Verstappen frustrated by Toro Rosso miscommunication in Australia

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Max Verstappen made no secret of his frustration after finishing 10th in Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix despite spending much of the race battling inside the top five with defending Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton.

Verstappen started from P5 on the grid after his best F1 qualifying result to date, and made a good start to run fourth early on ahead of Hamilton.

Verstappen stayed ahead of the Briton after the first round of pit stops and a red flag period, only to drop back when Toro Rosso stuck to its two-stop strategy.

The pit crew did not have all of Verstappen’s tires ready when he came in for his second stop, dropping him behind teammate Carlos Sainz Jr.

Verstappen spent the remainder of the race getting increasingly frustrated behind his teammate, and even made light contact at one point that caused him to spin before coming home in 10th place.

“Quite a frustrating afternoon,” Verstappen said. “We had a great start to the race and were able to keep the Mercedes behind. The first pit-stop was also good.

“We had great pace and I didn’t have pressure from behind, but after the red flag we had a bit of a miscommunication for the second stop and it got very difficult.

“We have a fantastic car and to finish P10 here is not where we should be. I’m very disappointed as this was a great opportunity for us to get a very good result.

“Now we just need to focus on the next race and try and score more points than today.”

Sainz finished just ahead of Verstappen in ninth, and was similarly disappointed to have missed a chance to come away with a bigger points haul.

“I’m not entirely happy with today’s result because I think we could’ve scored more points with the car we have, but I did everything I could to finish as high up as possible,” Sainz said.

“To finish in P9 is frustrating. The race was a bit of a chaos, so it was difficult to get it all right. After the red flag things got interesting and even though it’s not the easiest of tracks to overtake, I was able to do some good moves – some of them were quite tough!

“I did my race and I think we put on a good show. I enjoyed it out there but I think we deserved to end up higher up instead of going backwards after qualifying in P7 yesterday.”

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.”