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

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.