Lewis Hamilton in line for new deal to stay at Mercedes

1 Comment

With Lewis Hamilton seemingly on the verge of his second World Driving Championship, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has declared that he’ll offer the Brit a new contract to keep him with the Silver Arrows.

Hamilton’s current three-year pact with Merc is set to expire at the end of the 2015 campaign, and Wolff wants to make sure he stays paired up with fellow championship threat Nico Rosberg (who signed a multi-year extension to stay in Brackley this past July).

“That is because these two boys are part of the success of the team, they know each other so well and they respect each other,” Wolff said according to Britain’s Press Association. “The moment you get somebody else in that fight could be detrimental to the team’s performance.

“So our main priority is to continue with Lewis and Nico beyond 2015.”

Wolff said that he would revisit contract talks with Hamilton at season’s end in order to allow him a clear focus on pairing the Driver’s Championship with Mercedes’ first Constructor’s Championship.

He also said that his bosses at Mercedes-Benz have not been putting heat on him to lock in Hamilton for the years ahead.

“One of the reasons why this team has progressed forward is that as Mercedes-Benz we have this huge mothership in the background helping us,” Wolff explained. “But also they leave us to do our business and take the decisions we believe are the right ones for this tiny entity.

“We can ask for their opinions when we think it is important, and of course [Daimler AG Chairman] Dieter Zetsche and the board are part of big decision making, but there has been no such pressure.”

Hamilton’s not the only Mercedes figure set to receive a big reward.

Paul Weaver of the UK’s Guardian newspaper reports that each member of the team staff at Brackley – from engineering all the way down to cleaning and catering – will receive a minimum bonus of 10,000 GBP (roughly $16,000 USD) in the wake of claiming the Constructor’s title.

The team celebrated the accomplishment today at team HQ:

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

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
0 Comments

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 12:10-3 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 7 p.m. to USA Network. Peacock will have flag-to-flag coverage.


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