Mercedes teammates vow to move on heading to Monaco

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It was the first of two incredible stories that birthed themselves during the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix – the collision of Mercedes AMG Petronas teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg set headlines ablaze around the world.

At least they did for an hour or so before Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen did his own bit of news-making, in becoming the youngest winner in Formula 1 history at age 18.

Now, all eyes shift back to Mercedes for Monaco – a place where there’s been drama between Hamilton and Rosberg before, and where Rosberg has won the last three years.

In their pre-race advance, both drivers are opting for pleasantries over consternation, and looking to put the Spain contact behind them.

“Barcelona was the worst feeling but, like I always say, the true test is how you get back up when you’ve been knocked down,” Hamilton said. “It was a tough moment for all of us after the race but it’s now chapter closed and looking ahead to Monaco.”

Rosberg added, “I was gutted after what happened in Spain – for myself, but mostly for the team. We’re in this together and I know how hard everybody works to make these amazing cars, so for us to leave them in the gravel is the worst possible scenario. But we’ve talked it through and now it’s time to leave it in the past.”

Rosberg, who’s German but calls Monaco his home race, seeks to become the first driver to win four Monaco Grands Prix in a row since the late Ayrton Senna in 1993, who won five straight from 1989 to 1993.

“It’s one of my home races next in Monaco – the ultimate driver’s track. It’s where I grew up and where I still live today, so that always makes it a special weekend.

“It’s been amazing to win there for the past three years – but I know it will be tough to repeat that with Lewis, the Ferraris and the Red Bulls all so strong now. I’m feeling confident, so bring on the battle!”

Hamilton’s only won once in the Principality – the year of his first World Championship in 2008.

“It’s an incredible feeling making a car dance through those streets, one of the purest thrills you can have in a racing car,” Hamilton said.

“I’ve not had the best run of results in Monaco in recent years – but last year showed I have the pace to do the job.”

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

Petit Le Mans lineup
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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