‘Redemption’ as Hamilton wins 1,000th race in China
Lewis Hamilton said that he “redeemed” himself with a lightning start to win the 1,000th Formula One Grand Prix on Sunday in a blustery Shanghai.
Hamilton started from second on the grid but grabbed the lead from Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas on the first corner and romped to a victory which gave him the world championship lead, AFP reported.
The title-holder from Britain finished more than 6.5 seconds ahead of Bottas in the third Mercedes one-two in as many races this season, with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel third.
Max Verstappen of Red Bull was fourth and Charles Leclerc in the second Ferrari was fifth.
Sixth was Verstappen’s teammate Pierre Gasly, the Frenchman earning a bonus point for clocking the quickest lap, one minute 34.742 seconds, in windy and hazy conditions.
Hamilton, for whom this was a sixth Chinese Grand Prix win and 75th overall, said that it was “a little bit of a struggle this weekend for me”.
The five-time world champion wrestled with his car in qualifying but said that “a shift in driving style enabled me to unlock a bit more the potential of the car”.
“The start was obviously great, which was really the decisive moment of the race. After that it was fairly straightforward.”
The 34-year-old, who now leads the Finn Bottas by six points in the standings, said that he has had problems with his starts down the years.
“The first few races have been very difficult for me off the line so it’s nice to finally redeem myself and rectify that,” he added.
Bottas, who pipped Hamilton to pole by just 0.023 seconds, was always playing catchup after laboring out of the blocks.
“I lost it on the start, honestly, shame about the start, I got some wheel spin on the start line,” he said.
Talented 21-year-old Leclerc pulled off the same trick at the expense of teammate Vettel, darting into third, but the German ultimately prevailed in the battle of the Ferraris.
Mercedes “were too quick right from the start”, said Vettel, who climbed atop the podium for the first time in 2019.
There was more early drama when Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat tangled with both McLarens of Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz, earning the Russian a drive-through penalty.
On lap 11, four-time world champion Vettel leapfrogged back in front of Monaco’s Leclerc into third following radio orders from Ferrari telling the youngster to let him pass.
“We do our job, stay focused,” Leclerc – agonizingly denied victory last time out in Bahrain after his Ferrari lost power – was informed on team radio after he briefly protested.
Back at the front, Hamilton began pulling away, establishing a more than five-second gap on Bottas with a third of the race gone.
With Hamilton – winner in Bahrain two weeks ago – serene up top, the real battles unfolded behind him.
Vettel, under pressure after a number of unforced errors going back to last season, went wheel-to-wheel with Verstappen after both pitted for fresh tires.
Vettel, Bottas and then Toro Rosso’s Alexander Albon, who missed qualifying after a nasty crash in final practice, all exchanged fastest laps.
The Thai-Briton Albon was named “driver of the day” after battling from the pits and into the points.
On lap 38 of the 56 it was Leclerc and Bottas who had a skirmish in the compelling battle for second.
Leclerc then pitted and was momentarily held up by a comparatively sluggish change of tyres.
Nico Hulkenberg, who qualified eighth for Renault, saw his race come to an early conclusion after the team retired his faltering car.
Norris and Kvyat were also forced out before the end.
The fourth race of the season takes place on the streets of Baku, in Azerbaijan, in a fortnight.
Magic upsets Raptors on Augustin’s three
D.J. Augustin scored the final five points of the game, including a tiebreaking three-pointer with 3.4 seconds left, as the Orlando Magic upset the hosts Toronto Raptors 104-101 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference first-round series Saturday.
The Magic, the seventh seed in the East, won their first playoff game since their most recent postseason appearance in 2012, Reuters reported.
The Raptors, the second seed, fell to 2-14 all time in series-opening games.
Kawhi Leonard scored four straight points to give the Raptors a 101-99 lead with 1:02 left. After Augustin tied the score with a driving layup with 44.9 seconds left, Marc Gasol’s open three-pointer from the corner rimmed out.
The Magic didn’t call timeout on their way up the floor, and Augustin sank the go-ahead basket as the shot clock dwindled. The Raptors then called timeout, after which Leonard lofted an air ball from three-point range from beyond the top of the key. Following a timeout, the Magic inbounded the ball without issue to end the game.
Nets 111 76ers 102
D’Angelo Russell scored 26 points, Caris LeVert added 23 and visiting Brooklyn defeated Philadelphia in Game 1.
Spencer Dinwiddie contributed 18, and Ed Davis had 12 points and 16 rebounds for the sixth-seeded Nets, who competed in their first playoff game in four years after finishing the regular season at 42-40.
