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Hartley keeps Toro Rosso F1 seat for Mexico, Kvyat dropped again

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Brendon Hartley will remain with Scuderia Toro Rosso for this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix after a solid Formula 1 debut in Austin on Sunday, with Daniil Kvyat being dropped once again.

Porsche factory driver Hartley was drafted in by Toro Rosso to race in the United States Grand Prix after Pierre Gasly was ruled out due to a clash with Super Formula at Suzuka.

Kvyat returned after two races on the bench following Carlos Sainz Jr.’s move up to Renault, taking P10, with neither driver being clear on what future plans were for the final three races of the season.

In a short release on Monday, Toro Rosso confirmed that Gasly would return to his seat for Mexico, with Hartley being retained.

Hartley finished 13th on debut for Toro Rosso in his maiden single-seater race for over five years, having only driven the team’s STR12 F1 car for the first time in Friday practice.

The New Zealander is free to race in all of the remaining three grands prix this season due to the lack of clashes with his FIA World Endurance Championship commitments with Porsche.

Were he to finish the year with Toro Rosso, though, it would form a seven-week run of consecutive races for Hartley between F1 and WEC.

The team is unable to field any new drivers this year after already hitting the season limit of four, with Kvyat originally being planned to see out the year with Gasly before the Super Formula issue arose.

Hartley’s presence adds momentum to him being in contention for a 2018 F1 seat with the team, while Kvyat’s latest demotion could mark the end of his time under Red Bull’s umbrella.

The Russian called his weekend in Austin “perfect” as he took one point for P10 following two races out and missing FP1, but it was not enough to convince Toro Rosso to keep him in the seat for Mexico.

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.