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Did Red Bull gift-wrap pole position for Lance Stroll? – ESPN

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Lance Stroll took the first pole position of his career during qualifying for the Turkish Grand Prix, but for the majority of the wet session it looked like Max Verstappen had the top spot wrapped up. Here’s what went wrong for the Dutchman…

Red Bull’s blunder

Max Verstappen finished the second session of qualifying 1.9s clear of the rest of the field. Mercedes was nowhere, his teammate Alex Albon was his closest competitor but showed no signs of challenging him and Lance Stroll was a massive three seconds off the pace in fourth position. As Q3 got underway, it seemed pole position was Verstappen’s for the taking.

So what went wrong?

Verstappen had found his advantage in Q1 and Q2 using the extreme wet tyres, but in Q3 the intermediates came into play. Parts of the track were starting to show signs of a drying line and that meant the larger contact patch of the intermediates was able to find grip on the track without aquaplaning.

But at the very start of Q3, it was still the crossover point between the extreme wets and the intermediates. Choosing the intermediates was still a big gamble and the only two drivers who tried it from the start were Racing Point’s Sergio Perez and Renault’s Esteban Ocon. To underline what a marginal call it was, Perez set the fastest time with the help of the intermediates while Ocon initially set the slowest time and opted to switch back to the safety of the wets.

Seeing his teammate 1.8s clear of him using the intermediates, Stroll radioed his pits to ask for the same tyres. Red Bull also saw the potential of the intermediates, but Verstappen was on a new fastest lap as he was approaching the pits — a lap capable of beating Perez’s existing fastest time on the inters — making the decision harder.

Red Bull pulled him into the pits regardless, and while that may have looked like a mistake as his sector times were the fastest at that moment, they would not have been competitive enough to compete with the eventual top four times. Bringing Verstappen in for intermediates was the right choice as things transpired, although the exact timing of when and where he rejoined did not help his situation.

As he returned to the track on intermediates, Verstappen rejoined behind Kimi Raikkonen’s slower Alfa Romeo, which meant he struggled to get the heat into the tyres that was so crucial to lap time. Nevertheless, the first sector of his fastest lap at the end of the session was a match for Stroll’s and it was only when had a snap of oversteer at Turn 7 that he started to fall back.

“We struggled to turn the inters on compared to the extreme and you can see that these tyres are pretty tricky,” team principal Christian Horner said after the session. “Max had looked supreme in Q1 and Q2 and then got caught behind Kimi on a couple of laps that didn’t allow him to turn those tyres on and that final lap he had a snap [of oversteer] and lost about 0.6s at Turn 7.

“But when you haven’t got the preparation and momentum through the faster corners, particularly with the dirty air from Kimi, it was difficult for him to generate that temperature, and unfortunately the snap at Turn 7 — he was 0.6s faster at that point — put him back to zero, so then had to do it again.”

The key was being on the right tyres and having them at the right temperature when the track conditions were at their best at the end of the session. Stroll, Verstappen and Perez were all on the right tyres in the closing moments of Q3, but Stroll was the only one of those three who nailed a clean lap when it mattered. Even with the later switch to intermediates and the traffic, Verstappen had the potential to take pole but ultimately missed out with his mistake at Turn 7.

Credit where it’s due

Stroll’s lap was impressive regardless of whether Verstappen had the potential to beat it. The Racing Point has not been a match for the Red Bull all year, yet in some of the most difficult conditions all year the Canadian was the one who produced a quick, clean lap worthy of pole position.

He did so while lifting for yellow flags at Turn 7 where his more experienced teammate, who had been on a faster lap up until that point, had spun. The stewards investigated whether Stroll had ignored the yellows, but telemetry and onboard footage clearly showed him lifting off the throttle and coasting through the corner – enough for the stewards to agree he had shown caution as his teammate sat in the run off area.

Stroll still set personal best mini sectors at that part of the track, which is usually used as a barometer as to whether a driver ignored yellow flags, but because the conditions were improving so much at the end of the session, his faster sector times were deemed to be a result of the improving track conditions rather than him pushing on regardless of the yellows. Even with the lift, he still had a 0.290s advantage over Verstappen on the same tyres in the same conditions.

Whichever way you cut it, it was a great qualifying lap.

What happened to Hamilton and Mercedes?

For the first time this year, Mercedes failed to secure pole position. It took a combination of rain, a new track surface and some impressive laps from rival drivers, but Saturday’s session finally proved the mighty W11 is beatable over a single lap.

