Lewis Hamilton jumps ahead of Valtteri Bottas to capture F1 pole

F1 Lewis Hamilton Tuscan
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MUGELLO, Italy — Lewis Hamilton took F1 pole position Saturday for the Tuscan Grand Prix ahead of his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, whose final attempt was ended after he had to slow down because Esteban Ocon spun on track just ahead of him.

While Hamilton clinched a record-extending 95th pole, it was hard luck for Bottas. He now trails Hamilton 7-2 this season in poles all won by Mercedes.

“It’s disappointing as I’ve been quick all weekend,” Bottas said.

Hamilton waved to a smattering of fans in the stands near the finish line. They are allowed at a race for the first time this season during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Bottas looked in excellent form, leading all three practice sessions and the first section of qualifying known as Q1.

“It’s been a really tough weekend if I’m honest. Valtteri was quicker than me all day yesterday and even this morning,” Hamilton said. “I’ve been working hard in the background to improve on my lines. Valtteri did a great job pushing me, but I’m really, really happy to be on pole.”

Hamilton stepped up a gear in Q2 and finished just .059 seconds ahead in Q3, yet Bottas did not get a chance to beat that time because Ocon’s spin meant the yellow flags came out and drivers behind him had to slow down.

“The yellow flag definitely hampered me. I had more to come but didn’t get the opportunity,” Bottas said. “It’s a long run down to Turn 1 tomorrow and the headwind could help me there.”

He may not get many more chances after that because the Mugello circuit is tough for overtaking.

Max Verstappen was third for Red Bull, 0.365 seconds behind Hamilton.

“I personally didn’t expect to fight for pole but overall this weekend it has been promising,” said Verstappen, who won at Silverstone this season. “To be third here in qualifying, we can be very happy with that. The track is amazing to drive and qualifying was really something special.”

Verstappen’s teammate Alexander Albon was fourth ahead of Charles Leclerc in a commendable fifth for struggling Ferrari.

Hamilton leads the championship from Bottas by 47 points after winning five of the first eight races in his bid to equal Michael Schumacher’s record seven F1 titles. A win on Sunday would move him just one behind Schumacher’s record of 91 GP wins.

Ferrari is competing in its 1,000th F1 race and was once the team to beat in the way Mercedes is now, having won 238 races, taken 228 pole positions and secured 254 fastest laps. Schumacher won five straight titles with the famed Italian manufacturer from 2000-4, but this season has been one of Ferrari’s worst in memory.

Four-time F1 champion Vettel has not even finished in the top five in a race this season and goes from 14th on the grid.

One week after winning his first F1 race at the Italian GP in Monza, Frenchman Pierre Gasly starts 16th.

He was one of the five drivers eliminated from Q1 and let out an angry expletive.

“I’m disappointed because we were good in practice, but we made errors in qualifying that cost us,” he said. “It’s annoying to make these mistakes.”

Earlier Saturday, Bottas bettered Verstappen by just .017 with Hamilton .083 back from Bottas in third in warm and sunny conditions.

Hamilton looked set to beat Bottas when he led on the first time split, only to fall back in the second and third sectors. Verstappen then went out for one last run late in the session and split the two Mercedes in an encouraging sign for Red Bull on a circuit which has ultra-fast corners.

But Vettel placed a demoralizing 18th on a circuit which is actually owned by Ferrari and which he tested on as recently as June.

Mugello’s 5.2-kilometer (3.2-mile) Autodromo Internazional track, nestled amid a stunning backdrop of the Tuscan hills, usually hosts MotoGP and is playing host to an F1 race for the first time. Drivers have been full of praise for it.

“The track is crazy. You go through Turns 6, 7, 8, 9 at 170-180 mph (274-290 kph) and the G-force we’re pulling is insane,” Hamilton said. “It gets more and more as you go through.”

IMSA Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta: How to watch, start times, schedule, entry list

AUTO: NOV 13 IMSA - Motul Petit Le Mans
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Start times, TV schedule: The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will conclude the 2022 season this weekend with the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta, which also will mark the end of the line for the DPi class.

The premier Daytona Prototype international category, which started in 2017, will be replaced by the new Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class with its LMDh cars that will establish a bridge to Le Mans.

For the third time in four years, an Acura will be crowned the champion in DPi as the No. 10 of Wayne Taylor Racing holds a 19-point edge over the No. 60 of Meyer Shank Racing.

Last year, WTR’s No. 10 entered the season finale with a 19-point lead but lost the title to the No. 31 Cadillac of Action Express.

Full-time WTR drivers Filipe Albuquerque and Ricky Taylor (who will be joined by Brendon Hartley in the No. 10 this weekend) have a series-leading four victories this season. The MSR duo of Tom Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves this weekend) won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and have five runner-up finishes this year.

Championship scenarios in the other four categories:

GTD Pro: Points leaders Matt Campbell and Mathieu Jaminet will clinch the title by starting in their No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.

–GTD: There are 140 points separating the top four teams with Roman De Angelis and the No. 27 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 leading by 45 points.

–LMP2: John Farano is first in the driver standings by 33 points over Dwight Merriman and Ryan Dalziel. In the team standings, the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports leads by 19 points over the No. 8 Tower Motorsport (Farano’s team).

–LMP3: No. 54 CORE autosport drivers Jon Bennett and Colin Braun lead by 83 points over the No. 74 Riley Motorsports of Gar Robinson.

Here are the start times, starting lineup, schedule and TV info for the IMSA Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta (all times are ET):


Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta start times, schedule, TV info

When: Saturday, 12:10 p.m. ET

Race distance: Ten hours on the 12-turn, 2.54-mile road course

TV: Noon-3 p.m., NBC; 3-10:30 p.m., USA Network. Peacock, the NBC Sports App,and NBCSports.com will have streaming coverage of the event from flag to flag beginning at noon. Leigh Diffey and Dave Burns are the play by play announcers with analysts Calvin Fish, Townsend Bell, James Hinchcliffe and Brian Till. The pit reporters are Kevin Lee, Hannah Newhouse, Dillon Welch and Matt Yocum.

IMSA.com live TV qualifying stream: Friday, 3:35 p.m. ET.

IMSA Radio: All sessions are live on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com; SiriusXM live race coverage will begin Saturday at noon (XM 207, Internet/App 992).

Forecast: According to Wunderground.com, it’s expected to be 63 degrees with an 85% chance of rain at the green flag.

Entry list: Click here to see the 48-car field for the IMSA Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta


Daily schedule IMSA Petit Le Mans

Here’s a rundown of the Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia:

Wednesday, Sept. 28

9:30 a.m.: Mazda MX-5 practice

10:25 a.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup

12:30 p.m.: Prototype Challenge practice

1:15 p.m.: Mazda MX-5 practcice

2 p.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup practice

3:30 p.m.: Michelin Challenge practice

Thursday, Sept. 29

8 a.m.: Prototype Challenge practice

9 a.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup qualifying

9:50 a.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

11:40 a.m.: Prototype Challenge qualifying

12:10 p.m.: Michelin Challenge practice

1:50 p.m.: Mazda MX-5, Race 1

2:55 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

5 p.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup, Race 1

6 p.m.: Michelin Challenge qualifying

7:30 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

Friday, Sept. 30

8 a.m.: Prototype Challenge race

9:50 a.m.: Mazda MX-5, Race 2

10:55 a.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup, Race 2

1:10 p.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race

3:40 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying

Saturday, Oct. 1

9:15 a.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

12:10 p.m.: Petit Le Mans