Jimmy Butler led the third-seeded Sixers with a career-high 36-point performance in the playoffs. Joel Embiid had been doubtful with left knee soreness and was cleared to play less than 10 minutes before the game. Embiid, who missed 14 of the team’s final 24 games, finished with 22 points and 15 rebounds but clearly looked bothered by his injury.
Spurs 101 Nuggets 96
DeMar DeRozan had 18 points and 12 rebounds, Derrick White scored 16 and San Antonio beat host Denver in Game 1.
LaMarcus Aldridge and Bryn Forbes scored 15 each for the seventh-seeded Spurs, who grabbed the lead early and never relinquished it.
Nikola Jokic had 10 points, 14 rebounds and 14 assists for a triple-double in his first playoff game for Denver. Gary Harris had a game-high 20 points, and Jamal Murray scored 17.
Warriors 121 Clippers 104
Stephen Curry complemented a game-high 38 points with a career-playoff-high 15 rebounds in a historic performance as Golden State opened defense of its NBA title with a win over Los Angeles in a volatile Game 1 in Oakland, Calif.
The matchup of familiar Pacific Division rivals featured the ejections of the Warriors’ Kevin Durant and Clippers’ Patrick Beverley, each of whom was nailed with a second technical foul for a verbal altercation near midcourt midway through the fourth quarter.
Curry’s 38 points included 8-for-12 shooting on three-pointers on a night when he passed Ray Allen (385) for the NBA all-time career playoff record. Curry finished the game with 386 career threes.
AJ vows to ‘punish’ Miller in world title defense
Anthony Joshua promised to “test” Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller’s appetite for battle – and warned that his challenger must “prove himself”.
The IBF, WBA, and WBO champion has delivered a scathing reminder of his superiority ahead of their fight on June 1 in New York, Sky Sports reported.
“Miller is big, strong, can throw hooks, has a good work rate. It’s interesting because I’ll be the first one to test him, and see how good he really is,” Joshua told Sky Sports News.
“This is his chance to prove himself to the world.”
Joshua’s US debut at Madison Square Garden will come after two feisty public appearances alongside Miller, the first of which became physical.
He said, “It’s not just about Jarrell Miller, it’s about perfecting my craft. It’s good to work on the position of my hands, fluidity, perfecting my weight.
“Then at the end of it, I get to punish Miller.
“I said I will reconstruct his face. I am looking forward to seeing what his face looks like at the end of the fight.”
Joshua vs Miller concludes a huge three weeks in the heavyweight division. Deontay Wilder defends his WBC belt against Dominic Breazeale on May 18, then Oleksandr Usyk debuts in the division against Carlos Takam on May 25.
“I think it will be class if I can fight Wilder for the undisputed title, and then I could fight Usyk,” Joshua said.
“[A fight against Usyk] would be the undisputed heavyweight champion versus the undisputed cruiserweight champion at heavyweight. That would be unbelievable.”
Last month, Wilder was optimistic about a fight against Joshua with every major title on the line. He said, “We need to see one champion, one face, one name.
“It is a mighty task to getting that complete. It takes cooperation with a lot of people to make that happen.
“Everybody wants to see the big fight but there are certain things we need to do – [Breazeale] is the mandatory. One fight, one step at a time.”
Dillian Whyte, meanwhile, is still finalizing an opponent for a July return.
“He wants to have a proper fight, and that’s Dillian Whyte all over,” promoter Eddie Hearn said.
Ethiopia sweeps Paris Marathon
Ethiopian Abrha Milaw upstaged two-time defending champion Paul Lonyangata to win the Paris Marathon on Sunday.
Milaw clocked 2hr 07min 05sec, with Kenyan rival Lonyangata coming in third as 60,000 runners took to the streets of the French capital in cold, clear conditions, AFP reported.
Gelete Burka produced a spurt of extra gas in the final kilometer to ensure an Ethiopian winner in the women’s race with a time of 2:22:48.
France’s Clemence Calvin, who was only cleared to race on Friday after the last-minute lifting of a temporary ban for evading a doping test last month in Morocco, smashed the French women’s record.
Calvin finished fourth in 2:23:41, bettering by 41 seconds the previous national record set by Christelle Daunay in 2010.
It also bettered by almost three minutes her own previous best of 2:26:28 which she set when finishing second in the European championships in Berlin last year.
Brazilian soccer great Pele had a successful operation to remove a kidney stone, doctors in Sao Paulo said.