Formula 1 at le Mans: How all 19 ex-F1 drivers got on in the 24 Hours race

There were plenty of former Grand Prix drivers in the field - here's how they fared

3y ago

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The 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours will go down as one of the classics.

The race was full of drama as Toyota - who looked as nailed on as it's possible to be for a Le Mans win before the event - suffered another disaster when their two leading cars went out within 20 minutes of each other before the halfway mark.

That left the field clear for the #2 Porsche of Timo Bernhard, Earl Bamber and Brendan Hartley to snatch the win - despite being 18 laps down at one point in the race.

Among the 60 car entries with three drivers each there were 19 ex-Formula 1 drivers in the field for this year's event.

In 2015, then Force India ace Nico Hulkenberg won the race with Porsche, so how did this year's crop of F1 pilots fare at the Circuit de la Sarthe?

ANDRE LOTTERER - DNF

The three-time winner was at the centre of one of the most heartbreaking stories at this year's race.

With the Toyotas out of contention, the #1 Porsche entry had a huge lead and looked to be cruising to victory - but then a loss of oil pressure meant Lotterer had to try to nurse the car back to the pits of battery power alone. He did not make it.

"To retire this way is hard, but this is Le Mans," he said afterwards.

"It's a pity, very sad. You almost wanted to not believe it."

KAMUI KOBAYASHI and STEPHANE SARRAZIN - DNF

It was a similar story for former Sauber pilot Kobayashi.

The Japanese driver had wowed the field with a brilliant qualifying lap to put the #7 Toyota on pole for the race. He, Mike Conway and Stephane Sarrazin then built up a commanding lead as Toyota looked to finally put their Le Mans hoodoo behind them.

Alas, as the race entered the 10th hour the car developed a clutch problem while Kobayashi was at the wheel. He attempted to nurse the car back to the pits but it was not to be. His race - and that of fellow ex-F1 man Sarrazin - was over.

SEBASTIEN BUEMi, Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima - 2nd

The first of our ex-F1 heroes to actually make the finish - but only just.

Piloting the the #8 TS050 Toyota, this trio of former grand prix racers was among the favourites to take victory this year.

But as the race entered the eighth hour their TS050 developed an MGU problem. The team worked on a fix but this put them an incredible 30 laps down.

They were the only Toyota to make the finish - and one of only two LMP1 cars to do so - but that was scant consolation as they came home ninth overall, behind seven LMP2 entries. Their faces on the podium said it all.

NELSON PIQUET JR. - DSQ

A strong race for Piquet and his co-drivers Mathias Beche and David Heinemeier Hansson in the #13 Rebellion Racing ORECA who battled for the lead throughout the race and eventually finished second in LMP1 class (and third overall) behind Oliver Jarvis, Thomas Laurent and Ho-Pin Tung in the Jackie Chan DC Racing.

**UPDATE**

Proving that the drama doesn't end even when the 24 hours is finished, the #13 Rebellion has been disqualified after officials discovered a bodywork infringement on the car.

According to a statement, the issue was with a "hole that [had] been fashioned by the competitor in the right-hand side of the engine cover," that allowed the team access to the starter motor without having to remove the engine cover and rear bodywork.

JEAN-ERIC VERGNE - 7th in class

JEV's #24 Manor did have the LMP2 class lead for a few laps early on in the race but his co-drivers Jonathan Hirschi and Tor Graves could not match the ex-Toro Rosso man's pace and they slipped back down the field to eventually finish eighth overall, seventh in class.

VITALY PETROV - DNF

Petrov's car ended up having a major impact on the outcome of the race - though not in the way he would have liked.

It was his #25 Manor ORECA that was involved in the collision with the #9 Toyota LMP1 car, putting them both out of the race during the night.

The only consolation for Petrov perhaps was that he was not at the wheel at the time.

JAN LAMMERS and Rubens Barrichello - 12th in class

A pretty low key event for ex-F1 pair Rubens and Jan as they finished a distant 12th in class, with their LMP2 Racing Team Nederland entry coming home 23 laps down on the leaders.

"We knew we didn't have a good car," said a slightly rueful Rubens after the race.

BRUNO SENNA - 19th in class

The car that had 'narrative' written all over it in huge letters as it was shared by Senna and Nicolas Prost, was scuppered by mechanical troubles.

They started well in the #31 Rebellion LMP2 car but first had a long stop to fix a brake light and then dropped out of contention on Sunday morning when a gearbox problem meant a 90 minute stop in the garage.

They eventually finished 17th, 27 laps down.

KARUN CHANDHOK - 10th in class

Channel 4's F1 analyst and sometime F1 driver Karun Chandhok had a decent race, coming home in the top 10 in the LMP2 class in the Tockwith Motorsports Ligier/Gibson.

LUCAS DI GRASSI - DNS

An actual non starter here - Di Grassi was due to drive an AF Corse Ferrari in the GTE Pro class but an ankle injury sustained playing football five days before the race put him out. His place was taken by Michel Rugolo.

GIANCARLO FISICHELLA - DNF

Another hard luck story as Fisi's car was dumped out of the race during the night when the #28 LMP2 entry of Emmanuel Collard, Francois Perrodo and Matthieu Vaxiviere left the Ferrari no room at all after passing them at the first Mulsanne chicane.

The Risi-Ferrari was pitched straight into the barrier and with the front of the car ripped off was out of the race.

JAN MAGNUSSEN - 3rd in class

Kevin Magnussen's dad was involved in one the the most tense finishes ever seen at a Le Mans race.

The Dane was driving a Corvette in the GTE Pro class and with just a few laps to go it looked like he and co-drivers Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor would seal victory.

But the Aston Martin of Jonny Adam had other ideas and chased down Taylor in the final laps, reducing the gap to just two tenths of a second.

Still it looked like the Corvette would hang on but on the very last lap Adam managed to force his way past Taylor to take an incredible victory.

To compound Taylor's misery he picked up a puncture as well after a trip into the gravel trap meaning he also slipped behind Harry Tincknell in the Ford GT.

WILL STEVENS - class winner

We have a winner! Former Marussia pilot Stevens took victory in the GTE Am class in the #84 JMW Motorsport Ferrari he shared with Dries Vanthoor and Robert Smith.

The trio went from seventh on the grid to win by a full lap from the #55 Spirit of Race Ferrari shared by Duncan Cameron, Aaron Scott and Marco Cioci.

OLIVIER BERETTA - 42nd

Baretta's race was about as forgettable as his Formula 1 career, as his GTE Am Ferrari finished in 42nd place.

PEDRO LAMY - 37th

Yet another result that shows just how cruel the Le Mans 24 Hours can be. Lamy and co-drivers Paul Dalla Lana and Mathias Lauda were driving together in Aston Martin's factory-backed Am entry and did everything right, building up a commanding lead when they ran over some debris on the track, damaging the car.

After a very lengthy pit-stop to repair the damage they came back out and eventually finished down in 37th, some 38 laps down.

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Comments (2)

  • Will "the lad" Stevens taking a win for the ex F1 guys

      3 years ago
  • What a brutal race it was!

      3 years ago

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