allowed a limited crowd of 10,000 for its races this weekend.