Tough weekend ahead of Lewis Hamilton

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Lewis Hamilton believes that he is in store for a difficult weekend at the Bahrain Grand Prix, despite finishing 3rd in China last time out for Mercedes.

“I anticipate it’s going to be a very tough weekend for us,” the 2008 world champion told Sky Sports.

“The team struggled a lot last year but we’ve made a huge step forward in how we look after our tires, so hopefully we’ll be a lot better this weekend.”

Hamilton has made a good start to the season despite the team claiming that they were not expecting to be competitive in 2013. With three strong scores to his name, the British driver is currently 4th in the drivers’ championship with 40 points, although many had expected better following his pole position in China.

Mercedes appears to be struggling with its tires, but Hamilton is slowly getting used to the more aggressive Pirelli compounds.

“There are a lot of different techniques you can have. There’s so much to learn, I’m always learning. Just in the last couple of months I’ve learnt a couple of new techniques which happen to help quite a lot.”

Hamilton also refused to back the complaints of Red Bull, who believe that the tires have hindered some of the racing this season.

“It’s a good challenge, even if people perhaps aren’t enjoying it.

“I don’t find it really difficult. I mean, I do come out of a pit stop and I want to push and go hard to try and gain. But in actual fact, it’s better to go a bit slower in those first few laps – which people are starting to notice.

“That’s what Kimi and Fernando and Sebastian have been doing, which has meant that their long race pace has been really good. It’s still great racing, it’s just different.”

Hamilton will be chasing his first win in Bahrain, although he has finished on the podium twice before in Sakhir. If the Mercedes W04 can manage its tires better this weekend, both Hamilton and Rosberg may be in a position to fight for the win.

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10-3 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 7 p.m. to USA Network. Peacock will have flag-to-flag coverage.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III