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What to watch for: Hungarian Grand Prix (NBCSN, NBC Sports app from 7am ET)

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School’s almost out for summer in Formula 1 as the cars hit the track for the final time until the end of August with Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

Drivers’ championship leader Sebastian Vettel produced one of the qualifying displays of the season to score Ferrari’s third pole of the year, heading up a front row lock-out for the Italian marque.

Title rival Lewis Hamilton was left to settle for fourth place on the grid, with his chances of a sixth victory at the Hungaroring looking increasingly slim.

Will the momentum in the championship fight swing once again today? Ahead of the summer shutdown, there’s no better time for a twist to come about.

You can watch the Hungarian Grand Prix live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 7am ET. CLICK HERE for NBC live stream.

Here’s what to watch for in today’s race.

2017 Hungarian Grand Prix – What to watch for

Ferrari looks to convert qualy advantage into victory

Ferrari’s recent performances had raised doubts about its ability to compete with Mercedes across the rest of the season, with the German marque seeming to pull clear in recent races.

Ferrari was able to turn things around in Hungary on Saturday, the SF70H suiting the tight and twisting nature of the Hungaroring circuit nicely.

It is key for Ferrari to strike back and take full advantage of its edge today. If neither Vettel nor Raikkonen can bring it home and Mercedes captures a third straight win – particularly on outright pace – it would be a sign that this championship is becoming increasingly unbalanced.

Will Red Bull get into the fight?

Red Bull’s pace has been of particular interest so far this weekend. A raft of updates for the RB13 had Daniel Ricciardo feeling like he had a B-spec car underneath him, allowing him to top both practice sessions on Friday.

The pace did not carry through to qualifying as Max Verstappen and Ricciardo ended up P5 and P6, the pair requiring a fightback in today’s race if they are to give Red Bull a second win of the season.

The RB13 looked strong through the long runs, meaning a Red Bull win is certainly not inconceivable. Do we have a four-way fight on our hands today?

Alonso, Vandoorne get chance to break through

Hungary has been a good race for McLaren so far. Having known the tighter nature of the circuit would suit the MCL32 car better – or, more accurately, expose the weaknesses of the Honda power unit less – the team had high hopes, and they were justified in qualifying as Alonso and Vandoorne secured P7 and P8 on the grid.

Alonso’s confidence in the McLaren-Honda project has been wavering for some time, but it would be a good boost for him if he can convert the good qualifying result into a decent haul of points.

For Vandoorne, simply getting off the mark for 2017 will be the target today after a disappointing start to his full-time F1 career.

How will di Resta fair?

Paul di Resta’s surprising F1 comeback on Saturday left the paddock deeply impressed as he quickly got to grips with the 2017-spec Williams, qualifying just seven-tenths of a second off full-time racer Lance Stroll.

The Scotsman managed just five flying laps in the car, putting him into another steep learning experience on Sunday as he enters a full race distance – his longest in any form of racing since the 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix.

While few will expect di Resta to bother the points or have much of an impact, if he can get to the finish and stay in touch with the midfield, it would be a solid, solid statement.

2017 Hungarian Grand Prix – Starting Grid

1. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari
2. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari
3. Valtteri Bottas Mercedes
4. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
5. Max Verstappen Red Bull
6. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull
7. Fernando Alonso McLaren
8. Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren
9. Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso
10. Jolyon Palmer Renault
11. Esteban Ocon Force India
12. Nico Hulkenberg Renault
13. Sergio Perez Force India
14. Romain Grosjean Haas
15. Kevin Magnussen Haas
16. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso
17. Lance Stroll Williams
18. Pascal Wehrlein Sauber
19. Paul di Resta Williams
20. Marcus Ericsson Sauber

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.