WATCH LIVE: Japanese GP on NBCSN, NBC Sports app from midnight ET

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Nico Rosberg has paced all three practice sessions for this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, then secured the pole on Saturday. So the German is determined to extend what’s currently a 23-point lead over Mercedes AMG Petronas teammate Lewis Hamilton.

Here’s the catch: Rosberg’s also won the pole position for the last two races in Japan, and both times he’s lost the race while Hamilton’s won the last two from second on the grid.

Hamilton, who’s been in the news more this week for how he reacted to an engine failure in Malaysia, his Snapchat activity during the Thursday press conference and his comments (or lack thereof) with the media, needs a win to be the story line folks are talking about after today’s race, which is the 17th of 21 this season.

Either Rosberg or Hamilton carries the strongest chance of winning the race. In Japanese Grand Prix history at Suzuka, in 27 prior runnings, the front row starters have won 85 percent of the races, and only 15 percent have been outside that window. One of them famously came when Kimi Raikkonen won from 17th in 2005, and the Finn starts third on Sunday as he looks for his first win since the 2013 Australian Grand Prix, then driving for Lotus.

You can watch the Japanese Grand Prix live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports App from midnight ET on Sunday, 9 p.m. PT on the West Coast. CLICK HERE to watch via live stream.

Leigh Diffey, David Hobbs and Steve Matchett will be on the call, with pit reporter Will Buxton on the ground at Suzuka providing updates and interviews throughout the race.

Also be sure to follow the @F1onNBCSports Twitter account for live updates throughout the race.

2016 Japanese Grand Prix – Starting Grid

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

*Grid penalty assessed