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Vettel needs to find a way to hit back at Singapore Grand Prix

FILE - In this Aug. 30, 2018 file photo, Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany, left, is flanked by his teammate Kimi Raikkonen of Finland during a news conference at the Monza racetrack, in M.....»»

Category: newsSource: philippinetimes philippinetimesSep 14th, 2018

Bottas has Hamilton in a spin at season-ending Abu Dhabi GP

By Jerome Pugmire, Associated Press ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Performing celebratory spins around the track was about as emotional as it got for Valtteri Bottas, after he beat his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to win the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday. Hamilton joined the straight-faced Finnish driver in performing spins — known in Formula One as donuts — having already sealed his fourth world title before the season's finale. The race offered little excitement, but there wasn't much to fight over as the serious stuff had already been pretty much decided. Sebastian Vettel joined them on the podium, finishing third — and second overall — in an anti-climax to a season that had promised so much for Ferrari as it hoped to win its first drivers' title since 2007. As the three drivers soaked each other with celebratory bottles on the podium, Hamilton used his to douse Vettel as the German driver tried to turn and protect himself. It seemed a triumphant and fitting image, victor over vanquished. Vettel was already thinking of drowning his sorrows, perhaps understandably considering how his title challenge collapsed spectacularly following the summer break. "Probably find something to drink tonight and sober up tomorrow," Vettel said. "Congratulations to Lewis on his season. He was the better man. I hate to say it but he deserved it." Starting from pole position for the second straight race Bottas secured the third win of his career — all since joining from Williams. His 22nd career podium was his 13th with Mercedes. "It is a really important win for me after having a pretty difficult start to the second half of the year," said Bottas, who had a mid-season slump that damaged his confidence. "We Finns don't show much emotion but it doesn't mean we don't have any. I am so happy." Bottas placed third overall, 12 points behind Vettel and 58 behind Hamilton. "Hopefully better next year," Bottas said. He has only been given a one-year extension to his Mercedes contract, having joined this year as an emergency replacement for 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg. Having sealed the title, Hamilton had no need to chase Bottas too hard. The 32-year-old British driver finished 4 seconds behind and did not get close enough to attack on a track he called among the worst for overtaking in F1. "Never going to overtake unless he makes a massive mistake," Hamilton said. The race started at 5 p.m. local time with the sun setting on the desert setting of the Yas Marina circuit and finished under floodlights. Vettel, who won the last race in Brazil, finished about 20 seconds behind Bottas. "After three or four laps, I just couldn't go any faster," Vettel said. Vettel's Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen — the 2007 F1 champion — was fourth and also moved up to fourth in the standings. Hamilton clinched the title — his third with Mercedes — in Mexico two races ago when he ended Vettel's fading hopes. The German driver's challenge evaporated in the Asian heat between September and October. Perfectly poised to regain the championship lead, he crashed out of the Singapore GP from pole position. "It's a bit different if you finish the race rather than if you don't finish the first lap," Vettel said with evident sarcasm. Then, plagued by reliability issues unbefitting a team of Ferrari's stature, he started last and finished fourth at the Malaysian GP. Bad luck struck again when he qualified third before retiring from the Japanese GP. "Mercedes has been more consistent," Vettel said generously. "It's a straight fight and they just did better." Continuing the sportsmanlike mood, Hamilton added: "Looking forward to another battle next year." Red Bull driver Max Verstappen finished the race in fifth while teammate Daniel Ricciardo retired, dropping to fifth in the standings. The other wins for Bottas this season came in Russia and in Austria — also from pole. Hamilton won nine races this year — having won 10 during the past two seasons and a career-best 11 in 2014. The lower total is due to Ferrari's marked improvement this year. "I don't think it's a shame to come second in the way that we did," Vettel said. "But it's not what we want." Bottas made a clean start while Hamilton held off Vettel, who locked his left front tire angling into the first corner. Vettel was the first of the trio to pit for new tires. Bottas did one lap later, leaving Hamilton briefly in front. At much the same time, Ricciardo retired, leaving his stranded Red Bull on a patch of grass as he hitched a lift on the back of a scooter. It was the third time in four races — and sixth this year — that the Australian driver has failed to finish. He is weighing up his Red Bull future. Felipe Massa, the 2008 F1 runner-up to Hamilton, finished 10th in his last race......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 26th, 2017

Hamilton denies Ferrari a home win at Italian GP

By Daniella Matar, Associated Press MONZA, Italy (AP) — For Ferrari, the wait continues. For Lewis Hamilton, it was a dream race. Hamilton won the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday after starting third on the grid to extend his championship lead over Sebastian Vettel following an opening-lap collision with the German driver that effectively ended his chances of victory. Ferrari had been hopeful of ending an eight-year wait for a win at its home track after taking the front two places on the grid at the Italian GP for the first time since 2000. However, pole-sitter Raikkonen was overtaken by Hamilton eight laps from the end and the Mercedes driver held on, much to the disappointment of the passionate Italian tifosi fans. "Today was so difficult. Whilst the negativity is never great, that's what powered me along. I actually accept it," Hamilton said after getting roundly booed on the podium. Hamilton, who said he rated the win as among the top performances of his career, tied Michael Schumacher's record of five Italian GP victories and extended his overall lead to 30 points over Vettel "Disappointed but there was nothing I could do," said Raikkonen, who struggled with a tire problem in the final few laps. Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas was third, ahead of Vettel and Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who received a five-second penalty. The 33-year-old Hamilton pinpointed the collision with Vettel as the decisive moment of the race. "That was definitely a very, very key moment, getting past him was the immediate goal ... my race is not really with Kimi, it's with Sebastian. However, I do need to get past Kimi at the same time," Hamilton said. "Getting past Sebastian at the beginning was clearly a massive turning point. That definitely took a lot of pressure off ... I could just focus on Kimi for the whole race. We had a couple of good battles." Vettel had cut the gap at the top of the standings to 17 points with victory at last weekend's Belgium GP. Hamilton put his rival under pressure from the start but Vettel pulled clear and was alongside Raikkonen into the first corner. Hamilton had another go on the outside heading into the second chicane, inching ahead of Vettel when they made contact, causing Vettel to spin and lose part of his front wing. The safety car was deployed and Vettel was forced into the pits for a new wing, coming out 18th. Both drivers complained on team radio but an investigation decided that no further action was necessary. "Obviously I guess Lewis saw his chance but he didn't leave me any room so I got spun around and couldn't avoid what happened," said Vettel. "It could have been the other way, which would have been nicer for us, but wasn't and I was facing the wrong way. "We did well to come back given the damage that we had." There are seven races left on the calendar, including the Singapore GP on Sept. 16 — on a track which suits Ferrari. "There are many points to win back now in the championship, but we still have time to improve and we have the margin to recover," Vettel said. Moments after the safety car came in on lap four, Hamilton swiftly overtook Raikkonen on the straight but gave the lead back almost immediately at the second chicane. Meanwhile, Vettel was powering through the field and had made it back into the top 10 by lap 15 and was up to fifth nine laps later. But the German's hopes of getting onto the podium were diminished when he was forced to make another pit stop and came out 10th. Raikkonen pitted from the lead at the end of lap 20 and came out fourth, behind Hamilton, Bottas and Verstappen. Hamilton waited until the end of lap 28 to come in for fresh tires, handing the lead to Bottas who was ahead of a charging Raikkonen. Hamilton emerged third and, with his teammate holding up Raikkonen, the British driver was able to close the gap. When Bottas eventually pitted at the end of lap 36, the fight was on, with Raikkonen holding a one-second advantage over Hamilton. A few laps later Hamilton struck, coming around the outside of Raikkonen on turn one at the end of the straight to overtake the Finn and never looked back. Behind them there was a scrap for third place culminating at the first chicane when Verstappen appeared to move into Bottas, forcing the Finnish driver onto an escape road. Verstappen was furious when told he had been given a five-second penalty for his role in the incident on team radio, swearing and adding: "They're doing a great job of killing racing, honestly.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 2nd, 2018

