Even as a GP winner, Spain test gives Verstappen much-needed time to learn

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Max Verstappen may have become the youngest race winner in the history of Formula 1 in Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix, but the Dutchman wasted little time before getting back behind the wheel of the Red Bull RB12 car in Barcelona on Wednesday.

Allocated the second of the two days of test running following the race, Verstappen continued his good form from the weekend by once again finishing at the head of the field.

A fastest lap of 1:23.267 was enough to give Verstappen P1, but the bigger focus was continuing to learn about the processes at Red Bull and get used to the RB12 car following his surprise promotion earlier this month.

In light of his victory, Verstappen’s assertion that he would need time to get up to speed with the RB12 car in the days preceding the race now looks silly – or perhaps acts as an ominous sign of things to come.

“It was good to get back in the car today. The car is good to drive, very enjoyable and we achieved very good mileage,” Verstappen said following his test running.

“We didn’t have any problems and could run the whole day. For me personally it was good to have the opportunity to get even more comfortable with the car.

“I was able to try some new things and find ways to improve my performance. I learned a lot about the RB12 today, which is very, very positive.”

Red Bull head of race engineering Guillaume Rocquelin added: “A big part of the day was for Max Verstappen to keep working with his crew and his team of engineers, just to build up that rapport. We’ve also been looking at the setup options that he prefers.

“I know he’s won a race but ultimately he’s only been with us a week, so there’s still a lot that we need to work on together as we get to know each other.

“We had to go through the various options and evaluate them with Max, see what he likes – things like the layout of his steering wheel and what he wants to see on the display.

“On top of that we had a normal run plan, very similar to yesterday, working on medium-to-long term development of the car. It went well. We did 118 laps despite doing some really short runs for aero-mapping.

“It was a very solid day and, overall, a very solid test with 200+ laps, no issues with the car and a good program of work completed.”

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III