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Hamilton claims Korea pole to end Red Bull domination

F1: Lewis Hamilton finally ended Red Bull's domination of pole positions to claim top spot on the grid for the first time in 27 races.

After a run of abysmal form that has left him self-critical, the 26-year-old finally hooked up his McLaren to give him pole, 15 months after his last in Canada.

Hamilton beat newly crowned two-time champion Sebastian Vettel by 0.222secs as he dominated qualifying for tomorrow's Korean Grand Prix.

It means Red Bull's run of 16 consecutive pole positions is now at an end, falling eight short of Williams' mark set in 1992/93.

It was thoroughly deserved for Hamilton, who appears to have rediscovered his mojo this weekend after finishing quickest in final practice earlier today and then in all three qualifying sessions.

Red Bull star Vettel at least had the small satisfaction of denying McLaren their first all-front row for 41 races as the 24-year-old pipped Jenson Button into third by 0.084secs at the death.

Vettel's team-mate Mark Webber will start fourth, with the Ferrari duo of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso fifth and sixth, the duo over a second down on Hamilton.



Stricken Lowry at nine under

GOLF: Shane Lowry was forced to head to a local doctor after battling his way to a nine-under-par tally at the halfway stage of the Portugal Masters.

Lowry was in obvious discomfort with a chest infection in the sun-splashed conditions on the Algarve.

"I was coughing and spluttering all the way around the course," he said. "I thought it might be something to do with the air-conditioning in the hotel, but it's more serious, so I'm heading off to see a doctor.

"So, to shoot nine-under the way I am feeling is pretty good."

There was a large group of Esker Hills club members lending support as the former Irish Open winner Lowry birdied three of his closing four holes for a four-under 66 to move well into contention.

Despite Lowry's poor health, it's his brightest 36-hole opening effort in 21 months since he began with an 11-under-par tally after two days of the 2010 Abu Dhabi Championship.

England's Simon Khan, who withdrew from last week's Madrid Masters with a back injury, also shot a 66 to move into the lead at 13-under.

Peter Lawrie joined Lowry at nine-under-par. The Dubliner recorded a bogey-free round with two birdies on either nine in a 68.

Ballyclare's Gareth Maybin notched a 71 to move to eight-under, while Pádraig Harrington (-6) had the bandage removed from his injured left foot and it was a double bogey at the 14th that caused him more pain.

Gary Murphy is assured of only his second Race to Dubai cheque in six events this year, despite a second round of 72, which left him right on the cut-off mark of five-under along with Damien McGrane (70).

Paul McGinley missed the cut after rounds of 74 and 72.



Murray into Shanghai last four

Tennis: Andy Murray moved a step closer to winning a third successive tournament as he booked his place in the semi-finals of the Shanghai Masters with a routine win over Matthew Ebden.

The world number four, who was triumphant in Thailand a fortnight ago and Tokyo last week, cruised through 6-3 6-2.

Murray will now play Japan's Kei Nishikori in the last-four.

David Ferrer and Feliciano Lopez will contest the other semi-final.

"I served very well for the most part," he said. "I didn't give him many opportunities on my serve and created a lot of chances on his so I can't be too disappointed," the 24-year-old told Sky Sports. "I think if I was a little bit looser I could have got a few more breaks."



Rookie Horschel in Georgia lead

GOLF: Little-known Billy Horschel charged into a two-shot lead in yesterday's second round of the McGladrey Classic at Sea Island in Georgia while fellow American Webb Simpson stayed on track for his third victory of the year.

Former Walker Cup amateur Horschel eagled the par-five 15th on the way to a sizzling six-under-par 64 to sit 12-under par.

In hot pursuit, though, after carding a 67 was Simpson. The cut fell at one-under 139 with last year's US Open champion Graeme McDowell among those failing to advance.

MOTORSPORT: World championship leader Casey Stoner will start his home race at the Australian MotoGP from pole after excelling in qualifying at Phillip Island.

The Antipodean, chasing reigning champion Jorge Lorenzo's title, secured his fourth consecutive pole on the track with a best time of one minute 29.975 seconds to ensure he will start ahead of the Spaniard, who was 0.473secs off Stoner's time.