Vettel holds off Hamilton to win Australian GP

By Justin Bergman, Associated Press MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Believing his Ferrari still lacks the race pace to fully challenge Mercedes in Formula One, Sebastian Vettel will take a little luck when he can get it. On Sunday at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, his Ferrari team benefitted not only from a smart pit-stop strategy, but also the fortuitous emergence of a safety car midway through the race that helped Vettel take the lead from rival Lewis Hamilton and hold on for victory. "We got a bit lucky, but we'll take it," Vettel said. "We're not yet there where we want to be. . But I think it gives us a good start, a good wind and fresh motivation for the coming weeks." It was the 48th race win of Vettel's career and his 100th podium finish, coming in his 200th F1 race. The German becomes the fourth driver to claim 100 podium finishes, joining Hamilton, Michael Schumacher and Alain Prost. Vettel finished the race a full five seconds ahead of Hamilton, who started from pole and had made several late attempts to catch the Ferrari but couldn't manage to pass on the narrow Albert Park circuit. Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen finished third, denying Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo a chance to become the first Australian driver to secure a podium place at the Australian GP. A resurgent Fernando Alonso of McLaren made a bold run to finish in fifth place, holding off a spirited challenge by Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who recovered after losing control of his car and doing a 360-degree spin early in the race to take sixth. Hamilton looked comfortable up front for the first 20 laps before deciding to pit, giving up the lead to Vettel. The race then took a dramatic turn when Haas drivers Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean suffered calamitous back-to-back pit stops midway through the race. Both drivers had been running strongly in fourth and fifth places, respectively, but were forced to stop immediately after coming out of pit lane with loose wheels. The virtual safety car emerged as race marshals removed Grosjean's car from the circuit and Vettel took advantage of the slowdown to pit and change tires. He came out of the pit lane just ahead of a confused Hamilton, who got on the radio to ask his team what had just happened. "Why did you not tell me Vettel was in the pits?" Hamilton asked. "We thought we were safe, but there's obviously something wrong," his team responded. When racing resumed, Hamilton stayed close to Vettel's Ferrari, trailing by less than a second for more than 10 laps, but was unable to find space on the tight circuit to pass the German. With victory looking increasingly out of reach, Hamilton then eased up toward the end to conserve his engine for future races. Hamilton said after the race that he still wasn't clear exactly what happened. "I think just disbelief was really from that moment until the end. Just disbelief," he said. "I had extra tools and could have been further ahead by the first pit stop. There were so many good things we could have done." Vettel's victory comes a day after Hamilton set a blistering track record to capture pole position nearly 0.7 of a second ahead of the rest of the field, a massive margin that raised concerns among some teams that Mercedes had the speed to dominate yet another Formula One season. But Vettel said he believed Ferrari would fare better in race conditions — and he was right. "I think we didn't have the true race pace to match them but we weren't that far off," he said. "Even though we were probably lucky with the virtual safety car, we still had enough pace to stay ahead and make it very difficult for him to be close and try and do something." Ricciardo also pushed Raikkonen hard for the entire second half of the race for a chance at a podium spot, but the Ferrari driver put in a masterful drive to hold him off and maintain third. "I think we're pretty close with Ferrari and our race pace is strong," Ricciardo said. "Being so close to the podium and getting fastest lap is definitely an encouraging way to start the season." Alonso also put several dispiriting years of technical failures with McLaren's Honda-made engines behind him, securing his best race result since late 2016 with the team's new Renault engines. Renault's Nico Hulkenberg finished in seventh place, just ahead of the other Mercedes driver, Valtteri Bottas, who crashed in qualifying and ended up starting in 15th place on the grid after incurring a penalty for switching out his damaged gearbox. McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne finished in ninth place, followed by Renault's Carlos Sainz in 10th......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 25th, 2018

