Hamilton on pole for season-opening Australian Grand Prix

3 Comments

Lewis Hamilton will start tomorrow’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix from pole position after finishing fastest in the first qualifying session of the year in Melbourne on Saturday.

After topping final practice earlier in the day, Hamilton carried his form through all three stages of qualifying by posting the fastest time, with an eventual pole lap of 1:26.327.

MORE: Watch full qualifying replay

Rosberg was forced to settle for second place in the final standings, finishing almost six-tenths of a second behind his teammate after a scrappy qualifying session. Felipe Massa won the battle to be ‘best of the rest’ behind Mercedes, qualifying third ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari.

Q1 began in earnest at Albert Park with rookie drivers Carlos Sainz Jr and Max Verstappen among the first out on track, but the same could not be said of Manor. Despite its best efforts, the team was unable to complete a single lap in either practice or qualifying, meaning that neither of its cars will start the race on Sunday.

Despite setting the early pace on the soft compound tire, Ferrari had no answer for Mercedes’ pace come the checkered flag in Q1. Hamilton and Rosberg were able to go P1 and P2 on the medium compound despite the pace deficit, proving the pace of the W06 Hybrid.

With the Manor cars already out, just three more cars would be eliminated in Q1. Daniil Kvyat encountered more problems with his Renault engine, meaning that he could only get out on track in the final five minutes of the session. The Russian managed to produce a lap good enough for P13 in the classification, though, securing his place in Q2.

Jenson Button may have sounded cynical when he said on Thursday that anything better than P18 would be an achievement for McLaren, but he was in fact very accurate. Problems with the power being produced by the Honda engine meant that neither Button nor his teammate Kevin Magnussen could get out of Q1, leaving them P17 and P18 on the grid respectively. Marcus Ericsson of Sauber completed the dropzone, finishing 16th.

Looking to continue his form from FP3 earlier on Saturday, Hamilton was quick to turn up the heat once again in Q2 by posted a fastest lap of 1:26.893 early on. Although Rosberg was able to get within three-tenths of his teammate, the German driver was forced to settle for P2 once again.

A late flurry of times saw the final positions inside the top ten change hands quickly, but Lotus was the eventual beneficiary, getting both of its cars into Q3. Carlos Sainz Jr. put in a great display to finish P8 in the standings, but teammate Max Verstappen was less fortunate, sitting P12 in the final standings after making a mistake on his final Q2 lap.

Hamilton sent out an early statement of intent in Q3 by going a full 2.4 seconds quicker than the rest of the field with his first lap time. Although Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was able to halve this deficit, in the sister Mercedes, Rosberg made a rare qualifying error. By going off at the second to last corner, the German ruined his first timed lap, handing provisional pole to Hamilton.

When Rosberg did eventually post a lap time, it was still half a second down on Hamilton, but the Briton elected to complete his final lap and find an additional one-tenth of a second to secure the first pole position of the season.

Williams had been due to lock out the second row of the grid, only for a mistake from Valtteri Bottas to leave the Finn down in P6. Sebastian Vettel qualified an excellent fourth for Ferrari on debut behind Felipe Massa, with Kimi Raikkonen fifth.

Home favorite Daniel Ricciardo made the best of a bad situation at Red Bull to qualify seventh, finishing less than two-tenths clear of rookie Toro Rosso driver Sainz. Lotus failed to continue its good form in Q3, qualifying ninth and tenth, but Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado already appear in far better shape in 2015 than they were last year.

At the front though, there is no denying that Mercedes remains the team to beat. What will be most worrying to Rosberg is the gap to Hamilton at the front, but the Briton will only use this as a starting point for his championship bid in 2015.

Be sure to join us from 12:30a ET tomorrow to watch the Australian Grand Prix live on NBCSN and Live Extra.

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
0 Comments

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