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Hamilton pulls clear for Mercedes in final Abu Dhabi F1 practice

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Lewis Hamilton sent a warning shot out to his Formula 1 rivals in Abu Dhabi ahead of qualifying by pulling clear in final practice at the Yas Marina Circuit, heading up a one-two finish for Mercedes.

After eking clear of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo in FP2 on Friday night, Hamilton was able to enjoy a greater buffer to the chasing pack in final practice on Saturday afternoon.

Hamilton recorded a best lap time of 1:37.627 to finish almost three-tenths of a second ahead of Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, with Ferrari ending FP3 half a second off the pace.

Both Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel failed to complete a qualifying simulation on the ultra-soft tire late in the session, leaving them third and fourth respectively.

Ricciardo led Red Bull’s charge in FP3, finishing fifth overall ahead of teammate Max Verstappen in P6. Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne were seventh and eighth for McLaren, with Carlos Sainz Jr. and Sergio Perez completing the top 10 for Renault and Force India respectively.

Final practice was briefly interrupted by a Virtual Safety Car period after a parasol stood at one of the marshal posts blew onto the track and sat on the apex of Turn 8.

Once recovered, the session was able to return to green with no major incidents following in the final 30 minutes.
Qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 8am ET on Saturday.

WATCH LIVE: IndyCar practice and qualifying at Laguna Seca

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For the first time in 15 years, Indy cars will be racing at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, and the stakes have never been higher.

Tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Monterey is the final race of the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season, and with four drivers mathematically eligible for the series championship, there will be plenty of story lines to follow.

Current series points leader Josef Newgarden enters this weekend with a 41-point lead over second-place Alexander Rossi.

A California native, Rossi attended his first IndyCar race with his father as child at Laguna Seca when he was three years old.

He now hopes to win his first IndyCar championship at the track where he fell in love with the sport, but after suffering a broken bolt in practice 1 yesterday, he will need to find speed in P3 and qualifying today in order to put himself in the best position to fight for the title.

Simon Pagenaud and Scott Dixon are also in contention to win the championship this weekend, and another title would only add to their already illustrious IndyCar careers.

Leigh Diffey, Paul Tracy and Townsend Bell will call today’s on-track action from the booth, while Marty Snider, Jon Beekhuis, Kevin Lee and Robin Miller will report from the pits.

Here is today’s schedule:

(All times are Eastern)

Saturday 9/21, 1 p.m. ET, IndyCar Practice 3, NBC Sports Gold 

Saturday 9/21, 4:30 p.m. ET, IndyCar Qualifying, NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold

Saturday 9/21, 6 p.m. ET, Indy Lights Race 1, NBC Sports Gold 

 

For sessions on NBC Sports Gold, be sure to have your username and password handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.