Missing out on Monaco podium ‘painful’ for Bottas

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Missing out on a podium finish in Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix felt “painful” for Mercedes Formula 1 driver Valtteri Bottas as he was left to settle for fourth place at the checkered flag.

Bottas qualified third in Monaco, just 0.045 seconds off Ferrari pole-sitter Kimi Raikkonen, and held position through the opening stint of the race.

Red Bull opted to bring fourth-placed Max Verstappen into the pits early, forcing Mercedes to stop Bottas just one lap later in order to cover the Dutchman, only for this to allow Daniel Ricciardo – who had been P5 – to jump ahead after staying out longer, recording quick laps on the ultra-soft tire.

Bottas had a brief chance to grab third late on when Ricciardo made a mistake and touched the wall, but ultimately finished fourth, narrowly missing out on a maiden Monaco podium.

“Missing out on a first Monaco podium is painful. It’s been a long week and we’ve worked so hard, so it’s disappointing to miss out,” Bottas said.

“I was stuck in the traffic while Daniel was running in free air and ultimately, that cost me a place on the podium. It’s been a really tough weekend for us and we’ve just been missing pace.”

With Red Bull tag-teaming Bottas by splitting its drivers’ strategies, Mercedes F1 chief Toto Wolff felt after the race there was no way to retain third.

“We had exactly two choices: lose against Max or lose against Daniel,” Wolff said, as quoted by the official F1 website.

“When Max pitted Valtteri complained that his tires were going off, so we needed to protect him against an undercut from Max – and hope that Daniel would not be able to extract more performance in that period.

“Actually Daniel did some amazing laps – similar to what Sebastian [Vettel] did in the front. So at that stage of the race it was already clear that we would lose against one of the Red Bulls.”

Monaco saw Ferrari seal its first one-two finish in seven years and re-take the lead of the constructors’ championship from Mercedes, with Bottas’ teammate, Lewis Hamilton, taking seventh.

“Ferrari were very strong this weekend and for whatever reason, their car seems easier to operate, so we have work to do,” Bottas said.

“We have to learn from this, but there’s a long year ahead. Hopefully this will be our worst weekend this season. Canada should be a different story.”

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 12:10-3 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 7 p.m. to USA Network. Peacock will have flag-to-flag coverage.


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