Lewis Hamilton takes Italian Grand Prix pole, Ferrari struggle again

Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton set a track record at the Italian Grand Prix as he clinched a record-extending 94th pole position at Monza. (AP)
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Updated 05 September 2020

Lewis Hamilton takes Italian Grand Prix pole, Ferrari struggle again

  • Hamilton looks on course to extend his championship lead, which stands at 47 points from Red Bull rival Max Verstappen and 50 from Bottas

MONZA: Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton set a track record at the Italian Grand Prix as he clinched a record-extending 94th pole position, nudging Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas into second place by just 0.069 seconds on Saturday.
But Ferrari’s troubles went from bad to worse as both cars failed to qualify inside the top 10 at the team's home circuit for the first time since 1984, with Sebastian Vettel not even making it out of Q1.
Hamilton looks on course to extend his championship lead, which stands at 47 points from Red Bull rival Max Verstappen and 50 from Bottas.
Bottas and Hamilton exchanged track records in qualifying at the Temple of Speed. McLaren driver Carlos Sainz — who moves to Ferrari next year — was third, 0.808 behind the British driver and just ahead of Sergio Perez and Verstappen.
Things went from terrible to abysmal for Ferrari. Charles Leclerc qualified 13th and has little chance of repeating last year when he won from pole position to end the team’s nine-year wait for victory at Monza.
Vettel finished 17th after being hampered by traffic on his final lap.
Earlier, Bottas led third and final practice.
Bottas was 0.229 faster than Sainz and 0.323 quicker than Lando Norris after an impressive showing from the McLaren pair.
The session was interrupted about 10 minutes from the end after a mechanical problem with Daniel Ricciardo’s Renault, with the cars managing to come out for a final flying lap.
Hamilton was fifth fastest but survived a fright at the end, with the Mercedes driver swerving at speed on the approach to the Parabolica corner to avoid two cars going slowly side by side.
No action was taken by the stewards.


7th Pakistan cricket team member tests positive for COVID-19

Updated 8 min 17 sec ago

7th Pakistan cricket team member tests positive for COVID-19

  • Six members of the 53-member squad tested positive on Tuesday when the team arrived in New Zealand from Pakistan
  • Under New Zealand rules, people in managed isolation generally are tested on the third and 12th days of the isolation period

WELLINGTON, New Zealand: A seventh member of the Pakistan cricket team in New Zealand has tested positive for COVID-19 and will join other infected teammates in quarantine.
Six members of the 53-member squad tested positive on Tuesday when the team arrived in New Zealand from Pakistan and began its compulsory 14-day stay in managed isolation. The seventh member tested positive Friday when players and officials again were tested on the third day of their isolation period.
Under New Zealand rules, people in managed isolation generally are tested on the third and 12th days of the isolation period. The new infection was reported Saturday by New Zealand’s ministry of health in its daily update of COVID cases.
“One additional member of the Pakistan cricket squad has today tested positive during routine testing,” the Ministry of Health said in a statement. “The remainder of the results from the squad’s day 3 swab testing — apart from the six who have already returned a positive result — are negative.”
People who test positive while in isolation can be held beyond the usual 14-day period.
The Pakistan team has already received a final warning from the health ministry after players breached protocols on their first day in isolation. The ministry said closed-circuit television footage from the team’s Christchurch hotel showed squad members mingling in corridors and sharing food.
An exemption which would have allowed team members to train in small groups after their third day in isolation has been revoked. But will be reviewed later if no further breaches occur. Players and team management are required to stay in their rooms for the first three days of the isolation period.
New Zealand’s director general of health, Dr. Ashley Bloomfield, said he took a “dim view” of the team’s failure to obey the regulations which had been clearly spelled out to team members on their arrival. Further breaches might lead to the team being expelled from New Zealand.
“Rather than being in their own rooms which is a requirement for that first three days, until that first test comes back, there was some mingling in the hallways, chatting, sharing food and not wearing masks,” Bloomfield said.
A wider outbreak among squad members would also be a serious issue which might put the tour in jeopardy. Pakistan is due to play New Zealand in three Twenty20 internationals and two test matches. The first T20 will take place on Dec. 18 and the tests are the main features of New Zealand’s domestic summer.
On Friday, the health ministry said the team’s conduct had “significantly improved” after the warning was issued.
“We thank members of the team for their co-operation with the case investigations following the announcement of positive cases within the team,” the Ministry said. “Co-operation and compliance are critical in ensuring New Zealand is kept safe from COVID-19.”