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.


Red card for virus as Saudi Pro League returns with Riyadh derby

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Updated 03 August 2020

Red card for virus as Saudi Pro League returns with Riyadh derby

  • Season restarts after 144-day absence with safety measures, spectator bans

JEDDAH: The most popular rivalry in the Saudi Pro League (SPL) will take center stage as Al-Nassr host Al-Hilal on Wednesday, with safety precautions to allow the safe return of football in the Kingdom.

The eagerness for football’s return will be highlighted when players arrive fully kitted at King Fahd Stadium, ready to take to the pitch for the Riyadh derby on Wednesday night.
The kit rule is one of a string of new measures put in place during every league game to ensure the safe return of the country’s most popular sport, as players and coaches prepare for the SPL after a 144-day absence with a full round of fixtures starting on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Fans are unable to attend games due to social distancing rules, while other regulations have been put in place behind the scenes ahead of the season resuming on Tuesday night.
Players would usually arrive at stadiums on team buses, but these will now be reduced to smaller convoys with staggered team arrivals. Players will turn up in their kit ready to take straight to the pitch to warm up ahead of the game in order to avoid large numbers in changing rooms.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Players to arrive ‘match ready’ in warm-up kits.

• Limited number of players allowed in changing rooms at one time.

• Stadiums continuously disinfected.

About 30 precautions are being implemented across match days aside from spectator bans, with all clubs and players agreeing to rules set out by the SPL and Ministry of Sport.
Arrival points at stadiums will be spread out for teams and staff, while a maximum of five players will be allowed in changing rooms at one time.
While a lot of work has gone into the safety preparations behind the scenes, players will also avoid shaking hands or hugging on the pitch. Dugouts will be restricted to nine coaching staff and substitutes, with others seated in the stands while wearing masks.
On match days, stadiums will be disinfected, including changing rooms, corridors, advertising and even corner flags, with the league ensuring safety standards are maintained during the remaining eight rounds of fixtures.
Fans will not be allowed in stadiums but can still get behind their team and show their support through the SPL’s #OurLeagueIsBack digital campaign, which encourages supporters to share messages and join the conversation online.
Take part on Twitter at @SPL, Instagram at SaudiProLeague, Facebook at SaudiProLeague.SPL and by using the hashtag #OurLeagueIsBack.