Toyota keeps 24 Hours of Le Mans dominance, winning its fifth consecutive overall

Le Mans Toyota
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LE MANS, France — Toyota won the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the fifth consecutive time as the No. 8 car finishing ahead of the No. 7 in another dominant performance Sunday in the classic endurance race.

New Zealander Brendan Hartley had clinched pole position and was at the wheel as Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 completed the race in sunny and warm conditions, with teammates Sebastien Buemi and Ryo Hirakawa watching from the team garage.

Swiss driver Buemi has won the race four times while Hartley clinched his third win and second for Toyota after his first victory with Porsche in 2017. Both had modest Formula One careers.

U.S. PRESENCE: Many interested observers from IMSA and NASCAR were in France this week

Dane Tom Kristensen holds the record with nine wins.

Hirakawa secured his first victory to join Japanese countrymen Kazuki Nakajima (3 wins) and Kamui Kobayashi (1) as winners in the famed race, which was first held in 1923.

Jose Maria Lopez of Argentina followed a couple of minutes behind for Toyota’s No. 7 at the Circuit de la Sarthe in northwestern France.

Lopez was joined by Kobayashi and British driver Mike Conway, his teammates when the No. 7 won last year to underline how Toyota has broken the stranglehold of Audi and Porsche.

After a calm night, Toyota experienced a rare blip when the No. 8 punctured with Buemi at the wheel at around 7:30 a.m. and 15 minutes later Lopez stalled and needed an electrical reset, costing one lap.

Ryan Briscoe closed out the race as the Glickenhaus 007 car finished in third place, five laps behind the winners.

American Josh Pierson became the youngest driver to participate at 16 years old, 188 days – making him slightly younger than fellow 16-year-old Matt McMurry was in 2014.

Pierson drove 97 laps as he shared duties on the United Autosports USA team driving an Oreca 07 with Oliver Jarvis and Alex Lynn, finishing sixth in the LM P2 category.

Sergio Perez wins rain-delayed race in Singapore over Leclerc; Verstappen seventh

Sergio Perez Singapore
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SINGAPORE — Max Verstappen’s Formula One title celebrations were put on hold after the Red Bull driver placed seventh at a chaotic Singapore Grand Prix, won by his teammate Sergio Perez on Sunday.

Perez’s second win of the season saw him finish 7.6 seconds ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, with Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. in third place.

Perez was investigated for a potential safety car infringement but still kept the win after a 5-second time penalty for dropping too far back after being warned.

Verstappen had won the past five races but needed to win here and finish 22 points ahead of Leclerc to be crowned champion for a second straight season. That could happen next weekend at the Japanese GP.

Verstappen made a mistake after the second safety car restart, following AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda’s crash on Lap 36. When Verstappen tried to overtake Lando Norris’ McLaren, he locked his tires and needed to pit again.

Leclerc started from pole position with Verstappen going from eighth after a team blunder in qualifying.

The race start was delayed by more than an hour to clear water off the Marina Bay Circuit track following heavy rainfall. Drivers had to finish the 61-lap race within a two-hour window; 59 laps were completed.

Tricky conditions saw the virtual safety car deployed three times and DRS was allowed with about 30 minutes remaining.

Perez made a good start and jumped past Leclerc while Verstappen dropped several places. The first safety car was on Lap 8 when Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo was cut off by Nicholas Latifi’s Williams.

Perez got away cleanly at the restart, while Verstappen climbed into seventh behind Fernando Alonso – whose 350th F1 race ended disappointingly when his engine failed on Lap 21, bringing out the first VSC.

With the track still damp, drivers decided against changing to quicker tires – apart from Mercedes’ George Russell, who struggled for grip.

Hamilton made a rare mistake on Lap 33 and thudded into the crash barrier. Soon after, the leading drivers changed tires in a flurry of stops. They did so just before the safety car was deployed again following Tsunoda’s error.

Verstappen overtook Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin right at the end for seventh place.