Hamilton title chase returns to track he s dominated

By Jim Vertuno, Associated Press AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Lewis Hamilton usually feels at ease in the U.S. And why not? It's pretty easy to be happy when he's usually finishing first. Yet despite his commanding lead over Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in the chase for the Formula One championship, the Mercedes driver barely cracked a smile Thursday as he dismissed scenarios that he could clinch the title with a win and another Vettel collapse. Hamilton also fended off speculation that he might take a knee when the American national anthem is played before Sunday's race. Hamilton, the only black driver in Formula One, said he supports the demonstration that began as a protest over treatment of minorities by police that has roiled the National Football League and drawn heavy criticism from President Donald Trump. But when asked if he would kneel on Sunday, the British driver said "I don't have any plans" and was concentrating on the race. "I know black and white people that live here in America, so I get quite a view of what's happening here in the States," Hamilton said, calling the protest movement "awesome." "I'm very much in support of it. But I'm here to win and that's the top of my priorities at the moment and I'm not really focused on anything else." Hamilton dismissed the notion of winning the championship in Texas as "silly." He would clinch his fourth F1 season title Sunday if he finishes 16 points ahead of Vettel. For example, if Hamilton again wins a race which he's won four of the last five years, Vettel would have to finish sixth or lower to give the title to Hamilton. Outside of the two races he didn't finish, Vettel has finished lower than fourth just once. "Sebastian, you cannot expect him to have a difficult weekend, they are going to be quick," Hamilton said. "He has been strong all year. He has had a few technical issues, but the car is as good as it has always been ... I have to continue to keep the pressure on." Yet the Circuit of the Americas would seem Vettel's last realistic chance to keep the title chase alive. He's had some success here, winning in 2013 as part of a dominant season with Red Bull when he won nine consecutive races. He finished second in 2012 when he lost a duel with Hamilton's McLaren. Hamilton has made the Austin race something of a personal playground. He cruised to wins in 2014 and 2016 and his rain-soaked victory in 2015 clinched the season championship with three races left on the schedule. Hamilton won from pole last year and from P2 in 2012, 2014 and 2015. The Briton's American success dates back to 2007 when he won the U.S. Grand Prix in Indianapolis. And he's gotten stronger through the second half of this season. Hamilton has four victories and one second-place finish over the last five races as his lead over Vettel has ballooned to 59 points. "The championship, as long as it is done in the last four races that is my focus. I honestly don't care if it is here or the last race, as long as it is done," Hamilton said. Vettel's problems struck late in the season. After two wins in the first three races, many hoped for an epic title fight after years of dominance by Mercedes. But Vettel's season has been hit by car troubles and a crash in recent weeks. In Singapore, Vettel started on pole but a first-turn crash with teammate Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull's Max Verstappen knocked out all three. In Japan, he was foiled by the smallest of engine parts — a spark plug — that again knocked him out on the first lap. Even when he finished a brilliant drive in Malaysia, coming from the back to finish fourth, he lost ground to Hamilton. Ferrari team principle Maurizio Arrivabene has pledged the team will fight "right up to the last corner of the last grand prix." The U.S. Grand Prix will be the Formula One debut of Toro Rosso driver Brendon Hartley, who will be the first New Zealander on the grid since Mike Thackwell at the 1984 Canadian Grand Prix. Hartley is a former World Endurance Championship winner in 2015 and a winner of this year's 24 hours at Le Mans. Hartley said the call from Toro Rosso and the trip to Austin happened so fast he's hardly had time to meet his team. "Obviously I want to do the best I can. I'm trying not to put too many expectations on it," Hartley said......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 20th, 2017

Vettel saves face for Ferrari after Raikkonen's misfortune

em>By Jerome Pugmire, Associated Press /em> SEPANG, Malaysia (AP) — Sebastian Vettel rescued a woeful day for Ferrari at the Malaysian Grand Prix with a brilliant drive from last place to fourth. It was purely damage limitation, as he drifted 34 points behind Lewis Hamilton in the title race, but it softened the blow for Ferrari. Red Bull's Max Verstappen won the race ahead of Hamilton with the other Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo in the final podium position. Having seen both of its cars fail to score points at the previous race in Singapore, Ferrari lost Kimi Raikkonen moments before this race. Vettel started from the back of the grid after engine problems on Saturday, while Raikkonen did not start at all. With less than 10 minutes before qualifying, Ferrari's mechanics hurriedly wheeled the Finnish driver's car back to the garage. Team principal Maurizio Arrivabene was wiping his face anxiously moments before the start. Raikkonen failed to get back on track in time. He could ultimately have made a start from the pit lane but could not even do that. 'Obviously we had some issue, I don't know what it is exactly, I don't think any of us know right now,' Raikkonen said after the race. 'It's far from perfect, but it's one of those things that happen.' Raikkonen had qualified in second place behind Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton and, given how fast Ferrari was in dominating both practice sessions on Saturday, he may well have had a shot at victory. 'I'm pretty certain I would have had a very good car today,' the 2007 F1 champion said. 'We'll never know.' Within 15 minutes of the race, the Finnish driver was already in his shorts and walking back to the team's motorhome, while Vettel was charging through the field. 'We were the quickest car for the majority of the race,' Vettel said. 'It was more entertaining, the first couple of laps in particular.' As if Ferrari's luck could not get any worse, Williams driver Lance Stroll later smashed into the side of Vettel's car on the warm-down lap, cutting it almost in half. 'That's impossible,' a stunned Vettel said. 'He's shunted into my car.' In a light-hearted moment, the German driver hitched a lift back to the paddock by sitting on the side of countryman Pascal Wehrlein's Sauber. Stewards took no action after investigating the incident, but Vettel blamed Stroll. 'I went on the outside to pick up a bit of rubber. I think Lance wasn't looking and wanted to do the same, but that was too late, I was there already,' Vettel said. 'That's completely unnecessary. I think he just didn't look.' Before the race, Vettel was handed a 20-place grid penalty after Ferrari made three component changes to his engine. Teams are allowed to make four power unit changes per season before incurring penalties. Ferrari had already made the fourth change on Saturday, when an electronic malfunction was detected late into the third practice session. Vettel then encountered further problems in the first part of qualifying when his car lost power. Because he failed to set a time in qualifying, the four-time F1 champion was at the back of the grid anyway, so the 20-place grid drop made no difference on the day. Hamilton, who was second here, won in Singapore after Vettel crashed from pole position heading into the first turn, taking out Raikkonen with him. Mercedes is moving closer to a fourth straight drivers' and constructors' championship, although fortunes might change for Vettel if he maintains his pace. The title race continues next weekend at the Japanese GP in Suzuka.   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 2nd, 2017

