Max Verstappen regained the lead of the Formula One world championship but the Red Bull star seemingly wanted a tougher test in Turkey.

It was Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas - who had started from pole position after Lewis Hamilton's 10-place grid penalty for an engine change - who triumphed in a damp Istanbul on Sunday.

However, Verstappen and his Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez completed the podium, with the former situated inside the top three for much of the race.

In difficult conditions, Verstappen explained how it was too risky to push the tyres early, conceding Bottas' car seemed to have more speed.

Asked what the trickiest part of the race was, Verstappen joked: "To stay awake!"

He added: "No, it was just all about managing the tyres, so you were never pushing to make it to a certain amount of laps and then you'd box for another set, happy to be on the podium."

Bottas, meanwhile, celebrated a first victory of the season.

"I think from my side, I have to say, one of the best races I've had, ever," said the Finn, who is leaving Mercedes at the end of the season.

"Apart from one little slide, everything was under control. But like I said before the race, the car has been really good in every condition, I had really good confidence in it, could really control it.

"It's not easy to choose the strategy here with the conditions, when to stop, when to switch tyre and everything, but I'm glad with how everything went.

"When there's only one dry line, it doesn't need much to go off. A difficult one, it feels like a well-earned victory."

Bottas' jubilance was in stark contrast to the frustration of his team-mate Hamilton, who had to settle for fifth place after a late call to pit by Mercedes.

Hamilton is now six points behind Verstappen in the championship race heading into the United States Grand Prix.

"It's been close the whole year and I'm sure again in Austin it’ll be a good battle with Mercedes, so we just have to keep on pushing, keep on trying to improve and then we'll see where we end up at the end," said Verstappen.

"So far this season has been really good."

Lewis Hamilton cut a frustrated figure over Mercedes' decision to pull him in for a pit stop late in the Turkish Grand Prix.

Hamilton seemed determined to finish the race in the rain in Istanbul on the same set of tyres, turning down several calls for him to pit.

Finally, on the 51st lap out of 58, Hamilton – who at the time was in third place having started 11th on the grid due to the 10-place penalty he took into the weekend for changing engine – heeded his team's call to come in to switch onto intermediate tyres.

Yet as the seven-time world champion came back out, he had fallen to fifth place, much to his annoyance.

"Why did you give up that place?" Hamilton questioned over the radio, as he was forced to hold off Pierre Gasly to finish fifth, behind Charles Leclerc, Red Bull duo Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen and Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who cruised to his first race victory of 2021.

Esteban Ocon finished within the top 10 having not changed tyres at all, and Hamilton was in a prickly mood when interviewed by Sky Sports.

Asked if he was aware he would drop down two places when he went into the pits, Hamilton said: "I didn't know at that time, I could probably have assumed that I would.

"The guys were only 15 seconds behind, it's a 24-second pit stop so I knew that I'd lose perhaps one."

Of the initial tyres potentially lasting the whole race, Hamilton added: "Ocon's did I heard so I assume they probably could.

"The tyres are bald so you don't know how far they're going to go so there's definitely the worry of the life of the tyre but also I wasn't really that fast at the end there.

"I was struggling, had little grip, not really sure why. Then all of a sudden I'd have not such a bad pace but I was losing performance to the guys behind."

Hamilton acknowledged he may have made an error not coming in for a pit earlier in the race, when Mercedes initially advised, but he believes the wrong call was made to switch so late.

"In hindsight I should have either stayed out or come in much earlier," he said. "When you come in with eight laps to go you don't have time to go through the draining phase of that medium tyre on a drying track.

"So I went through this whole sliding change where I nearly lost more positions. A bit frustrated but it is what it is. 

"It felt good to be in third and I thought if I could just hold onto this it's a great result from 11th. Fifth is worse, but it could be worse."

There was an eight-point swing in the championship title race, with Verstappen now six ahead of Hamilton heading into the United States Grand Prix in two weeks' time.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, however, insisted the correct call was made.

"[Pitting earlier] would have been better than what we ended up with. But it was measured and in the car, he didn't see how much he was dropping off. It was clear that had he stayed out then he would have lost out to Gasly," he told Sky Sports.

"The correct call would probably have been taking it very conservative and pitting when everybody else pitted for the inters, coming out behind Perez and Leclerc and fighting with them for P3. That was probably correct, but that is only with hindsight."

Lewis Hamilton was left frustrated by Mercedes' decision to pit late during the Turkish Grand Prix, helping Max Verstappen take over the Formula One championship lead in Istanbul.

Hamilton had claimed pole in qualifying but was handed a 10-place grid penalty due to an engine change, meaning Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas started in first place.

It was a lead Bottas only relinquished briefly to Charles Leclerc, though the Finn regained it with a brilliant move on the inside of the Ferrari with 11 laps remaining to ensure his first win of the season.

With Verstappen claiming second, it was Hamilton's decision to hold off pitting in the wet conditions that proved crucial in the title race.

