After Ferrari pole, Lewis Hamilton plans to study late and find Raikkonen-beating plan in Italy

Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen of Finland steers his car during the qualifying session at the Monza racetrack, in Monza, Italy, Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018. The Formula One race will be held on Sunday. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
Updated 01 September 2018
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After Ferrari pole, Lewis Hamilton plans to study late and find Raikkonen-beating plan in Italy

MONZA: Championship leader Lewis Hamilton said he planned to study late into the night Saturday to find a way to beat Ferrari in Sunday’s keenly-anticipated Italian Grand Prix.
The defending world champion qualified third behind Kimi Raikkonen, who took pole with Formala One’s record fastest lap, and title rival Sebastian Vettel, who is 17 points behind the Briton in the drivers’ standings.
After acknowledging Ferrari’s marginally superior speed, he said: “The start will hopefully create an opportunity for us.
“I’ve got to study hard tonight to figure out a way how I can get in front of at least one of the Ferraris on the first lap.
“It’s great that Valtteri is right behind me so we can really apply the pressure on the red cars,” he said, referring to Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.
Hamilton broke the record set by Juan-Pablo Montoya at Monza in 2004, in a BMW-powered Williams, but it was not enough to earn him a front row spot as his run of four consecutive Italian poles ended.
“They did a solid job,” he said, during post-qualifying interviews on the track, when he was booed by sections of the partisan crowd.
“We gave it everything we could — it’s obviously incredibly close between us, but they’ve had the upper-hand this weekend. Everyone in the team is working as hard as they can to make the difference.
“It’s incredibly close, which is great for the sport and it’s great to see so many fans here.
“We’ve improved the car overnight and I’m really happy with where we were today. I’m proud of my guys for pushing this hard.
“We’ve squeezed absolutely everything out of the car, I kind of knew that the Ferraris might just be able to pull out some extra bit of time.
“We’ve got to fight hard tomorrow. The long run pace of the Ferraris looked quicker than ours, so it’s not going to be easy — that’s for sure.”
Bottas, who battled to take fourth, said: “It has been difficult. We tried some set-up changes for final practice and it was better in the corners, but on the breaking I lost performance. It was easy to lock up.
“But this is only qualifying and the weekend is not over. We will give it everything tomorrow in the race. The first lap is going to be interesting — we might get a bit of tow-effect into Turn One.”


Le Fondre pounces to earn Sydney vital point

Updated 14 min 22 sec ago
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Le Fondre pounces to earn Sydney vital point

  • The stalemate leaves all to play for in Group H

SHANGHAI: “Fantastic” journeyman forward Adam le Fondre pounced to earn Sydney FC a point in an entertaining 2-2 draw at Shanghai SIPG in the AFC Champions League on Tuesday.

The stalemate leaves all to play for in Group H with two rounds of matches to play after table-toppers Ulsan were held 2-2 at Kawasaki Frontale.

Chinese champions SIPG, for whom Brazilian forward Hulk was a constant menace, came back from a goal down to lead 2-1.

But the 32-year-old le Fondre displayed his enduring predatory instincts to grab a classy leveller on 62 minutes.

The striker, who is at his ninth club and has had spells at Cardiff City and Wolverhampton Wanderers, popped up with a bullet header on the six-yard box.

“He’s a fantastic person, first and foremost, and a fantastic player,” said Sydney coach Steve Corica, who knows his team will almost certainly need to win their last two matches to progress to the knock-out rounds.

Corica, formerly a player at Leicester City and Wolves, was full of praise for the evergreen le Fondre, who moved to Australia from Bolton in August 2018.

“He’s played in England, played in the Premier League, scored goals wherever he’s gone,” said Corica.

“He works extremely hard for our team and in the A-League has scored 16 goals (this season), and he’s scored in the Champions League.

“He’s been fantastic for our club and the way he’s played this year.”

Japan’s Kawasaki Frontale gave themselves a qualification lifeline as they fought back from a goal down at home with nine minutes remaining to draw 2-2 with South Korea’s Ulsan.

Leandro Damiao fired home an 81st-minute equalizer to revive Frontale’s fading hopes of progress to the last 16.

Star striker Yu Kobayashi opened the scoring for the home side, but the Koreans struck back twice before half-time through Park Yang-woo and Junior Negrao.

Kawasaki piled on the pressure toward the end with Kobayashi guilty of the miss of the match in the second minute of stoppage time when he found himself unmarked with the goal gaping, but somehow hit the post.

Ulsan top a tight Group H on eight points, with SIPG on five, Kawasaki on four and Sydney still just about alive on three points.

Fabio Cannavaro’s Guangzhou Evergrande were held to a surprise 1-1 draw by an under-strength Melbourne Victory.

The former two-time Asian champions dropped to second in Group F after Huang Bowen’s 24th-minute strike was canceled out by Jai Ingham’s goal two minutes later. Japan’s Sanfrecce Hiroshima took advantage of the Chinese giants’ slip-up to go top on nine points with a 1-0 win at Daegu FC in South Korea, courtesy of Hayato Araki’s 34th-minute winner. With Daegu just a point behind Guangzhou, Cannavaro’s men now face a pivotal clash in Hiroshima in two weeks before the group finale against the Koreans on May 22.