What to watch for: Singapore Grand Prix (NBCSN, NBC Sports app from 7am ET)

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Formula 1 enters the night on Sunday with one of the modern wonders of the current calendar: the Singapore Grand Prix.

With the track bathing under 1,500 spotlights and the iconic city skyline lighting up the night sky, few races come close to magic of Singapore.

Nico Rosberg will be hoping to create some magic of his own on Sunday as he chases his third straight grand prix victory and looks to regain the championship lead from Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton.

Rosberg dominated qualifying with a rapid lap that was over half a second faster than any other driver, securing his first pole position in Singapore.

With Hamilton struggling for form throughout the weekend and slipping to third place on the grid behind Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, his lead in the standings is at serious risk.

Alas, things in Singapore are never straightforward. With the walls waiting to punish the smallest of errors and at least one safety car expected, the fight for victory is wider than its seems.

You can watch the Singapore Grand Prix live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports App from 7am ET on Sunday. CLICK HERE to watch via live stream.

Here’s what to watch for in today’s race.

2016 Singapore Grand Prix – What To Watch For

The rule of Rosberg

Today’s race offers Nico Rosberg an opportunity never afforded to him in 2014 or 2015. In both those years, once Hamilton went on a streak and gained momentum, the title race was effectively over. You would have been forgiven for thinking the same after his run of four victories through July.

Yet after winning at Spa and Monza, Rosberg pulled himself back into contention. If his imperious display in qualifying is anything to go by, combined with Hamilton’s own lack of rhythm, this should be his race to lose.

Rosberg has a habit of capitalizing on situations where his opponents are at their weakest. An eighth win of the year today would be a huge, huge statement of intent heading into the final six rounds of the season.

Can Lewis bring it back?

Lewis Hamilton’s Singapore Grand Prix weekend thus far has been a difficult one. An issue in FP2 followed by a mistake in FP3 meant he was unable to complete a full qualifying simulation, perhaps accounting for his lack of pace in Q3 that left him third on the grid.

For Hamilton, the focus today will be jumping Ricciardo at the start. With the Red Bulls set to run further into the race before pitting and overtaking opportunities around the Marina Bay Street Circuit coming at a premium, failing to do so would surely end his hopes of victory.

That said, Hamilton’s career has featured a number of hard-fought for victories that seemed unlikely heading into the race. Perhaps Singapore will offer the latest chapter of that story today…

Super-soft start gives Ricciardo, Verstappen options

Red Bull’s gamble on getting Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen through Q2 on super-soft tires could pay off today. The ‘middle’ compound in Singapore has been holding up well, opening up a variety of strategy options for the Red Bull drivers. Given there has been a safety car in every Singapore Grand Prix of the modern era, this flexibility will surely boost Red Bull’s chances.

Ricciardo proved in Monaco earlier this year how tuned in the RB12 car is to street circuits, coming within a clean pit stop of his first victory since Belgium 2014. Now armed with an updated Renault power unit, the Australian will be out to avenge that defeat.

And just as it is crucial for Hamilton to get the jump on the Red Bulls off the line, Ricciardo will know that seizing the lead into Turn 1 could define his race. Keeping the Mercedes’ pace capped will put him in a very strong position indeed.

More misery for Grosjean?

Romain Grosjean’s Singapore Grand Prix weekend has been nothing short of miserable. After missing FP1 due to an engine issue and then completing just 12 laps in FP2, Grosjean crashed out of qualifying, leaving the Frenchman dumbfounded.

Haas brought a raft of updates to Singapore for its VF-16 car, yet they appear to have sent Grosjean off-kilter. Realistically, the team’s hopes of its first points since Austria lie with Esteban Gutierrez, who will start from 13th on the grid. Gutierrez is out to break his own points drought dating back almost three years – a race of attrition could lift him into the top 10.

Vettel’s Charge of the Night Brigade

What a difference a year has made for Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari. 12 months on from his charge to pole position and domination of the race in Singapore, the German will start from the very back of the grid after a rear anti-roll bar failure on his car during qualifying.

Vettel had struggled with the setup on his car all weekend long, but still felt he had a shot at the front row in qualifying. From P22, he will need a few safety cars and some lucky breaks to make it back into the top 10 – although as a four-time Singapore winner, you cannot write him off.

Everyone loves a fight through the field – so be sure to keep an eye on Seb today.

2016 Singapore Grand Prix – Starting Grid

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

* Eight-place grid penalty for yellow flag infringement in Q2
** Five-place grid penalty for gearbox change
*** 25-place grid penalty for multiple component changes.

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.