Well in the hunt for a podium place at the time, Hamilton was finally instructed to come in by Mercedes on the 51st lap.

Yet the decision to switch to intermediate tyres did not pay off, with Hamilton left furious with his team, stating: "Why did you give up that place?”.

While one half of the Mercedes garage will be left pondering their decision, the other was celebrating a flawless drive from Bottas, who endured a miserable race in Turkey last year.

Behind Bottas, it was a fantastic outing for Red Bull, with Verstappen securing a six-point lead over Hamilton in the championship standings and Sergio Perez completing the podium places.

Hamilton ultimately finished fifth, holding off Gasly but unable to gain ground on Leclerc, who missed out on the top three after pitting late on himself.

Perez and Hamilton do battle

Hamilton thought he had nipped ahead of Perez heading into lap 35, with the pair going wheel-to-wheel for five corners in a fantastic tussle.

Though Hamilton had the faster acceleration, Perez pushed at Turn One to regain the place and even though the Red Bull driver subsequently pitted, he had done enough to keep the seven-time world champion at bay and hand Verstappen a real boost.

Alonso hits out at Gasly

Fernando Alonso made a strong start in Istanbul, but he found himself spinning off the track on the first corner after a clip from Pierre Gasly.

By the time he rectified the situation, Alonso had dropped from fifth to 15th. Gasly, for his part, explained that he got "sandwiched", though the Frenchman was nevertheless handed a five-second penalty that cost him a place in the top five.

Tyson Fury insisted his "saga" with Deontay Wilder is "done for good" after his stoppage win in Las Vegas, a result that has earned the undefeated WBC champion a well-earned break.

In the third meeting of the heavyweight rivals, Fury dropped his opponent in the third but was then down himself twice in the next round, the tables suddenly turned as the pair went toe to toe.

However, the Briton came on strong in the second half of the contest. After scoring a further knockdown in the previous round, he finished the job in the 11th thanks to a chopping right hand that finally ended Wilder's brave resistance.

"It was a great fight. Rarely do we see heavyweight trilogies. I think the last one was Riddick Bowe and Evander Holyfield, and those fights didn't disappoint," Fury said at his post-fight media duties.

"The saga with Wilder is done now. Done for good. It was definitely a historic trilogy, for sure.

"It swung both ways and both fighters had the opportunity to seize the moment, it was just that I showed the initiative, dug deeper and wanted it more.

"At the end of the day, when it comes down to that sort of fight, it's about who is willing to push further. I wasn't willing for it to go to the scorecards; I was definitely trying for a knockout.

"Wilder is a very tough guy and he's got heart, heart to keep going. He took a lot of punishment, and that puts a lot of mileage on the clock. So did I, I took a lot of punishment as well, some good shots, got put over but then got back up.

"It was just a great fight, all in all. You have to take your hat off to Wilder and his team: he put up a good fight. That's what I'm here for, I wasn't here to blow someone over in one round.

 "I've travelled the world for so many years to find challenges – he gave me a real worthy challenge tonight."

With another meeting with Wilder seemingly unlikely, Fury could instead target Oleksandr Usyk, the holder of the IBF, WBA and WBO titles after his shock triumph over Anthony Joshua, who has triggered a clause for a rematch with the Ukrainian.

For Fury, however, the immediate focus is celebrating his latest success.

When asked about a potential fight with Usyk, Fury replied: "We will see. I've just earned a well-earned break.

"I've been away from my family for six months in total. I've been home for two weeks in the last six months, so before I start thinking about fighting other men, I'm going to bask in this victory.

"This was one of my greatest wins. I got off the floor to do it. I'm the big dog in the division, probably one of the heaviest heavyweight champions in history: 277 pounds. I was fit, I was strong in there and felt good.

"We will just see what today and tomorrow brings."

On his plans, he added: "I'm going to go out, have a couple of drinks and relax.

"I'm not even thinking about boxing, I'm going to go out and bask in this glory. Last time, after the second fight, I just went back, went to bed, got up the next day and flew home. This has been a well-deserved victory, and I'm just going to enjoy it."

Garbine Muguruza could not keep the momentum going at the Indian Wells Open after winning a WTA title last week and the former world number one was followed out the door by Maria Sakkari.

Muguruza, who claimed the Chicago Fall Tennis Classic, was surprisingly upstaged 6-3 1-6 6-3 by Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic in an upset on Saturday.

Tomljanovic had been 0-6 against top-10 players this year heading into the match but had just enough to edge the fifth seed and two-time grand slam champion with some timely breaks of serve. 

The world number 47 Tomljanovic is into the third round at Indian Wells for the first time in seven appearances and next faces 26th seed Tamara Zidansek. 

"I was really looking forward to playing Garbine, because I did lose [to her] the last couple of times," Tomljanovic said in her on-court interview. "I did try to focus on that one time I beat her [in 2014], and tried to channel that energy, so I was really happy that I got through today."