Grosjean escapes injury as loose drain causes practice crash

em>By Jerome Pugmire, Associated Press /em> SEPANG, Malaysia (AP) — French driver Romain Grosjean escaped without injury after clipping a loose drain and flying into the crash barriers in the second practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix on Friday. His tire shredded on impact, catapulting him at full speed from one side of the track to the other. It ended the session with 20 minutes left and, moments later, race director Charlie Whiting and another official from motorsport governing body FIA inspected the damage. It was a spectacular incident but without consequence. Grosjean climbed out of his Haas car unharmed, and was even able to talk about it pretty calmly moments later. 'I didn't see anything. Next thing I knew I was spinning and heading for the wall,' he said. 'I am fine, that is the most important thing.' But it could have been much more serious, with images showing the drain cover sticking up at an angle before Grosjean clipped it. 'It was on the racing line and I had a big hit and impact on rear right. I was spinning and heading to the wall,' Grosjean said, after reviewing footage. 'They need to sort things out, it is a shame. Hopefully we find a good setup for tomorrow and the drains stay in place.' Haas team principal Guenther Steiner was furious. 'Things like this in 2017 shouldn't happen on any circuit,' he said. 'In my opinion this is not acceptable. In a race this would have been a disaster.' Explaining the incident, Whiting said that some welding came loose on a Sepang circuit he claims is 'fatigued' as it hosts a race for the last time. 'One drain grate has come up. It just seems that it has broken away,' said Whiting, explaining that further checks would be made on other drains during the evening. 'We have to get it fixed for tomorrow, of course.' Red Bull team principal Christian Horner was confident the issue would be taken care of. 'The good thing is no one was hurt,' Horner said. 'I'm pretty confident we won't see a repeat issue.' By the time the second practice was over, Ferrari had done enough to secure a 1-2 as Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time followed by Kimi Raikkonen. Vettel has reason to feel confident of securing a second straight pole position in Saturday's qualifying. But it was a different story for Mercedes. Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas struggled with grip and went off track into the gravel within moments of each other. Bottas' left wheel locked as he came out of Turn 10. Hamilton, out of Turn 7, skidded sideways and then backward into the dirt. Hamilton was sixth and Bottas seventh on a poor day for a team that has won three straight drivers' and constructors' championships. 'The car seems to be unbalanced,' Mercedes head of motorsport Toto Wolff said. 'One of the worst Fridays I can remember.' Renault driver Jolyon Palmer and Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz Jr. — who is replacing Palmer next year — also went off track. Although there was a heavy downpour before the first practice, the track had largely dried out by the afternoon. Drivers have raced in far worse conditions. There is a third and final practice on Saturday before qualifying at 5 p.m. local time. Hamilton has won the last two races and holds a 28-point lead over Vettel, who crashed from pole in Singapore two weeks ago. Earlier, in first practice, Max Verstappen posted the fastest time, followed by Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo. Vettel and Hamilton were fifth and sixth respectively. 'We just lacked pace today and we have 12 hours to understand why,' Wolff said. It promises to be a long night in the Mercedes garage. 'We're definitely lacking performance, it seems like Ferrari and Red Bull are very strong,' Bottas said. 'We have work to do if we want to be on the front row. The key area we are going to need to focus on tonight will be getting the maximum out of the tires over one lap.'   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 29th, 2017

Vettel puts Singapore crash behind him to focus on Malaysia

em>By Jerome Pugmire, Associated Press /em> SEPANG, Malaysia (AP) — Sebastian Vettel is wasting no energy in his title fight with Lewis Hamilton. After blowing pole position by causing a crash at the Singapore GP two weeks ago, the Ferrari driver threw away a golden chance to regain the championship lead from Lewis Hamilton. It put him 28 points behind Hamilton with six races to go, starting with this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix. But speaking on Thursday, Vettel said he has already cast it from his mind. 'I'm not too fussed about the amount of points. It doesn't change anything for how we tackle the last races,' Vettel said. 'It's part of racing. Not much point looking at it over and over again, your energy is best spent looking forward.' Vettel said he 'moved on' within two days of the incident. However, he does concede that the last two races in Italy — where he finished third — and Singapore were below par for a team of Ferrari's high standards. 'If you look at the last two races, we're not happy and we're not proud of them,' said Vettel, who has won four times in Malaysia. Mercedes has the upper hand and Vettel's margin for error is increasingly small. He can ill afford another blip in Malaysia, where the intense heat and stifling humidity make it one of Formula One's toughest races. Singapore offered some respite, since it was a night race, but this one is raced in afternoon heat with 80 percent humidity. Cockpit temperatures reach around 50 Celsius (120 Fahrenheit). 'It's like being in a sauna. We have all of our gear on and the car is hot as well,' Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas said. 'The seat itself is warm, and then we're surrounded in the cockpit by the electrical boxes.' Drivers can expect to shed 5 percent of their body weight in fluid loss. 'Fatigue sets in,' Bottas added. 'It's more difficult to be consistent and, in the very worst cases, you can develop cramps or even problems with your vision.' The undulating 5.5-kilometer (3.4-mile) track — a mixture of long straights and quick, sweeping corners — is also one of the most challenging, and enjoyable, for drivers. Many are sad that the Sepang International circuit is hosting its final race. 'They are taking away the toughest, if not the toughest race of the season,' Hamilton said. 'It is sad to think this is our last race at Sepang.' Neither Vettel nor Hamilton have fond memories of last year, however, with both failing to finish the race as Red Bull clinched a 1-2 with Ricciardo holding off Max Verstappen. Vettel could use a helping hand from Red Bull now. Red Bull has been improving in recent weeks and looked strong in Singapore qualifying, placing both cars ahead of Hamilton and Bottas. Ricciardo appears particularly strong, with his second-place finish in Singapore earning him a seventh podium position in the past 10 races. Without a troublesome gearbox, the Australian might even have challenged for the win. On a track that suits Red Bull well, a similar grid position on Sunday would be ideal for Vettel — providing he can avoid crashing again. That Vettel finds himself in a chess-like scenario is much of his own making, and he must still be waking up at night with cold sweats thinking of Singapore. He made a sloppy error of judgment heading into Turn 1, taking out his Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen and Verstappen — both of whom could realistically have denied Hamilton a podium finish and crucial points. Understandably, given that it has not won a driver's championship since Raikkonen's title in 2007, Ferrari was not impressed. Although Vettel deserves huge credit for turning the Prancing Horse into a contender again, he owes them a big performance here, and Hamilton is bracing himself for a strong response. 'Greats generally bounce back, so I have to anticipate this weekend he'll bounce back,' Hamilton said. 'He's a four-time world champion.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 29th, 2017

