Lewis Hamilton takes pole for Spanish GP with track record

Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton gives the thumbs up after qualifying at the Spanish Grand Prix. (AFP)
Updated 12 May 2018
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Lewis Hamilton takes pole for Spanish GP with track record

  • Hamilton scorches to pole ahead of Bottas
  • Englishman will start at the front of the grid for the first time since Australia

BARCELONA: Lewis Hamilton set a track record to take pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix on Saturday.
Hamilton had a lap time of 1 minute, 16.173 seconds at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, smashing the previous lap record of 1.19.954 set by Rubens Barrichello in 2009. In doing so, Hamilton finished only four hundredths of a second ahead of Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.
Sebastian Vettel, who had won three straight poles, will start third with Ferrari, ahead of teammate Kimi Raikkonen.
Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo were fifth and sixth, respectively.
“Very close qualifying. It took everything to get this result,” Hamilton said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do tomorrow, but it’s a good start.”
Hamilton hadn’t taken pole since the season-opener in Australia.
“Not entirely happy, but we expected Mercedes to be very strong,” Vettel said. “Tomorrow (Sunday) it should be an interesting race.”
A good starting position is crucial in Spain as there are not many overtaking opportunities.
Hamilton will be trying to win his second race in a row and add to his four-point lead over Vettel in the drivers’ standings. Vettel won in Australia and Bahrain, while Ricciardo was first in China and Hamilton triumphed in Azerbaijan.
Mercedes had been fastest in all three practice sessions this weekend, with Hamilton and Bottas leading the timesheets.
Most teams brought significant updates to Barcelona, which marks the beginning of the European season in F1.
Kevin Magnussen will start seventh with Haas, while teammate Romain Grosjean is 10th on the grid.
Both Spanish drivers made it to the final qualifying session, with two-time champion Fernando Alonso eighth with McLaren and Carlos Sainz ninth with Renault.
Raikkonen was on a new engine after a problem with the one he used on Friday.
There was some disquiet with the rear-view mirrors Ferrari mounted on the halos, with motorsport governing body FIA looking into a possible breach of regulations.
Brendon Hartley of Toro Rosso did not make it to qualifying because the team was not able to fix his car after a crash in the final minutes of Saturday’s practice session. He clipped the grass on the entry of a turn and span into the tire barrier, significantly damaging the car. The rear end fell apart as the car was being hoisted by a crane.
Lance Stroll continued to struggle with Williams, going off track in the final minutes of qualifying. He had also gone to the gravel in practice earlier on Saturday and on Friday.
Race organizers said additional security was implemented after several cars were broken into at a closed parking lot for the media at the track.


Tearful Tiger Woods breaks duck in emotional scenes at Tour Championship

Updated 24 September 2018
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Tearful Tiger Woods breaks duck in emotional scenes at Tour Championship

  • The Big Beast caps a remarkable turnaround to claim first title since 2013.
  • This time last year it was feared Tiger's career was over.

LONDON: Tiger Woods was moved to the brink of tears after capturing his first title since 2013 with a two-stroke triumph at the Tour Championship in Atlanta on Sunday that proved he was far from washed up at the age of 42.
Tossing aside five years of career-threatening injury woes, Woods reasserted his status as the best frontrunner in the history of the sport, leading throughout the final round and finishing at 11-under-par 269 at East Lake.
With the massive gallery chanting his name as they stampeded the final fairway in scenes reminiscent of British Opens of yesteryear, Woods moved within two victories of Sam Snead’s all-time record of 82 PGA Tour titles.
“I was having a hard time not crying coming up the last hole,” he said.
“All of a sudden it started hitting me I was going to win the tournament.
“I’ve been sitting on 79 (wins) for five years now. To get 80 is a pretty damn good feeling.”
After carding 71, Woods walked off to a big kiss from girlfriend Erica Herman and a hug from agent Mark Steinberg as security tried to keep the frenzied fans at bay.
The victory capped off a season that started with questions over whether Woods, now 10 years removed from his 14th major title, would even be able to play a full schedule after undergoing spinal fusion surgery in April 2017.
“My body was a wreck,” recalled Woods, who hoped the operation would alleviate debilitating back and leg pain.
“The low point was not knowing whether I would be able to live pain-free again.
“I was beyond playing. I couldn’t sit, I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t lay down without feeling the pain in my back and leg.”