GOLUBIC STUNS SAKKARI

Sixth seed Sakkari – a semi-finalist at this year's French and US Opens – also fell victim to a shock result, going out 5-7 6-3 6-2 to Viktorija Golubic in their first meeting. 

The pair kept trading service breaks in the opening set, five in all, before Golubic tightened up her game for the final two sets. 

After breaking the Swiss three times in the first set, Sakkari converted just one of four break points the rest of the match. 

Golubic had lost in the first round in her previous two trips to Indian Wells but is now on to the third, where she will face Anna Kalinskaya.

 

ANDREESCU HOLDS OFF RISKE

Former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu saw a potential straight-sets win slip away before recovering to defeat Alison Riske 7-6 (7-2) 5-7 6-2.

Andreescu – the defending champion after the 2020 WTA Premier 1000 event was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic – led 4-1 in the second set but watched her advantage evaporate as Riske forced a decider, which the Canadian ended up taking comfortably as she faced only one break point in the last. 

Top seed Karolina Pliskova eased past Magdalena Frech 7-5 6-2, while third-seeded Barbora Krejcikova was pushed to a third set before prevailing 6-4 3-6 6-1 against Zarina Diyas. 

Angelique Kerber – the 10th seed and three-time major winner – went the distance to beat Katerina Siniakova 6-1 6-7 (4-7) 7-5, while 15th seed Coco Gauff downed Caroline Garcia 6-3 6-7 (2-7) 6-1 in her debut match at the tournament. 

Ons Jabeur, the 12th seed, prevailed 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 over Anastasija Sevastova and 18th seed Anett Kontaveit – Andreescu's next opponent – moved on when Martina Trevisan retired down 6-3 5-2. 

Top seed Daniil Medvedev made quick work of Mackenzie McDonald in his opening match at the Indian Wells Masters, cruising to a 6-4 6-2 victory on Saturday.

Medvedev – the US Open champion – has lost only three of his last 41 sets, and has never dropped one to McDonald in five career meetings with the American as he maintained his red-hot form. 

Russian star Medvedev is now 37-5 on hardcourts this year and appears well-positioned to make it past the third round of the ATP Masters 1000 tournament for the first time as he awaits Filip Krajinovic.

"I'm actually really pleased, because usually I haven’t played well in Indian Wells and I haven’t been playing that well in practices before [the tournament]," Medvedev said in his on-court interview. "[I am] really happy with my performance. That’s the most important [thing] no matter how I played before the tournament."

RUBLEV ROLLS PAST TABERNER

Medvedev's countryman Andrey Rublev closed out the night session with a 6-3 6-4 defeat of Carlos Taberner, who was facing a top-10 opponent for the first time. 

Fourth seed and world number five Rublev won 66 per cent of points on his first serve and hit 30 winners to Taberner's 12. 

Rublev improved to 47-16 this season, 31-9 on hard courts, and will face Tommy Paul in the third round. 

 

SHAPOVALOV WINS IN NEAR-WALKOVER

Most of the seeded players in action had an easy time of it, none more so than Canadian ninth seed Denis Shapovalov.

Shapovalov's opponent and countryman Vasek Pospisil retired with an apparent back injury after dropping the first three games of the match. 

Sixth seed Casper Ruud blew past Roberto Carballes Baena 6-1 6-2, while eighth seed Hubert Hurkacz downed Alexei Popyrin 6-1 7-5. 

Diego Schwartzman had to work harder to advance, the 11th seed outlasting qualifier Maxime Cressy 6-2 3-6 7-5. 

Top-ranked American Reilly Opelka, the 16th seed, beat Taro Daniel 7-5 6-3 for his first main-draw victory at Indian Wells in four attempts. 

Daniel Evans also went the distance to defeat Kei Nishikori 4-6 6-3 6-4, while former world number three Grigor Dimitrov, 2021 Australian Open semi-finalist Aslan Karatsev and Frances Tiafoe were among the other players to advance.

Tyson Fury labelled himself "the greatest heavyweight of my era" after the WBC champion defended his belt with a devastating knockout of Deontay Wilder.

Fury (31-0-1) stayed undefeated thanks to his 11th-round KO against Wilder in Saturday's blockbuster trilogy in Las Vegas.

In an all-time epic bout, Fury was dropped twice but the British star got the better of Wilder (42-2-1), who showed incredible courage to make it to the penultimate round having appeared out on his feet.

After the slugfest, Fury said: "Like the great John Wayne said, I'm made of pig iron and steel, baby!

"I took some big shots but my lord and saviour helped me up and kept me going. It was a great fight tonight and it's worthy of any trilogy in the history of the sport."

"I was down a couple of times, I was hurt, Wilder is a strong puncher," said Fury, who landed some thunderous blows to the head of the American.

"It was a great fight. I will not make any excuses, Wilder is a top fighter, he gave me a run for my money. I always say I am the best fighter in the world and he is the second best.

"Don't ever doubt me. When the chips are down I can always deliver."

Fury added: "I'm now the greatest heavyweight of my era, without a doubt. Number one, numero uno. Look what I've done.

