“It hasn’t been fun, I’m not going to lie,” said Lance Stroll in the build-up to the Turkish Grand Prix of his five-race point-less streak. But the Racing Point driver was having more fun at Istanbul Park, as he claimed an emotionally-charged first ever pole position of his Formula 1 career, sensationally triumphing over Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in the incredibly challenging conditions of qualifying.
At the tail end of a qualifying session disrupted by a brace of red flag stoppages due to poor weather, it initially looked as though Stroll’s team mate Sergio Perez would be the driver claiming his maiden pole position, as the Mexican appeared to make the perfect call to move onto intermediates as the majority of the Q3 runners set their first flying laps on full wet tyres – including Stroll himself.
But once Stroll had followed his team mate’s lead and moved to the intermediates, the Canadian was able to snatch pole with a brilliant final flying lap, ultimately beating early session leader Verstappen by 0.290s, as Perez took P3 – marking the first pole for a Canadian since Jacques Villeneuve’s at Jerez in 1997, while it was also Racing Point’s maiden pole position, with Giancarlo Fisichella having claimed a P1 for the team in their previous guise of Force India back at the 2009 Belgian Grand Prix.
“It’s such a great way to bounce back after a few rough weeks,” said a delighted Stroll, whose performances in recent races have been blighted by incidents, as well as a bout of Covid-19 which ruled him out of the Eifel Grand Prix. “I’m a bit lost for words. It was such a crazy session – it’s been a crazy day since this morning.
STROLL ON POLE! Lance Stroll takes shock P1 for Turkish Grand Prix
“In these wet conditions it was just so slippery the whole way through qualifying,” Stroll added. “It was really just about being on the right tyre at the right time in the end there. We got on the intermediate at the end in Q3. I had one lap to deliver it at the end of qualifying, and I felt like I had the confidence in the car and the consistency in my driving to do it, and at the end of the session, I really pieced my lap together quite nicely, didn’t make any mistakes, and I’m sitting here on pole position.”
Asked if he’d been convinced about the move to intermediates, meanwhile, Stroll revealed how he’d had to fight a temptation to hold on to the safety of full wet tyres around what was a treacherously slippery Istanbul Park track.
“I expected to be on wets till the end of qualifying with the track conditions being so poor and the surface being so slippery,” said Stroll. “But in Q3 on that wet tyre, I was really feeling poor grip and I just knew that the track was drying out and it was time to go on inters. So we pitted for inters with a few laps to go, and immediately when I got on the intermediate tyre it was a lot better so that was definitely the right tyre to be on.
“But in these conditions, it’s so tricky,” he added. “It’s so hard to tell whether it’s best to stay on the full wet or go to the intermediate, especially with the track being so slippery, everything’s telling you, ‘Full wet, full wet!’ But I was much better off on the intermediate there at the end, and the result says it all.”
Meanwhile, speaking in the post-qualifying press conference, Stroll had to fight back tears as revealed what his first career pole position meant to him.
“It’s a pretty special moment for me,” he said. “Especially after the last couple of months. It’s been a rough ride for me, since Mugello I haven’t scored a point, I haven’t scored a point since my podium in Monza, it’s been a rough run just with incidents, Covid and so much has been going on. But to bounce back like this and put it on pole position today is very special for me.
“I haven’t really looked at the conditions yet for tomorrow,” he added, turning his attention to the race, where he’ll need to fight off the advances of Verstappen going into Turn 1, “but I heard there was a chance of rain at the start of the race, so we’ll see what happens. That could mix things up.
“But I’ll deal with that in a couple of hours when I’ve let this sink in. I’m going to enjoy the moment for sure, it’s a very special moment for me, first pole position in Formula 1, so I’m going to digest that for a couple of hours – then focus on the race.”
There was one cloud threatening to rain on Stroll’s parade in the aftermath of qualifying, however, with the Canadian summoned to appear before the stewards for an alleged non-respecting of yellow flags at the end of Q1, brought out after Williams’ Nicholas Latifi had spun off the track.
