Double points could affect more than the F1 title race

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While double points potentially affecting the Formula One driver’s championship will be the big talking point heading into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, there’s still plenty more the double points could also affect.

Here are some of the other driver standings storylines on the back burner, but still to note heading into Abu Dhabi:

BATTLE FOR FOURTH

Just three points separate Sebastian Vettel (159), Fernando Alonso (157) and Valtteri Bottas (156) in a three-way fight for fourth place in the driver’s title. Bottas lost the spot at Brazil this weekend following his belts issue with a 10th-place finish, while Vettel and Alonso seized their chances in fifth and sixth. It should be fairly straightforward that however the order these three finish in at Abu Dhabi will determine the finishing order.

SEVENTH UP FOR GRABS

Jenson Button (106), Felipe Massa (98) and Nico Hulkenberg (80), could all end seventh in points. Hulkenberg has a shot at that given double points; otherwise he wouldn’t. Remote as the shot is, Hulkenberg could get as high as seventh in the points with his first career podium and Massa ending ninth or worse, and Button 10th or worse.

FINAL TOP-10 SPOT

Kevin Magnussen (55), Kimi Raikkonen (53) and Sergio Perez (47) are jockeying for the final top-10 spot in the standings. Like the fourth-place battle, should be fairly self-explanatory in terms of finishing order determining the standings, unless a big double-points result (say a seventh place, and 12 points) pushes Perez past the two in front of him.

CONSTRUCTOR’S JUMBLE? UNLIKELY, BUT POSSIBLE

More crucial to note are the Constructor’s Championship scenarios, and the respective pots of money that go with each position.

Mercedes and Red Bull are locked into first and second, but there are other situations where third on back could change.

Such situations remain unlikely, but they are mathematically possible by way of double points.

Williams holds a 44-point edge on Ferrari for third place (254-210). Under standard points, third would be guaranteed, as the maximum 43 (25 for first, 18 for second) is possible. With double points, that number jumps to 86.

Ferrari won’t be getting 86; that much you can pretty much guarantee. But with a fourth and fifth, that’s 44 points there (24 and 20), and Williams failing to score, a tie would occur. Third and fifth, to net 50, with Williams failing to score, would put Ferrari ahead. Again, it’s highly unlikely to happen, but the specter is possible because of double points.

Ferrari is in a similar defense situation when it comes to holding onto fourth, versus McLaren. Up 49 (210-161), it would take that similar 50-point-plus scenario for McLaren to overtake Ferrari, if then Ferrari failed to score. Given the two teams’ respective forms in Brazil, it’s at least plausible where McLaren could overtake if they have a dynamic finale and Ferrari has a shocker.

Force India, down 34 to McLaren, is in an even better position to overtake McLaren for fifth. A combo fifth/sixth or better for the Nico Hulkenberg/Sergio Perez pair, with McLaren failing to score, could see Vijay Mallya’s team crack the top five.

Toro Rosso on 30 points and Lotus on 10 are likely to end in seventh and eighth, but in a freak situation where a Lotus came fifth and Toro Rosso failed to score, that would produce a tie where Lotus would jump ahead on the fifth to Toro Rosso’s best result of sixth, achieved by Jean-Eric Vergne in Singapore.

Considering how much of a talking point the distribution of finances is to the teams, it’s probably a relief for F1 given the double points implementation that is still highly unlikely to affect the Constructor’s Championship order from Brazil to Abu Dhabi. But the can of worms is opened with the high points potential.

Final 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona results, stats

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona overall results were all streaks: two consecutive victories in the endurance classic for Meyer Shank Racing and three in a row for Acura.

And Helio Castroneves became the second driver to win three consecutive Rolex 24s and the first to win in three straight years (Peter Gregg won in 1973, ’75 and ’76; the race wasn’t held in ’74 because of a global oil crisis).

Starting from the pole position, Tom Blomqvist took the checkered flag in the No. 60 ARX-06 that led a race-high 365 of 783 laps with co-drivers Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Colin Braun.

RESULTS: Click here for the finishing order in the 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona l By class

Meyer Shank Racing now has two Rolex 24 victories and the 2022 championship since entering the premier prototype category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2021.

“I think what’s so special about this team is we are a small team compared to some of our opponents, but the atmosphere, the way we work, enables people to get the best out of themselves, and I think that’s why we’re such high achievers,” Blomqvist said. “I think there’s no egos. It’s a very open book, and that just enables each and every one of us to reach our potential. I think that’s why we’ve achieved so much success in really a short time at this level of competition.”

It’s the 16th IMSA victory for MSR.

The 61st running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona marked the debut of the Grand Touring Prototype category that brought hybrid engine technology to IMSA’s top level.

In other categories:

LMP2: James Allen passed Ben Hanley on the final lap and delivered a victory in the No. 55 ORECA by 0.016 seconds. It’s the second IMSA victory for Proton Competition, which last won at Sebring in 2012. It was the first Rolex 24 victory for Allen and co-drivers Gianmaria Bruni, Fred Poordad and Francesco Pizzi.

GTD Pro: Cooper MacNeil won in the last start of his IMSA career as the No. 79 Mercedes-AMG GT3 scored the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for WeatherTech Racing and the team’s fourth career victory.

MacNeil, who co-drove with Maro Engel, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella, earned his 12th career victory and first at the Rolex 24.

“Winning by last IMSA race is tremendous,” MacNeil said.

GTD: The No. 27 Heart of Racing Team delivered the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for Aston Martin, which has been competing in endurance races at Daytona International Speedway since 1964. Drivers Marco Sorensen, Roman De Angelis, Darren Turner and Ian James (also the team principal) earned the victory in the English brand’s 13th attempt.

It’s also the first Rolex 24 at Daytona win for Heart of Racing, which has seven IMSA wins.

LMP3: Anthony Mantella, Wayne Boyd, Nico Varrone and Thomas Merrill drove the No. 17 AWA Duqueine D08 to victory by 12 laps for the team’s first class win in IMSA.


STATS PACKAGE FOR ROLEX 24 HOURS OF DAYTONA:

Fastest laps by driver

Fastest laps by driver after race (over the weekend)

Fastest laps by driver and class after race

Fastest lap sequence

Lap chart

Leader sequence

Race analysis by lap

Stint analysis

Time cards

Pit stop time cards

Best sector times

Race distance and speed average

Flag analysis

Weather report

NEXT: The 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will resume with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring March 18 with coverage across NBC, USA and Peacock.