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.

Mario Andretti says Colton Herta could be next American star in F1

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Mario Andretti’s last Formula One victory is also the last by an American driver in more than 42 years on the international open-wheel road racing series.

If you had told Andretti that while he was celebrating on the Grand Prix of the Netherlands podium on Aug. 27, 1978 at the Vandzoort circuit, he wouldn’t have believed it.

“Absolutely not,” Andretti told Kyle Petty during the most recent “Coffee With Kyle” episode (video above). “It’s a shame. Somehow we have so much talent here, and either there’s no invitation or something there. But I think it’s time to give some of this young talent that, in my opinion, is absolutely capable.”

The Dutch GP was the last of Andretti’s 12 victories in F1 and came during his championship season. No one since has come close to matching his success in F1.

Mario Andretti drives his Lotus-Ford to victory in the 1978 Grand Prix of the Netherlands (Bernard Cahier/Getty Images).

Andretti’s son, Michael, took a full-time ride with McLaren in 1993 but left with three races remaining in a season marred by crashes and mechanical problems.

Scott Speed was the last American to run a full F1 season in 2006, and Alexander Rossi made the most recent F1 start by a U.S. driver in 2015. Rossi has said he has no desire to return to racing in Europe after winning the 2016 Indianapolis 500 and becoming an IndyCar championship contender.

But Mario Andretti believes Andretti Autosport has another rising star with F1-caliber ability.

“Colton Herta is one that comes to mind,” Mario Andretti said. “As a young lad, his dad sent him to Europe, he was doing Formula 3, and he knows most of the circuits there. He’s trained. He’s showed in his rookie season and won some premium races at COTA (and Laguna Seca), beat two of the very best Indy has to offer (in) Will Power and Scott Dixon.

“This is one kid I’d love to see him get a break over there to fly the U.S. colors again.”

Herta, 20, seems interested in exploring an F1 leap over the next few years. After winning Sept. 13 at Mid-Ohio from the pole position (his third career victory in the NTT IndyCar Series), the No. 88 Dallara-Honda driver is ranked fourth in the standings in his sophomore year and regarded as one of the series’ top prospects.

Herta recently told RACER.com “I’d love to give Formula 1 a crack” but said he also would be happy driving in IndyCar and IMSA.

A naturalized U.S. citizen who told Petty about spending several years with his family in an Italian refugee camp before coming to America, Mario Andretti said F1 brought an enormous sense of patriotic pride.

“Formula One is like the Olympics in a sense,” he said. “You’re in a different country, a different continent. When you earn that highest step of the podium, they play your national anthem. That’s when you take nothing for granted. You feel like I’m representing my country, and the proudest moments are those.

“I’d just like to see some other American drivers experience that. It’s time.”

Mario Andretti with four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton before the Nov. 22, 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).

During the “Coffee With Kyle” conversation, Andretti also discussed:

–His versatility as a winner in IndyCar, sports cars, NASCAR and Formula One;

–His 1967 Daytona 500 victory and how he enjoyed racing with crew chief Jake Elder at the famed Holman-Moody team;

Mario Andretti Colton Herta
Mario Andretti and Kyle Petty saluted “The King” by wearing their Richard Petty-style hats during the latest “Coffee With Kyle” (NBCSN).

–Why he delayed his entry to F1 for a few years because of his earnings power in IndyCar. “I always say I’d race for free, but at the same time, you’re thinking of family and the future,” he said. “It was in the back of your mind that you can’t give up the earning power of IndyCar. That kept me from going full time in Formula One, but I always said that sometime in my career, I’d have to devote a period to Formula One.”

–On what it was like racing in an era when driver deaths were more prevalent. “If you’re going to do this, you’re not going to dwell on those negatives,” Andretti said. “There’s no way. You knew it was present. Especially in the ‘60s at the beginning of the season at the drivers meetings, you couldn’t help but look around and say, ‘I wonder who is not going to be here at the end of the season.’ We’d lose four to five guys. In ’64, we lost six guys.

“It’s something if you dwell on that, you’re going to take on a different profession. It’s a desire and love to want to drive that overcame all that and then the confidence it’s not going to happen to me. And then you pray.”

Watch the full “Coffee With Kyle” episode in the video above or by clicking here.

Mario Andretti looks on before the 103rd Indianapolis 500 on May 26, 2019 (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).