Rosberg: “It’s only one very small step”


Nico Rosberg has taken his 11th, and most crucial, pole of the Formula One season for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix season finale.

Rosberg ends the year with an 11-7 pole edge over Mercedes AMG Petronas teammate Lewis Hamilton, who leads Rosberg by 17 points entering tomorrow’s race (7 a.m. ET, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra).

However, Rosberg once again was quick to downplay the achievement and shift the focus to tomorrow’s race, where the World Championship between the two will be decided.

“It was a great day again for sure,” Rosberg said during the TV unilaterals. “I’m thankful to the engineers and everything. They sorted out the car and I’m really happy with the setup.

“It was a good lap at the end. But of course it’s only one very small step. It’s about the championship, not pole position or anything. Valtteri (Bottas) said he got a perfect lap, but it would have been better if he got between us. Starting first is the best place to be.”

He had more to offer for the rest of the post-qualifying press conference, while Hamilton, who sat next to him, was in stark contrast with fewer words to say.

The stage is set for a dramatic conclusion, and of course much anticipation of the drivers’ run down to Turn 1. Rosberg, on the clean side of the track, should have the advantage.

Statistically speaking though, while Rosberg has had 10 prior poles this season, he’s only been able to convert three of them into victories. He did so at Monaco, Germany and last time out at Brazil.

“My mindset is I need to get the job done and continue on the form I had in Brazil in the race,” Rosberg admitted.

Rosberg is needing to be in full attack this weekend as he seeks his first championship; he’s done what he’s needed to do on Saturday to make it happen.

Final 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona results, stats


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.


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.