Sainz, Verstappen lament lack of running in Montreal

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Carlos Sainz Jr and Max Verstappen have made no secret of their disappointment after losing a great deal of running to wet weather in practice for the Canadian Grand Prix on Friday.

The Toro Rosso rookies are both racing at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for the first time this weekend, making every lap completed in practice important in preparing them for the grand prix on Sunday.

In FP1, Sainz’s session came to an early end when his car stopped at the end of the pit lane, forcing the Toro Rosso mechanics to wheel it back.

Both drivers then lost the majority of the second practice session thanks to a heavy downpour that caused championship leader Lewis Hamilton to crash into the tire wall.

“It’s been a difficult day for us,” Sainz said. “This morning in FP1 we had some electronic issues, so we were slow and didn’t complete as many laps as we wanted to.

“It’s a bit annoying, because it’s very important for us to get as much mileage as possible here as this is a completely new track for me. In FP2 we didn’t have any issues, but it was a bit of a rushed session because we were expecting the rain to come.

“The lack of running meant it wasn’t an ideal first day for a rookie especially on a difficult track like this one but hopefully we can use tomorrow’s FP3 to prepare ourselves better for qualifying.”

Verstappen led Toro Rosso’s charge by finishing tenth in FP1, but was still disappointed to have lost so much track time to the rain.

“It was a hard day for us today,” Verstappen said. “FP1 wasn’t too bad and I think it was a good result to end up in tenth position.

“In between sessions we made some changes to the car for this afternoon’s FP2 but that didn’t really work out.

“We therefore have some work to do tonight but at least we know in what direction to go. It will be a difficult weekend but I’m up for the challenge.”

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.