Hamilton takes pole position for British GP ahead of Bottas

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton during the press conference after qualifying in pole position with second placed Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas FIA/Handout via (REUTERS)
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Updated 02 August 2020

Hamilton takes pole position for British GP ahead of Bottas

  • The fourth race of the season is again being held without fans because of virus restrictions

SILVERSTONE, ENGLAND: Lewis Hamilton set a new track record at the British Grand Prix and clinched a record-extending 91st pole position on Saturday.
He needs five more wins to equal Michael Schumacher’s Formula One record of 91 GP wins. The defending champion is also odds-on to equal the F1 great’s record of seven world titles.
He clocked a time of 1 minute 24.303 seconds at the Silverstone circuit where he has won a record six times.
“This track is just awesome,” the 35-year-old Hamilton said. “It’s like juggling balls when you’re on a moving plate.”
He was .313 seconds ahead of Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas and about 1 second faster than Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
“They were just way too fast,” Verstappen said of Mercedes. “You just have to accept that and do the best you can.”
Charles Leclerc gave Ferrari a small boost with fourth ahead of Lando Norris, who could face a grid penalty after failing to slow down under a yellow flag in the second part of qualifying when Hamilton made a rare mistake. He spun his car and sent gravel spraying, bringing the session to a brief halt after Bottas had set the quickest time.
Vettel, who had problems with understeering and almost went off the track toward the end of Q3, was only 10th fastest in qualifying.
Red Bull’s Alexander Albon finished 12th ahead of Racing Point’s last-minute replacement Nico Hulkenberg. He lost his seat in F1 this year, and is driving because Sergio Perez tested positive for the coronavirus following a trip back to his native Mexico after his mother had an accident.
Nicolas Latifi’s Williams spun off the track near the end of Q1, the latest incident in the Canadian driver’s difficult start in F1.
“It’s just a driver error, no excuses,” he said.
Kimi Raikkonen and Kevin Magnussen were also among the five drivers eliminated from Q1.
Earlier, Bottas posted the fastest time in third and final practice ahead of Hamilton and Verstappen in somewhat cooler conditions following Friday’s stifling heat.
Vettel was a miserable 14th, once again coming into the garage for repairs after a similar problem with the car’s pedals on Friday.
The fourth race of the season is again being held without fans because of virus restrictions.
“It doesn’t feel like a British Grand Prix in that respect,” Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said. “The atmosphere obviously isn’t here.”
Mercedes won the first three races, Bottas clinching the season-opener in Austria and Hamilton winning the next two in Austria and Hungary.
Like Austria, Britain is hosting back-to-back races at Silverstone.


NBA playoff picture comes into a bit more focus

Updated 08 August 2020

NBA playoff picture comes into a bit more focus

  • Orlando and Washington are last two teams contending for one spot in the East
  • The race for the last unclaimed playoff spot in the Western Conference remains close

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida: The NBA playoff picture is getting a little clearer.
Brooklyn secured one of the last two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference on Friday, defeating Sacramento 119-106. That leaves Orlando and Washington as the last two teams contending for one spot in the East, with the Magic needing only one more win or one Wizards loss to clinch.
Orlando and Washington were both playing later Friday.
For the Nets, the clinching comes as something to savor in a topsy-turvy season.
Kevin Durant couldn’t play at all because of his recovery from Achilles surgery — yet still got a $1 million contract bonus because Brooklyn made the postseason. Kyrie Irving missed much of the year because of injury, the Nets had several regulars opt out of participating in the restart, changed coaches in March and have used 24 players so far this season.
“It’s great to punch our own ticket into the playoffs,” Nets coach Jacque Vaughn said. “I joked with the guys: I like my laundry being done, but nothing like doing your own laundry.”
The race for the last unclaimed playoff spot in the Western Conference remains close, with teams vying to grab the No. 8 spot and play the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round. If the eighth- and ninth-place teams are within four games of one another when the seeding game schedule ends next week, there will be a two-game series to determine who gets the last playoff spot.
Should that series take place, the ninth-place team would have to go 2-0 in a best-of-two series to advance.
Memphis remained alone in eighth, after the Grizzlies snapped a four-game bubble losing streak by beating Oklahoma City on Friday 121-92. The Grizzlies are one game ahead of Portland in the West standings.
“We channeled what we’ve done all season long,” Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said. “We played Grizzlies basketball. Grizzlies basketball equals Grizzlies wins, more often than not. We hadn’t done that in the first four games.”
San Antonio leaped idle Phoenix into 10th in the West by beating Utah 119-111, with the Spurs improving to 3-2 in the bubble. The Spurs (30-38) are one game behind Portland in the standings.
“At the end of the day, we can’t control what they’re doing,” Spurs center Jakob Poeltl said. “We can only control what we’re doing. We’re going to take every game as it comes. We’re going to try to win every game.”
Phoenix, Sacramento and New Orleans remain in the mix for a play-in series spot. The Suns, who are 4-0 at Disney, play Miami on Saturday.