Hamilton and Mercedes back on top in FP2

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Lewis Hamilton has finished fastest in the second practice session for the Canadian Grand Prix, heading up a Mercedes one-two with German teammate Nico Rosberg for close company.

The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is a favorite of Hamilton’s, and this was clear during FP2 as he posted a fastest lap time of 1:16.118 to finish 0.175 seconds ahead of Rosberg.

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel finished as ‘best of the rest’ in third place, only half a second down on Hamilton’s pace-setting time. However, teammate Daniel Ricciardo had a less fruitful session, finishing down in 12th place.

Ferrari and Williams both managed to put in impressive displays, with the Italian marque’s drivers finishing fourth and fifth. Kimi Raikkonen appeared to find his feet with the F14 T car (despite spinning at the hairpin) to finish ahead of Fernando Alonso, while compatriot Valtteri Bottas looked comfortable with the Williams in seventh place behind teammate Felipe Massa.

Marcus Ericsson’s session didn’t go to plan as he was forced to pull over at the side of the track due to a problem on his car. Marussia’s Jules Bianchi was also sidelined due to a problem with his power unit, meaning that he finished the session in last place with just three laps on the board.

Adrian Sutil was left fuming after Kevin Magnussen blocked him at the final corner, forcing the Sauber driver to take evasive action across the chicane. However, the stewards did not see anything too sinister behind it, and opted to take no action.

The teams also took the chance to work on their long-run pace during the second half of the session, allowing them to get a representation of what may happen during the race on Sunday. Once again, Hamilton and Rosberg were the men to beat, even with heavy fuel loads.

Ultimately, Mercedes once again ruled the roost in practice, suggesting that Alonso’s charge to P1 in FP1 was merely a flash-in-the-pan. Of course, a lot can happen on Saturday and Sunday, but once again we look set to see a Mercedes victory.

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.