Pavel’s on trip to top of Euro pile

Sunday Mail (UK) - - Sports -

The Mercedes driver will start to­day’s British Grand Prix on pole in his bid to move ahead of Clark and Alain Prost with his sixth tri­umph on home soil. Hamil­ton’s hero­ics on his fi­nal lap at Sil­ver­stone came af­ter Toro Rosso’s Brendon Har t ley emerged un­scathed from a hor­ror 200mph crash in the fi­nal prac­tice.

The ac­ci­dent ruled Hartley out of qual­i­fy­ing although he will line up last on the grid af­ter be­ing passed fit to con­tinue.

Hamil­ton turned on the style to claim his fourth straight pole at Sil­ver­stone and edge out cham­pi­onship ri­val Se­bas­tian Vet­tel by 0.044 sec­onds. The English­man, chas­ing a fifth vic­tory in a row that would also beat Clark’s run of four, trailed Vet­tel prior to the fi­nal runs. But he de­liv­ered a breath­less t ime with his fi­nal throw of the dice to see of f com­pe­ti­tion from both Fer­rari cars. He said: “It is one of the most pres­surised laps I’ve ever had. I was shak­ing af­ter­wards through the emo­tion and the adrenalin rush. “The adrenalin was off the lim­iter and more than I have ex­pe­ri­enced be­fore. It is my 76th pole but is so spe­cial and I’m so happy. I didn’t leave any­thing on the ta­ble.”

Vet­tel ad­mit­ted he nearly pulled out of qual­i­fy­ing with a neck in­jury but in­sists he will be fit to race.

He said: “I don’t know what hap­pened with my neck but it went stiff.

“We loos­ened it up with physio. Sleep will help so I am not wor­ried.”

Kimi Raikko­nen lines up in third for Fer­rari ahead of Hamil­ton’s team­mate Valt­teri Bot­tas.

Red Bull duo of Max Ver­stap­pen and Daniel Ric­cia­rdo sit fifth and sixth.

Sir Frank Williams was in at­ten­dance at a race for the first time this sea­son but his pres­ence did lit­tle to change the fail­ing British team’s woe­ful for­tunes.

Cana­dian Lance Stroll lost con­trol of his car on his very first f ly­ing lap – spin­ning at Brook­lands and end­ing up beached in the gravel. His ses­sion was over in­stantly.

Only moments later Sergey Sirotkin in the sis­ter Williams was in the sand trap too as the deputy team prin­ci­pal Claire Williams looked on aghast with both hands over her mouth.

Sirotkin man­aged to limp out of the gravel and back to the pits but could man­age only the slow­est time, putting both Williams cars just in front of Hartley at the back of the grid. Pavel Karne­jenko dug out a photo that has with­stood the test of time.

Three boys with their teenage years still ahead of them are star­ing into the cam­era in a podium-like set-up.

“That’s when I had just moved to Scot­land and we had a Rus­sian gym­nas­tics school come over to train with us.” said Karne­jenko, who was eight when he left Es­to­nia.

Only now, the boy in the mid­dle, Nikita Nagornyy, is an Olympic sil­ver medal­list. On the right, Dima Lankin, has a sil­ver of the Euro­pean kind.

A decade or so on, it fal ls to Karne­jenko to make sure Scot­land doesn’t fall out of the pic­ture all to­gether when they’re reunited in Glas­gow next month.

He’s made sac­ri­fices on his way to be­com­ing the only Scot in a 20-strong GB gym­nas­tics squad bound for the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onships.

Like swap­ping Tallinn for Hamil­ton as a child – with the dream of carv­ing out a ca­reer in gym­nas­tics – then re­lo­cat­ing to Not­ting­ham last year when it be­came a re­al­ity.

Or pass­ing up on a po­ten­tial Com­mon­wealth Games de­but in April as go­ing se­nior would rule out the Euro­pean Ju­nior Cham­pi­onships.

The 18- year- old said: “There is noth­ing in Es­to­nia in terms of men’s artis­tic gym­nas­tics that I do.

“I only did a bit in Es­to­nia when I was lit­tle – back­flips and tram­polin­ing – then I saw it on TV. I was watch­ing the 2008 Olympics and it in­spired me to do it – it just looked fun.

“My mum and dad wanted more op­por­tu­ni­ties for me and my two sis­ters – that’s why we moved.”

Karne­jenko, who started out at the City of Glas­gow Gym­nas­tics Club, has plenty rid­ing on his first ma­jor com­pe­ti­tion on home soil.

Es­pe­cially af­ter watch­ing his pals step on to the Gold Coast podium in April while he stayed at home.

He said: “It wasn’t an easy de­ci­sion, it took me a few weeks to de­cide but the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onships is a more im­por­tant event for my fu­ture.

“I watched all my team- mates, which was amaz­ing to see, the ones I used to train with in Glas­gow.

“I wouldn’t say I was jeal­ous, I was just more happy that they’re now Com­mon­wealth medal­ists. All of my fam­ily will be in Glas­gow to watch me. It will be pretty spe­cial.”


JUMP­START Hamil­ton savours a fourth straight pole at Sil­ver­stone yes­ter­day RIS­ING STARS Karne­jenko (left)

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