Hamilton fastest in rain-hit practice for Japanese GP

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton of Britain during practice in Suzuka Circuit on Friday. (Reuters)
Updated 06 October 2017
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Hamilton fastest in rain-hit practice for Japanese GP

SUZUKA, Japan: Formula One championship leader Lewis Hamilton clocked the fastest lap in a rain-hit second practice session for the Japanese Grand Prix on Friday, when only five drivers set a timed lap.
After a lengthy delay, the Mercedes driver was quickest in the afternoon practice with a lap of 1 minute, 48.719 seconds, .799 seconds ahead of Force India rival Esteban Ocon.
Despite Hamilton’s victory in the wet in Singapore and second-place finish in Sepang, Mercedes has recently struggled to match the pace of rivals Ferrari and Red Bull.
“It’s been an interesting day,” Hamilton said. “The car is feeling much better than it was in Malaysia. I’m glad that we had the dry session for FP1. In FP2, there was a lot of rain, but it felt really important to go out and assess the track and see how the car was feeling as the car was not good in the wet in Malaysia.”
Hamilton switched to the team’s new aerodynamic package for Friday’s practice and, after finishing second behind Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel in a dry first practice, he said his car felt competitive again.
“The car feels back to normal, so I’m ready to race,” Hamilton said.
Ocon’s teammate, Sergio Perez, and the Williams duo of Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll were the only other drivers to get in a timed lap in the abbreviated afternoon session.
With five races remaining, Hamilton leads Vettel by 34 points in the driver’s championship.
Hamilton has won twice before in Suzuka, in 2014 and 2015, and was runner-up to former Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in last year’s race.


Real Madrid beat Bayern Munich 2-1 away to take control of semifinal

Updated 25 April 2018
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Real Madrid beat Bayern Munich 2-1 away to take control of semifinal

MUNICH: Real Madrid substitute Marco Asensio scored a second-half winner on Wednesday to end Bayern Munich’s unbeaten record at home this season and give his side a 2-1 win in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal.
Joshua Kimmich had put the home side in front, but Marcelo equalized before the interval. Asensio came after the break and Lukas Vazquez set up the 22-year-old to claim Madrid’s second away goal 12 minutes into the second half.
The result puts the two-time defending champions in a favorable position before the second leg in Madrid next Tuesday, though Zinedine Zidane’s side will be wary after conceding three goals at home to Juventus in the previous round.
Bayern had to substitute the injured Arjen Robben and Jerome Boateng in the first half, but the side had plenty of chances to score more goals with Franck Ribery, Thomas Mueller and Robert Lewandowski all missing good opportunities.
Cristiano Ronaldo was held scoreless for the first time in the competition this season. The Portuguese star had an effort ruled out in the second half for using his arm to control the ball.
Bayern, which is chasing a treble in Jupp Heynckes’ last season in charge, was hoping to make up for last year’s exit to Madrid, and for the Spanish side’s 5-0 aggregate win at the same stage in 2014.