Hamilton on top in Austria despite protest over his Mercedes

first_imgLewis Hamilton began his quest for a record-equalling seventh world title by topping the times Friday as Formula One roared back with a full day’s practice and an official technical protest of his Mercedes car at the belated season-opening Austrian Grand Prix. Back in black: Lewis Hamilton steers his car to the day’s top time Three months after the cancelled traditional curtain-raiser in Australia, and six months on from the last race, it was business as usual from the dominant newly-repainted ‘black arrows’ Mercedes men with Valtteri Bottas completing a familiar one-two as the sport re-ignited after its longest off-season. “It’s great to be back,” said Hamilton, who is seeking to draw level with seven-time champion Michael Schumacher in the record books. “It’s been a long time coming, so it feels great to feel the new car for the first time since February. “It’s quite a big difference to the one we got to test at Silverstone and I don’t remember what I was like in February, to be honest. It was so long ago.”Advertisement Loading… Read Also: Lampard, Ancelotti call for VAR ‘reflection‘“For a long time, we’ve been planning for the livery change for the car, for the (driver) suit change and I have also designed my helmet in black,” said Hamilton, speaking on a video released on social media.“Normally, my helmet is white, my suit is white and obviously the car is in silver. This is why – it’s the whole reason that the helmet has changed its colour and the suit and the car.”FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 House on the hill: Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action“So we’ll take it with a pinch of salt, try to improve the car tonight and come back with it tomorrow.”Hamilton, in commanding form in both the morning and afternoon sessions, was quickest in one minute and 4.304 seconds to lead Bottas by 0.197 seconds and third-placed Sergio Perez, in Racing Point’s ‘pink Mercedes’, by 0.657.Sebastian Vettel, in his last season with Ferrari, was fourth for the Italian outfit ahead of McLaren-bound Daniel Ricciardo of Renault and Lando Norris of McLaren.Lance Stroll, in the second Racing Point, modelled on the hugely-successful 2019 title-winning Mercedes, was seventh ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc in the second Ferrari and his future team-mate Carlos Sainz of McLaren.Verstappen revealed afterwards that his performance was heavily curtailed by running with a broken front wing shortly before his Red Bull team confirmed, on a day of hectic action, that they have lodged an official protest over Mercedes’ controversial dual-axis steering (DAS) system.The system allows drivers to adjust the toe angle of the car by pushing or pulling the steering wheel in the cockpit.It was used by both Mercedes drivers on Friday when the teams all carried the sport’s ‘We Race As One’ pro-diversity message on their cars.The long-awaited track action brought an end to Formula One’s longest break following the lifting of lockdown restrictions in Europe caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.Hamilton, who has been an outspoken supporter of the campaign for equality and diversity since the death of American George Floyd last month, revealed a statement Black Lives Matter helmet before climbing into his Mercedes.His Mercedes W11 car was also running in revised new black livery, instead of the team’s traditional silver, with a message to ‘End Racism’ on the halo.center_img Hamilton said he would take his initial supremacy over his competitors “with a pinch of salt” after a performance that appeared to send a message to his rivals and a power boost to the Black Lives Matter movement that he and his team have embraced and supported. “What’s positive is the car felt good today,” he said. “It definitely feels like in general, compared to last year, we have continued to improve it and that is a positive.” Speaking before rivals Red Bull protested officially at Mercedes’ innovative new steering system, he added that it was difficult to say if he had an edge over his rivals after just one day. “That’s difficult to say – it’s definitely looking good, but you can never take too much from practice and, if you look at some of the other teams, they were maybe down on power modes or up on power modes or fuel or whatever it may be. – ‘Pinch of salt’ – Promoted Content2020 Tattoo Trends: Here’s What You’ll See This YearLaugh, Cry, Or Just Relax With The Best Series Streaming On HBO10 Risky Jobs Some Women Do9 Facts You Should Know Before Getting A TattooBirds Enjoy Living In A Gallery Space Created For ThemHere Are The Top 10 Tiniest Mobile Phones On The Planet!10 Dystopian Movie Worlds You’d Never Want To Live In8 Ways Drones Will Automate Our FutureBest & Worst Celebrity Endorsed Games Ever Made8 Ways Drones Are Shaping Our FutureYou’ve Only Seen Such Colorful Hairdos In A Handful Of Anime6 Major TV Characters We Were Relieved To See Leaving The Showlast_img read more

