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Verstappen wins title, Mercedes protest

Jacob Scott

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Verstappen won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to clinch the title

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen snatched his first Formula 1 world title by beating Lewis Hamilton in a thrilling finale to the season in Abu Dhabi – but the Briton’s Mercedes team have lodged protests against the result.

Hamilton had appeared in control of the race and on course for the title himself, despite controversy on the first lap, until a late safety car.

The race was restarted with one lap to go with Verstappen on fresh tyres and Hamilton on old ones and the Dutchman swept by to win the race.

It was in many ways a fitting end to one of the greatest and most contentious seasons in Formula 1 history – and the arguments over right and wrong will rage for some time to come.

At the end of the race, while Verstappen screamed with delight and Red Bull celebrated, Briton Hamilton sat in his Mercedes for several minutes, disbelieving at the way events had turned against him in the final minutes.

However, Mercedes have launched two protests – one for Verstappen overtaking Hamilton under safety car conditions just before the restart, and one over what they believe was officials not correctly following the rules on safety car procedures.

Both Red Bull and Mercedes will see stewards to discuss their sides of the argument, and a decision will be expected later.

The pair have been battling for the title across 22 races in 2021

How an historic title decider unfolded

The race had appeared to surrender to Hamilton after he was controversially allowed to keep the lead he had earned with a better start than Verstappen, despite going off track to retain his position when the Dutchman tried to pass him at the end of the first back straight.

Red Bull and Verstappen were exasperated and disbelieving about it, but Hamilton was imperious from then on, through a pit stop and a virtual safety car, until Nicholas Latifi crashed his Williams with five laps to go.

Mercedes felt they could not afford to pit Hamilton because to do so would have been surrendering the lead if Verstappen did not do the same – and he may well not have done because his tyres were relatively fresh after a second stop.

But when Hamilton did not stop for fresh tyres, Verstappen did and that was the decisive call.

There was more controversy as race director Michael Masi initially said lapped cars between Hamilton and Verstappen would not be allowed to un-lap themselves, as is normal practice.

Red Bull complained and Masi changed his mind, allowing the lapped cars between the title contenders past Hamilton, which put Verstappen right behind Hamilton for the one remaining lap of racing.

Verstappen passed Hamilton into Turn Five and held off his attempts to re-pass down the two straights that followed and completed the lap before erupting with joy.

Yet whatever anyone’s view of the various incidents in the race, few would begrudge Verstappen the title after a season in which he and Hamilton have gone toe-to-toe throughout in one of the most remarkable F1 seasons there has ever been.

Hamilton, meanwhile, will have to console himself with Mercedes’ victory in the constructors’ championship – for an unprecedented eighth consecutive year.

Hamilton overtook Verstappen off the line with a great start

First-lap drama as well

At the same time, it was a fitting way to end a season that has been characterised by on-track clashes and off-track arguments between Hamilton, Verstappen and their teams.

The race unfolded as the season has, with Hamilton and Verstappen in a race and league of their own, and for a long time the year’s destiny appeared to be heading towards Hamilton.

There was drama from the opening lap, after Verstappen made a poor start from pole position, Hamilton an electric one from second on the grid, and the Mercedes was ahead before the first corner.

Verstappen tracked him through the first few corners, slipstreamed him down the long, first back straight and dived for the inside into the chicane at Turns Six and Seven.

Verstappen got down the inside of Hamilton but went in deep to the corner, his speed carrying him to the outside kerb long before the second right-handed part of the corner.

Hamilton avoided him, as he has so many times this season, and cut across the chicane, retaining the lead.

He slowed a little over the rest of the lap to give back the advantage he considered himself to have gained, and the arguments started on the pit wall.

Verstappen said over the radio: “He has to give it back.”

Red Bull radioed race director Michael Masi to insist that Verstappen was “ahead and stays on track”.

Masi replied: “He has forced him off. All the advantage was given back before the end of the first lap.”

The officials decided that no investigation was necessary and when Verstappen was told of the decision he said: “That is incredible. What are they doing there?”

The recriminations will doubtless continue for some time, especially as Verstappen came into the weekend complaining that he was being treated differently than other drivers by the stewards after the controversial Saudi Arabian Grand Prix last weekend, and Red Bull have been ratcheting the tension between the teams with a series of controversial claims in the media.

Verstappen overtook Hamilton on the final lap

Hamilton had the race – until luck intervened

On track, though, the fundamental truth for much of the race was that once Hamilton had got by, he and Mercedes simply had too much pace for Red Bull and Verstappen, as they have for the past four races.

Red Bull threw everything they could at Hamilton.