"I've came to America my last six fights and fought the most devastating puncher in the history of our sport. Not once, not twice, but three times. Danger, danger man."

After a contentious split-decision draw in the first meeting back in December 2018, the rematch saw Fury take the judges out of the equation with a dominant performance, forcing a seventh-round stoppage that not only saw Wilder lose the WBC title but also his unbeaten record as a professional.

The pair put on an instant classic on Saturday but Wilder appeared unwilling to pay respect to Fury as he swiftly left the ring post-fight.

"I'm a sportsman; I went over to show some love and respect and he didn't want to show it back," Fury said. "I'll pray for him so God will soften his heart."

"I said, 'Well done'. And he said, 'I don't wanna show any sportsmanship or respect.' I said, 'No problem'."

"Very surprised [by] that," Fury continued. "Sore loser, an idiot. Do you know what? To be a top fighting man, you've got to show guts and respect and he couldn't do it tonight. And that's it."

The Los Angeles Dodgers fought back on Saturday, getting to San Francisco Giants starter Kevin Gausman early and knocking him out later in the game as the reigning World Series champions evened their National League Division Series (NLDS) with a 9-2 road victory. 

The Dodgers got their offence back on track after being blanked by Giants starter Logan Webb in Game 1, pounding out 11 hits at Oracle Park before heading home for Monday's Game 3 in the MLB playoffs. 

Oddly enough, it was Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias who got everything going with a run-scoring single in the second inning as Los Angeles earned a 2-0 lead that the Giants answered with one in the bottom of that inning. 

Both teams' bats stayed quiet until the sixth, when the Dodgers drove Gausman from the game and broke it open with two-run doubles from Cody Bellinger and AJ Pollock. 

They piled on three more against the Giants' bullpen in the eighth thanks to a Will Smith solo homer and RBI singles from Matt Beaty and Corey Seager. 

Urias did his job on the mound, too, limiting NL West champions San Francisco to one run in his five innings of work before four Dodgers relievers finished it off. 

Urias lowered his postseason ERA to 2.68 in 19 career appearances while improving his record to 7-2. The seven wins equal former Giants ace Madison Bumgarner for the most postseason victories by a pitcher aged 25 or younger. 

In the other NLDS matchup, Max Fried was brilliant on the mound as the Atlanta Braves evened the series with a 3-0 defeat of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Fried allowed just three hits and did not walk a batter while striking out nine in his six innings of work before three Atlanta relievers finished off the shutout. 

The Braves scored twice in the third inning on an RBI single by Freddie Freeman and a double by Ozzie Albies, and Austin Riley added a home run in the sixth for insurance. 

The series moves to Atlanta on Monday for Game 3.

 

Rays at Red Sox

After pounding out 20 hits in a 14-6 Game 2 rout to even the series, the Boston Red Sox will look to keep it going as they return to Fenway Park for Monday's Game 3, with Nathan Eovaldi set to start against the Tampa Bay Rays' Drew Rasmussen. 

Tyson Fury won a battle of the ages against Deontay Wilder, retaining his WBC heavyweight championship with a devastating knockout in the pair's blockbuster trilogy bout.

In a brutal slugfest in Las Vegas, unbeaten British star Fury dropped American challenger Wilder in the 11th round to successfully defend his belt on Saturday.

Fury (31-0-1) and Wilder (42-2-1) went toe-to-toe throughout the heavyweight showdown, though the latter was out on his feet and it appeared a matter of time before the 'Gypsy King' scored the telling blow.

After a contentious split-decision draw in the first meeting back in December 2018, the rematch saw Fury take the judges out of the equation with a dominant performance, forcing a seventh-round stoppage that not only saw Wilder lose the WBC title but also his unbeaten record as a professional.

The trilogy was not seemingly on the cards — or at least not this soon — until the outcome of an arbitration hearing, a judge ruling the reigning champion was contractually obliged to face his former foe again, ending the possibility of a unification showdown with Anthony Joshua.

In front of a star-studded crowd, Wilder made a bright start, though Fury moved around well and managed to land a strike to the head in an exchange before the end of the opening round.

Both men continued to go for some big shots as the referee repeatedly shouted to keep it clean, with clinching aplenty.

Fury scored a knockdown in the third round after sending Wilder to the canvas with a big shot to the head and the latter – on the ropes amid a flurry of big punches – barely made it to the bell.

Wilder appeared to seize the momentum in an incredible fourth round, with the slugfest moving in his favour having dropped Fury twice in a concerning sequence for the champion.

Neither fighter took a backward step in a stunning showdown between two powerful hitters – Fury landed a blow to Wilder's head late in the sixth round and continued where he left off in the seventh.

Wilder, who spent most of the fight on the ropes, looked out on his feet during the latter stages of the seventh after absorbing another brutal strike to the head as Fury sniffed blood.

Having somehow survived, Wilder was floored in the 10th and was on the receiving end of an uppercut during the final stages and while he ended the round swinging, he was finally stopped in the 11th.