Canada's Laurence Vincent-Lapointe wins silver in women's C-1 200m – CTV News
Laurence Vincent-Lapointe would tell herself in the darkest days of an uncertain future to just keep going.
One day at a time.
Dominant on the world stage in women’s canoe, she was desperately trying to clear her name following an “adverse analytical finding” from an out-of-competition drug test in July 2019.
If things didn’t go Vincent-Lapointe’s way, she would miss out on the Olympic debut of a sport she had largely owned for more than a decade.
And after the clouds parted and it was announced she would be allowed to compete at the Tokyo Summer Games, the 29-year-old nicknamed “LVL” used the same mentality to hold onto a precious podium spot in Japan.
One powerful paddle stroke at a time.
Vincent-Lapointe fought off a couple of late challengers in the women’s C-1 200-metre race Thursday to win the silver medal at a sweltering Sea Forest Waterway.
“I pushed until the end,” said the ecstatic native Trois-Rivieres, Que., who finished the sprint in a time of 46.786 seconds. “No matter how many people I thought were catching up to me, I was just like, ‘No, no, no. You cannot drop, you cannot let go. Just push until the end.’
“It’s just crazy. I have 13 world championships, but this silver at the Games is so different.”
Nevin Harrison (45.932) of the United States took gold, while Ukraine’s Liudmyla Luzan (47.034) claimed bronze in temperatures that felt like a staggering 44 C with the humidity on a windy Tokyo Bay.
Katie Vincent of Mississauga, Ont., finished 8th with a time of 47.834 seconds.
“We push each other a lot, especially on the water,” said 25-year-old. “That teamwork goes a long way on a day like today. I’m disappointed I can’t be on the podium.
“But to see a Canadian flag rise today is a huge plus and something I think all Canadians in the paddling community will remember.”
A powerful canoeing force since 2010, Vincent-Lapointe had to wait for the sport’s international federation and the International Olympic Committee to make room for women to race at the Games.
She had won a combined six world titles in C-1 and C-2 500 metres by the time women’s canoe was added to Tokyo’s sporting docket in 2017, and went on to win five more by the end of 2018. She also topped the podium at the under-23 worlds in 2013 and in the C-1 5,000 metres at the worlds in 2018.
But then her life and career descended into a doping controversy.
After that “adverse analytical finding” two years ago, Vincent-Lapointe was subsequently suspended and missed the 2019 worlds, but battled for reinstatement.
The International Canoe Federation cleared her to compete in January 2020, accepting that Vincent-Lapointe was the victim of third-party contamination of a banned substance.
The ICU believed her assertion that a trace amount of ligandrol was transferred to her via her ex-boyfriend’s body fluids.
“I had the feeling I would make (the Olympics),” Vincent-Lapointe said. “In my head … I was like probably, ‘Fake it ’till you make it.’ In my head I was trying to convince myself, ‘You’re going to be at the Games, you’re going to be at the Games.’
“I just clung to it, to that feeling. It was so relieving when I finally got my spot in. It was just like, ‘All right, I had the right to believe in myself that I would make it to the Games.’ But once I came here I was like, ‘All right, you made it to the Games, now do your best.”‘
And while COVID-19 was a devastating gut-punch to sports and society around the world, it gave Vincent-Lapointe an opportunity to get back in the groove.
Missing the 2019 worlds, however, meant she still had to qualify for Tokyo, and the global pandemic didn’t allow her to travel to North American qualifying events.
Vincent-Lapointe also lost to Vincent in the women’s C-1 200 metres at March’s national trials in Burnaby, B.C.
Canoe Kayak Canada declined to send paddlers to international World Cups this spring because of the pandemic, but ultimately awarded Vincent-Lapointe an Olympic quota spot following a performance review.
She didn’t disappoint.
“It’s so relieving and exciting,” Vincent-Lapointe said. “After all I went through, it’s just … the peak. I did it. I didn’t (win) gold, but I did the performance I wanted to do.