Ricciardo tops both Singapore GP practices in record times

em>By Jerome Pugmire, Associated Press /em> SINGAPORE (AP) — Red Bull showed it might have the form to contend for victory at the Singapore Grand Prix, with Daniel Ricciardo beating his lap record again in the second practice on Friday. Ricciardo had already crushed his lap record from last year by nearly five seconds in the afternoon's first practice, and then went two seconds quicker in the second practice. The Australian clocked 1 minute, 40.852 seconds under the floodlights, and that was enough to convince him that he can clinch a second win of the season and sixth of his career on Sunday. 'I'm not surprised with our performance,' Ricciardo said. 'I have a lot of faith we can stay there all weekend.' Teammate Max Verstappen was second, more than half a second behind, championship leader Lewis Hamilton was .70 back in third, and his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas fourth. 'We looked very strong,' Verstappen said. 'We all know that Daniel is always very quick here.' It was a disappointing evening session for Ferrari, which was expected to dominate on the sinewy five-kilometer (three-mile) street circuit. Sebastian Vettel, who is second in the title race, could manage only the 11th best time and teammate Kimi Raikkonen was ninth. 'It was a difficult day and not a lot of things made sense,' Raikkonen said. 'There is a lot to work on.' Even though Vettel set his time using a slower tire compound in P2, he looked shaky and brushed the wall coming out of a routine turn. 'I was very lucky I could continue,' the four-time F1 champion said. 'It was a tricky session for us. The balance wasn't quite there.' In P1, he was second to Ricciardo, Verstappen was third and Hamilton fourth. Singapore is like Monaco and Hungary in that it is a hard-braking track which is tough to overtake on, and more suited to Ferrari and Red Bull than Mercedes. No driver has more podium finishes in Singapore than Vettel, whose impressive streak at the night race includes three straight wins from 2011-13 during his run of four straight F1 titles with former team Red Bull. But Ricciardo arrives in Singapore in very consistent form, with six podiums in the last nine races. He has further reason to be confident, finishing second here in the last two years, with the fastest lap both times. 'I knew we'd come here with a good car,' Ricciardo said. 'A dominant weekend is what I'm after.' His Red Bull team principal Christian Horner joked, perhaps it was Ricciardo's 'aerodynamic' new haircut that helped him shave off chunks of time. Regardless, Horner was somewhat cautious ahead of qualifying on Saturday. 'It was a very good day for both of our drivers. Daniel had a very strong session,' he said. 'But we didn't see Ferrari's true hand and Mercedes always hold a little bit up their sleeves.'   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 16th, 2017

Vettel fighting to keep F1 title challenge alive in Russia

SOCHI, Russia --- Have Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari blown their title chance? That's the key question ahead of the Russian Grand Prix as Vettel enters with a 40-point disadvantage to Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton even though his Ferrari has often seemed the faster car. Now Vettel comes to Russia, where the long straights should in theory favor Ferrari. Then again, Ferrari was widely expected to dominate the last two races in Italy and Singapore, both of which Hamilton won. Vettel seems uncertain of his chances in Russia. "We expect to be competitive here. Having said that, we need to take into account the races where we struggled to have the race pace," the four-time champion ...Keep on reading: Vettel fighting to keep F1 title challenge alive in Russia.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsSep 28th, 2018

Vettel fastest in Singapore GP final practice, Hamilton 3rd

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany steers his car out of team garage during third practice at the Marina Bay City Circuit ahead of the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix in Singapore, Saturda.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsSep 16th, 2018

Bottas happy to play 2nd fiddle to Hamilton for now

By Daniella Matar, Associated Press MONZA, Italy (AP) — Valtteri Bottas is happy to play second fiddle to his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton — for now. Bottas has insisted this season, and last, that he is on an equal footing with Hamilton and disputed talk he is effectively the team's No. 2 driver. But Bottas sacrificed himself for the good of the team again on Sunday to help Hamilton win the Italian Grand Prix and extend his championship lead over Sebastian Vettel. When Hamilton pitted at the end of lap 28, he handed the lead to Bottas, who waited a further eight laps to come in for fresh tires so he could hold up Kimi Raikkonen and allow his teammate to close the gap. "It wasn't as if I was really sacrificing my race as long as I was keeping Kimi behind," Bottas said. "If he overtook me then for sure I would lose time. A little bit earlier would have been ideal for me to stop. "But I was happy to do it because for me I knew I would still get a chance to attack (Max) Verstappen. So I don't think we really compromised my result, so it was all good." Hamilton was able to overtake Raikkonen, eight laps from the finish, and held on to win a fifth Italian GP and extend his lead over Vettel to 30 points. Bottas finished third just ahead of Vettel and Verstappen, who would have been on the podium had he not received a five-second penalty for causing a collision with the Finnish driver. The 29-year-old Bottas is fourth in the standings, 97 points behind Hamilton. "Honestly the points difference between me and Lewis is now very big so I'm willing to cooperate when it makes sense," Bottas said. "We're here as a team and we need to be realistic. The team wants to win both titles (drivers and constructors) so it's all good." Bottas, who joined Mercedes last year after several seasons with the Williams team, has not always been so happy to be perceived as a support driver to Hamilton. After July's Hungarian Grand Prix, Bottas was unimpressed at being described by the team's head of motorsport Toto Wolff as a "sensational wingman" — after helping to defend Hamilton's leading position as Vettel and Raikkonen pressured behind Bottas. "I took the word 'wingman' a bit wrong," Bottas said on Sunday. "If you've seen 'Top Gun,' you know what wingman actually means: we're both each other's wingman so that's all good. "But in Budapest I think it was a bit different, that really compromised my race big time. And now it really didn't, my result was still the same as it would have been stopping a bit earlier." Vettel had no such luxury in Monza. Starting behind polesitter Raikkonen on the grid, he immediately tried to overtake his teammate, only for his move to be fended off. Vettel was then involved in an opening-lap collision with Hamilton, which saw the German driver needing to pit immediately and left him fighting his way back up the field from 19th. "I'm happy to fight three cars, I'm happy to fight 19 cars," said Vettel, when asked whether he was hampered by having to essentially compete against three cars, including that of his teammate, rather than two. "I don't think I would have been in a different position to that. It's fine I don't expect anything else.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 2nd, 2018

