F1: Charles Leclerc wins pole in bizarre Italian GP qualifying

Charles Coates/Getty Images
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Charles Leclerc claimed the pole position for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza Saturday afternoon, following a bizarre Q3 which saw only two drivers cross the finish line in time to set a final flying lap.

Leclerc set his pole-winning lap of 1 minute 20.126 seconds around the 11-Turn, 3.6-mile circuit early on in the final session, which was interrupted by an 11-minute red flag due to a crash by Kimi Raikkonen in Turn 11.

When the session went green once again, several drivers waited until the final two minutes to return to the track, and with a tow crucial to set a fast lap at Monza, many drivers backed off in order to not be the leader without a tow.

The slow race out of the pits saw only Leclerc and Carlos Sainz cross the start/finish line in time to complete a lap, and with Saniz unable to set a faster lap than Leclerc, the Ferrari driver easily claimed the pole position.

“I’m happy with the pole,” Leclerc said following qualifications. “It’s a shame there was a big mess at the end. Let’s hope for a good race tomorrow.”

Lewis Hamilton qualified second, 0.039 seconds behind Leclerc, while Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas qualified third.

Sebastien Vettel qualified fourth, while Daniel Riccardo and Nico Hulkenburg qualified in the fifth and sixth positions for Renault.

Carlos Sainz was the slowest of the seven drivers who set a time in Q3 and will start Sunday’s race from the seventh position.

Alex Albon, Lance Stroll, and Raikkonen all failed to complete a single lap in Q3, and will start eighth through tenth, respectively.

The wild end to the qualifying session is currently under investigation by race stewards.

Full qualifying results and times are below:

 

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Peacock to stream all Supercross and Motocross races in 2023, plus inaugural SuperMotocross Championship

Peacock Supercross Motocross 2023
Feld Entertainment, Inc.
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NBC Sports and Feld Motor Sports announced that Peacock and the NBC family of networks will stream all 31 races of the combined Monster Energy Supercross, Lucas Oil Pro Motocross and the newly created SuperMotocross World Championship beginning January 7, 2023 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California and ending October 14 in the place where Supercross was born: the Los Angeles Coliseum.

The combined series will create a 10-month calendar of events, making it one of the longest professional sports’ seasons in the United States.

The agreement is for multiple years. The season finale will air live on Peacock and the USA Network.

Peacock will present live coverage of all races, qualifying and heats across both series. The 31 total races will mark a record for the combined number of Supercross and Pro Motocross events that NBC Sports will present in a single season.

NBC, USA Network and CNBC will provide coverage of all races, including the SuperMotocross World Championship Playoffs and Final, through 2023 and beyond. For more information about the Peacock streaming service, click here.

“With our wide array of live and original motorsports offerings, Peacock is a natural home for Supercross and Pro Motocross races,” said Rick Cordella, Chief Commercial Officer, Peacock. “We’re looking forward to providing fans with an easily-accessible destination to find every race all season long, including the exciting finish with the newly formed SuperMotocross World Championship.”

MORE: A conversation about media rights created the new SuperMotocross World Championship Series

The NBC family of networks has been home to Supercross for the past several seasons and this is a continuation of that relationship. The media rights for both series expired at the end of 2022, which allowed Supercross and Motocross to combine their efforts.

In fact, it was that conversation that led to the formation of the SuperMotocross World Championship (SMX).

The SMX series will begin on September 9, 2023 after the conclusion of the Pro Motocross season. Points will accumulate from both series to seed the SMX championship, which creates a record number of unified races.

“The SuperMotocross World Championship adds a new dimension to the annual Supercross and Pro Motocross seasons that will result in crowning the ultimate World Champion,” said Stephen C. Yaros, SVP Global Media and Supercross for Feld Motor Sports. “We are thrilled to be extending our relationship with NBC Sports so our fans can watch all the racing action streaming live on Peacock and the option to also watch select rounds on NBC, USA Network and CNBC.”

Complete 2023 coverage schedules for Supercross, Pro Motocross and the SuperMotocross World Championship on Peacock, NBC, USA Network and CNBC will be announced in the near future.