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Mercedes: Big gap to Verstappen is 'hard to swallow' – F1i.com

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Mercedes’ trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin admitted that there was a bigger gap than expected between his drivers and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

The Dutch driver was almost four tenths quicker than Lewis Hamilton in the final round of qualifying, having been more than seven tenths quicker than anyone in the earlier Saturday afternoon practice

“It’s disappointing at the first race to be looking at a 0.4s gap to pole,” acknowledged Shovlin. “But at least we know the performance we need to find going forward.

“It’s also no secret that we’ve been struggling with the car around this circuit,” he added. “It’s nowhere near as easy to work with as the W11.

“But everyone in Brackley and Brixworth has been working hard since the test and we’ve learnt a lot about the W12 and found a more predicable balance, even if we’re lacking overall pace.”

Toto Wolff (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director in the FIA Press Conference. 26.03.2021. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 1, Bahrain Grand Prix

Team principal Toto Wolff admitted it was hard to accept that Mercedes had slipped so far away from their main rivals over the winter.

“It’s hard to swallow, although we knew Red Bull would be strong,” he said. “We’re losing on the high speed [corners]. We can clearly see there’s a deficit.

“We’re losing a little bit on the engine side in terms of derate. We are not yet in a happy place with our energy recovery, but it’s not one thing we point to where we can say this is the big gap.

As the fair sportsman that he is, Wolff was quick to praise Honda for the performance gains achieved by its new power unit.

“Honda has done a great job,” he said. “You just have to say when they’ve done a really good job, full stop.

“They delivered the power unit which is extremely competitive – look at where AlphaTauri is. We just have to take it as sportsmen

“They left no stone unturned, and no resource un-utilised to finish the job properly. It’s good motivation for us, and I’m happy for them.”

Even so, Mercedes can take solace in knowing that it had succeeded in putting both Hamilton and Bottas through ot the final round of qualifying on Saturday despite sticking to the slower medium tyres, unlike others such as Ferrari and McLaren.

“We’d wanted to get both cars onto the medium tyre to start the race which we managed to quite safely,” confirmed Shovlin. “It was good effort by the team and drivers, and should put us in a strong position for [the race].

“It’s hard to read where we are on race pace from the Friday long runs as we didn’t land the car in the right window but we’re fairly confident we’ve improved the rear grip so it will be less of a handful in the race.

“We might not be on pole but we have two cars at the front and an extra set of the hard tyres, so hopefully we can create some opportunities from that.

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Canada's Vincent-Lapointe wins silver in C-1 200m – Yahoo Canada Sports

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TOKYO — Laurence Vincent-Lapointe’s long, winding road to the Tokyo Olympics has led her to the podium. 

The Canadian canoeist won silver in the final of the women’s C-1 200-metre race at a sweltering Sea Forest Waterway on Wednesday. 

The 29-year-old paddler from Trois-Rivières, Que., finished the sprint in a time of 46.786 seconds. 

“I pushed until the end,” Vincent-Lapointe said. “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 the 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 dominant canoeing force for more than a decade, 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 Olympics. 

That finally happened in Japan. 

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 the Olympics in 2017 ahead of the Tokyo Games, and went on to win five more by the end of 2018. 

But then her life and career descended into controversy. 

Vincent-Lapointe had an “adverse analytical finding” in July 2019 during an out-of-competition drug test. She was suspended and missed the 2019 world championship, 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 ’til 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.’

“Even the darkest moments 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. 

Next up for Vincent-Lapointe and Vincent is the women’s C-2, where they are medal contenders, on Friday and Saturday. 

In other races involving Canadians on Thursday, kayakers Brian Malfesi of Maple Ridge, B.C., and Vincent Jourdenais 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 said 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.

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Canada’s Damian Warner sets Olympic record, claims decathlon gold in Tokyo – Sportsnet.ca

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Damian Warner became the first Canadian to ever win gold in the decathlon in Tokyo on Thursday, setting an Olympic record in the process as the only athlete to eclipse the 9,000-point plateau at the Games.

The 31-year-old capped off the arduous 10-discipline event with a fifth-place finish in the 1,500-metre race, cementing his place in history with a total of 9,018 points. No other Canadian, and only three other athletes ever, have broken the 9,000-point barrier in a decathlon.

The previous Olympic record was 8,893 points, shared between Ashton Eaton of the United States (2016) and Roman Sebrle of the Czech Republic (2004). Kevin Mayer, who won silver in this year’s Games, holds the world record of 9,126 points.

“It’s been a long two days,” Warner said after the race. “When you go through the whole battle of the decathlon and finally finish and you get the result you were looking for, there is no greater feeling. This is a dream come true.”

Canada had two men in the decathlon. Pierce LePage of Whitby, Ont., competing in his first-ever Olympics, finished fifth after 10 events with a personal-best score of 8,604.

Warner, who won bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics, was a force to be reckoned with at Tokyo. He set Olympic decathlon records in the long jump and 110-metre hurdles, and tied his decathlon world mark in the 100 metres. He also set a personal best in the pole vault.

Warner crossed the finish line of the 1,500 metres in four minutes 31.08 seconds. The time and fifth-place finish gave him 738 points in the final event, enough for the Olympic record.

“When I came around 1,200, I think I was 3 seconds off the pace and I was just like ‘if I’m gonna get those 9000 points I have to go now,'” Warner said after the race. “I just gave it everything I had. It wasn’t pretty, but we got the job done.”

In the track and field community, Olympic decathlon winners are considered the “world’s greatest athlete” and, draped in the Canadian flag with a broad smile on his face, Warner was met by his peers with congratulations befitting that description.

“By definition, he’s Canada’s greatest ‘Athlete,'” Adam van Koeverden, an Olympic gold medalist in sprint kayaking who is now an MP, tweeted. “Extraordinary achievement!”

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Damian Warner extends decathlon lead by running to an Olympic best in the 110m hurdles – CBC.ca

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Damian Warner of London, Ont., won the 110m hurdles portion of the decathlon by running to an Olympic best time of 13.46 seconds. After six events Warner sits in first place, with fellow Canadian Pierce LePage of Whitby, Ont., in third place.

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