WATCH LIVE: Japanese GP on NBCSN, NBC Sports app from 12am ET

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Lewis Hamilton can take a major step towards clinching a fourth Formula 1 world title when he leads the field away from pole position for Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix.

Currently leading chief rival Sebastian Vettel by 34 points at the top of the drivers’ championship, Hamilton swept to pole with a stunning lap that saw him break the existing track record at Suzuka by almost two seconds.

F1 JAPANESE GRAND PRIX LIVE STREAM

Vettel will start alongside Hamilton on the front row of the grid, and with temperatures running high at Suzuka, things could play in Ferrari’s favor as it looks to bounce back from a rough run of races.

Grid penalties for Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen have forced both drivers to run alternate strategies, starting on the soft compound tire, giving them the chance to fight through the field in the closing stages. Pirelli has predicted this could be a two-stop race, aiding their chances.

Suzuka has a history for spectacular F1 races, and Sunday’s event could be just the latest chapter in its steeped story.

You can watch the Japanese Grand Prix live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 12am ET. CLICK HERE for NBCSN live stream.

You can also try out a new ‘Mosaic View’ for the race that includes the race simulcast, in-car cameras, driver tracker and pit lane cam. CLICK HERE to watch the Mosaic View live stream.

Leigh Diffey, David Hobbs and Steve Matchett will be on the call, with pit reporter Will Buxton providing updates and interviews throughout the race from Suzuka.

Also be sure to follow the @F1onNBCSports Twitter account for live updates throughout the race.

2017 Japanese Grand Prix – Starting Grid

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

* Five-place grid penalty for gearbox change
** 20-place grid penalty for power unit changes
*** 35-place grid penalty for power unit changes

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

Petit Le Mans championship
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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.

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.

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.

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.”