Adam Schenk had a day to remember as he moved top of the Shriners Children's Open leaderboard by one stroke following a red-hot finish to his third round.

American golfer Schenk carded a five-under-par 66 to hit the front at the PGA Tour tournament in Las Vegas on Saturday.

Searching for his first PGA Tour title, the 29-year-old birdied three of the last four holes to seize control, with a birdie on the final hole ensuring Schenk finished the day 18 under and ahead of Matthew Wolff.

Schenk holds the outright 54-hole lead – the first of his career in a stroke-play event on Tour – thanks to seven total birdies and just two bogeys at TPC Summerlin.

"It was nice to finish off with a birdie," Schenk said. "Great day. I couldn't have shot many shots lower."

Wolff posted a six-under-par 65, his 11th score in the 60s in 11 career rounds at the Shriners Children's Open.

Andrew Putnam (66), Sam Burns (68) and Chad Ramey (69) are two strokes off the pace heading into Sunday's final round, while Im Sung-jae slipped to 15 under following his third-round 70.

Defending champion Martin Laird recorded a four-under-par 67 to catapult himself 15 positions into a tie for 15th, seven shots behind Schenk.

Brooks Koepka – the four-time major champion – is 12 strokes off the pace following his 72, alongside Viktor Hovland (73), while Masters winner Hideki Matsuyama (71) is five under overall.

Anthony Joshua triggered a rematch clause against Oleksandr Usyk for the heavyweight championship, promoter Eddie Hearn confirmed.

Joshua was dethroned by Usyk, who was crowned WBA, WBO and IBF champion after a unanimous points decision victory at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on September 25.

Now 24-2, having also suffered a shock defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr. in 2019 before winning their rematch, Joshua is set to step into the ring again with Usyk next year.

"Joshua is training now, and today we officially triggered the rematch for the Oleksandr Usyk fight, which we will see early next spring," Hearn told DAZN.

"So back in the game and looking for him to become a three-time heavyweight champion."

Joshua had been tipped for a long-awaited duel with Tyson Fury next year before his upset at the hands of Ukrainian opponent Usyk.

Fury is due to face Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas on Saturday as they conclude a contentious trilogy – the former won the second bout following a draw.

"As I said, I'll fight Tyson Fury, Wilder, without the belts. The belts are fun. It's great, it's legacy. But with or without the belts, I'll fight whoever," Joshua said after his loss to Usyk.

"The road to undisputed is a nice title to have and a nice title to chase.

"But would you still watch it, without the belts? That's the main thing – is you've got two competitive fighters in the ring from UK soil, that just want to go toe-to-toe."

Star tight end George Kittle has been placed on injured reserve by the San Francisco 49ers.

On the same day he turned 28, the Niners confirmed their two-time All-Pro had been subject to the roster move due to an ongoing calf problem.

The decision means Kittle must miss at least three matches, including the upcoming NFC West divisional matchup at the undefeated Arizona Cardinals, a game for which he had initially been listed as doubtful.

San Francisco are already without quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who also has a calf problem, against the Cardinals, meaning rookie Trey Lance will start.

The team, who are 2-2 after losing two straight games, will hope Kittle is good to go again by Week 8 when they meet the Cardinals once more.

Kittle has struggled with his nagging injury for much of the 2021 season and has made just 19 catches for 227 yards, as he waits to score his first touchdown of the year.

He was restricted to just eight regular season games last year after suffering a broken foot.

Prior to those injury problems, Kittle had been utterly dominant in 2018 and 2019, helping the Niners to the Super Bowl in that period with 2,430 yards and 10 receiving TDs across 30 regular season games.

Kittle was a fifth-round draft pick ahead of the 2017 season.

Kevin Naiqama was "overcome with emotion" after his two tries led St Helens to a 12-10 win over Catalans Dragons at Old Trafford, their third straight Super League Grand Final success.

Saints' 2020 triumph had come in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic in front of empty stands, but they had their fans back to celebrate the three-peat.

It was a far less dramatic victory than that last-gasp defeat of Wigan Warriors, however, even if the game swung back and forth, bookended by Naiqama's tries.

His first effort came as he fought through two challenges on the try line to touch the ball down.

But Catalans were just two points behind at the break and made the most of Tommy Makinson's yellow card – the first in Grand Final history – as Mike McMeeken grounded the ball after Josh Drinkwater's kick hung in the air and eventually dropped his way.

A more precise kick at the other end provided the final twist, though, with Jonny Lomax's no-look effort bobbling into the arms of Naiqama. Lachlan Coote made no mistake with the decisive extras.

Catalans had clinched their Leaders' Shield against Saints in astonishing fashion last month, trailing by 18 points with four minutes to play at Magic Weekend and winning.

Yet there was no repeat of those St James' Park heroics, as Dragons failed to mount another attack in the closing minutes.

"I'm overcome with emotion," Naiqama told Sky Sports. "I love this team and I love this town."

