Supreme Hamilton wins Spanish GP, extends championship lead

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain celebrates on the podium after winning the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at the Barcelona Catalunya racetrack. (AP)
Updated 13 May 2018
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Supreme Hamilton wins Spanish GP, extends championship lead

BARCELONA: Lewis Hamilton extended his lead in the world championship to 17 points on Sunday when he roared to an imperious victory as Mercedes scored a one-two triumph at the Spanish Grand Prix.
The defending four-time world champion dominated from start to finish, save for a spell during the mid-race pit-stops, and clocked a series of record laps as he registered his second successive win.
It was the 64th victory of his career — only Michael Schumacer on 91 has more — and came from his 74th pole.
He joined seven-time champion Schumacher and two-time champion Mika Hakkinen as a three-time winner in Spain.
“That’s more like it guys, great job,” said Hamilton on team radio.
“Today I felt that synergy with the car that I have not felt all year so now we have to do it again.”
Valtteri Bottas came home second in the second Mercedes ahead of Max Verstappen of Red Bull who resisted late pressure from four-time champion Sebastian Vettel, who led Hamilton by 17 points after the opening three races this year.
The German, who made a good start, was second until he took an ill-judged second pit-stop, under Virtual Safety Car conditions, midway through the race, dropping two places.
Bottas said: “Of course,I wanted to fight for the win, but this is a good result for the team.”
Australian Daniel Ricciardo was fifth in the second Red Bull ahead of Kevin Magnussen of Haas and Spaniards Carlos Sainz, of Renault, and two-time champion Fernando Alonso, of McLaren.
Mexican Sergio Perez of Force India came home ninth ahead of the impressive Monegasque Charles Leclerc of Sauber.
Only 14 of the 20 starters completed the race.
On a cooler day with intermittent sunshine and heavy clouds looming, the track temperature was 35 degrees Celsius, and the air 15, when the race began.
Hamilton made a clean start from his 74th pole position, but team-mate Bottas was unable to resist Vettel who took advantage of slip-stream on the straight to steer past the Finn into the first corner.
After overnight rainstorms, it was little surprise there was a Safety Car incident on the opening lap when Grosjean spun at Turn Three at high speed and then attempted to recover.
His Haas spun back across the track in a cloud of black smoke ahead of the oncoming cars — leaving Pierre Gasly and Nico Hulkenberg with nowhere to go as they plunged into the spinning Haas machine.
Clearly upset and crestfallen, Grosjean kept his helmet on as he slumped on some nearby steps before going to the medical center for a check-up.
The field ran behind the Safety Car until the race re-started on lap seven, the champion bolting clear to build a lead while Bottas closed up to challenge Vettel for second.
By lap 10, a rapid Hamilton was breaking the lap record to move 3.8 seconds clear of Vettel with Bottas third and Raikkonen fourth ahead of the two Red Bulls.
Hamilton maintained his stunning speed to extend his lead to 5.5 seconds by lap 13 and seven by lap 17.
Raikkonen reported loss of power shortly before Hamilton pitted from the lead, after 25 laps, rejoining second behind Verstappen, ahead of Ricciardo, Vettel and Bottas. The luckless Finn climbed from his Ferrari and out of the race.
After 40 of the 66 laps, Esteban Ocon pulled up after an engine failure, bringing Virtual Safety Car (VSC) conditions. Hamilton led Vettel by 12 seconds and stayed out as the German pitted, comparatively slowly, for fresh medium tires and rejoined fourth.
When racing resumed on lap 43, Hamilton led Bottas by 15 seconds.
Verstappen, third, had damage to his front-wing endplate after a collision but was told to continue despite loss of down-force and did just that as Hamilton, back to his best, controlled proceedings to the chequered flag.


Centuries from Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan enough for India to crush Pakistan

Updated 23 September 2018
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Centuries from Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan enough for India to crush Pakistan

DUBAI: Openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan hit punishing centuries to steer an imperious India to a nine wicket win over a listless Pakistan in the Asia Cup match in Dubai on Sunday.
Sharma notched 119-ball 111 not out for his 19th one-day hundred while Dhawan made a 100-ball 114 for his eighth century as the pair put on 210 for the opening stand — second best in all India-Pakistan one-day internationals.
That super effort from the openers saw India overhaul the target with 10.3 overs to spare.
The Super four win is the second for India over arch-rivals following their easy eighth wicket win in the first round.
The win is India’s highest against Pakistan in terms of wickets, improving on the eight wicket win over Pakistan in Melbourne in 1985.
Pakistan were steered to 237-7 by Shoaib Malik who made 90-ball 78 after winning the toss and batting but it proved too little for the strong Indian batting line.
Pakistan could have got Sharma out in the sixth over but Imam-ul-Haq dropped an easy catch off a luckless Shaheen Shah, giving the colorful Indian power to smash seven boundaries and four sixes.
Sharma, who scored back to back fifties in the last two games, also became the ninth Indian batsmen to complete 7,000 one-day runs in his 187th match when he reached 94, soon after he was dropped on 81 by Fakhar Zaman off Shadab Khan.
Dhawan matches his skipper shot for shot, firing 100-ball 114 with 16 boundaries and two sixes as Pakistani bowlers had no clue to the rasping and flowing strokes of the Indian openers.
Pakistan’s pace spearhead Mohammad Amir, brought back in one of two changes after dropped for the Afghanistan match, went wicketless for a fifth match in a row, leaving the much vaunted Pakistan bowling biteless.
Even when Dhawan got out in the 34th over with 38 needed it was through a run out.
The best opening stand in Indo-Pak one-day internationals was 224 Mohammad Hafeez and Nasir Jamshed at Dhaka in 2012.
Earlier, Malik scored a 90-ball 78 with four boundaries and two sixes, but India kept a tight check on Pakistan’s progress.
Pakistan lost Imam (ten), Zaman (31) and Babar Azam (run out for nine) in an unimpressive start to their innings before Malik and skipper Sarfraz Ahmed added 107 for the fourth wicket.
Sarfraz scored a slow 66-ball 44 with only two boundaries before he became one of two Kuldeep Yadav’s wicket who finished with 2-41.
Pakistan’s final over score depended on Malik who crucially fell in the 44th over, caught behind off a leg-side edge off Jasprit Bumrah.
Asif Ali smashed two sixes in his 21-ball 30 before he was bowled by leg-spinner Yuzvndra Chahal who took 2-38 in his nine overs.
Bumran finished with 2-29 in his ten overs.