F1 drivers to pay tribute to missing plane’s victims in Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix

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Formula One drivers and teams taking part in Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix will pay tribute to the 239 people aboard missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370.

According to BBC.com, drivers will carry messages on their helmets and cars dedicated to the victims during the race. A minute’s silence will also be observed prior to the start of the event.

The fate of the missing plane has cast a definite pall over activities leading up to Sunday’s race, particularly since the runway from which the plane took off of is visible from the main grandstand of the Sepang track the race will be held upon.

“It’s devastating to hear about it,” Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton told BBC.com. “All you can do is pray.”

Added McLaren driver Jenson Button, “It’s good that the whole of the paddock are running tributes. It’s devastating. I really feel for all the families. We will do all we can. It’ll be difficult this weekend for all the Malaysian people.”

The plane disappeared on an overnight flight from Kuala Lampur, Malaysia, to Beijing, China. It is believed the plane may have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, where investigators and potential recovery efforts are focusing their attention.

And, of course, the fate of the plane and its passengers remain at the forefront of most Malaysian residents, which will make Sunday’s race all the more difficult.

“I’ve experienced first hand how everybody in Malaysia is thinking of families and friends,” said Nico Rosberg, who won the season-opening F1 race at Australia two weeks ago. “There are billboards and signs here with people who have put stickers up with messages on them.”

As a result of the national mourning, several festivities have been either cancelled (including a concert with Christina Aguilera and Rain), or scaled back.

BBC.com also reported that while last year’s race was just over two-thirds full (84,000 out of 120,000 seats), due to the lingering pall from the fate of the plane, Sunday’s race may be only one-third full.

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Final 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona results, stats

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona overall results were all streaks: two consecutive victories in the endurance classic for Meyer Shank Racing and three in a row for Acura.

And Helio Castroneves became the second driver to win three consecutive Rolex 24s and the first to win in three straight years (Peter Gregg won in 1973, ’75 and ’76; the race wasn’t held in ’74 because of a global oil crisis).

Starting from the pole position, Tom Blomqvist took the checkered flag in the No. 60 ARX-06 that led a race-high 365 of 783 laps with co-drivers Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Colin Braun.

RESULTS: Click here for the finishing order in the 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona l By class

Meyer Shank Racing now has two Rolex 24 victories and the 2022 championship since entering the premier prototype category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2021.

“I think what’s so special about this team is we are a small team compared to some of our opponents, but the atmosphere, the way we work, enables people to get the best out of themselves, and I think that’s why we’re such high achievers,” Blomqvist said. “I think there’s no egos. It’s a very open book, and that just enables each and every one of us to reach our potential. I think that’s why we’ve achieved so much success in really a short time at this level of competition.”

It’s the 16th IMSA victory for MSR.

The 61st running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona marked the debut of the Grand Touring Prototype category that brought hybrid engine technology to IMSA’s top level.

In other categories:

LMP2: James Allen passed Ben Hanley on the final lap and delivered a victory in the No. 55 ORECA by 0.016 seconds. It’s the second IMSA victory for Proton Competition, which last won at Sebring in 2012. It was the first Rolex 24 victory for Allen and co-drivers Gianmaria Bruni, Fred Poordad and Francesco Pizzi.

GTD Pro: Cooper MacNeil won in the last start of his IMSA career as the No. 79 Mercedes-AMG GT3 scored the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for WeatherTech Racing and the team’s fourth career victory.

MacNeil, who co-drove with Maro Engel, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella, earned his 12th career victory and first at the Rolex 24.

“Winning by last IMSA race is tremendous,” MacNeil said.

GTD: The No. 27 Heart of Racing Team delivered the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for Aston Martin, which has been competing in endurance races at Daytona International Speedway since 1964. Drivers Marco Sorensen, Roman De Angelis, Darren Turner and Ian James (also the team principal) earned the victory in the English brand’s 13th attempt.

It’s also the first Rolex 24 at Daytona win for Heart of Racing, which has seven IMSA wins.

LMP3: Anthony Mantella, Wayne Boyd, Nico Varrone and Thomas Merrill drove the No. 17 AWA Duqueine D08 to victory by 12 laps for the team’s first class win in IMSA.


STATS PACKAGE FOR ROLEX 24 HOURS OF DAYTONA:

Fastest laps by driver

Fastest laps by driver after race (over the weekend)

Fastest laps by driver and class after race

Fastest lap sequence

Lap chart

Leader sequence

Race analysis by lap

Stint analysis

Time cards

Pit stop time cards

Best sector times

Race distance and speed average

Flag analysis

Weather report

NEXT: The 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will resume with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring March 18 with coverage across NBC, USA and Peacock.