Vettel remaining realistic ahead of Chinese Grand Prix

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Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel is refusing to get ahead of himself and revise Ferrari’s targets for the 2015 Formula 1 season despite winning the Malaysian Grand Prix two weeks ago.

In just his second start for the team, Vettel claimed an emphatic race win at Sepang as Ferrari soundly beat Mercedes.

The result came as a huge surprise to the F1 community which had deemed the German team to be far ahead of the rest of the field following its domination of the Australian Grand Prix just two weeks earlier.

The sport heads to Shanghai this weekend for the Chinese Grand Prix with the prospect of a real fight at the front of the field between two teams – something that hasn’t occurred in almost two years.

However, Vettel does not wish to get ahead of himself, explaining in the FIA press conference how his win in Malaysia has not changed Ferrari’s approach or expectations.

“I think we are realistic about where we are and what we want to achieve,” Vettel said. “I think the targets haven’t changed. Obviously it was a great victory we had in Malaysia and great for us as a team, and especially for myself a very emotional day – my first win with Ferrari.

“The team hasn’t won for quite a while, so I think they enjoyed the fact that they had something to celebrate, there are a couple of rituals involved and it was nice for them to get that feeling again, but as I said, for the next races nothing has changed.

“We want to confirm that we have a strong package, we have a strong car and we want to make sure that we stay ahead of the people we stayed of in the last couple of races, but knowing that obviously Mercedes is in a very, very strong position.”

Although Vettel is confident that Ferrari’s pace in Malaysia was genuine, he acknowledged that his victory was a result of a number of factors coming together and remains realistic ahead of this weekend’s race in China.

“I think it was for real two weeks ago,” Vettel said. “I don’t think Mercedes backed off and everyone else. It was obviously nice for us to see that we were so competitive but I think there were also a couple of circumstances coming together but most important we managed to capitalise and get a very good result and win the race.

“But for here and for the next races, I think in general [at] the start of the season, things can be up and down. We want to make sure that there is quite a lot of up, not so many downs but it’s normal that some races you are more competitive than others.

“So I think, as I said, that we managed to do a very good job in Malaysia but for here and for the next races we have to be realistic about what we want to achieve.”

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.