Hamilton tops final Brazilian GP practice after spin and stoppage

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Lewis Hamilton laid down an impressive benchmark for the rest of the Formula 1 grid ahead of qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix by topping the timesheets in final practice at Interlagos.

The Briton produced a fastest lap time of 1:12.070 on the soft tire to head up a Mercedes one-two, edging out teammate Nico Rosberg for P1.

Hamilton’s session was not without its problems, though. The Mercedes driver came to a stop at turn ten after 20 minutes, claiming that he had “lost gears”. However, he was able to get his car back going again without necessitating a red flag.

With 25 minutes remaining in FP3, Hamilton made a mistake that saw him spin in the final sector and come to a halt in the run-off area. Despite not damaging his car and being able to return to the pits, the error did ruin Hamilton’s final medium tire run.

After returning to the pits, Hamilton made the switch to the soft tire for a qualifying simulation and duly delivered a lap 1.2 seconds quicker than the rest of the field, laying a firm benchmark down for Rosberg and the chasing pack.

Despite going quickest in the first sector, Rosberg was unable to match the pace of his teammate across the rest of the lap, leaving him 0.123 seconds behind in second place.

Ferrari’s strong form continued in FP3 as Sebastian Vettel finished third, half a second behind Rosberg. Teammate Kimi Raikkonen was a further three-tenths back in P4.

Valtteri Bottas ended the session fifth for Williams ahead of the Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg. Romain Grosjean produced a late lap to move up to seventh for Lotus ahead of Sergio Perez and teammate Pastor Maldonado, while Max Verstappen rounded out the top ten for Toro Rosso.

Red Bull had a difficult session that saw Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat finish 11th and 13th respectively, split by Williams’ Felipe Massa. Fernando Alonso bounced back from his Friday issues to finish 14th ahead of compatriot Carlos Sainz Jr.

The Sauber duo of Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr ended FP3 16th and 17th respectively, as Jenson Button, Will Stevens and Alexander Rossi propped up the timesheets.

Final 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona results, stats


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.


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.