Bottas: Raikkonen’s move in Sochi was “too much”

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Valtteri Bottas has hit out at Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen following their clash on the final lap of last Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix in Sochi.

When trying to pass for third place on the last lap, Raikkonen crashed into the back of Bottas at turn four, eliminating the Finn from the race and leaving him with zero points.

Bottas had been set to score just his second podium of the season, and reacted angrily immediately after the accident, asking his team: “What the f**k did [Raikkonen] do?” after the shunt.

Writing in his blog following the Russian Grand Prix, Bottas made no secret of his annoyance over the collision, believing that Raikkonen went too far.

“It’s very disappointing to lose P3 in the last lap and end up with zero points,” Bottas said. “I had fought back to a podium position and then somebody just crashed into me. What can I say? It’s just disappointing.

“I don’t think it was a standard racing incident. I didn’t see anyone there next to me and I was in front, quite clearly ahead, and taking my line. Then suddenly, already at the apex, I felt someone hit me. I don’t really get the point of doing moves like that on the last lap.

“The fact Kimi got a penalty doesn’t matter really to me. I’m never getting those points back. One thing I know for sure: I was not at fault, so I am happy about that at least, but it doesn’t really help at the end of the day.

“I’m a little bit surprised by Kimi’s move. There’s a fine line between aggressiveness and just going for it, and what happened on Sunday was just too much.”

Bottas is now looking to make up for the lost points in the United States Grand Prix next weekend, taking place in Austin, Texas.

“The good news from the weekend was I felt very good in the car and was able to put very consistent lap times together all weekend with no mistakes,” Bottas said.

“The team also did a great job in what was a complicated weekend for everyone with the lack of running; the car was competitive, well balanced and we were truly on the pace here, even managing to stay close to the Mercedes for the first 20 laps.

“That’s what I want to take from here as it’s better to move on and focus on making the most out of this package in Austin.”

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.