Starting grid for the 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix

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After dominating every practice session in Bahrain earlier this weekend, it came as little surprise that Mercedes was the team to beat once again in qualifying as Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton locked out the front row on Saturday night.

Such was the Silver Arrows’ advantage that both drivers could run just once in every part of qualifying, and therefore saved three sets of tires compared to the other teams. The only concern that pole-sitter Rosberg had was about tire degradation, and with a safety net now in place, a one-two finish appears to be a formality.

The race for the final podium position appears to be far, far closer, thankfully. Daniel Ricciardo finished as ‘best of the rest’ behind the Mercedes, but he will start 13th due to a grid penalty. Valtteri Bottas will instead start in third place ahead of Sergio Perez, and with Kimi Raikkonen showing a good long run pace during practice, the Finn could be set to claim Ferrari’s first podium finish of the season.

Following qualifying, there have been two changes made to the grid due to penalties:

  • Daniel Ricciardo has been demoted from P3 to P13 after receiving a 10 place grid penalty in Malaysia for an unsafe release in the pit lane.
  • Adrian Sutil received a five place grid penalty for blocking Romain Grosjean during Q1 yesterday. Having qualified 18th, he will start last on the grid.

You can watch the Bahrain Grand Prix live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 10:30am ET. For more details, click here.

Starting grid for the 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix

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

Meyer Shank Racing wins second consecutive Rolex 24 at Daytona to begin GTP era

Rolex 24 Meyer Shank
James Gilbert/Getty Images
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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Grand Touring Prototype era began just as the previous one ended as Meyer Shank Racing’s Acura captured its second consecutive Rolex 24 at Daytona with star Tom Blomqvist emphatically starting and finishing the race.

The No. 60 ARX-06 won the 24-hour endurance classic at Daytona International Speedway by 4.190 seconds over Filipe Albuquerque of Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport, giving Acura a sweep of the top two spots.

The Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac V-LMDh cars took the next two spots with Renger van der Zande (the No. 01) and Earl Bamber (No. 02) as four of the nine new GTP cars finished on the lead lap within 12 seconds of each other – quashing the prerace hand-wringing of mass failures for the highly technical cars in the debut of the hybrid prototype premier category.

There were major problems for the manufacturer newcomers Porsche Penske Motorsport and BMW M Team RLL, whose two pairs of cars all finished at least a dozen laps down or more because of major mechanical problems in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season opener.

But there were no such failures for Acura despite the manufacturer skipping any endurance testing with the new LMDh car.

It’s the third Rolex 24 at Daytona victory for co-owner Mike Shank, who won his first in 2012.

Just as he capped the 2022 season by winning the Petit Le Mans season finale in the No. 60 Acura to clinch the final championship of the DPi division for MSR, Blomqvist was behind the wheel again for his third overall victory in IMSA.

“That was crazy,” Blomqvist told NBC Sports’ Kevin Lee. “I knew we had a fantastic car. I’ve been working hard. Unbelievable. Massive, well done, everyone being part of this project and worked together on this project. What a car we’ve built.

“I was just a bit nervous. The 10 was definitely second fastest car, but we held them off.”

It was the second consecutive Rolex 24 victory for MSR’s trio of Blomqvist, Simon Pagenaud and Helio Castroneves, who were joined this year by Colin Braun (winning his first Rolex 24 overall).

Castroneves joined select company in winning the Rolex 24 in three consecutive years (his first win was with Wayne Taylor Racing in 2021). Castroneves and Pagenaud are entering their second consecutive year as teammates for Meyer Shank Racing’s Dallara-Hondas in the NTT IndyCar Series.

“Can you believe that?” Castroneves told Lee. “Big props to everyone. Everyone did an amazing job. Everybody worked so hard together. We got it! Another one. I can’t believe it. This is absolutely a dream come true.”

The four-time Indy 500 winner led the team in his signature fence-climbing celebration afterward — just as he had when he finished MSR’s victory in last year’s Rolex 24 and when he won the 2021 Indy 500 for the team.

“It’s always fun to climb the fence with Helio,” said Pagenaud, who drove the second-to-last stint before Blomqvist closed it out: “The competition as amazing. It was tough out there. So much fun. Hope you had as much fun as we had. I’m going to savor this one.”

Winners in other classes were the No. 55 ORECA 07 of Proton Competition (which triumphed on a last-lap pass by James Allen on Ben Hanley), WeatherTech Racing’s No. 79 Mercedes in GTD Pro, Heart of Racing’s No. 27 Aston Martin in GTD and AWA’s No. 17 in LMP3.