Rosberg fastest once again in second British GP practice

Leave a comment

Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg once again topped the timesheets during the second free practice session for the British Grand Prix on Friday, beating Ferrari drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel into second and third place respectively.

After suffering a hydraulic leak during FP1 on Friday, Rosberg bounced back in the afternoon to record a fastest lap time of 1:34.155, giving himself an advantage of almost four-tenths of a second over Raikkonen in second place.

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton was unable to match the time of his Mercedes teammate during the second practice session, finishing the day in fourth place with almost half a second to find and less than impressed with the setup of the Mercedes car.

Red Bull found its feet to get both Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo into the top six during FP2, whilst Max Verstappen finished seventh for Red Bull. Nico Hulkenberg, Carlos Sainz Jr and Felipe Massa rounded out the top ten.

The session was not without its drama, though, as two red flag periods interrupted the running. The first was issued during the first 30 minutes of the session when Romain Grosjean beached his car in the gravel at Luffield, requiring recovery.

Fernando Alonso very nearly fell foul of the same fate not long after, but managed to find a patch of grass to use as a path back to the tarmac, allowing the Spaniard to continue. He would ultimately finish the session in 15th place.

However, Roberto Merhi was less fortunate in the Manor. He too made an error at Luffield, leaving the car stranded on the edge of the track. The stewards threw a red flag, only for the Spaniard to find his reverse gear and get back on his way, meaning that the session could quickly resume.

At the top though, it was Rosberg once again who led that way for Mercedes. The German driver has plenty of momentum heading into this weekend with three wins in the past four races, leaving Hamilton with a big mountain to climb ahead of qualifying on Saturday.

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
3 Comments

LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.