The key was tyre temperature, and the Mercedes drivers simply couldn’t generate enough of it in the conditions. Whether it was a setup issue or a fundamental weakness in the car wasn’t entirely clear on Saturday evening, but the result is that Lewis Hamilton will start sixth and Valtteri Bottas ninth. The team believes it would have set a faster time if it had persevered on the extreme wet tyres rather than switching to the intermediates (because it was harder to generate temperature in the intermediates) but it still wouldn’t have been enough.

To be fair to Mercedes, the low grip surface at Istanbul Park is a complete outlier on F1’s 2020 calendar that would never have been considered during the car’s design process, so it’s perhaps no surprise that the team struggled to tailor the W11 to the extreme conditions. However, don’t bet against Hamilton and Bottas coming back through the field in dry conditions on Sunday.

Grid penalties

  • Carlos Sainz – Three-place grid penalty, one penalty point on superlicence for impeding Sergio Perez in Q1.

  • Lando Norris Five-place grid penalty, three penalty points on superlicence for failing to slow sufficiently under double-waved yellows in Q1.

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Goff, defence leads Rams to win over Brady and Bucs – TSN

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TAMPA, Fla. — Jared Goff likes how the Los Angeles Rams are shaping up.

“We can be as good as we want to be, honestly,” the fifth-year quarterback said after Monday night’s 27-24 victory over Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. “We’ve got it all in front of us. Everything is there for us to take.”

Goff threw for 376 yards and three touchdowns, and Matt Gay kicked a 40-yard field goal with 2:36 remaining to lift the Rams back into first place in the NFC West.

Goff completed 39 of 51 passes, including short scoring throws to Robert Woods, Van Jefferson and Cam Akers. The Rams’ defence pressured Brady all night and sealed the win with rookie safety Jordan Fuller’s second interception of the six-time Super Bowl champion.

Goff threw a pair of interceptions, too, helping the Bucs remain close in the second half.

But when the Rams (7-3) needed him to stand tall, he rebounded to lead them right down the field to retake the lead after Brady tied it with his second TD pass.

“I’ve always believed in myself in any situation, but when you actually do it in a tough environment, it makes you feel good,” Goff said.

“Jared just continued to demonstrate resilience,” Rams coach Sean McVay said. “I love the fact he was outstanding from the jump. We had that one little mistake, and he just kept competing. What he did in terms of leading us down the field at the most important moment was critical.”

Cooper Kupp had 11 receptions for 145 yards and Woods finished with 10 catches for 130 yards. Both caught passes on the eight-play, 53-yard drive Goff led to move Los Angeles into position for Gay’s winning kick.

Brady was 26 of 48 for 216 yards and two touchdowns. The Rams sacked him once after getting to Russell Wilson six times in the previous week’s 23-16 victory over the Seattle Seahawks.

“Disappointed. I have to do a better job,” Brady said.

Tampa Bay was limited to a touchdown and field goal in the second half, both set up by interceptions thrown by Goff.

“They did a good job preventing (the big play),” Brady said. “They play a defence that makes them tough to hit. Not impossible, but we didn’t hit any.”

Gay, a 2019 Bucs draft pick who was released after a rookie season marked by inconsistency, is the Rams’ third kicker in four weeks.

“I found out on Monday that the Rams were bringing me in,” Gay said. ”It was a quick flight so I could begin testing so I could be eligible for the game. Saturday was the first day I could be in the building. Luckily we played Monday night.”

The Bucs (7-4) fell to 1-3 in four prime-time games despite avoiding the type of slow start that hurt them in losses to the Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints and nearly cost them in a narrow victory over the New York Giants.

Coach Bruce Arians adjusted the team’s preparation schedule last week, holding two practices at night — one at Raymond James Stadium.

“Everybody is disappointed. Everybody was ready to play,” Arians said. “We played a good football team. Nobody’s head is down.”

Brady answered a 10-play, 80-yard, 7-minute, 55-second drive Goff led to give the Rams a 7-0 lead with a couple of long scoring drives of his own to put the Bucs up 14-7 with a 9-yard TD pass to Mike Evans.

Goff threw first-half TD passes to Woods and Jefferson, then used Woods’ 20-yard catch and run to the Tampa Bay 20 to set up Gay’s 38-yard field goal as time expired to give Los Angeles a 17-14 lead at halftime.

With the Bucs trailing 24-17, Brady took advantage of Goff throwing his second interception of the night. Chris Godwin’s 13-yard TD catch made it 24-all, setting the stage for Goff to move the Rams downfield for the go-ahead field goal.

Fuller, a sixth-round draft pick who came off injured reserve last week, ensured Los Angeles improved to 32-0 when leading at halftime under McVay.

“I was just in my zone, and the quarterback ended up throwing it in my direction,” said Fuller, who interestingly — like Brady — was selected 199th overall in the draft.