After Hamilton and Verstappen pitted for fresh tyres, they left Perez out and ordered him to hold Hamilton back.

Hamilton passed Perez down to Turn Six on lap 20, but was then repassed down the next straight.

Perez was then ordered to “back him up” through the marina section of the track, and Verstappen closed what had been an 8.7-second deficit to 1.7 by the time Hamilton finally passed Perez a lap later.

But Hamilton eased away again, until a virtual safety car deployed to clear the stranded Alfa Romeo of Antonio Giovinazzi gave Red Bull an opportunity.

They pitted Verstappen for fresh tyres, hoping to come back at Hamilton over the final 20 laps.

But so strong was Hamilton that Verstappen was able to make only minimal inroads into his lead, and the race appeared to be over until the late drama snatched it – and what would have been his eighth world title – from Hamilton’s grasp.

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Verstappen tried to aggressively retake Hamilton after losing the leadVerstappen said he wants to stay at Red Bull for his whole careerRed Bull’s engine supplier Honda have won their first F1 drivers’ title since powering Ayrton Senna’s McLaren in 1991Intense title rivals throughout 2021, Hamilton and Verstappen congratulated each other at the endVerstappen’s orange army of fans were in good numbers in Abu DhabiHamilton also had support in the Middle East

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‘Moon Knight’ Took Marvel in a Different Orbit, but It Didn’t Rise to the Occasion

Jacob Scott

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Before anyone writes that off as an anomaly, “Eternals” tackled a similar introduction of a dense mythology on the bigger screen, with equally mixed results. It’s a reminder that while film-goers have had more than a decade to get to know characters like Iron Man, Captain America and Thor, introducing some of these lesser-known heroes can pose a more formidable challenge beyond catering to the most ardent fans.
For Marvel, there are warning signs in that, since “Moon Knight” will be followed by several series based on second-tier characters, although the next two on the horizon, “Ms. Marvel” (which is due in June) and “She-Hulk,” at least have the benefit of sharing franchises and name recognition with existing Avengers.
Ultimately, “Moon Knight’s” murky storytelling appeared to squander its principal assets, which included the cool look of the character — a costume that was too seldom used — and the presence of Isaac, who possesses additional genre credentials via the “Star Wars” sequels.

Taking its time in peeling back the layers of the character’s complicated backstory, “Moon Knight” took a weird plunge into the Egyptian mythology behind it, in ways that became increasingly confounding and surreal.

By the time the protagonist’s two halves, Steven Grant and Marc Spector, wound up in a psychiatric hospital talking to an anthropomorphic hippo in the penultimate chapter, the question wasn’t so much being able to keep up with the story as whether bothering to do so was worth the effort.

The sixth and final episode brought the plot to a messy close, seeking to stop the goddess Ammit from proceeding to “purify the souls of Cairo, and then the world.” In the customary credit sequence, the producers capped that off by introducing a third personality, Jake Lockley, also rooted in the comics. While that seemingly spelled the end for the show’s villain (Ethan Hawke), the finish — giving the god Khonshu the protégé he sought — paved the way for further adventures should Marvel so choose.

That last twist might be cause for celebration in narrower confines of the Marvel fan universe, but “Moon Knight” too often felt like it was one long Easter-egg sequence, conspicuously preaching to that choir.

Granted, Marvel has made clear that Disney+ offers the chance to explore different kinds of stories, but “Moon Knight” feels at best like a quirky showcase for Isaac and at worst a failed experiment in terms of execution and tone.

That doesn’t mean this “Moon” won’t somehow rise again, if the closely held streaming data justifies it. But the promise that surrounded this property has faded, providing further evidence that even Marvel isn’t immune from setbacks as it moves into its next phase.

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Start-up Pony.ai says it’s the first self-driving company to get a taxi license in China

Jacob Scott

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Autonomous driving start-up Pony.ai can collect fares for robotaxi rides in parts of two major Chinese cities as of Sunday.

Pony.ai handout

BEIJING — Self-driving start-up Pony.ai announced Sunday it received a taxi license, the first of its kind in China.

The license allows Pony.ai to operate 100 self-driving cars as traditional taxis in the Nansha district of the southern city of Guangzhou, the company said.

The Chinese start-up, which is backed by Toyota, received approval from Beijing city late last year to charge fees to operate a commercial robotaxi business in a suburban district of the city. It is not the same as a taxi licence.

Baidu’s Apollo Go also received approval in the same Beijing district last year.

Pony.ai was valued at $8.5 billion in early March. The company said its Nansha taxi license required 24 months of autonomous driving testing in China and/or other countries, and no involvement in any active liability traffic accidents, among other factors.

