F1 Grand Prix of Monaco
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F1’s crown jewel, Monaco GP, comes to NBC next week

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For the fifth consecutive year, NBC will air the Monaco Grand Prix, the crown jewel of the Formula 1 schedule as a part of the NBC Sports Group’s F1 coverage.

The race itself airs on NBC, Sunday, May 28, from 7:30 to 8 a.m. for pre-race coverage, before race coverage comes from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Additional pre-race coverage is from 7 to 7:30 a.m. on NBCSN, and post-race coverage is then from 10 to 10:30 a.m. on NBCSN.

Qualifying is on Saturday at 8 a.m. ET on NBCSN, and free practice two is Thursday – not Friday – also at 8 a.m. ET on NBCSN.

You can watch all the coverage online by clicking here, or on the NBC Sports app.

It’s been a fascinating start to the season, as Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton have two wins apiece in the first five races. Vettel only has a six-point lead on Hamilton (104-98) in the championship, after Hamilton captured a decisive win last weekend in the Spanish Grand Prix.

At Monaco, Hamilton has two wins (2008, 2016) and Vettel has one (2011) – and on all three instances, their Monaco win came in a year where they won the World Championship.

Beyond these two, Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo would be in search of their first Monaco wins for Mercedes and Red Bull, respectively. Bottas steps into a seat where Nico Rosberg won Monaco three years in a row from 2013 to 2015, while Ricciardo looks to atone from a frustrating near miss last year, when he could have won had it not been for a bad pit stop, and finished a hard-luck second.

Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen are also looking for bounce back weekends, after the two got taken out in a first lap incident with Bottas last time out at Spain. Raikkonen has won Monaco once before (2005 with McLaren) while Verstappen has crashed out of Monaco on both occasions he’s been here thus far.

One other driver to watch, and a leading light of the midfield, is Force India’s Sergio Perez. The Mexican driver has scored 15 consecutive points finishes, leading the field by a significant margin, and is fresh off a fourth place at Spain. He finished third in Monaco last year.

Jenson Button also makes a one-race comeback to Formula 1, filling in for Fernando Alonso at McLaren, as Alonso races at the 101st Indianapolis 500.

As noted above, all sessions will be broadcast on NBC, NBCSN or via the NBC Sports App. Leigh Diffey, David Hobbs and Steve Matchett are on the call with Will Buxton reporting from the pits and paddock.

Here’s the schedule, with stream links and TV network if applicable:

  • Practice 1: Thursday, May 25, 4 a.m.-5:30 a.m. ET (Story; Full replay)
  • Practice 2: Thursday, May 25, 8 a.m.-9:30 a.m. ET (Story; Full replay)
  • Practice 2 (Replay): Saturday, May 27, 6:30 a.m.-8 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Practice 3: Saturday, May 27, 5 a.m.-6 a.m. ET (Story; Full replay)
  • Qualifying: Saturday, May 27, 8 a.m.-9:30 a.m. ET  (Full replay)
  • Qualifying (Replay): Sunday, May 28, 1 a.m.-2:30 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Pre-Race 1: Sunday, May 28, 7 a.m.-7:30 a.m. ET (NBCSN; Stream link)
  • Pre-Race 2: Sunday, May 28, 7:30 a.m.-8 a.m. ET (NBC; Stream link)
  • Race: Sunday, May 28, 8 a.m.-10 a.m. ET (Story; Full replay)
  • Post-Race, Sunday, May 28, 10 a.m.-10:30 a.m. ET (NBCSN; Stream link)
  • Race (Replay): Sunday, May 28, 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Race (Replay); Sunday, May 28, 10 p.m.-12 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Race (Replay): Monday, May 29, 3 p.m.-5 p.m. ET (NBCSN)

Formula 2 coverage also airs from Monaco. Those times are below:

  • Friday Race 1: Friday, May 26, 5:30 a.m.-6:35 a.m. ET (Watch replay)
  • Saturday Race 2: Saturday, May 27, 10:10 a.m.-11 am. ET (Watch replay)
  • Friday Race 1 (Replay), Saturday, May 27, 12 p.m.-1 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Saturday Race 2 (Replay), Sunday, May 28, 6 a.m.-7 a.m. ET (NBCSN)

The next race is the Canadian Grand Prix, on June 11.

Daniel Ricciardo to decide soon about moving from Red Bull to another F1 team

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LE CASTELLET, France (AP) Daniel Ricciardo says over the next six weeks he wants to decide between staying at Red Bull or joining another Formula One team for next year.

Ricciardo said on Thursday at the French Grand Prix, “It would be nice to go on the summer break knowing what I am doing.”

F1 is working its way toward its three-week break in August with speculation mounting that Mercedes, Ferrari, and McLaren are interested in luring Ricciardo away from Red Bull for 2019.

“I will be honest, everyone is talking about Mercedes and Ferrari as potential places for me to go, and I am aware that there will be interest from other teams,” he said.

The Australian driver has won seven races in his four-plus seasons with Red Bull. He is fourth in the standings behind leader Sebastian Vettel heading into the race at the Paul Ricard Circuit near Marseille.

Ricciardo’s stock has risen in recent months after his victories in Shanghai and Monaco. His Monaco win was particularly impressive because Ricciardo had to deploy some masterful defensive driving to protect his lead after losing an estimated 25 percent of his engine power.

Ricciardo said he had not directly spoken to rivals Ferrari and Mercedes, but he hedged when asked if his manager had.

“People talk, have coffees, I will leave that one open-ended,” he said with a laugh.

Ricciardo called the decision on whether to go or stay with Red Bull the biggest choice of his career following his decision to leave his native Australia and continue his racing career in Europe over a decade ago.

“For sure the priority is to get a car to win the world title because I really believe I can,” he said. “I am slightly careful because it is easy to think the grass is greener and maybe it is, but I also have it pretty good where I am.

“People do like a change but just to make change for the sake of making a change is not enough for me. I need to find some substance behind it to jump ship.”

Red Bull announced recently it would be ending its 12-year partnership with engine-maker Renault and switching to Honda motors for next year.

Ricciardo was hesitant to endorse or criticize the change, saying he was going to “try to keep putting the pieces together if it is a good move.”

But with the question of the engine manufacturer out of the way, Ricciardo said Red Bull would likely be looking to resolve its drivers’ lineup for next year.

“I haven’t been pushed yet, but I would say that there will be some movement in the next week,” he said. “Whether that is something that gets put down on paper (or not), for sure the discussions will start to ramp up in the next few days.”