Bottas unhappy at being called wingman to Hamilton

By Jerome Pugmire, Associated Press BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — While Lewis Hamilton is enjoying his resurgence in the Formula One title race, Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas heads into the summer break feeling a little let down. Bottas has insisted this season — and last — that he is on an equal footing with Hamilton and disputed talk he is effectively the team's No. 2 driver. But following Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix, the 28-year-old Bottas was described by the team's head of motorsport Toto Wolff as a "sensational wingman" — after helping to defend Hamilton's leading position as the Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen pressured behind Bottas. Hamilton won the race, while Bottas slipped from second to fifth late on after clipping the back of Vettel's car and then bumping sides with the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo. Bottas was adjudged to have been at fault for the Ricciardo incident and handed a 10-second time penalty. Wolff was speaking to television reporters after the race when he said Bottas "deserved a podium because he was such a sensational wingman." Those comments did not go down well with Bottas, who joined Mercedes last year after several seasons with the Williams team. "First of all, 'wingman' hurts," Bottas also told TV reporters. "I don't see any positives in this race for me. I wanted a better result." Last weekend, Bottas was ordered over team radio to "hold position" — in other words not to attack Hamilton — late in the German Grand Prix. Moments before that team call, Bottas nearly overtok Hamilton as they resumed racing following a safety car being deployed on the wet track after Vettel had crashed. Hamilton won in Germany to reclaim the title lead from Vettel, and he is now 24 points clear of the German driver at the top. Bottas has already been asked several times if he is essentially a support driver, or ideal teammate, to Hamilton. Both Bottas and Wolff have insisted he is free to compete on equal terms. After Saturday's qualifying session, Bottas said "we are free to fight, so I'm looking forward to (the race)." But he clearly seemed irked at being described as a wingman and said he would seek clarification. "I think we need to speak after this race," Bottas said. "For sure the team will decide at some point." Bottas won three races for Mercedes in 2017 but has yet to win one so far this season. He is fourth overall in the standings and trails third-place Kimi Raikkonen by 14 points. Bottas was recently handed a new one-year contract. Although he has the option for an extra year in 2020, the perception is the Finnish driver will have to earn it with strong performances in 2019. "I'm looking forward to the next weeks," Bottas said about the summer break. "I want to come back stronger." He will get the chance to challenge Hamilton at the Belgian GP on Aug. 26......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 30th, 2018

Hamilton masters rain to take pole position at Hungarian GP

By Jerome Pugmire, Associated Press BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Lewis Hamilton showed again he's untouchable in the rain, producing a brilliant last lap to take pole position for the Hungarian Grand Prix on Saturday. Mercedes head of motorsport Toto Wolff could hardly believe it as he watched from the team motorhome, clutching his head in disbelief as Hamilton beat Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas' time to secure a record-extending 77th pole position in Formula One. Hamilton put his exceptional performance in difficult track conditions down to an intuitive feel for the car. "It is really difficult to arrive in a corner and know how much grip you are going to have," Hamilton said. "You're just looking for a clean line and really tip-toeing around all the corners. It's a bit like doing ballet — not that I've done ballet — but you're tip-toeing and feeling the movement of the car." Just moments earlier, Mercedes' rival Ferrari was 1-2 with Kimi Raikkonen ahead of Sebastian Vettel. The scenario changed in a matter of seconds, and Vettel will start fourth behind Raikkonen. Earlier, the third and final practice was held in warm and sunny conditions, but by the time qualifying started there was rain, thunder, and even some lightning. As Ferrari became more cautious, Mercedes stepped it up. "We couldn't have expected this," Hamilton said. "The Ferraris were quicker all weekend, but the heavens opened and it was fair game." Bottas finished second to Hamilton at the rain-soaked German GP last weekend, receiving team orders near the end to hold position and not to try to attack Hamilton. "We are free to fight, so I'm looking forward to it," Bottas said of Sunday's race. Although the Finnish driver regularly insists he is on an equal footing with Hamilton, the widely perceived view is that he is effectively No. 2. The narrow Hungaroring track, nestled in rolling holes on the outskirts of Budapest, is among the most difficult circuits in F1 to overtake. It is considered more favorable to cars with a strong downforce like Red Bull and Ferrari. It certainly looked that way when the weather was warm and things were going Ferrari's way, which explains Wolff's unchecked delight at the end of qualifying. "He wasn't particularly happy with his own driving ... then come qualifying, the session that matters, he was there," Wolff said. "That is a great champion's ability." Vettel was fastest in the final practice in dry conditions and also in Friday's second practice. Hamilton did not finish higher than fourth in all three practice runs. But when the weather changed, so did the fortunes of four-time F1 champions Hamilton and Vettel. "In the wet conditions we aren't as confident as in the dry," Vettel said, candidly. "In the dry we were in control." Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo was fastest in the first practice, but only 12th in qualifying after his team misjudged which tires to use when it started raining. Teammate Max Verstappen could manage only seventh behind French driver Pierre Gasly's Toro Rosso car and the Renault of fifth-place Carlos Sainz. Verstappen was cleared of impeding French driver Romain Grosjean following a steward's investigation. Vettel is battling fiercely for the title with Hamilton, who won last Sunday from 14th place on the grid. Vettel was cruising in Germany, but crashed toward the end to hand Hamilton the championship lead by 17 points after 11 of 21 races. Hamilton looked on the back foot in Hungary practice. The British driver complained on team radio about a lack of grip, having also been concerned with his tires. Early into qualifying, Hamilton even feared his tires were "falling apart" but once again he proved himself to be the best in wet conditions......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 29th, 2018

Charles Leclerc shows why he s hot prospect in F1

By Joseph Wilson, Associated Press LE CASTELLET, France (AP) — Charles Leclerc became the sensation of the French Grand Prix when he steered his Sauber to the eighth fastest time in qualifying on Saturday. That was impressive from a 20-year-old driver who was competing in only his eighth qualifying session since making his debut in Formula One four months ago. "I can't believe it," Leclerc said. "It's incredible. Yesterday was a very difficult day and today we really bounced back." The rookie managed only the 13th- and 14th-best times in Friday's practice sessions at Paul Ricard Circuit. Leclerc has finished in the points in three of the seven races this season, including a sixth place in Baku. Motorsport media reports had already been speculating that Ferrari was interested in signing Leclerc, apparently to replace the 38-year-old Kimi Raikkonen and partner with four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel. His qualifying run that bettered 12 other drivers, including experienced pilots Fernando Alonso, Nico Hulkenberg, and Sergio Perez as well as Sauber teammate Marcus Ericsson, turned even more heads. Even Vettel's. "Eighth is an impressive result. They are still quite a long way behind with the car so I think for him, he's doing the job," Vettel said. "It's good for him and good for Sauber as well, to be up there." Pole winner Lewis Hamilton also praised Leclerc, saying "he's doing a great job with what he has and probably delivering more, which is what you would hope from a good driver." Leclerc, who is from the tiny principality of Monaco famous for its F1 street race, was the F2 champion in 2017. He was also part of Ferrari's driver academy and was a test driver for the Italian powerhouse......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 24th, 2018