Lewis Hamilton is refusing to write off his chances of another Turkish Grand Prix win despite serving a 10-place grid penalty after qualifying fastest.

The Mercedes superstar had to hand over pole position to team-mate Valtteri Bottas following an engine change this week.

It means Hamilton, who comes into Sunday's race two points ahead of Max Verstappen, must start from 11th, denying him a 102nd pole at a 31st different circuit.

Only one of his 100 Formula One victories have come behind the front three rows – starting from 14th in Germany in 2018 – although one of his two triumphs from sixth came at this event last year. That was the sole example of a Turkish GP win from beyond the front row.

"I was already third at the end of Turn 1 last year, so that made a bit of a difference," Hamilton told Sky Sports on Saturday. "But it's a much, much different weekend, a much different track grip.

"My eyes are still solely set on winning the race; it's going to be very hard from 11th but not impossible. We're just making sure we'll deliver maximum attack tomorrow."

Bottas, the beneficiary of Hamilton's switch, acknowledged Saturday could not have gone any better for Mercedes.

"Obviously, as a team result, it was as we planned," he said. "Lewis, with his penalty, now gets the minimum penalty he can, and I'm on pole, so it should be good."

But Bottas insisted he was not instructed to slow down in order to allow Hamilton to secure the fastest time, having him start from 11th instead of 12th.

"No, I wasn't asked to slow down, and I was definitely going for it," said the Finn, who will leave for Alfa Romeo at the end of the season.

"I started to struggle a bit with the front end in the last sector, so I just had some understeer in Turn 12 and 14. I could feel I was losing a bit of time.

"I probably used the tyres a bit earlier in the lap. I was fully going for it, for sure."

Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar matched a feat achieved by three of cycling's greatest competitors as he triumphed at the Giro di Lombardia on Saturday.

Pogacar cruised to a title defence at Le Tour in July and the 23-year-old clinched his second Classic crown of the season with success in the final Monument race of the year.

The Slovenian, making his Giro di Lombardia debut, is the first rider in 42 years to have won both the Tour de France and Giro di Lombardia in the same season.

He joins an illustrious list of riders to have done the double – Fausto Coppi, Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault.

UAE Team Emirates rider Pogacar finished ahead of Fausto Masnada in the final sprint at the culmination of the 239km race from Como to Bergamo, with Adam Yates taking third place.

Pogacar previously won the Liege-Bastogne-Liege race in April.

"I'm speechless, it's crazy to be here to celebrate this success at the end of a season like this," he said.

"Every victory is important to me, being at the start of Lombardia alongside the best cyclists in the world was a dream, and now winning on my debut was incredible."

Valtteri Bottas will focus on making the most of starting the Turkish Grand Prix from pole position, and not on the fortunes of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

Bottas just missed out on setting the fastest time in Istanbul on Saturday, with championship leader Hamilton claiming top spot.

However, Hamilton will start in 11th due to a penalty incurred from an engine change heading into the weekend, meaning Bottas is promoted to first on the grid.

Seven out of the eight winners in Turkey have come from the first grid line, with the only exception coming last year when Hamilton triumphed from sixth place.

Hamilton's title rival Max Verstappen will start in second place and has a real chance to regain the championship lead, as he trails by only two points as it stands – the finest margin after 15 races of a season since 2006.

Asked where his priorities would sit heading into Sunday's race, Bottas said: "I'll focus on my own race tomorrow, I think that's the way to go when you're starting in front and try to keep up a good pace."

Of the session, the Finn, who is leaving Mercedes at the end of 2021, said: "It was good. Not easy conditions, especially Q1 was a bit on the edge with damp parts and still Q3, the first corner was a bit damp but also Turn 3 and 4. But also some good laps.

"As a team result, that's really gone to plan. Lewis with his penalty gets the minimum penalty he can, and I'm on pole, so that should be good."

Hamilton is anticipating a tough ask to challenge for a podium place.

"It was a really tricky session in general," Hamilton said.

"There were still some damp patches and getting the temperature in the tyres for the first lap wasn't easy, but a really great job by the team, so happy with the performance in terms of getting us out at the right time. Tomorrow's going to be difficult but I'll give it everything."

Hamilton claimed his 100th race win last time out in Russia, and he added: "It's not the easiest overtaking at the moment, and we're all on the same tyres as well. I imagine tomorrow's going to be difficult to move up. You saw in the last race what happened with Max once he got behind sixth place or something and vice versa for me also.

"We've got the long straight down the back, we'll see what we can do, hopefully we can give the fans here a good race."

Despite spinning off the track at one stage in the session, Charles Leclerc recovered to take P4, and the Ferrari driver will start in third place behind Verstappen, who was pleased with his performance after a difficult Friday practice.

"It was quite tricky at the beginning with the conditions, but compared to yesterday we actually managed to turn it around quite well," said Verstappen. He is hunting his eighth win of the season, which would also see him equal Nigel Mansell as the driver with the second most victories with a Honda engine (13), behind the late Ayrton Senna (32).

