Arrivabene: A ‘glass half full’ home GP for Ferrari

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Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene chose to look on the bright side after his drivers experienced two very different races in the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Starting from second and third on the grid, Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel had hoped to convert the result into a double podium finish for Ferrari in front of its loyal fanbase, the Tifosi.

However, when Raikkonen’s anti-stall kicked in at the start and dropped him all the way to the back of the grid, such a result became hard to reach for the Italian marque.

Vettel kept his half of the bargain, surging to an excellent second place finish in his first race at Monza as a Ferrari driver. Raikkonen produced a masterclass in overtaking to fight his way back up to fifth place at the flag, but could not reach the podium.

“This time I see the glass half full,” Arrivabene said. “Sebastian’s race to second place was unbelievable. His contribution to the team so far has been outstanding.

“As for Kimi, he had a great qualifying yesterday, then maybe he messed up a bit at the start of the race. But afterwards he was able to pass a lot of cars on the track with a fantastic race. Ideally, we would have hoped for two good starts, but we’re happy anyway with this weekend.

“We came here investing a few tokens on our power unit and we’re satisfied with our gain, also in terms of reliability. In the forthcoming races, the gap to our main competitors will depend much on the kind of track.

“We will keep on working with humility and determination to the end of the season, trying to jump on every opportunity.”

Speaking after the race, Raikkonen admitted that he was unsure what caused him to have such a poor start, but he remained pleased with the pace of the SF15-T car.

“I don’t know exactly what happened at the start,” Raikkonen said. “As far as I know I did everything correctly, but the car went into the anti-stall and did not move at all. I still don’t have the right explanation about what happened, but it’s a really bad thing that cost us a lot today.

“Obviously I’m a bit disappointed, as we were hoping for a better result in our home race in front of all our fans, but if we think that after the first hundred meters we were last it was still a good result.

“Overall we had a pretty good speed all weekend so in a way we have to be happy for what we have done because here we were expecting more difficulties.

“Today I was positively surprised that we could get through some cars that are very fast on the straights, this shows that we are doing the right things, pushing the car in the right direction and improving in all areas.”

Meyer Shank Racing wins Petit Le Mans to take final DPi championship in dramatic finale

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Meyer Shank Racing outdueled Wayne Taylor Racing to win the Petit Le Mans and clinch the championship in a thrilling final race for the DPi division.

Tom Blomqvist, who started from the pole position, drove the No. 60 Acura ARX-05 to a 4.369-second victory over Pipo Derani in the No. 31 Action Express Cadillac.

“That was incredible,” Blomqvist told NBC Sports’ Matt Yocum. “I’ve never dug so deep in my life. The adrenaline. I did that for the guys. I was so motivated to win this thing this weekend. But I’ve got to thank everyone on the whole team.”

With co-drivers Oliver Jarvis and Helio Castroneves, Blomqvist helped MSR bookend its season-opening victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona by winning Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season finale at Michelin Road Atlanta.

In between those two victories, the No. 60 earned five runner-up finishes to stay in the thick of the championship hunt and trail WTR’s No. 10 Acura by 14 points entering Saturday’s race.

WTR’s Filipe Albuquerque had a lead of more than 10 seconds over Blomqvist with less than 50 minutes remaining in the 10-hour race.

But a Turn 1 crash between the Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillacs brought out a yellow that sent both Acuras into the pits from the top two positions.

Though he entered in second, Blomqvist barely beat Albuquerque out of the pits, and he held the lead for the final 45 minutes.

Blomqvist said he gained the lead because of a shorter fuel fill after he had worked on being efficient in the second-to-last stint.

“The team asked a big job of me with the fuel; I had a big fuel number to hit,” Blomqvist said. “We knew that was probably our only chance. The yellow came at the right time and obviously we had a bit less fuel to fill up, so I was able to jump him and then it was just a matter of going gung-ho and not leaving anything on the line. And obviously, the opposition had to try too hard to make it work. I’m so thankful.”

Albuquerque closed within a few car lengths of Blomqvist with 14 minutes remaining, but he damaged his suspension because of contact with a GT car in Turn 1.

It’s the first prototype championship for Meyer Shank Racing, which also won the 2021 Indy 500 with Castroneves.

“We’ve had in the last four years, three championships for Acura, the Indy 500 win and the Rolex 24, it doesn’t get any better,” team co-owner Mike Shank told NBC Sports’ Kevin Lee.

It’s the third consecutive runner-up finish in the points standings for Wayne Taylor Racing, which won the first Daytona Prototype international championship in 2017. The premier category will be rebranded as the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class with the LMDh cars that will establish a bridge to racing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Kamui Kobayashi finished third in the No. 48 Cadillac of Action Express that also includes Jimmie Johnson and Mike Rockenfeller.

The podium showing marked Johnson’s last scheduled race in IMSA’s top prototype division. The seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has raced in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac lineup as the Action Express entry has run the Endurance Cup races.

Johnson said a lack of inventory will preclude him having a 2023 ride in the top category. But he still is hopeful of racing the Garage 56 Next Gen Camaro in next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans and possibly running in a lower class for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

“I’d love to be at Le Mans next year,” Johnson told NBC Sports’ Dillon Welch after his final stint Saturday. “I’d love to be at the Rolex 24. The series is going through a shake-up with the reconfiguration of the rules and classes, so I don’t have anything locked down yet, but I’m so thankful for this experience with Action. The support Ally has given us, Mr. Hendrick, Chad Knaus, all of Hendrick Motorsports. It’s been a fun two years, and I certainly hope I’m on the grid again next year.”