Bangkok Post

Hamil­ton takes pole with Schumi’s record in sight

- Sports · Superbikes · Formula One · Motorcycles · Car Racing · Motorsports · Lewis Hamilton · Michael Schumacher · Sochi · Mercedes GP · Sebastian Vettel · Scuderia Ferrari · Max Verstappen · Valtteri Bottas · Yamaha Motor · Franco Morbidelli · Catalonia · Fabio Quartararo · FC Barcelona · Barcelona · Circuit de Catalunya · Championship · Ducati Motor Holding, S.p.A. · Valentino Rossi · Andrea Dovizioso

>>SOCHI: For­mula One cham­pi­onship leader Lewis Hamil­ton took pole for to­day’s Rus­sian Grand Prix but the Mercedes six-time win­ner was made to work for it in yes­ter­day’s qual­i­fy­ing ses­sion dis­rupted by Se­bas­tian Vet­tel shunt­ing his Fer­rari.

Vet­tel’s ac­ci­dent came with over two min­utes of the sec­ond ses­sion re­main­ing with Hamil­ton lan­guish­ing in 15th place and in dan­ger of miss­ing out on the top 10 shoot-out.

But the Mercedes cham­pion kept his cool, pro­gressed to Q1 af­ter set­ting the fourth quick­est time, then turned on the power to take his eighth pole in 10 races as he is bid­ding for a record-equalling 91st vic­tory.

Red Bull’s Max Ver­stap­pen seized sec­ond place on the start­ing grid for the race in Sochi, with Hamil­ton’s team­mate and clos­est ti­tle ri­val Valtteri Bottas hav­ing to set­tle for third.

Hamil­ton will equal Fer­rari great Michael Schu­macher’s all-time win record if he takes his sev­enth win of the sea­son to­day.

Vet­tel climbed out un­hurt from his Fer­rari af­ter crash­ing heav­ily.

Re­plays showed that the Ger­man driver, in his fi­nal sea­son with Fer­rari, clipped a kerb at Turn Four and lost con­trol as he smacked into the bar­ri­ers.

Mor­bidelli shines again

Petronas Yamaha’s Franco Mor­bidelli claimed his maiden Mo­toGP pole po­si­tion at the Catalunya Grand Prix yes­ter­day, edg­ing out team­mate Fabio Quar­tararo in Barcelona.

Ital­ian rider Mor­bidelli pow­ered through the fi­nal sec­tor at Cir­cuit de Catalunya to de­liver a scorch­ing lap of one minute 38.798 sec­onds.

Early pace-setter Quar­tararo went for one fi­nal at­tempt as the che­quered flag came out but was un­able to im­prove on his sec­ond-place fin­ish.

Ital­ian great Valentino Rossi, who com­mit­ted his fu­ture to Petronas Yamaha for the 2021 sea­son ear­lier yes­ter­day, fin­ished third on his fac­tory Yamaha bike to se­cure a front row po­si­tion for the first time this sea­son.

Cham­pi­onship leader An­drea Dovizioso’s dif­fi­cult run in qual­i­fy­ing ses­sions this sea­son con­tin­ued as the Du­cati rider failed to qual­ify for Q2. He will start to­day’s race 17th on the grid.

Rossi has signed a one-year con­tract ex­ten­sion with Yamaha which will see him move to the man­u­fac­turer’s satel­lite team for the 2021 sea­son.

He holds records for Mo­toGP and 500cc wins (89) but he hasn’t won an elite class race for three years.

 ??  ?? POW­ER­FUL LAP: Mercedes driver Lewis Hamil­ton dur­ing qual­i­fy­ing.
POW­ER­FUL LAP: Mercedes driver Lewis Hamil­ton dur­ing qual­i­fy­ing.

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