I’ll have to reevaluate myself – De Leon on last playing year with Ateneo

Bea De Leon will use her time playing with the Foton Tornadoes in the Philippine Superliga Invitational slated to begin on June 23 to think about her future with the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles. The prized middle blocker still has one playing year left in the UAAP but de Leon is not yet ready to commit to the Lady Eagles for one last run for the blue and white. The Tornadoes made a recruiting coup by signing De Leon, who was introduced to the media Saturday in a press conference. “That’s a very hard question to finalize,” said De Leon when asked about her collegiate career plan. “As of now, I’m taking it one step at a time.” “It’s a very huge decision for me. But this is my first step after this, after playing in the Invitational we’ll see po if ready na po ba akong bumalik sa Ateneo or not,” she continued. However, a source privy with the lucrative Foton deal, said that De Leon is in for a two-year stint with the franchise bannered by the towering 6-foot-5 Jaja Santiago and 6-foot-2 Dindin Santiago-Manabat. The PSL has three conferences per season composed of the import-laden Grand Prix, the Invitational and the All-Filipino.    De Leon helped the Lady Eagles claim its last of back-to-back titles in the UAAP back in 2015, finish as runner-up in Seasons 78 and 79 and a third place in Season 80 despite leading a rebuilding Ateneo squad.    The Lady Eagle, who played for the national team in the 2015 Asian U-23 and the Singapore Southeast Asian Games, said that she has to reevaluate herself to know if she still has the drive to play for Ateneo.   “A lot of people kasi will say na they’ll do anything to play one more game in the UAAP. But what it takes kasi to get there, all the sacrifices and the commitment and the hard work. I’ll have to reevaluate myself if I’m still able to give that kind of commitment to Ateneo,” she said. “Because if I’m not there for the right reasons, more or less, mas magiging pabigat pa ako,” De Leon added. “If I end there I want to be 100% and I want nothing more but to give everything that I have for my school.”       De Leon, who is yet to decide on her last playing year with Ateneo, is the latest Lady Eagles standout that signed with a PSL club after Jho Maraguinot inked a deal with Sta. Lucia Lady Realtors just a week ago.            --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 10th, 2018

Ricciardo sets pace in second practice for Azerbaijan GP

By James Ellingworth, Associated Press BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — Daniel Ricciardo and Red Bull set the pace in the second practice for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Friday as the Australian driver chases his second win in a row. Ricciardo, the winner in Baku last year, is coming off victory two weeks ago in China. He has not won more than one race in a season since 2014, and is publicly considering whether to move to Mercedes or Ferrari for next season in search of a car capable of winning the championship. "It's all we can ask for today. I'm pretty happy with how the car felt," Ricciardo said. "Even if we can't maybe qualify on the front row tomorrow, I think the race car will be strong." Kimi Raikkonen was second-fastest for Ferrari, 0.069 seconds off Ricciardo's time. His Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel, the championship leader, could manage only 11th after spinning. "I think I struggled probably a little bit more than the others, but I'm not too worried," Vettel said. "We can improve for tomorrow." Max Verstappen has been best known for collisions this season, and the Red Bull driver crashed again in the first practice but recovered to post the third-fastest time in the second session. However, he limped back to the pits at the end of the day with apparent engine issues. The Mercedes duo of Valtteri Bottas — fastest in the first session — and defending champion Lewis Hamilton ranked fourth and fifth, respectively, in the second practice. They fought with Ferrari to get enough heat into their tires on the slippery and dusty Baku street circuit. Baku's long straight means teams run a low-downforce setup which can make it hard to negotiate the tight street corners on the rest of the lap. "Overall, we weren't quick enough today," Hamilton said. "Both Red Bull and Ferrari seem to be ahead of us at the moment. So we've got some work to do. I'm going to be knocking on the doors of all the engineers overnight, so that we can hopefully make the right changes." Fernando Alonso managed a rare sixth place for McLaren. While numerous cars strayed into the runoff areas on the low-grip track, Verstappen's was the only crash of the day. At Sauber, Marcus Ericsson's second session was cut short by a gearbox problem. In the first session, Bottas was narrowly ahead of Ricciardo, and Force India's Sergio Perez beat Hamilton into third. Dry conditions are expected for Saturday's qualifying and Sunday's race, though some drivers expect gusts of winds to cause trouble......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 28th, 2018

