Starting grid for the 2014 Malaysian GP

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Formula 1 arrives in Malaysia at a difficult time in the nation’s history following the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight 370 22 days ago, but the sport is looking to entertain at a difficult time in Kuala Lumpur.

Albeit with reduced fanfare, the race weekend has gone ahead as normal, and Lewis Hamilton was the man to watch on Saturday as he took pole position in a wet qualifying session for the Malaysian Grand Prix. After a delayed start to proceedings due to the weather, the 2008 world champion managed to tame the tricky conditions and equal Jim Clark’s record for pole positions by a British driver.

However, with Sebastian Vettel qualifying an excellent second and Australian Grand Prix winner Nico Rosberg looming in third place, Hamilton may face a fight if he is to win his first Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang today.

Following qualifying, there has been just one change made to the starting grid following qualifying:

  • Valtteri Bottas has been handed a three place grid penalty after the stewards deemed that he blocked Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo during Q2 yesterday. The Finn also received two points on his FIA superlicense, and became the first driver to fall foul of this new rule.

For full details on watching the Malaysian Grand Prix live with NBCSN and Live Extra, click here.

Starting grid for the 2014 Malaysian Grand Prix

1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull
3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari
5. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull
6. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari
7. Nico Hulkenberg Force India
8. Kevin Magnussen McLaren
9. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso
10. Jenson Button McLaren
11. Danill Kvyat Toro Rosso
12. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber
13. Felipe Massa Williams
14. Sergio Perez Force India
15. Romain Grosjean Lotus
16. Pastor Maldonado Lotus
17. Adrian Sutil Sauber
18. Valtteri Bottas Williams
19. Jules Bianchi Marussia
20. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham
21. Max Chilton Marussia
22. Marcus Ericsson Caterham

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.