Vettel and Ricciardo both looking for areas to improve

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Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo have both come away from the first two practice sessions for the Canadian Grand Prix feeling that there is more to come from Red Bull.

Vettel finished fourth in FP1 and third in FP2, but his lap time in the second session was limited due to a gearbox problem. The German driver was pleased to rank so highly on the timesheets, although he feels that the gap to Mercedes is still ominous.

“It was a bit of a shame to lose some laps,” he said. “We had something with the gearbox, but fortunately we got it checked and went out again. It meant that we were maybe a bit off the rhythm compared to some of the others, but it seemed to be alright and we still got some good laps completed.

“I think there’s still a lot if improvement we can do, the Mercedes is very quick, but it was okay as a start to the weekend.”

His lap times during his long run were just a few tenths shy of Nico Rosberg’s efforts in the Mercedes, but teammate Daniel Ricciardo was less fortunate. He finished FP2 down in 12th place, some 1.5 seconds down on Hamilton at the top.

“The driving was good today, but looking at the time sheets we’ve got some work to do,” he admitted. “We got some good references to go by and we need to put some work in tonight.

“I enjoy driving around here and there are a lot of fans in the grandstands. It seems that we’re close to some of the other teams, so we’ve just got to extract as much from the cars as we can over the weekend.”

Ricciardo’s pace during the long run was not quite on a par with Vettel’s, and he may face an uphill struggle to extend his podium streak to three races in Canada.

Despite their struggles, both of the Red Bull drivers appear to be well-placed for this weekend’s race, and a top three finish for the defending world champions is certainly on the table.

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.