F2 Logistics, Petron clinch semis seats

Games Tuesday: (Filoil Flying V Centre) 4:15 p.m. --- Cocolife vs Cignal 7:00 p.m. --- Foton vs Sta. Lucia    GEN. TRIAS CITY --- F2 Logistics survived some scary moments down the stretch to complete a masterful 25-18, 25-18, 27-25 victory over Smart in the quarterfinals of the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix Saturday at the Gen Trias Sports Center here.  Despite playing in a humid venue, imports Maria Jose Perez and Kennedy Bryan were still impressive as they delivered the crucial blows that broke the hearts of the Giga Hitters. With the win, F2 Logistics would face the survivor between Foton and Sta. Lucia Realty in a best-of-three semifinal series starting next week.  In the second game, Petron clobbered Generika-Ayala, 25-19, 25-20, 25-22, to punch the second semifinal ticket.  American imports Hillary Hurley and Lindsay Stalzer were again impressive as they carried bulk of the offensive load for the Blaze Spikers, who will march to the next round beaming with confidence.  Petron will face the winner between Cocolife and Cignal in the best-of-three semifinals. Hurley talloed 18 hits while Stalzer chipped in 17 markers for Petron, which is gunning for its first Grand Prix crown since winning it in 2014.  Darlene Ramdin delivered 12 points, but she drew very limited support from the rest of the Lifesavers, who kissed the tournament goodbye with three wins in 11 outings. Perez, the reigning Most Valuable Player, delivered 17 hits while Bryan notched 15 kills and a block to finish with 16 points for the Cargo Movers, who effectively stopped Cuban sensation Gyselle Silva despite the absence of ace blocker Aby Marano. Silva, who erupted for a record-breaking 56 points last week, was held to only 25 points while drawing very limited support from Serbian spiker Sanja Trivunovic as well as local hitters like Genie Sabas and LaRainne Fabay. Trivunovic, Sabas and Fabay combined for only 16 hits for the Giga Hitters, who committed 20 turnovers in this match that lasted for one hour and 20 minutes. But it wasn’t an easy victory for the Cargo Movers. Despite erecting an 8-1 lead after the first technical timeout of the third set, the Giga Hitters caught fire to steal the lead, 18-17, thanks to a powerful backrow attack from Silva. Smart managed to hang on in the crucial stretch, 25-25, before veteran Cha Cruz delivered a sharp kill from the open position followed by a service ace that sealed the victory for the defending champion. “The most challenging part of this win was the weather. I find it too hot so I have to save energy all throughout the game. Every time we have an intense rally, we have to breathe and save our energy because it was too hot here,” said Perez, referring to the hot weather that soared up to 36 to 37 degrees. She added that Smart pushed them to the limit, especially in the third set where Silva waxed hot and single-handedly towed the Giga Hitters back in the thick of things. "Smart never gave up,” she said. “They always pushed us whenever we try to take the game away. And I think that’s a good thing for us.” F2 Logistics coach Arnold Laniog, however, said the job isn’t done.  “It’s still far from over,” said Laniog, who will be part of the coaching staff of the national team under the leadership of multi-titled head coach Ramil de Jesus. “We still have to work hard to improve our performance because things will get tougher in the semifinals.” Smart, which was formed only two weeks before the opening ceremonies, closed its campaign without a win in 11 matches......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 14th, 2018

Vettel takes pole in China, and Ferrari looks like it’s back

SHANGHAI --- It's still early, but it looks like Ferrari is back. Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel claimed pole position for Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix, where the German will be going for his third straight victory to open the Formula One season. Vettel and Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen will start on the first row in Shanghai. Mercedes, which has dominated the last four seasons, will start on the second row with Valtteri Bottas ahead of No. 4 Lewis Hamilton --- the defending and four-time series champion. The famous Italian team has not won a season title in 11 years with Kimi Raikkonen champion in 2007. But Bottas is already hinting that rival Ferrari is the team to beat. ...Keep on reading: Vettel takes pole in China, and Ferrari looks like it’s back.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsApr 14th, 2018

Mercedes vows to bounce back after ‘one that got away’

MELBOURNE — Mercedes has vowed to bounce back in Bahrain next month after throwing away Sunday’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix to Ferrari, with team boss Toto Wolff admitting it was tough to take. Sebastian Vettel got the jump on world champion Lewis Hamilton as Mercedes blundered their calculations on the Ferrari ace’s pit stop under […] The post Mercedes vows to bounce back after ‘one that got away’ appeared first on BusinessWorld......»»

Category: newsSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsMar 26th, 2018

Ricciardo has much to ponder as he considers Red Bull future

By Jerome Pugmire, Associated Press ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Daniel Ricciardo's season ended with him trundling off the track during Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, a hydraulic failure causing a third retirement in four races. It was a frustrating finale to a topsy-turvy year that saw him finish fifth in the Formula One standings, and included a purple patch of five straight podium finishes between May and July. Away from the track, the 28-year-old Australian has a lot of thinking to do over his future at Red Bull. His contract expires at the end of 2018. Teammate Max Verstappen recently signed a new deal until the end of 2020, but Ricciardo has yet to commit even though the team wants him to stay. "The peak years of my career are probably the next deal I'll sign," he said. "I want to make sure I maximize that with my driving ability." Ricciardo has won five races, all since joining Red Bull in 2014. That year, he won three races and finished a very impressive third overall. He was considerably better than Sebastian Vettel, his teammate back then, who had clinched his fourth straight world title in 2013. But now Verstappen is emerging as the team's No. 1, and widely considered F1's next star. Verstappen turned 20 in September, but has already won three F1 races — two in the last six races of this season. Ricciardo has 27 career podiums while Verstappen — the youngest winner of a race at 18 years old — already has 11. Verstappen hefty new contract shows how valuable the Dutchman is, even though the team has not officially designated a No. 1 driver. This puts Ricciardo is in a delicate position. Given his considerable talent and consistency, he does not want to spend the next three years as — potentially — a No. 2 behind Verstappen. It would possibly cause tension within the team and pressure a relationship that is harmonious enough, despite some flashpoints. "I'm sure there will be a few discussions in the next week or two, especially with the team," Ricciardo said. "It's not about the offer, it's about who is going to have the best car for 2019." Ricciardo, who won the Azerbaijan GP in June, has given himself a loose timescale. "Once I get home and over Christmas, I want to switch off from racing," he said. "I would like to know something earlier." He has the luxury of being an established driver at Red Bull, so a move away comes with risk. "I don't want to be too clever and hope I have every option possible," said Ricciardo, who expects his next deal to be "a multiple-year." One possibility could be waiting to see what happens at Ferrari and Mercedes. Kimi Raikkonen will be 39 at the end of next season and unlikely to get another year with Ferrari. He was fourth in the standings but the Finnish driver was 100 points behind Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas and 112 points behind his own teammate Vettel, second overall. Bottas has a one-year deal with Mercedes for next season, alongside world champion Lewis Hamilton. If Bottas fails to impress, there could be an opening in 2019. On either team, Ricciardo would be up against four-time F1 champions in Hamilton and Vettel, and would not be the leading driver. When he sat alongside them both at a pre-race news conference last Thursday, Ricciardo joked that the three of them shared eight F1 titles between them. Clearly, he dreams of belonging in such elite company. But, for now, perhaps challenging Verstappen is his best option. "It would be a good problem to have, if we're both fighting at the front and having some battles," Ricciardo said. "If it's ultimately deciding a world title we would happily run with that challenge." But Red Bull's marked increase in speed is a cause for optimism next year — providing Red Bull can iron out reliability issues that saw Ricciardo fail to finish six races and Verstappen seven. "I believe next year we will close the gap. Is it enough to fight for a title?" Ricciardo said. "I think we can certainly get close.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 28th, 2017