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Hamilton takes pole for Hungarian GP ahead of Bottas

Hamilton takes pole for Hungarian GP ahead of Bottas

BUDAPEST, Hungary — Lewis Hamilton took pole position for the Hungarian Grand Prix ahead of Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, with championship leader Max Verstappen lagging behind them in third place on Saturday.Hamilton’s record-extending 101st pole in Formula One puts him in a strong position for a record-extending 100th win on a circuit where he has won the past three races and a record eight times.“Great efforts guys, absolutely fantastic job,” Hamilton said on radio after his third pole of the season.“I just had the song ‘YMCA’ in my head the whole time,” Hamilton said afterward, laughing in reference to the Village People’s cheesy 1970s anthem. “No idea why, but it’s a great song.”He was .315 ahead of Bottas and .421 clear of Verstappen.“It was an amazing qualifying lap,” Hamilton said on track as some sections of the crowd jeered him, one week after he was ruled at fault for the crash which sent Verstappen out of the British GP.Hamilton did not let it bother him.“It’s sport, right? And people act wild. I don’t take it to heart,” he said. “I must be doing something right to be up front.”But Bottas was upset by those booing his teammate, saying “these people need to question themselves, it’s not right.”Verstappen, who was chasing a sixth pole this season for Red Bull, said it was “not correct” but drivers should be immune to it.“We shouldn’t get disturbed by these kind of things,” he said. “It’s not nice but it shouldn’t influence us.”Moments later, however, he was disturbed by a question in the news conference about the first-lap crash last week at Silverstone.Interrupting the conference host’s question mid-sentence, Verstappen said “Can we stop about this?” He then used several expletives in an angry outburst, two days after talking at length about what he called Hamilton’s “disrespectful” victory celebrations at Silverstone.His teammate Sergio Perez placed fourth.Verstappen led Q1 — the first section of qualifying — from Hamilton and Q2 from Norris. The orange-shirted Dutch fans in one section of the main grandstand roared every time he came past them on the long straight.But Hamilton and Bottas were quicker than Verstappen on their first runs in Q3.“Don’t know why, but there’s just a massive lack of grip on this stint,” Verstappen radioed to his team.Pole could prove crucial on Sunday, given that the sinewy and tight 4.4-kilometer (2.7-mile) Hungaroring circuit is arguably the hardest track to overtake on after Monaco.About halfway through Q2, Carlos Sainz Jr. lost the rear of his Ferrari and slid off into a wall. The front wing dropped off the car and slid under the front tires. The Spaniard jogged away and he will start from a lowly 15th on Sunday.Teammate Charles Leclerc, who has two poles this season and nine in his career, qualified in seventh behind Norris and AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly.In the standings, Verstappen is eight points ahead of seven-time champion Hamilton. He leads Hamilton 5-4 for wins and 5-3 for poles.Mick Schumacher starts from 20th and last place. He sat out qualifying after crashing earlier in the final practice and his Haas team was unable to repair his car in time.Earlier, Hamilton clocked the fastest time in the third and final practice.He placed a narrow .088 ahead of Verstappen and .229 clear of Bottas.Sainz Jr. and Leclerc followed in fourth and fifth, respectively, in hot but slightly cloudy conditions.The session was interrupted with about 15 minutes left when Schumacher — son of seven-time F1 champion Michael Schumacher — flew off track into a tire wall. He was unharmed but damaged the left side and lost the front wing on his Haas car, which was taken off track by a crane.There was a near miss in the pit lane shortly after as Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovinazzi pulled out of the garage just as Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll was coming past. Stroll slightly clipped the front wing of Giovinazzi’s Alfa Romeo but there was no damage.On Friday, Verstappen topped the first practice and Bottas led the second one.There is a four-week summer break after Sunday’s race, where Hamilton will look to win in Hungary for a record-extending ninth time and fourth straight.———More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

