Hamilton completes “2012 encore” en route to popular, historic USGP win


AUSTIN – Interestingly, Lewis Hamilton made an impromptu appearance at the COTA Fan Fest in downtown Austin on Saturday night, asking fans to wish for a “2012 encore” on Sunday.

Less than 24 hours later, he got it.

The Mercedes driver qualified second yesterday – as he did then, except in a Mercedes-powered McLaren – and would require a move for the lead on the run down to Turn 12 in order to make it back to the front.

MORE: Watch a full replay of the U.S. Grand Prix

So as he did to Sebastian Vettel that year, Hamilton did to his teammate Nico Rosberg on Sunday after hounding him and reeling him in following the first round of pit stops.

Hamilton maximized his run on Pirelli’s soft tires in the opening stint, failing to lose too much time to Rosberg. Even though he had a microscopically slower first stop – 3.1 from his Mercedes crew compared to Rosberg’s 3.0 – he was able to begin reeling him in.

And it all built to the crescendo of that move, on Rosberg’s inside on the run down to Turn 12. Hamilton got the run, moved to the inside and completed the outbraking maneuver.

“It’s a very good circuit to be able to follow, but it’s not easy,” Hamilton explained. “It’s hard to stay close through the middle sector, but I wanted to be in the DRS zone. I felt confident – there was a bit of a headwind into 12 and I was just close enough to throw it up the inside. You have to decide how much of a risk you’re willing to take, but Nico didn’t full defend. I may have caught him unaware.”

That put him in position, and from there, he was able to bring it home en route to his fifth straight win – the first time in his career he’s been able to achieve that illustrious feat. It’s his tenth this season and 32nd of his career, the latter of which is a new record for British drivers and also puts him equal with Fernando Alonso all-time.

The win was a case of Hamilton overcoming the braking issues that plagued his qualifying session on Saturday. He spoke of the team’s improvement to get the issue sorted.

“We had some problems but corrected them today,” he said during the post-race press conference. “I pushed as hard as I could in the first stint. The second stint, I seemed to be even quicker. Once I got past, it was about controlling it.”

Hamilton spoke of what his third win in the U.S. meant, considering how much he’s been embracing this week in the States.

“I just went into the race with the belief I could win it,” he said. “From New York, I felt I could win it. There’s been tons of flags, caps, shirts. Great weather, fantastic circuit. I’m so grateful for the support in the U.S.

“I said need another race like 2012, and I was catching exactly at the same points as I did to Sebastian. There wasn’t a portion in the race where I didn’t think I could get him. It’s such a great feeling when you have a race like that.”

The win also puts him 24 points up heading to Brazil next week.

IMSA Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta: How to watch, start times, schedule, entry list

AUTO: NOV 13 IMSA - Motul Petit Le Mans
David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Start times, TV schedule: The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will conclude the 2022 season this weekend with the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta, which also will mark the end of the line for the DPi class.

The premier Daytona Prototype international category, which started in 2017, will be replaced by the new Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class with its LMDh cars that will establish a bridge to Le Mans.

For the third time in four years, an Acura will be crowned the champion in DPi as the No. 10 of Wayne Taylor Racing holds a 19-point edge over the No. 60 of Meyer Shank Racing.

Last year, WTR’s No. 10 entered the season finale with a 19-point lead but lost the title to the No. 31 Cadillac of Action Express.

Full-time WTR drivers Filipe Albuquerque and Ricky Taylor (who will be joined by Brendon Hartley in the No. 10 this weekend) have a series-leading four victories this season. The MSR duo of Tom Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves this weekend) won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and have five runner-up finishes this year.

Championship scenarios in the other four categories:

GTD Pro: Points leaders Matt Campbell and Mathieu Jaminet will clinch the title by starting in their No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.

–GTD: There are 140 points separating the top four teams with Roman De Angelis and the No. 27 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 leading by 45 points.

–LMP2: John Farano is first in the driver standings by 33 points over Dwight Merriman and Ryan Dalziel. In the team standings, the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports leads by 19 points over the No. 8 Tower Motorsport (Farano’s team).

–LMP3: No. 54 CORE autosport drivers Jon Bennett and Colin Braun lead by 83 points over the No. 74 Riley Motorsports of Gar Robinson.

With the 10-hour race requiring an extra driver, several stars from other racing series have been added. In addition to Castroneves, Scott Dixon and Ryan Hunter-Reay will serve as third drivers in Chip Ganassi Racing’s pair of Cadillacs.

Jimmie Johnson also will be making his last DPi start in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac with Mike Rockenfeller and Kamui Kobayashi. Petit Le Mans could mark the last start in an IMSA prototype for Johnson, who has said limited inventory likely will keep him out of the GTP category in the Rolex 24 next year.

Here are the start times, starting lineup, schedule and TV info for the IMSA Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta (all times are ET):

Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta start times, schedule, TV info

When: Saturday, 12:10 p.m. ET

Race distance: Ten hours on the 12-turn, 2.54-mile road course

TV: Noon-3 p.m., NBC; 3-10:30 p.m., USA Network. Peacock, the NBC Sports App,and NBCSports.com will have streaming coverage of the event from flag to flag beginning at noon. Leigh Diffey and Dave Burns are the play by play announcers with analysts Calvin Fish, Townsend Bell, James Hinchcliffe and Brian Till. The pit reporters are Kevin Lee, Hannah Newhouse, Dillon Welch and Matt Yocum.

IMSA.com live TV qualifying stream: Friday, 3:35 p.m. ET.

IMSA Radio: All sessions are live on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com; SiriusXM live race coverage will begin Saturday at noon (XM 207, Internet/App 992).

Forecast: According to Wunderground.com, it’s expected to be 63 degrees with an 85% chance of rain at the green flag.

Entry list: Click here to see the 48-car field for the IMSA Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta

Daily schedule IMSA Petit Le Mans

Here’s a rundown of the Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia:

Wednesday, Sept. 28

9:30 a.m.: Mazda MX-5 practice

10:25 a.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup

12:30 p.m.: Prototype Challenge practice

1:15 p.m.: Mazda MX-5 practcice

2 p.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup practice

3:30 p.m.: Michelin Challenge practice

Thursday, Sept. 29

8 a.m.: Prototype Challenge practice

9 a.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup qualifying

9:50 a.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

11:40 a.m.: Prototype Challenge qualifying

12:10 p.m.: Michelin Challenge practice

1:50 p.m.: Mazda MX-5, Race 1

2:55 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

5 p.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup, Race 1

6 p.m.: Michelin Challenge qualifying

7:30 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

Friday, Sept. 30

8 a.m.: Prototype Challenge race

9:50 a.m.: Mazda MX-5, Race 2

10:55 a.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup, Race 2

1:10 p.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race

3:40 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying

Saturday, Oct. 1

9:15 a.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

12:10 p.m.: Petit Le Mans