The start-up said it plans to launch commercial robotaxi businesses in two other large Chinese cities next year. The company is already testing self-driving cars in those cities and in California. 

Robotaxis in China currently have a human driver present for safety.

— CNBC’s Arjun Kharpal contributed to this report.

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How to watch Timberwolves vs. Grizzlies: TV channel, NBA live stream info, start time

Jacob Scott

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Who’s Playing

Memphis @ Minnesota

Current Records: Memphis 2-1; Minnesota 1-2

What to Know

The Memphis Grizzlies’ road trip will continue as they head to Target Center at 10 p.m. ET this past Saturday to face off against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Memphis will be strutting in after a win while Minnesota will be stumbling in from a loss.

The Grizzlies are hoping for another victory. They beat the Timberwolves 104-95 this past Thursday. The victory came about thanks to a strong surge after the first quarter to overcome a 39-21 deficit. Memphis’ success was spearheaded by the efforts of power forward Brandon Clarke, who had 20 points in addition to eight rebounds, and shooting guard Desmond Bane, who shot 7-for-15 from beyond the arc and finished with 26 points and six boards.

Barring any buzzer beaters, Memphis is expected to win a tight contest. They might be worth taking a chance on against the spread as they are currently on a two-game streak of ATS wins.

Memphis’ win brought them up to 2-1 while the Timberwolves’ defeat pulled them down to a reciprocal 1-2. A couple offensive stats to keep in the back of your head while watching: The Grizzlies come into the game boasting the second most points per game in the league at 115.6. But Minnesota is even better: they rank first in the league when it comes to points per game, with 115.9 on average. Tune in for what’s sure to be a high-scoring contest.

How To Watch

When: Saturday at 10 p.m. ET Where: Target Center — Minneapolis, Minnesota TV: ESPN Online streaming: fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.) Follow: CBS Sports App Ticket Cost: $76.96

Odds

The Grizzlies are a slight 2.5-point favorite against the Timberwolves, according to the latest NBA odds.

The oddsmakers had a good feel for the line for this one, as the game opened with the Grizzlies as a 3-point favorite.

Over/Under: -110

See NBA picks for every single game, including this one, from SportsLine’s advanced computer model. Get picks now.

Series History

Memphis have won 19 out of their last 28 games against Minnesota.

Apr 21, 2022 – Memphis 104 vs. Minnesota 95 Apr 19, 2022 – Memphis 124 vs. Minnesota 96 Apr 16, 2022 – Minnesota 130 vs. Memphis 117 Feb 24, 2022 – Minnesota 119 vs. Memphis 114 Jan 13, 2022 – Memphis 116 vs. Minnesota 108 Nov 20, 2021 – Minnesota 138 vs. Memphis 95 Nov 08, 2021 – Memphis 125 vs. Minnesota 118 May 05, 2021 – Memphis 139 vs. Minnesota 135 Apr 02, 2021 – Memphis 120 vs. Minnesota 108 Jan 13, 2021 – Memphis 118 vs. Minnesota 107 Jan 07, 2020 – Memphis 119 vs. Minnesota 112 Dec 01, 2019 – Memphis 115 vs. Minnesota 107 Nov 06, 2019 – Memphis 137 vs. Minnesota 121 Mar 23, 2019 – Minnesota 112 vs. Memphis 99 Feb 05, 2019 – Memphis 108 vs. Minnesota 106 Jan 30, 2019 – Minnesota 99 vs. Memphis 97 Nov 18, 2018 – Memphis 100 vs. Minnesota 87 Apr 09, 2018 – Minnesota 113 vs. Memphis 94 Mar 26, 2018 – Memphis 101 vs. Minnesota 93 Dec 04, 2017 – Memphis 95 vs. Minnesota 92 Feb 04, 2017 – Memphis 107 vs. Minnesota 99 Nov 19, 2016 – Memphis 93 vs. Minnesota 71 Nov 01, 2016 – Minnesota 116 vs. Memphis 80 Oct 26, 2016 – Memphis 102 vs. Minnesota 98 Mar 16, 2016 – Minnesota 114 vs. Memphis 108 Feb 19, 2016 – Memphis 109 vs. Minnesota 104 Jan 23, 2016 – Minnesota 106 vs. Memphis 101 Nov 15, 2015 – Memphis 114 vs. Minnesota 106

Injury Report for Minnesota

No Injury Information

Injury Report for Memphis

Dillon Brooks: Game-Time Decision (Foot) Santi Aldama: Out (Knee) Killian Tillie: Out (Knee)

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