Ronaldo scores 2 to take a step closer to scoring history

Ronaldo scores 2 to take a step closer to scoring history

Cristiano Ronaldo scored two penalties to tie the overall men’s scoring record with 109 goals and Portugal advanced to the round of 16 at the European Championship after a 2-2 draw with FranceBy JEROME PUGMIRE AP Sports WriterJune 23, 2021, 10:30 PM• 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleBUDAPEST, Hungary — Cristiano Ronaldo’s goals are adding up fast, and they are taking Portugal deeper into yet another tournament.Ronaldo scored two penalties Wednesday to help the defending champions secure a 2-2 draw with France and give the team a spot in the round of 16 at the European Championship. They also increased his total with the national team to 109 goals, tied for the all-time men’s record with former Iran striker Ali Daei.The Portugal great’s Euro 2020-leading fourth and fifth goals also extended his overall tournament record to 14.Karim Benzema scored both of France’s goals, his first ever at the tournament after failing to find the target at Euro 2008 and 2012. They were also his first goals for the national team since October 2015. Soon after that, he lost his place in the team because of his role in a “sextape” scandal.“Of course I was waiting for these goals,” Benzema said. “There has been a lot of pressure on me, but I’ve never given up.”The Portuguese ended up in third place in the group, one spot behind Germany. World Cup champion France, which had already qualified following a 1-1 draw with Hungary, finished first. The French will face Switzerland in the next round while Portugal will take on Belgium.“This was a really tough group,” France coach Didier Deschamps said. “Hungary proved that.”Ronaldo scored the opening goal in the 31st minute after France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris misread a free kick and punched Danilo’s face. Lloris was shown a yellow card by Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz, who then immediately signaled for medical assistance and awarded a penalty.He then equalized from the spot in the 60th, after Benzema put the French ahead 2-1, when his cross from the left made contact with the hand of Jules Kounde.It was Kounde’s second international game and his first start, chosen by Deschamps specifically to stop Ronaldo.Benzema first scored a penalty in first-half injury time after Nelson Semedo cut across Mbappe as he was running to meet a pass from Paul Pogba. The decision stood following a quick video review.Benzema had missed his previous penalty for Les Bleus in his international comeback in a friendly against against Wales earlier this month.Ronaldo went to shake Benzema’s hand and even put his arm around him as they walked off smiling at halftime. The former Real Madrid teammates then swapped jerseys as they walked down the tunnel.“It was a great pleasure to see him again. We achieved so much together when we played for Real Madrid, scored so many goals together,” Benzema said. “We just wished each other good luck for the rest of the tournament.”Benzema’s second goal came in the 47th after a run down the right to meet Pogba’s pass from midfield. He got in behind the defense and slotted the ball past Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patricio and in off the left post.Pogba almost scored a winner for France midway through the second half, but Patricio made a superb one-handed save to tip the curling shot off the crossbar and then saved Antoine Griezmann’s follow up shot.The 36-year-old Ronaldo’s historic run began 17 years ago when he scored his first goal for Portugal in a 2-1 loss to Greece during the group stage at Euro 2004.———More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

France held to 1-1 draw by Hungary at Euro 2020

France held to 1-1 draw by Hungary at Euro 2020

BUDAPEST, Hungary — France needed a second-half equalizer from Antoine Griezmann to avoid the biggest upset of the tournament.Hungary, playing in front of a raucous crowd yet again at the European Championship, held the World Cup champions to a 1-1 draw on Saturday.After Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema wasted chances, Griezmann scored in the 66th minute to dampen the spirit of a crowd which gave Hungary unwavering support throughout the Group F match.It was Griezmann’s 38th goal for France, moving him three behind third-place Michel Platini on the national team’s scoring list, and he did a little celebratory dance in front of the blue-shirted fans.The 67,215-capacity Puskas Arena in Budapest is the only stadium at Euro 2020 to allow full crowds, and it produced an atmosphere to remember.“It’s the first time with a full stadium, it’s different from what you are used to,” Griezmann said. “You can’t hear anything. We couldn’t even hear each other on the field. But it’s a great pleasure to play in front of fans again.”Hungary’s fans went wild when Attila Fiola gave the home team the lead.Latching onto the ball after Roland Sallai won a header down the left flank, Fiola burst into the penalty area and held off defender Raphael Varane before clipping the ball into the bottom corner.Some flares were lit and Hungary goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi had to remove paper thrown from the stands which landed in his penalty area.Mbappe and Benzema both wasted chances before Hungary’s goal.“We should have been in front. It’s not good enough given what we expected, but that’s soccer,” France coach Didier Deschamps said. “They scored with their only chance. Considering the context, we’ll take the point.”Given the quality of their opponents, Hungary’s draw was more like a victory and Gulacsi pumped his fists as the crowd gave the players a massive ovation.“Today we managed to earn some glory,” Hungary coach Marco Rossi said through a translator. “Tomorrow life will go on as usual.”The Hungarian players lined up in front of their home fans behind one goal after the match and stood with their hands on their hearts as the crowd sang.“The Hungarian fans are unmatched. We have unique fans,” Rossi said. “That’s why we work so hard to please them.”Many of the fans waved the green-white-and-red national flag, while others were clad in black T-shirts with Magyaroszag (Hungary) written on them. Still others stood bare-chested behind one of the goals in bright afternoon sunshine.The French team did have some of their own fans, however, about 5,700 of them, according to UEFA.The mood became intimidating when some sections of the crowd jeered the French national anthem, La Marseillaise. But France had enough chances to quiet them down in the first half.The unmarked Mbappe headed wide from left back Lucas Digne’s cross in the 18th. Benzema then fluffed a straightforward chance when he ran onto Mbappe’s clever flick behind and sent a shot wide near the penalty spot.Benzema has still not scored in the competition, after failing at Euro 2008 and Euro 2012. He was left out of Euro 2016.“As a forward, he knows what people expect from him,” Deschamps said. “But the main thing is that he stays confident and that I keep believing in him.”Mbappe has not scored at this tournament. Both had a goal ruled out for offside in the 1-0 over against Germany on Tuesday.The draw gives Hungary one point in the group ahead of Wednesday’s match against Germany in Munich. Two-time champion France has four points and will stay in Budapest to face defending champion Portugal.“It’s not as if we were going to crush everyone,” Deschamps said. “We still hold the cards. If we win then we’ll finish first.”Deschamps may have an injury concern for that game.Substitute Ousmane Dembele, who hit the post moments after coming on as second-half substitute, went off near the end of the game after appearing to hurt his knee.“I hope it’s only a minor injury,” Deschamps said. “We’ll know more in the next few days.”———More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

