Take a behind-the-scenes look as F1 driver Fernando Alonso takes on an intense, multi-sport pre-season training schedule as he prepares his body and mind for the rigors that a full Formula 1 season demands from each driver.
Starworks Motorsport, Corvette Racing and Magnus Racing returned to the top of their respective classes in Saturday’s Northeast Grand Prix for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the two-hour, 40-minute race at the picturesque but tight and occasionally controversial 1.53-mile Lime Rock Park.
Starworks’ pair of Alex Popow and Renger van der Zande won their third race in the last four in the Peter Baron-led Prototype Challenge team’s No. 8 Oreca FLM09, coincidentally all having come since the car switched to a white, red and silver livery.
The pair dominated the race and won overall from PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports, which won this race last year.
Van der Zande held on despite a furious late-race charge from PR1’s Tom Kimber-Smith in the No. 52 car, who shared his car with Robert Alon. Kimber-Smith got nearly to van der Zande’s rear wing but was balked in traffic before the start of the final lap.
The finish of the race was cleaner than the start, which was aborted twice after a pair of incidents.
“Alex did a crazy job in the beginning, P4 to P2 after getting hit twice on the start, then the crew did a fantastic job to get me up front. It looked easier than it was! It was a helluva time getting through traffic,” van der Zande told IMSA Radio’s Shea Adam.
GT Le Mans saw Corvette Racing return to the top for the first time since the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, with Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin leading a 1-2 finish in the No. 4 Corvette C7.R over Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen in the No. 3 Corvette.
The win also delivers Corvette Racing its 100th win overall as a team, after being stuck on 99 since Sebring.
“What a job today from these guys – Olly and the whole crew. We had some great wins, then had some struggles. What a way to get 100, with 1-2 for the team, it’s so special,” Milner told Adam.
“Ordinarily we would share the victory between the engineering, crew, drivers… but today the engineers and crew guys did their work, today it’s in the drivers’ hands, at Lime Rock Park, this track, the drivers earned it today,” Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan told Adam.
“Any victory is pretty cool. When you’ve got 99 of them, but 100, who would have ever thought? This is a testament to what this team is capable of doing. With the intense heat, it worked out that way.”
The No. 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT, which had won the last three races in GTLM dating to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in early May, ended third with Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe driving. Briscoe and Giancarlo Fisichella had late race contact, which took the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE out of a podium spot. Fisichella shared his car with Toni Vilander.
Questionable racecraft occurred elsewhere in class with both BMWs hit during the race, the second incident coming at the downhill, when Earl Bamber (Porsche) hit Dirk Werner (BMW) in a heavy accident. The other BMW, driven by John Edwards, was hit just after the scheduled start.
GT Daytona witnessed an incredible run from Andy Lally in the final half hour of the race, delivering an incredible charge through the field in the No. 44 Magnus Racing Audi R8 LMS he shared with John Potter to win at a track that’s been a perpetual thorn in Magnus’ side.
“John was on it all weekend. This is so special – these guys worked so hard after the wreck at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Lars planned the setup, we dialed like 80 degrees of wing into this thing, and it stuck,” Lally told FOX’s Justin Bell.
The No. 6 Stevenson Motorsports Audi R8 LMS of Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell was second with the No. 33 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper GT3-R third of Ben Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen; Bleekemolen finished the race despite a busted diffuser.
Daniel Ricciardo, Max Verstappen, Nico Hulkenberg, Valtteri Bottas and Sergio Perez have all avoided grid drops for Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix despite failing to lap within 107% of the fastest time in Q1.
During qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix on Saturday, 11 drivers fell outside of the 107% time requied to qualify for the race in a session affected by rain and red flags.
Many were unable to post a late lap time while others improved dramatically on intermediate tires, causing laps to reach as much as 118%.
All six drivers who were eliminated in Q1 were outside of the required time, as were Ricciardo, Verstappen, Hulkenberg, Bottas and Perez. The latter quintet took part in Q2 as they had got into the top 16, with all bar Perez making it through to Q3.
Ricciardo and Verstappen qualified third and fourth for Red Bull, while Hulkenberg and Bottas were P9 and P10 in Q3.
Teams are ordinarily required to submit a request to the FIA stewards to race if their drivers fall outside the qualifying time.
A request by Renault for Kevin Magnussen was accepted, with the final line of the document reading: “As there is more than one driver that failed to set a qualifying time within 107% of the fastest time in Q1, the cars will be arranged on the grid in the order they were classified in P3.”
However, it now transpires that this will only apply to those eliminated in Q1, with the FIA confirming that due to “exceptional circumstances” Ricciardo, Verstappen, Hulkenberg, Bottas and Perez will not drop back. All keep their qualifying positions.
The 107% rule was re-introduced in 2011 to prevent drivers from going too slowly in qualifying, requiring them to finish within 7% of the fastest time in Q1.
The rule was last enforced at the 2012 Australian Grand Prix when HRT drivers Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan were not allowed to take part in the race.
Since then, the 107% rule has been triggered but not enforced. For example, drivers who crash out in Q1 and do not set a time come into it, but are ordinarily given permission to race if they have set a competitive time in free practice.
Nico Rosberg has been called to see the FIA race stewards over his pole position lap during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix on Saturday.
Rosberg’s final Q3 lap saw him edge out Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton for pole position by 0.143 seconds, but was partially completed under double-waved yellow flags shown following a spin for Fernando Alonso.
Rosberg was adamant after the session that he lifted enough, and the stewards did not initially investigate it.
However, over three-and-a-half hours after qualifying was completed, Rosberg has now been called in over a possible failure to slow for yellow flags during his Q3 lap.
Rosberg will meet with the stewards at 19:45 local time in Hungary (13:45 ET).
The majority of drivers completing their final laps at the end of Q3 were forced to abort their efforts in response to Alonso’s spin.
Double-waved yellows require drivers to “slow down and be prepared to stop”. Although Rosberg arrived at the scene later than most, he still only lifted, not appearing to slow enough so that he could stop, thus prompting the stewards to investigate.
UPDATE: No penalty for Rosberg after stewards’ meeting
The FIA stewards have confirmed that Rosberg has been cleared of failing to slow for yellow flags on his final Q3 lap, meaning he keeps pole position for Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
“The telemetry demonstrated that the driver reduced speed significantly into Turn 8,” a statement from the stewards read.
Nico Rosberg is confident that he slowed down enough to respect the yellow flags during his pole position lap for the Hungarian Grand Prix in qualifying on Saturday.
Rosberg edged out Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to score pole at the Hungaroring by 0.143 seconds, his final lap being completed partly under yellow flags following a spin for Fernando Alonso.
Drivers are required to slow under yellows, with those who first came across Alonso’s car being forced to abandon their final flying laps altogether as a result.
Alonso had cleared his car by the time Rosberg came to Turn 5, although yellow flags were still being shown, leading to questions about the validity of the German’s time.
“For sure there were double waved [yellows] yeah, but I had a very, very big lift and lost a lot of time as a result,” Rosberg explained.
“I was also slower than on my previous lap in that yellow sector, or in that yellow segment, or whatever it’s called, so I’m sure it will be OK.”
Speaking to NBCSN after qualifying, Rosberg re-affirmed his belief that he had slowed down enough.
“Yeah for sure,” Rosberg said when asked if he did enough.
“I know what I need to do. I did a big lift, so I handled it according to what needed to be done, so it will be OK.”
The Hungarian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports App from 7am ET on Sunday.