2015 Chinese Grand Prix Preview

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Following Sebastian Vettel’s surprise victory at the Malaysian Grand Prix two weeks ago, the Formula 1 paddock now moves on to China in the knowledge that, contrary to popular opinion, Mercedes can be beaten in 2015.

It was at the Chinese Grand Prix back in 2012 that Nico Rosberg claimed the German marque’s first victory in F1 since returning to the sport in 2010. A repeat result for last year’s championship runner-up is essential, given that he has legitimately beaten teammate Lewis Hamilton just once since last year’s German Grand Prix in July.

With Vettel and Ferrari biting at the heels of the Silver Arrows, Mercedes heads to China knowing that it cannot rest on its laurels. The defeat in Malaysia came as a shock, but another this weekend at a race that should play to the strengths of the W06 Hybrid could raise serious questions about which team rules the F1 roost.

Naturally, the fight between Mercedes and Ferrari is just one of many storylines that are set to play out in China this weekend. Here’s our full preview of the 2015 Chinese Grand Prix.

2015 Chinese Grand Prix – Talking Points

Mercedes looks to resume usual service

Mercedes’ defeat in Malaysia was arguably the most surprising result in F1 since Pastor Maldonado’s victory for Williams at the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix. Few thought the Silver Arrows could be beaten without some kind of divine intervention, yet Vettel and Ferrari managed to do exactly that. In China, the focus for Mercedes will be on resuming normal service and getting back on the top step of the podium. Although the cooler conditions should suit the W06 Hybrid better, if its tire management problems are as bad everywhere as they were in Malaysia, then another upset could be on the cards.

Ferrari and Vettel remain realistic

Despite soundly beating Mercedes last time out, both Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari are remaining realistic about their chances for the rest of the season. The four-time world champion has undoubtedly settled in at Maranello very quickly, and he will be hoping to pick up a third podium finish in as many races on Sunday. However, spare a thought for his teammate, Kimi Raikkonen. The Finn could have made it a Ferrari one-two in Malaysia had it not been for a first lap incident, and appears to have re-found his mojo following a disastrous 2014. P3 and P4 may be the best Ferrari can hope for in China, but those positions should be there for the taking.

Have the tables turned between Toro Rosso and Red Bull?

Toro Rosso has always existed in F1 for one reason: to nurture future Red Bull drivers. Back in 2008, when Sebastian Vettel’s escapades saw Toro Rosso beat Red Bull (the supposed ‘A’ team) in the constructors’ championship, the entire Red Bull F1 programme was called into question. Vettel was soon promoted and the rest, as they say, is history. However, in a flurry of déjà vu, Toro Rosso is showing signs of a repeat in 2015. Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr. may be rookies, but both showed maturity and racecraft that exceeds their years in Malaysia, soundly beating Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat of Red Bull. Another win for the ‘B’ team in China would only turn up the heat on a Red Bull team that seems to be in disarray.

McLaren targets its first points of 2015

It’s very rare for a team as prestigious as McLaren to be satisfied with a double retirement, but the mileage racked up by both cars in Malaysia was of great value to the British outfit. Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso do not want to be battling outside of the top ten for long, and China could be where they buck that trend. The Honda engine is getting better with every lap completed, meaning that the team should head to Shanghai with its tail up. It will take time for everything to come together at Woking. Once it does though, expect Alonso and Button to prove just why they are world champions.

Palmer looks to impress with his practice outing

On Friday, 2014 GP2 champion Jolyon Palmer will get his first outing on a grand prix weekend when he takes part in FP1 for Lotus. The Briton signed for the team as its third and reserve driver for this season, and will be looking to convert his good pace in junior categories into a positive display in the practice session. It may not be much, but it is still a positive step for Palmer, who will become the first GP2 champion since Romain Grosjean (winner in 2011) to run at an F1 weekend.

Chinese Grand Prix – Facts and Figures

Track: Shanghai International Circuit
Laps: 56
Corners: 16
Lap Record: Michael Schumacher 1:32.239 (2004)
Tire Compounds: Soft (Option); Medium (Prime)
2014 Winner: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
2014 Pole Position: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:53.860
2014 Fastest Lap: Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) 1:40.402
DRS Zones: Main Straight (T16 to T1); T13 to T14

Chinese Grand Prix – TV Times

Free Practice 1: NBC Sports Live Extra 10p ET 4/9
Free Practice 2: NBCSN 2a ET 4/10
Free Practice 3: NBC Sports Live Extra 12a ET 4/11
Qualifying: NBCSN 3a ET 4/11
Race: NBCSN 1:30a ET 4/12

For more information about our broadcasts this weekend, click 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.