Ronaldo scores 2, Portugal beats Hungary 3-0 at Euro 2020

Ronaldo scores 2, Portugal beats Hungary 3-0 at Euro 2020

Cristiano Ronaldo set the record for most goals at the European Championship with two of them in Portugal’s 3-0 victory over Hungary at a packed Puskas ArenaBy JEROME PUGMIRE AP Sports WriterJune 15, 2021, 7:25 PM• 4 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleBUDAPEST, Hungary — Cristiano Ronaldo’s record-setting day came in front of the first packed crowd of this year’s European Championship.The Portugal great set the record for most career goals at the tournament in the 87th minute from the penalty spot and then added another in injury time to give the defending champions a 3-0 victory over Hungary on Tuesday.Ronaldo’s goals, however, weren’t the only interesting part of the game. On the fifth day of the Euro 2020 tournament, this was the first match played in a full stadium.The 67,215-capacity Puskas Arena was packed with mostly Hungarian fans, and they made their presence known throughout the match. Hungary is the only one of the 10 countries hosting matches at the tournament to allow full crowds.That gave Ronaldo plenty of witnesses to history.“The important thing was to win,” Ronaldo said. “It was a difficult game, against an opponent who defended very well, but we scored three goals, and I am very grateful to the team for helping me to score two goals.”The Juventus forward was playing in his fifth European Championship, dating back to Euro 2004. He entered this year’s edition even with Michel Platini at nine goals, but that only lasted 87 minutes.The 36-year-old Ronaldo also became the only player to score at five consecutive European Championships.Ronaldo scored his first goal after Rafa Silva was fouled by Willi Orban in the area and the referee whistled for a penalty. Ronaldo, who had missed an easy chance near the end of the first half, shot to the right of goal and got his record.The second came when he combined with Silva in front of goal and then skipped around Hungary keeper Peter Gulacsi before rolling the ball into an empty net with his left foot.Ronaldo broke the scoring record at a stadium named after another great scorer, Ferenc Puskas. The Hungarian was arguably the finest finisher of the 1950s, scoring 84 goals in 85 games for his country. He also played for Real Madrid, just like Ronaldo once did.He is also now only three behind former Iran striker Ali Daei’s men’s record of 109 international goals.Portugal defender Raphael Guerreiro scored the opening goal three minutes before Ronaldo’s first with a shot that deflected off a defender and wrong-footed Gulacsi.The fans made the most of their attendance and the resounding noise went up several levels when Hungary nearly took the lead in the 80th minute.Substitute Szabolcs Schon cut inside from the right and planted a low shot into the corner of the net. But the goal was ruled out because Schon was offside when he ran onto the pass.Hungary’s most vocal support congregated behind one of the goals and were relentless in their devotion.“If we were able to play as well as they support us and cheer us on then I think we would probably win more matches,” Hungary coach Marco Rossi said through a translator. “But we gave it everything.”Portugal’s red-shirted and flag-waving followers filled a small section behind where their goalkeeper started the match.“It was amazing. Football without a crowd, I don’t even think I have an expression for that,” Portugal coach Fernando Santos said. “But I need to thank the 4,000 Portugal fans who were here because I heard them more than anything else.”Hungary will have the crowd again on Saturday against World Cup champion France, while Portugal heads to Munich to face Germany.“It was essential to start on the right foot to give us confidence,” Ronaldo said. “Now it is necessary to continue like this and win the next game.”———More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports