Rosberg kickstarts 2015 season by topping FP1 in Australia

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Picking up where Mercedes left off at the end of 2014, Nico Rosberg has finished fastest in the first practice session for this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, heading up a Silver Arrows one-two on Friday ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton.

The German driver posted a fastest lap time of 1:29.557 to finish just 0.029 seconds clear of Hamilton at the top of the timesheets in a rather quiet start to the 2015 F1 season.

Most of the teams opted for limited running, opting to ensure that all of the systems were working properly ahead of FP2 on Friday afternoon instead of completing any extensive mileage in the first session.

Just as it had done in winter testing, Mercedes gapped the field by over one second, with Williams’ Valtteri Bottas slotting into third place in the final standings. Toro Rosso’s all-rookie line-up of Carlos Sainz Jr. and Max Verstappen took advantage of their first session in 2015 to complete 60 laps in total, finishing fourth and sixth respectively.

Sebastian Vettel’s first session as a Ferrari driver saw him finish fifth, with teammate Kimi Raikkonen ending up eighth on the timesheets as the team bids to bounce back from its disastrous 2014 campaign.

However, at the back of the grid, Sauber and Manor were less fortunate. Amid a legal row with ex-reserve driver Giedo van der Garde, Sauber opted not to run in first practice for fear of worsening the situation ahead of the resumption of the court hearing ahead of FP2. To make a statement, both Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr sat in their cars for the first half of the session before eventually retiring to their driver rooms.

As expected, Manor was unable to run during first practice after further issues with the cars arose on Friday. It is thought that the team only has one front wing and nose in Melbourne, and sporting director Graeme Lowdon remained coy when asked whether the team would be on track at any point this weekend.

McLaren’s tough start to life with Honda power continued in FP1, with a mechanical issue cutting the team’s session short.

Otherwise, there was very little else to be gleaned from the first session of the 2015 season. Most of the teams will be looking to complete more extensive and representative running in FP2 later today, but for the time being, it appears that the advantage still lies with Mercedes at the front.

Be sure to join us for FP2 live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 1:30a ET on Friday, with the session being streamed live here.

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.