Rosberg ready for race-long battle with Hamilton

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Nico Rosberg is delighted to have claimed pole position for tomorrow’s Canadian Grand Prix, but is readying himself for a race-long battle with teammate Lewis Hamilton, who will start in second place.

Rosberg’s run to pole position on Saturday afternoon came as something of a surprise. Throughout practice, Hamilton had the edge on his teammate, and the Briton’s record around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is phenomenal with three poles and three wins. However, when it mattered, Rosberg managed to edge out his teammate by just 0.079 seconds to secure his third pole position of the season.

“It’s been a great weekend so far and I’m really pleased with how I have been able to improve my set-up from session to session,” the German driver explained. “Even before qualifying we made some quite big changes and they worked out perfectly. So I am very happy with starting from pole tomorrow.”

Rosberg believes that – just as we saw in Monaco – starting from pole position could be key due to the lack of overtaking opportunities in the first two sectors of the track. The final sector is all about straight line speed, so the two Mercedes drivers will be equal.

“That was very important as there aren’t many opportunities to overtake here, particularly if you are in the same car,” Rosberg said. “I think it will be a battle between the two of us out there tomorrow as the gap to the other cars was quite big in qualifying today and also on our long runs on Friday were strong.”

During the race simulation runs during FP2 on Friday, Mercedes was dominant once again ahead of Red Bull, Ferrari and Williams, and as a result Rosberg and Hamilton should be poised to claim another one-two finish this weekend.

Although the tension in the fight between the two Mercedes drivers has apparently cooled, it will be interesting to see just how they fare during the race tomorrow when starting alongside each other on the front row.

SMP Racing unveils BR1 LMP1 car in Bahrain ahead of WEC entry

SMP Racing
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SMP Racing has publicly unveiled its new BR1 LMP1 car that will enter the FIA World Endurance Championship from 2018.

SMP Racing opted to pull out of racing full-time in the WEC for 2017 in order to focus on its preparations for an LMP1 entry the following year, with the decision being taken long in advance of Porsche’s exit announcement.

Officials from the Russian-backed SMP Racing, as well as drivers including recent IndyCar racer Mikhail Aleshin (sporting a broken arm in a sling), Vitaly Petrov and Sergey Sirotkin were all on hand to unveil the car on Friday in the Bahrain International Circuit paddock ahead of this weekend’s WEC finale.

The BR Engineering BR1 features a Dallara chassis and an AER engine, and has completed over 2,000 km in private testing, with further running set to be completed in the coming weeks.

SMP Racing plans to field two cars in the WEC’s LMP1 class next year, and is keen to get as many Russian drivers as possible in the seats from its wide pool of talent.

Even with Porsche’s departure from LMP1, the class is set to feature a bigger field thanks to the increased number of privateers moving up, with Toyota set to remain the sole manufacturer in the class.