Conor Daly delivers a standout drive for Performance Tech at Sebring

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He may not have a full-time ride yet for either the Verizon IndyCar Series or TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season, but Conor Daly delivered a weekend worthy of one at this week’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

Sharing the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports Oreca FLM09 in the Prototype Challenge class with Jerome Mee and James French, Daly drove some six hours and 27 minutes in the 12-hour race, his first PC appearance since a one-off with RSR Racing at the 2014 Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Daly qualified the car fourth and set the second fastest race lap in class, only 0.013 of a second off Bruno Junqueira’s pace in the race during a standout drive.

He helped bring the team a podium finish behind the PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports and CORE autosport entries, in what was the longest drive of his career. The open-wheel veteran has primarily run sprint races in various open-wheel development series.

“Ah man, I just was trying to go fast!” Daly told MotorSportsTalk at the end of the race. “We had a good car. We had a great car. It was just difficult to come from behind. That’s part of the game.

“I’m just thankful for this Performance Tech team that I had this opportunity. It was crazy, man. We had one big spin on the last stint, trying to get around one of the Ferraris. It only set us back a few seconds. Otherwise it was a mistake-free day.”

Daly noted the car ran much of the race without all the rear bodywork.

He also won the Eye Respect Spirit of the Race award from IMSA Radio for his efforts.

The next race for the PC class in the TUDOR Championship is at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on May 3.

Valtteri Bottas wins chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix

Mark Thompson/Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas won a chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix while six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton finished fourth after getting a late time penalty Sunday.

The Formula One race was interrupted three times by a safety car, and nine of 20 drivers abandoned, including both Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon – who tried to overtake Hamilton on the outside with 10 laps left, touched wheels and flew off track.

Hamilton was given a 5-second time penalty for causing the collision, having earlier been hit with a three-place grid penalty after an incident in Saturday’s qualifying was reviewed by stewards.

SHOW OF SUPPORT: Drivers take knee before race

Bottas led all 71 laps in the eighth victory of his career. It was the second consecutive victory in the season opener for the Finn, though he won four months earlier in 2019 after this season’s start was delayed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Lando Norris of McLaren F1 celebrates after his first podium finish (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).

Bottas started from pole position and Hamilton from fifth, but it looked like a straight fight between the two Mercedes drivers as has been the case so often in recent years.

But late drama in Spielberg ensured otherwise and Hamilton’s time penalty meant Charles Leclerc took second place for Ferrari, and Lando Norris sent McLaren’s garage into raptures – and threw all social distancing rules out of the window amid the euphoria – with third place.

It was the 20-year-old British driver’s first career podium, and his superb final lap was the fastest of a dramatic season opener.

Norris became the youngest British driver to secure a podium finish and the third-youngest ever in Formula One.

Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).