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Massa leads Monza FP3 washout as rain cuts running to 16 minutes

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Felipe Massa emerged as an unlikely leader in final Formula 1 practice for the Italian Grand Prix on Saturday morning at Monza as rain cut running to just 16 minutes and allowed just seven drivers to post a time.

Heavy rain overnight and throughout the morning left the track soaked when the session was due to start at 11am local time, prompting officials to delay the start of FP3 indefinitely until conditions improved.

After a number of outings in the Safety Car to gauge conditions, FIA race director Charlie Whiting took advantage of an ease in the downpour to get the session under with 16 minutes left on the clock, giving teams a chance to venture out through the spray.

While every driver completed at least one installation lap, the majority of the field opted against putting in a time, fearful of damaging their cars ahead of qualifying.

Massa was able to emerge as the fastest driver with a couple of minutes to spare, his time of 1:40.660 giving him a lead of two-tenths of a second over Williams teammate Lance Stroll.

Nico Hulkenberg finished third for Renault ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr. and Jolyon Palmer, while Marcus Ericsson and Daniil Kvyat were sixth and seventh, the last of the drivers with a time on the board.

Qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 8am ET on Saturday.

NBCSN will present ‘Race and Sports in America: Conversations’ Monday

NBCSN
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With motor racing reckoning with its own issues of diversity and equality, “Race and Sports in America: Conversations” will tackle the topics of social justice with several athletes. The show will air at 8 p.m. ET Monday, July 13 on NBCSN, Golf Channel, Olympic channel and on regional sports networks.

The roundtable discussions will be hosted by Damon Hack and feature Charles Barkley, Steph Curry, Jimmy Rollins and Ozzie Smith in one segment. The other segment will include Kyle Rudolph, Anthony Lynn, Troy Mullins and James Blake.

Race has been a major topic in motorsports this year.

NASCAR banned the Confederate flag at its race after lobbying by Bubba Wallace, the only Black driver in the premier Cup Series. In Formula One, six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton has joined Black Lives Matter marches in London and also formed a panel on diversity. The lone Black driver in F1 also led 14 of 20 drivers taking a knee before the season opener in Austria.