"The laps overall were quite good, even if we lost a bit down the straight on the last, we have to look into that, but of course it was not the lap I needed to fight for pole," Verstappen added.

"Overall I'm very happy. We'll try to pick up as many points as we can."

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:22:868 *
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +0:130
3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +0:328
4. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) +0:397
5. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) +0:458
6. Fernando Alonso (Alpine) +0:609
7. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) +0:838
8. Lando Norris (McLaren) +1:086
9. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) +1:437
10. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) +1:500

*Hamilton will serve 10-place grid penalty

So far, so good, Dak Prescott. At least from a personal perspective, though, it was a similar story through four weeks in 2020.

The Dallas Cowboys quarterback set a record-breaking pace last year, his 1,690 passing yards comfortably the most by any player over the first four weeks of a season since 1960. In fact, in at least the past 40 years, no QB can match that total across any four-game span.

Going back to 1960, only Jameis Winston had previously thrown for 450 yards in consecutive games. Prescott became the first to do so in three in a row against the Atlanta Falcons (450), the Seattle Seahawks (472, a career high) and the Cleveland Browns (502, another career high) in Weeks 2, 3 and 4.

Yet the Cowboys were only 1-3, and when Prescott went down for the year against the New York Giants in Week 5, any hopes of recovering their season were dashed. Dallas went from averaging a league-leading 509.5 total net yards and third-ranked 31.5 points per game through Week 4 to 325.9 yards and 22.5 points over the rest of the year — ranking joint-21st and 25th.

In 2021, however, they are 3-1 heading into another Week 5 matchup with the Giants, despite having played three other 3-1 teams. And although Prescott has again been outstanding, this year's Cowboys do not look quite so fragile.

'The best I've ever played'

Of course, Dallas' excellent start begins with the man under center. Prescott is back this season having finally signed a four-year, $160million extension, and he is quickly proving worth that investment.

Although his 1,066 yards pale next to last year's early efforts, the 28-year-old has thrown 10 touchdown passes, up on 2020's nine and the second-most ever at this stage of a season by a Cowboys QB, behind Tony Romo's 11 in 2007. Only Don Meredith (twice — in 1966 and 1968) has bettered Prescott's 116.9 passer rating to this point.

After three TDs and no interceptions in the Week 3 win against the Philadelphia Eagles, Prescott said he had gained "a different perspective" from his spell on the sidelines. "I feel like I'm playing the best I've ever played," he added. He then had four TDs and no interceptions versus the Carolina Panthers in Week 4.

Prescott is undoubtedly excelling — he has delivered a well-thrown, accurate ball with 84.7 per cent of his passes this year, third among QBs with 100 or more attempts — but he is also getting help. In the Panthers game, he did not take a single sack. His seven for the year are fewer than 21 other QBs through four weeks.

Indeed, the Dallas number four said coming into the season offensive linemen Zack Martin, Tyron Smith and La'el Collins, who all missed at least large chunks of 2020 through injury, were "the most important" members of the offense.

Of the 32 pressures Prescott has faced this season, 20 came in the opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when Martin was on the COVID list. He has won 57 of 58 pass protection attempts, allowing only a single hurry. Smith has won 90 of 93 attempts, giving up a sole adjusted sack. The Cowboys still have the suspended Collins to come back in.

Even when Prescott is pressured, he is performing well, getting the ball out quickly and accurately, his 2.84-second release time the fourth-fastest under duress (minimum 10 attempts) and his 81.3 well-thrown percentage the fourth-best.

Having top-level talents to give the ball to makes the job easier, though.

Sharing the ball around

Prescott completed at least 80 per cent of his passes in consecutive weeks against the Los Angeles Chargers (85.2) and the Eagles (80.8), while the Cowboys also put up more than 150 rushing yards in both matchups (198 and 160). The 1984 San Francisco 49ers, led by Joe Montana, had been the last team to achieve that feat in back-to-back games.

That statistic speaks to the threat Dallas pose on offense this year.

Through the air, Prescott has had three outstanding weapons to target at the start of this season. Wide receivers Amari Cooper (22) and CeeDee Lamb (20) and tight end Dalton Schultz (20) have each made at least 20 catches, making the Cowboys the only team to have three players reach this mark through four weeks in 2021.

In just Lamb's second season in the league, he and Cooper have already established themselves as one of football's premier wide receiver duos — they are one of seven pairs of team-mates to each have 250 receiving yards at the position through Week 4 (258 for Cooper, 264 for Lamb).

Against the Panthers, when Lamb was limited to just two catches, four other Cowboys caught TD passes — among them breakout star Schultz, who has three scores in four games after four in his first three years in the league.

Two of those prior four TDs came in the first four games of 2020, though, with Prescott targeting Schultz with 28 passes, leading to a career-high four-game span of 219 receiving yards. Of those, 105 yards came after the catch, showing his power as he ranked fifth at TE in the NFL. So far this year, his 131 yards after the catch trail only Travis Kelce and George Kittle — good company to be keeping.

