Hamilton roars to victory in Chinese Grand Prix

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain, center, poses with Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany, left, and Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands on the podium after winning the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit in Shanghai Sunday. (AP)
Updated 09 April 2017
0

Hamilton roars to victory in Chinese Grand Prix

SHANGHAI: Lewis Hamilton powered to victory in a chaotic Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai on Sunday, taking swift revenge for his defeat by Sebastian Vettel in the Formula One season-opener.
The Briton, who started on pole, steered his Mercedes to his fifth Chinese Grand Prix win, beating Vettel's Ferrari by just over six seconds with Red Bull's Max Verstappen finishing third after early safety car drama.
"Get in there Lewis!" Hamilton's engineer said over team radio after the three-time world champion took the chequered flag in China for the third time in the last four years.
"That's a great race, mate. An absolute masterclass."
Hamilton replied: "We've worked really hard for this, we've got to keep pushing."
Vettel recovered from a poor start from row one and, after being stuck behind Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen early on, began to show the pace that swept the German to victory in Melbourne two weeks ago.
First Vettel blew past Raikkonen before going wheel-to-wheel with Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo at turn seven, producing puffs of blue smoke as the cars touched tyres.
Verstappen loomed ahead but the young Dutchman, who produced an astonishing first lap after starting from 16th on the grid, suffered a lock-up going into the hairpin allowing Vettel, rather anti-climactically, to take second place.
Hamilton, meanwhile, never looked seriously threatened despite a sequence of fastest laps from his German title rival.
"Grazie a tutti!" said Vettel over the radio. "I think we were a bit unlucky. It felt like we were the quickest, man. We couldn't prove that today but next time we will."
Ricciardo took fourth behind Verstappen after a furious late scrap between the two Red Bulls with Raikkonen finishing in fifth ahead of fellow Finn Valtteri Bottas's Mercedes.
Carlos Sainz finished seventh for Toro Rosso with Kevin Magnussen's Haas eighth and the Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon rounding out the top 10.
Bottas apologised to his team for an embarrassing spin while weaving to warm his tyres behind the safety car, which dropped him down to 12th.
"Really sorry, guys, for the amateur mistake," said Bottas, who had earlier been called "Nico" over team radio. "I'll make up for it in the next race."
A wet track caused havoc early on with the virtual safety car deployed on lap one after Lance Stroll spun off in his Williams.
The safety car was called again after Antonio Giovinazzi smashed his Sauber into a wall.


England avenge World Cup Croatia defeat to reach Nations League final four

Updated 18 November 2018
0

England avenge World Cup Croatia defeat to reach Nations League final four

  • Kane’s first goal in eight games for England sparked a wild celebration from manager Southgate
  • England were on the brink of relegation to the second tier of the competition after Andrej Kramaric gave Croatia the lead

LONDON: Harry Kane fired England into the Nations League semifinals as Gareth Southgate’s side scored twice in the last 12 minutes to seal a dramatic 2-1 victory over Croatia on Sunday.
England were on the brink of relegation to the second tier of the competition after Andrej Kramaric gave Croatia the lead against the run of play in the second half at Wembley.
But Southgate’s vibrant young side pulled off a stirring escape act in the closing stages to gain a measure of revenge for their World Cup semifinal defeat against Croatia earlier this year.
Jesse Lingard came off the bench to poach England’s equalizer and captain Kane was on hand to turn in the winner with five minutes left.
England’s fightback took them to the top of Group A4, above Spain and relegated Croatia, and they can look forward to playing in the last four in June next year.
It was a cathartic moment for England, who have made a habit of suffering painful defeats against Croatia, with this year’s World Cup woe following the 2007 loss that cost them a place at Euro 2008.
More importantly, the performance provided further tangible proof that Southgate is building a team capable of challenging for the major prizes after years of under-achievement.
England’s appearance in the semifinals of the Nations League, which are set to be held in Portugal next June, offers another chance to reach their first major final since 1966.
Following the 3-2 Nations League win over Spain in Seville last month, this tournament has been a serious statement of intent from Southgate’s team and they will go into 2019 with great expectations.
From start to finish, England were the dominant force, although they were fortunate to escape when Ante Rebic shot over after Jordan Pickford fumbled Fabian Delph’s backpass.
Kane slipped a perfectly-weighted pass through to Raheem Sterling and the Manchester City winger’s blistering pace sent him clear of the Croatia defense.
With only Lovre Kalinic to beat, Sterling let Croatia off the hook as he directed a hesitant shot straight at the keeper.
England kept probing intelligently, with the speed of Sterling and Marcus Rashford providing their main threat.
Delph’s pass sparked a frantic sequence, forcing Kalinic to dash out of his area to head away from Sterling.
When Kalinic’s clearance fell to Kane, the England captain’s effort was headed off the line by Tin Jedvaj.
The rebound fell to Kane, but Kalinic, by now back in his goal, used his legs to foil the Tottenham striker with a last-ditch save.
It was more of the same at the start of the second half, but once again England couldn’t find the killer touch.
That profligacy looked as though it would prove fatal when Croatia snatched the lead after 56 minutes.
Kramaric was allowed time and space to turn in the area and the Hoffenheim forward took full advantage, clipping a shot that deflected off Eric Dier and looped over Pickford’s despairing dive.
Southgate responded by sending on Lingard and the change reaped an instant reward as England equalized in the 78th minute.
Joe Gomez’s long throw was flicked on by John Stones and Kane prodded past Kalinic, leaving Lingard with the simple task of tapping in from virtually on the goal-line.
England’s deserved winner arrived in the 85th minute.
Ben Chilwell curled over a teasing low free-kick and Kane timed his run to perfection, guiding his shot past Kalinic from close-range.
Kane’s first goal in eight games for England sparked a wild celebration from Southgate, who leapt into the air as he punched the air on the touchline.
Kane had joked with his fiancee this week that he would cry if England ever win a trophy, but he couldn’t guarantee he would weep when they get married.
Thanks to their thrilling comeback, England could bring a tear to Kane’s eyes in the Finals next year.