Toyota Gazoo Racing

Toyota leads Thursday WEC practice running at Spa

Leave a comment

SPA, Belgium – Toyota continued its impressive start to the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship season by leading the first two practice sessions for this weekend’s 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps on Thursday.

Toyota kick-started its campaign with a narrow victory over Porsche at Silverstone two weeks ago, with the No. 8 TS050 Hybrid shared by Anthony Davidson, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima clinching victory.

Toyota’s Thursday at Spa started with a setback when Jose Maria Lopez was ruled out of the weekend on medical grounds, owing to a minor injury from his shunt at Silverstone two weeks ago.

Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi were left to continue as a two-man team for the day, yet they made the most of it as they led FP1 and FP2 respectively in the No. 7 TS050 Hybrid.

Conway edged out the No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid by just 0.036 seconds in the first session, before Kobayashi was able to pull out a half-second gap in FP2, with the No. 2 car posing the stiffest competition once again. Kobayashi’s time of 1:56.369 was the fastest of the day overall.

In LMP2, the CEFC Manor TRS Racing team swept to a one-two finish, with recent Formula 1 driver Jean-Eric Vergne turning in a fastest lap of 2:02.662. The Chinese-backed team finished a second clear of the competition, with Signatech Alpine finishing as the best of the rest in third.

Aston Martin was fastest in GTE Pro as Marco Sørensen recorded a best lap of 2:16.458 in the No. 95 Vantage GTE, finishing two-tenths clear of Kevin Estre’s lap in the No. 92 Porsche 911 RSR. Estre crashed at Les Combes midway through the session, but still ended the session P2, with the No. 67 Ford GT following in third.

GTE Am saw Spirit of Race lead in the No. 54 Ferrari 488 GTE courtesy of Miguel Molina, lapping 0.170 seconds faster than the No. 98 AMR entry.

Running continues on Friday at Spa with third practice and qualifying ahead of the race on Saturday.

Hamilton hails ‘greatest day’ after USGP victory, Mercedes title win

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Lewis Hamilton made no secret of his jubilation after taking a giant step towards his fourth Formula 1 championship win with victory in Sunday’s United States Grand Prix that also saw Mercedes clinch the constructors’ title.

Hamilton recovered from an early pass by F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel to take his sixth victory on American soil, five of which have come at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, to extend his lead to 66 points.

With just 75 left on offer this season, Hamilton needs just one top-five finish in the final three races to clinch his fourth world title, with the enormity of the victory not being lost on the Mercedes driver.

“Today has been amazing. It’s been the greatest day,” Hamilton told NBCSN after the race.

“I woke up a bit tired, felt the rain, then was like, ‘What the hell?’ But I didn’t mind. I won here in the rain in the past. Then it dried up, clear blue skies, amazing opening at the beginning of the GP.

“I lost first place into Turn 1. It was OK. That first section, we got through there, and it felt very reminiscent of 2012: ‘Game on. You have to save the tires’, and he wasn’t doing that. I kind of kept my cool.”

“I saw I got a good exit of Turn 1, this was the lap and it was. His tires were dropping off anyway.”

Hamilton’s victory saw Mercedes wrap up its fourth consecutive F1 constructors’ title with three races to spare, with the Briton having played a key part in each of its successes.

“I’m so proud of this team. Big congratulations to the guys, people don’t know the amount of work they do,” Hamilton said.

“It’s over 1,500 people in two factories, so much brainpower and a lot of people to manage to extract the best from each of those.

“To come into a new era of car and perform as we have. There’s been a newfound love within the team. Ferrari, we want to beat them, thrash them.

“So they put more hours of working in to do that. That’s for all their hard work.”