Rosberg ‘in the best shape ever’ ahead of F1 title showdown

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Nico Rosberg says he is “in the best shape ever” ahead of his Formula 1 title showdown with Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

Rosberg needs a top-three finish at the Yas Marina Circuit to capture his first F1 drivers’ championship, enjoying a 12-point lead over Hamilton ahead of the decider.

The German has long stated that he was taking his title bid one round at a time, preferring to focus on winning the race at hand instead of playing the long game in the championship.

Speaking to the official F1 website, Rosberg said he feels upbeat ahead of the final battle of 2016 against Hamilton despite not winning any of the last three races.

“I am really happy about it. It feels great and I am in the best shape ever,” Rosberg said.

“I had a great time just before coming to Abu Dhabi with my family and had also the chance to do some amazing training. I arrived here extremely well prepared.

“I have to say that this track suits me pretty well, and I already had some successful moments here in the past, even though this does not really count right now, as all of us will start from zero on Sunday.

“It is a great situation that I am in and, believe me, I really want to win this race. I am interested in everything that will enable me to grow and to get better every day and learn from difficult situations.

“I have a good stomach feeling about this weekend and I will race for the win.”

Rosberg said that the heartache of losing the championship to Hamilton in 2014 and 2015 has helped fuel his charge in 2016, with last year’s loss at the United States Grand Prix being particularly tough to stomach.

“When I lost the world championship in Austin last year, I was thinking a lot about the situation. And then I was able to win seven consecutive races,” Rosberg said.

“But don’t get me wrong: I do not want this to happen again, that is for sure. But yes, I do believe that I am sitting exactly where I am now because of all these difficult situations that made me stronger.

“I personally think that if everything had been bright sunshine I would not be where I am now.”

IndyCar at IMS Friday: How to watch, start times, live streaming info

IndyCar Indianapolis start times
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With three races remaining in the NTT IndyCar Series season, Scott Dixon has a commanding lead and history on his side entering Friday’s opener of the Harvest GP at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The five-time series champion leads defending champ Josef Newgarden by 72 points.

Since 2014, the points leader with three races left has won the championship in five of the past six years, including Dixon in ’18.

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver has led the championship standings following every round after opening 2020 with three consecutive victories. Dixon also led the points by 78 points with three races remaining when he won the title in 2008.

Dixon, Newgarden, Pato O’Ward, Colton Herta, Will Power, Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato are championship eligible.

Anyone outside 108 points of the lead after Indy will be eliminated heading into the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida.

Here is the IndyCar Harvest GP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course schedule for Friday (all times are ET), including details and start times:


Indianapolis Motor Speedway TV schedule for Friday

IndyCar Harvest GP Race 1: 3:30 p.m., USA Network, NBC Sports Gold and streaming on the NBC Sports App and NBCSports.com); Leigh Diffey is the lead announcer for IndyCar on NBCSN this weekend with analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy.


IndyCar Harvest GP, Race 1 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway start times, information

COMMAND TO START ENGINES: 3:53 p.m.

GREEN FLAG: 4 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 85 laps (207.35 miles) around Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s a 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course in Indianapolis.

TIRE ALLOTMENT: Nine sets primary, five sets alternate (A 10th set of primary tires is available to any car fielding a rookie.) Teams must use one set of primary and one set of alternate tires in the race.

PUSH TO PASS: 200 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 20 seconds per activation.

FORECAST: According to Wunderground.com, it’s expected to be 57 degrees with a 0% chance of rain at the green flag.

QUALIFYING: 6:20 p.m. Thursday (NBC Sports Gold)

ENTRY LIST: Click here for the 25 drivers racing this weekend at Indianapolis