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F1 enters the night with Singapore Grand Prix on NBCSN

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One of Formula 1’s toughest tests on the calendar is this week’s Singapore Grand Prix, the 14th round of the season and the start of the final seven-race run of flyaway races apart from Europe.

NBCSN will feature live coverage of free practice two, Friday at 8:30 a.m. ET, and the race on Sunday at 7 a.m. ET with an hour of pre-race before lights out at 8.

Qualifying airs live on CNBC on Saturday at 9 a.m. ET, with an encore presentation on NBCSN Saturday night at 8 p.m. ET.

Usual free practice one and three coverage airs live exclusively on the NBC Sports App, which streams all sessions.

Of note, Bob Varsha will fill in for Leigh Diffey this weekend alongside David Hobbs and Steve Matchett, and with Will Buxton in the pits and paddock reporting from Singapore. Diffey will be hosting the Verizon IndyCar Series season finale weekend in Sonoma.

Singapore has been the domain of Sebastian Vettel in recent years around the Marina Bay Street Circuit, and with this track expected to play to Ferrari’s strengths this weekend after successive Mercedes triumphs by Lewis Hamilton in Spa and Monza, Vettel is due to strike back this weekend.

Vettel has won four of the last six Singapore Grands Prix (2011, 2012, 2013 with Red Bull and 2015 with Ferrari) while Nico Rosberg won here last year. Hamilton (2014 with Mercedes, 2009 with McLaren) and Fernando Alonso (2010 with Ferrari, 2008 with Renault) have won the other races at Singapore since this track was added to the calendar.

Top spoiler is Daniel Ricciardo, the Australian at Red Bull who’s been a front row starter and runner-up finisher at Singapore in recent years, and who shaded Rosberg all the way to the flag last year. A win for him – or teammate Max Verstappen – this weekend could throw a curveball in the championship chase.

Hamilton moved into the lead, 238-235, with his second straight win last time out in Monza. But whether he can keep the lead this weekend will depend on how he rebounds from a pair of tough races here the last two years, third in 2016 and retiring in 2015.

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

  • Practice 1: Friday, Sept. 15, 4:30 a.m.-6 a.m. ET (Streaming)
  • Practice 2: Friday, Sept. 15, 8:30 a.m.-10 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Practice 3: Saturday, Sept. 16, 6 a.m.-7 a.m. ET (Streaming)
  • Qualifying: Saturday, Sept. 16, 9 a.m.-10:30 a.m. ET (CNBC)
  • Qualifying (Replay): Saturday, Sept. 16, 8 p.m.-9:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Pre-Race: Sunday, Sept. 17, 7 a.m.-8 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Race: Sunday, Sept. 17, 8 a.m.-10 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Post-Race: Sunday, Sept. 17, 10 a.m.-10:30 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Race (Replay): Sunday, Sept. 17, 11:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. ET (NBCSN)

The next race is the Malaysian Grand Prix, on October 1.

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.