German F1 drivers revel in FIFA World Cup victory

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As festivities at Hockenheim got underway today ahead of the German Grand Prix, there was only one thing that everyone in the F1 paddock was talking about.

Soccer.

Yes, it might be surprising, but when you’ve got a German driver and team leading the championships, and a paddock full of Germans, it isn’t so shocking. Mercedes paid tribute to the nation’s win in Brazil with a new livery on its motorhome, calling the team “Das Beste” (which we needn’t translate), and in a press conference featuring four German drivers, it isn’t surprising what the hot topic was.

Nico Rosberg had planned to use a special World Cup themed helmet for this weekend’s race, but has been forced to change it after FIFA claimed his use of the trophy was in breach of its copyright. The design has since been changed to centre on a star. “It was a pity because it looked really cool with the trophy on the top,” Rosberg said. “It’s replaced now with a big star, and no-one can take that away from us. That’s ours!”

As for the final itself, unsurprisingly, a number of the drivers did watch eagerly as Germany defeated Argentina 1-0 at the Estadio Maracana. Rosberg himself had quite a sweet evening watching it with his family.

“I watched it at my parents place, as is tradition in our family because my Mom is the biggest soccer fanatic in our family, so I watched it there with friends and went absolutely crazy when they scored,” he said. “It was a great time!”

Sebastian Vettel also watched it with his loved ones, and said it was an important victory given that the nation’s last came in

“I watched in on TV at home,” Vettel said. “Thank God they showed it. At home, with a couple of friends. I think the reason, it has been 24 years since we last won the World Cup. I hope that the next one doesn’t take 24 years again.

“I think we had a very strong team for the last World Cups as well and were very close to win. It’s good that we succeeded now.”

Adrian Sutil had two chances in the World Cup, given that he is half Uruguayan. He too was delighted with the victory, and believes that it will only aid spirits ahead of the race this weekend.

“It was a great game, I think,” the Sauber driver said. “Very exciting and both played very well. One minute the Germans were a bit better than the other ones and scored a goal. I think something to be very proud of.

“It’s great to see Germany being very happy about it. So many festivals and parties after it, so really, really good. Good mood in the air, so, great also for this weekend here, for the German Grand Prix.”

Nico Hulkenberg put the success down to the strength and unity of the German team. “I also watched it at home with some friends,” he said. “I think we won because we had the strongest team and a great team spirit, a very clever coach.”

Undoubtedly, this weekend’s race has come at a perfect time for both the German drivers and the fans. Spirits are undoubtedly high, and the German representatives in the paddock will be hoping to continue the national sporting success on Sunday.

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III