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Italian F1 Grand Prix 2016: Start Time, Drivers, TV Schedule and More

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistSeptember 3, 2016

MONZA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 02:  Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes F1 WO7 Mercedes PU106C Hybrid turbo on track during practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo di Monza on September 2, 2016 in Monza, Italy.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg are neck and neck in the Formula One drivers' championship as the field enters the 2016 Italian Grand Prix at Monza on Sunday.

Rosberg took the maximum points on offer in Belgium as the reigning world champion trailed in third, but the British icon remains nine points clear at the top of the current standings.

The flying German has his best chance to win the championship this season, and victory in Italy could see him leapfrog his Silver Arrows team-mate.

Monza remains one of the sport's heritage track venues and is always one of the most eagerly awaited races in the Formula One diary.  

Here is how you can follow the action:

   

Date: Sunday, Sept. 4

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Race Time: 1 p.m. BST/8 a.m. ET

TV: Sky Sports F1 and HD, Channel 4 and HD, NBC

Live StreamSky GoALL 4NBC Sports Live Extra

For a look at the full field of drivers, visit Formula One's official website.

    

Preview

SPA, BELGIUM - AUGUST 28:  Nico Rosberg of Germany and Mercedes GP celebrates his win with his team during the Formula One Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 28, 2016 in Spa, Belgium  (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)
Charles Coates/Getty Images

After Rosberg's win in Belgium, Hamilton must dig deep and capture victory at Monza as he attempts to win a third drivers' title in a row.

The Brit was forced to start at the back of the grid last time out due to engine penalties incurred, but his podium finish ensured the race winner did not take top spot in the overall championship.

The opportunity to win vital points is running out fast as the races evaporate, and events in Italy could have a major influence in where the title ends up.

Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's German driver Nico Rosberg (C) takes the lead at the start of the Belgian Formula One Grand Prix at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Spa on August 28, 2016. / AFP / JOHN THYS        (Photo credit should read JOHN THYS/AFP/G
JOHN THYS/Getty Images

Hamilton was impressive through practice, but a competitive field will see a huge fight for position from the first corner at the Autodromo Nazionale's fast layout.

The track allows Mercedes to play to their strengths, and it is unlikely a Silver Arrows racer will not climb the winner's podium at the end of Sunday.

The world champion has won three of the last four Italian Grand Prix races, and he loves the battles that occur at Monza each season.

The race will be the last-ever in Italy for former Ferrari driver Felipe Massa, who announced his retirement, as Formula1.com reported.

Williams Martini Racing's Brazilian driver Felipe Massa is pictured in the pit during the second practice session at the Autodromo Nazionale circuit in Monza on September 2, 2016 ahead of the Italian Formula One Grand Prix. / AFP / GIUSEPPE CACACE
GIUSEPPE CACACE/Getty Images

The Brazilian ace, who is still hugely popular with Italian motorsport fans, will bow out at the end of the season after making his debut with Sauber back in 2002.

The veteran driver gave an emotional farewell in a recent press conference, per Formula 1.com:

My career has been more than I ever expected and I am proud of what I have achieved. Finally, it is a great honour to finish my career at such an amazing team as Williams Martini Racing. It will be an emotional day when I finally conclude my Formula One career with my 250th Grand Prix start in Abu Dhabi.

A collision between Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen at Spa destroyed the three drivers' chances of points in Belgium, but the alpha males will return to prominence in Italy.

Vettel remained firm in his convictions ahead of the race after the recent collision, according to Sky Sports F1:

Ferrari need to put forward a good account of themselves at their home track, but their car simply doesn't have the brute speed of the Mercedes.

Fernando Alonso was the last Ferrari driver to prevail at Monza, six years ago, and it's unlikely the famous team will win this edition of of the Italian Grand Prix.

Mercedes will want to capture the top two spots once more, as they give both their drivers equal opportunity to become world champion in 2016.

Hamilton has outperformed Rosberg at each vital point in the past two years of racing, and his current form promises a stellar conclusion to the championship as both speed merchants fight to the bitter end.