“I’m super proud of the race.”
Next up for Vincent-Lapointe and Vincent is the women’s C-2, where they are medal contenders, on Friday and Saturday.
In other Thursday races involving Canadians, kayakers Brian Malfesi of Maple Ridge, B.C., and Vincent Jourdenais of Ste-Basile-le-Grand, Que., were sixth in the ‘B’ final of the men’s K-2 1,000 metres, while Toronto’s Nicholas Matveev was sixth in the ‘B’ final of the men’s K-1 200 metres.
But the day — clearly — belonged to Vincent-Lapointe.
“Going through all I had to go through the last two years, if you’d ask me if I’d do it again, even knowing a silver medal comes at the end of this, I’m not sure I would say yes,” she stated in French. “It was extremely difficult.
“Everybody told me this week that with all I went through, I must be mentally the strongest here.”
Now she has a silver medal to prove it.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 5, 2021.
Andre De Grasse Canada 4x100m relay into final – TSN
Just 14 hours after racing to gold in the men’s 200 final, Andre De Grasse ran a sizzling anchor leg to put Canada’s 4×100 relay team into Friday’s final.
Jamaica had the fastest time on the morning of 37.82, while China ran 37.92 for second-place over Canada in a decision that was determined by thousandths of a second in a photo finish.
Aaron Brown, who was sixth in Wednesday’s 200 metres, ran the lead-off leg, followed by Jerome Blake and Brendon Rodney. Racing for the seventh time of these Games, De Grasse took the baton from Rodney in about fifth place, before churning down the homestretch to cross the line alongside China.
The 4×100 relay final will be run Friday morning at 9:50am/6:50am pt (Friday night in Tokyo).
Andre De Grasse Day: Hometown hero celebrated in Markham, Ont. after gold-medal win – CTV Toronto
Andre De Grasse has finally added a gold medal to his collection—and the entire Greater Toronto Area is celebrating, with his hometown even declaring the athlete would get a day named in his honour.
The 26-year-old from Markham, Ont. sprinted to the top of the podium during the 200-metre dash at the Tokyo Olympics Wednesday morning, with a Canadian-record time of 19.62 seconds.
Andre De Grasse now has five medals—he captured a bronze in the 100-metre race Monday and has a silver and two bronzes under his belt from the 2016 Olympic Games—but it is his first gold.
It’s also Canada’s first gold medal in the sport since 1928.
Speaking to reporters from her home in Pickering, Ont., Andre De Grasse’s mother Beverly said that she is “super proud” of her son.
“I feel like I’m on a high,” she said. “Even though l was expecting it, it was just so like so surreal to really witness it, at least over the television.”
Beverly De Grasse said that when her son first said he wanted to run in track and field at school, he just thought he wanted a day off from his lessons.
“I never thought this would have been happening today … being in the Olympics or anything like that,” she said. “I just thought he wanted to skip school, have fun with his friends, you know.”
Coach Tony Sharpe said he shed “tears of joy” after watching the gold-medal race.
“It’s what we wanted,” he said. “I always kid around with Andre—I’m tired of silver, bring me some gold—and he brought it home.”
“He’s just a good person. And that’s the thing that inspires me about him, it’s not necessarily the numbers on the on the on the scoreboard,” Sharpe added, calling Andre De Grasse “the most talented sprinter” he’s ever seen.
But it wasn’t just De Grasse’s family celebrating his win—all across Canada politicians, athletes and everyday citizens offered their congratulations.
Speaking on CP24 Wednesday, Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti said the he would be proclaiming Aug. 4th as “Andre De Grasse Day” in the city.
“What a moment,” Scarpitti said. “Certainly a lot of expectation that he’d come first, let’s just say he didn’t disappoint.”
The Markham gateway sign at Steeles Avenue and Markham Road, as well as the Toronto sign at Nathan Phillips Square, will also be lit gold to celebrate the win.
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