Crucially, however, Dallas also have multiple options on the ground. Ezekiel Elliott looks back to his best and is boosted by having Tony Pollard emerge as an effective alternative.

"We've got some younger guys who can play and produce, so it's not necessary for Zeke to run the ball 25, 30 times a game," head coach Mike McCarthy said in July. "When you get to December, January football, you want him to be in top form to be able to run the ball 25, 30 times if needed."

Elliott is certainly being used more efficiently; his 342 rushing yards fall well short of the Week 4 marks set in 2016 (412) and 2018 (426), but only in the latter year (5.84) has he averaged more yards per carry than this year's 5.34. The 26-year-old's four rushing scores are his most at this stage of a season. He still played a key role against Carolina, with 143 rushing yards his most in a game since 2018.

The Cowboys are difficult to stop, with Pollard (4.29) and Elliott (4.00) ranking third and fourth among running backs for yards per carry on plays where run disruption occurs and defenders get the better of the O-line. It is easy to see why Dallas are now running the ball on 47.0 per cent of plays, fifth-most in the league, easing the burden on Prescott.

Young defense delivering

This outstanding offensive production would all count for little if the Cowboys were not also showing improvement on the defensive end. The reasons for their 1-3 start in 2020 were the 430.5 total net yards (third-most) and league-high 36.5 points allowed per game.

Happily, with Prescott returning and faith in the offensive options, the Cowboys were able to focus almost solely on defense in the draft. Their first six picks, including 12th overall selection Micah Parsons, were on that side of the ball.

Linebacker Parsons has quickly established himself, leading the team with 2.5 sacks and 32 sack yards while registering 13 pressures on 46 pass rush attempts — a strong 28.3 per cent. At defensive tackle, third-round pick Osa Odighizuwa has been similarly impressive, pressuring at a 21.4 per cent rate and registering an adjusted sack on 7.1 per cent of plays when lined up on the interior. With Jaylon Smith released, fourth-rounder Jabril Cox could also now get an opportunity.

The undoubted star of the season so far, however, is second-year cornerback Trevon Diggs. Dallas have registered 10 total takeaways, only behind the Buffalo Bills, and Diggs' five interceptions — at least one in each game, including a pick-six against the Eagles — account for half of them. Since 1960, only three players have had more interceptions heading into Week 5; since 1980, just two have had a longer streak of games with picks to start a season.

As a team, the Cowboys had 10 interceptions in the whole of 2020, with Diggs, then a rookie, contributing three.

The Cowboys have now given up 24.3 points per game, tied for 16th in the league, but they have allowed just six points — from two field goals — in the fourth quarter of one-score games, giving Prescott every opportunity to win the game.

Unlike the QB, the key men in the defensive unit are largely too young to have worked with former Cowboys coach and current Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, but on the evidence of this season so far they will relish making life hell for his man Daniel Jones on Sunday.

In their last game against weak NFC East rivals until a kind end to the schedule starting in Week 14, the Cowboys will look to lay down a marker, extending this strong start and encouraging hopes they can be a genuine contender this year. Getting Jones off the field and allowing Prescott, Elliott and Co to get to work should ensure they do that.

US Open champion Emma Raducanu is refusing to be downcast after her defeat to Aliaksandra Sasnovich, insisting that she is focused on "the bigger picture".

The 18-year-old's 10-match winning run came to an abrupt halt at the Indian Wells Open – just her fifth tour-level event – as Sasnovich won in straight sets.

Sasnovich is ranked 100th in the world, but the 27-year-old has 16 career victories over opponents in the top 20, with Raducanu ranking 17th, and six over those in the top 10.

Raducanu cites the experience gap between herself and Sasnovich as a major factor in her defeat and believes that the loss can be taken as a positive lesson.

"I'm still very, very new to the tour," Raducanu said. "I think that experience just comes from playing week in, week out and experiencing all these different things. I'm kind of glad that what happened today happened, so I can learn and take it as a lesson so going forward I'll just have more experienced banked.

"[Sasnovich's] been on tour, probably been 4-2 down like hundreds of times whereas I've been 4-2 up... it's my third WTA tournament this year. [Experience] will come in time. Just got to not rush it and keep going and get my head back to the drawing board really.

"I didn't go in there putting any pressure on myself because in my mind I'm so inexperienced that I'm just taking it all in. You're going to have highs, and you're always going to have some lows where you're disappointed with how you performed.

"Aliaksandra played an extremely great match. You could tell she's more experienced than me. She went out there and executed her game plan better than I did. She deserved to win that.

"I think it's going to take me time to adjust, really, to what's going on. For the bigger picture, I'll be thanking this moment. That's the lesson I think, that you can easily get sucked into being so focused on the result and getting disappointed."

Raducanu is set to take part at the Transylvania Open that starts on October 25, as well as the Kremlin Cup in Moscow.

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