True Test: USC will face Colorado to claim the top seed in Pac-12 South

first_imgFreshman wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown has collected 396 yards this season and averages 15.8 yards per reception. (Emily Smith | Daily Trojan)The 3-2 Trojans set their sights on extending their win streak after coming off their bye week as they square off with an undefeated Colorado team in the Coliseum on Saturday. USC barely made it out of Tucson with a win in their last game, after nearly surrendering a large second-half lead to the Wildcats as it racked up 18 penalties on the night. The Buffaloes, ranked No. 19 in the nation at 5-0, hold the top spot in the Pac-12 South — just one place above the Trojans. This game carries implications, as it’s likely that the winner finds themselves playing at Levi’s Stadium for a Pac-12 Championship come December. “It’s a talented team that has a lot of confidence, and every little thing we can get ahead on [will help],” head coach Clay Helton said. “Every little tool we can put in our toolbox is going to be crucial. And they walked out there and they were very business-like. [There was] very much a sense of urgency, and I was proud of them.” USC Offense vs. Colorado DefenseThe Trojan offense has looked markedly better over the course of the last two weeks, largely thanks to the improved play of the offensive line. While it struggled against both Stanford and Texas, the line turned in steady performances over the last two games in both the run game (366 rush yards) and pass protection (three sacks allowed). Freshman quarterback JT Daniels and the passing game looks to be clicking now after a rough start to the season. He threw for three touchdowns and no interceptions while completing 66 percent of his passes against Washington State and completing 65 percent against Arizona. The receiving corps appears to have come to life after also having a rather sluggish start to the year, with wide outs redshirt sophomore Tyler Vaughns and junior Michael Pittman Jr. posting impressive performances against Washington State with 64 and 72 yards, respectively, and one touchdown each. Freshman receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown has continued to play at the high level he started the year with, leading the team with 25 receptions, 396 yards and two touchdowns, despite his relatively limited snaps. Sophomore tight end Josh Falo showed an impact for the Trojans for the first time this season, tying with St. Brown for the highest yardage against Arizona with 54 yards.The running game appears to have found its stride as well, as the trio of senior Aca’Cedric Ware, sophomore Stephen Carr and redshirt sophomore Vavae Malepeai have dominated on the ground over the past two weeks, scoring five touchdowns on nine yards per carry.The quality of the defenses that the Trojan offense has faced recently has helped with their offensive production, but against a Colorado defense giving up an average of 18.4 points per game, things won’t be as easy for USC. The Buffaloes have only given up more than 21 points once on the year (28 by Nebraska), and have their fair share of playmakers on that side of the ball. Sophomore linebacker Nate Landman has racked up 45 tackles and two interceptions on the year, while sophomore defensive end Mustafa Johnson leads the team in sacks with 4.5. Colorado Offense vs. USC DefenseThe Colorado offense comes into this week ranked No. 18 in total offense. Junior quarterback Steven Montez is an NFL caliber prospect who is tied with Tua Tagovailoa of Alabama for the highest completion percentage in FBS at 75.2 percent, to go with 1,420 passing yards and 11 touchdowns against only two interceptions. “[You can] just see [Montez’s] comfortability now and his poise in the pocket,” Helton said. “He’s not throwing a lot of interceptions. He’s 11-2 right now, 75 percent completion. He looks like he’s got three years of experience under his belt. He’s guiding the football team, not making any mistakes. He’s one of the reasons they’re 5-0.”The Buffaloes have firepower on the ground as well, with senior running back Travon McMillan gaining 528 yards and four touchdowns. Montez himself has added 125 yards and three scores. “[Colorado’s] effectiveness in their run game is underrated, which is making them stay extremely balanced,” Helton said. “You look at their percentages on first and second down, it’s heavy run. They want to be a run team first, they take their shot and then get the ball out on the perimeter.”However, it’s sophomore receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. who will demand the bulk of the USC defense’s attention on Saturday. Shenault leads the country in receiving yards and receptions per game, with a stat line of 51 catches for 708 yards and 10 touchdowns from scrimmage in only five games. At 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, Shenault has been unstoppable, whether he’s carrying the ball out of the backfield, making tacklers miss in the open field or burning entire secondaries down the sideline. Washington State’s potent passing offense was a challenge for the Trojans, and the duo of Montez and Shenault will threaten to be even more dangerous. The Trojan defense has struggled to generate much pass rush, with four sacks in the previous four contests. Senior outside linebacker Porter Gustin has been the only player able to reach the quarterback, recording two-thirds of the team’s sacks. A big game from him and improved play from teammates like redshirt junior defensive lineman Christian Rector seem essential if the Trojans want to slow down Colorado’s passing game. Although the veteran duo of seniors cornerback Iman “Biggie” Marshall and safety Marvell Tell III have performed steadily for the secondary, it’ll be up to players like senior cornerback Isaiah Langley, freshman cornerback Olaijah Griffin and freshman safety Talanoa Hufanga to step up in order to keep Montez in check. Expect the Trojans to fare better in defending the run, where they’ve been good for most of the year, led by senior linebacker Cameron Smith and his 47 tackles.“One of the beauties of having our schedule is you always have to be in playoff championship mentality,” Helton said. “It makes you ready for these games. It doesn’t matter if it’s Stanford, Texas [or] Washington State on the road. It’s always like it’s the Super Bowl. Our kids are used to that now. Now we’re coming in playing for first place.”Prediction: Colorado 35, USC 28The Trojans and Buffaloes match up well, and the game could realistically go either way. After all, it is a home game for the Trojans, who haven’t lost at the Coliseum in 18 games. The game hinges on USC’s defense; if they’re able to contain Montez and Shenault, the Trojans could very well add another game to their home win streak. However, the Colorado offense is incredibly potent. It seems like a lot to ask of the Trojan offense to expect them to keep up. Expect a high scoring game, but for Colorado to potentially pull away late.Delanie Pence contributed to this report.last_img read more