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

Meyer Shank Racing wins Petit Le Mans to take final DPi championship in dramatic finale

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Meyer Shank Racing outdueled Wayne Taylor Racing to win the Petit Le Mans and clinch the championship in a thrilling final race for the DPi division.

Tom Blomqvist, who started from the pole position, drove the No. 60 Acura ARX-05 to a 4.369-second victory over Pipo Derani in the No. 31 Action Express Cadillac.

“That was incredible,” Blomqvist told NBC Sports’ Matt Yocum. “I’ve never dug so deep in my life. The adrenaline. I did that for the guys. I was so motivated to win this thing this weekend. But I’ve got to thank everyone on the whole team.”

With co-drivers Oliver Jarvis and Helio Castroneves, Blomqvist helped MSR bookend its season-opening victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona by winning Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season finale at Michelin Road Atlanta.

In between those two victories, the No. 60 earned five runner-up finishes to stay in the thick of the championship hunt and trail WTR’s No. 10 Acura by 14 points entering Saturday’s race.

WTR’s Filipe Albuquerque had a lead of more than 10 seconds over Blomqvist with less than 50 minutes remaining in the 10-hour race.

But a Turn 1 crash between the Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillacs brought out a yellow that sent both Acuras into the pits from the top two positions.

Though he entered in second, Blomqvist barely beat Albuquerque out of the pits, and he held the lead for the final 45 minutes.

Blomqvist said he gained the lead because of a shorter fuel fill after he had worked on being efficient in the second-to-last stint.

“The team asked a big job of me with the fuel; I had a big fuel number to hit,” Blomqvist said. “We knew that was probably our only chance. The yellow came at the right time and obviously we had a bit less fuel to fill up, so I was able to jump him and then it was just a matter of going gung-ho and not leaving anything on the line. And obviously, the opposition had to try too hard to make it work. I’m so thankful.”

Albuquerque closed within a few car lengths of Blomqvist with 14 minutes remaining, but he damaged his suspension because of contact with a GT car in Turn 1. The WTR car was forced to retire and finished ninth overall (sixth in DPi).

“I’m simply devastated with the ending,” Albuquerque said in a release. “I really think we were doing a perfect race and unfortunately the last pit stop wasn’t great for our side. Obviously, when you start on pole and up front, you always have a little bit of an advantage. Traffic always benefits the guy leading, and it got me big time there. Passing a GT car and I don’t think he saw me and the level of risk was high. We touched and my car was damaged and it was over for us. It was a bit inglorious to finish like that.”

Said teammate Ricky Taylor, who started third but had to pit on the second lap after a spin in qualifying damaged his tires: “I couldn’t be more proud to be teammates with Filipe. He gives everything and we wouldn’t be in this position in the championship without him. We take risks and I don’t even think what took us out was even a risk. He was fighting for the win and I had no doubt that he was going to pass the 60 car if he had the chance.”

It’s the first prototype championship for Meyer Shank Racing, which also won the 2021 Indy 500 with Castroneves.

“We’ve had in the last four years, three championships for Acura, the Indy 500 win and the Rolex 24, it doesn’t get any better,” team co-owner Mike Shank told NBC Sports’ Kevin Lee.

Said Jarvis in a release: “Full credit to the entire team and for Meyer Shank to come away with victory and the championship, that’s something really special. We won the two that counted most and the championship. This race definitely was not easy and there were moments where I thought this could end badly, but the car really came alive at night. Tom did an amazing job at the end of the race there.”

It’s the third consecutive runner-up finish in the points standings for Wayne Taylor Racing, which won the first Daytona Prototype international championship in 2017. The premier category will be rebranded as the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class with the LMDh cars that will establish a bridge to racing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“Congratulations to Mike Shank for winning the drivers’ and teams’ championships,” team owner Wayne Taylor said in a release. “What can I say. We thought we had it, but didn’t. Everybody gave it their all.”

Kamui Kobayashi finished third in the No. 48 Cadillac of Action Express that also includes Jimmie Johnson and Mike Rockenfeller.

The podium showing marked Johnson’s last scheduled race in IMSA’s top prototype division. The seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has raced in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac lineup as the Action Express entry has run the Endurance Cup races.

Johnson said a lack of inventory will preclude him having a 2023 ride in the top category. But he still is hopeful of racing the Garage 56 Next Gen Camaro in next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans and possibly running in a lower class for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

“I’d love to be at Le Mans next year,” Johnson told NBC Sports’ Dillon Welch after his final stint Saturday. “I’d love to be at the Rolex 24. The series is going through a shake-up with the reconfiguration of the rules and classes, so I don’t have anything locked down yet, but I’m so thankful for this experience with Action. The support Ally has given us, Mr. Hendrick, Chad Knaus, all of Hendrick Motorsports. It’s been a fun two years, and I certainly hope I’m on the grid again next year.”