“I was just telling myself, ‘Don’t drop it, don’t drop it, don’t drop it.’ The second one was kind of the same,” Fuller added. “I was just reading the quarterback’s eyes and was able to go out there and get it.”

HISTORIC CREW

An all-Black officiating crew worked an NFL game for the first time in league history.

Referee Jerome Boger led the crew, which also included umpire Barry Anderson, down judge Julian Mapp, line judge Carl Johnson, side judge Dale Shaw, field judge Anthony Jeffries and back judge Greg Steed.

The members of Monday night’s officiating crew have a combined 89 seasons of NFL experience and have worked six Super Bowls.

The first Black official in any major sport was Burl Toler, hired by the NFL in 1965.

INJURIES

Rams: Did not announce any injuries during the game.

Buccaneers: LG Ali Marpet missed his third consecutive game due to a concussion. … LT Donovan Smith injured his left ankle on the first offensive play of the game, but returned. … CB Jamel Dean left in the third quarter with a concussion.

UP NEXT

Rams: Host NFC West rival San Francisco next Sunday.

Buccaneers: Remain at home to host defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City on Sunday.

___

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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Raptors smoothly mix present and future in pivoting from Gasol and Ibaka to Baynes, Len – Toronto Sun

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Article content continued

The Bucks, finalist Miami, Raptor-beaters Boston, a more balanced Philadelphia squad and Brooklyn should all be solid and another team or two usually are a lot better than expected, but this Raptors group should be in the mix in the East.

Of course getting back to where they want to be, contenders again for the NBA title, will take that second part of the plan paying off next off-season.

In the meantime, expect a competitive, fundamentally sound, reasonably deep Toronto Raptors team to take the court in Tampa Bay in 2020-21.

Considering who has exited, that doesn’t sound too bad.

BOOSTING THE BENCH

The Raptors should have an intriguing bench after adding centre Alex Len and guard/forward DeAndre Bembry to the mix.

Len, a 7-footer who split last season with Atlanta and Sacramento, was once highly-regarded enough to be in contention for the first pick of the 2013 draft by Cleveland. He ended up going fifth to Phoenix and has averaged eight points and 6.3 rebounds in 467 games. Injuries have been a major factor for the Ukraine native, but when he plays he has shown he can defend, rebound, score inside and step out with mixed success.

He’ll backup fellow newcomer Aron Baynes, with Canadian Chris Boucher likely to split time between power forward and centre.

Bembry, 6-foot-5, is known for his effort level, defence and athleticism. He can handle the ball a bit and create, but has struggled to shoot from everywhere on the floor aside from right at the rim, where he’s a good finisher. Bembry has shot just 27% from three in 189 career games, but with the status of two other potential Nick Nurse options uncertain, could be in the mix for some playing time.

Guard Terence Davis is facing legal issues and the Raptors will make a call on whether to cut or keep him by Nov. 29. Nurse favourite Patrick McCaw has not played since March due to a knee issue.

@WolstatSun

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Memo details updates to NFL's COVID-19 protocols; masks required for players on sidelines – NFL.com

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Major updates to the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols were sent to all clubs on Monday in a memo obtained by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

Among the updates are a mandate for players to wear face coverings on the sideline if they are not wearing a helmet or entering a game starting with games played this Thursday. Those who do not subject to discipline.

The memo delivered a particularly pointed message noted by Pelissero: “Players who fail to wear masks on the sidelines will be subject to discipline. Clubs are required to enforce these rules. Violations by players and/or staff will result in accountability measures being imposed upon the Club.”

As coronavirus positive cases rise throughout the country, it is another step taken by the league to aid in combatting the spread of COVID-19 and it altering the 2020 season.

Some additional points of note:

  • Beginning Week 12, the maximum number of players able to travel to road games will be reduced to 62. To ensure equity, teams must submit a list of players designated as eligible to attend and/or play by 4 p.m. ET the day before game day to the league office.
  • Play-callers will no be required to wear a face mask or double-layered gaiter in addition to a face shied to be consistent with all other coaches who choose to wear face shields.
  • Postgame interactions between players and/or staff will be limited.
  • Starting Nov. 30, access to club facilities will be limited to those designated as “Essential Football, Essential Support or Other Medical/Special Services.” All others must now work remotely or a separate facility.
  • Beginning with Week 13 games, all members of teams’ traveling parties must wear N95 or KN95 masks on the team plane and on the team bus.

The memo was sent on a day in which notable NFL players such as Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen, Chicago Bears safety Eddie Jackson and multiple Baltimore Ravens were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

All 32 NFL teams currently are operating under the league’s COVID-19 intensive protocol for the remainder of the 2020 season.

The full updated protocol can be viewed below.

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