Hamilton fastest in rain-hit practice for Japanese GP

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton of Britain during practice in Suzuka Circuit on Friday. (Reuters)
Updated 06 October 2017
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Hamilton fastest in rain-hit practice for Japanese GP

SUZUKA, Japan: Formula One championship leader Lewis Hamilton clocked the fastest lap in a rain-hit second practice session for the Japanese Grand Prix on Friday, when only five drivers set a timed lap.
After a lengthy delay, the Mercedes driver was quickest in the afternoon practice with a lap of 1 minute, 48.719 seconds, .799 seconds ahead of Force India rival Esteban Ocon.
Despite Hamilton’s victory in the wet in Singapore and second-place finish in Sepang, Mercedes has recently struggled to match the pace of rivals Ferrari and Red Bull.
“It’s been an interesting day,” Hamilton said. “The car is feeling much better than it was in Malaysia. I’m glad that we had the dry session for FP1. In FP2, there was a lot of rain, but it felt really important to go out and assess the track and see how the car was feeling as the car was not good in the wet in Malaysia.”
Hamilton switched to the team’s new aerodynamic package for Friday’s practice and, after finishing second behind Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel in a dry first practice, he said his car felt competitive again.
“The car feels back to normal, so I’m ready to race,” Hamilton said.
Ocon’s teammate, Sergio Perez, and the Williams duo of Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll were the only other drivers to get in a timed lap in the abbreviated afternoon session.
With five races remaining, Hamilton leads Vettel by 34 points in the driver’s championship.
Hamilton has won twice before in Suzuka, in 2014 and 2015, and was runner-up to former Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in last year’s race.


‘Nothing is impossible’ for Xherdan Shaqiri, says Liverpool able to ‘beat anyone’

Updated 15 August 2018
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‘Nothing is impossible’ for Xherdan Shaqiri, says Liverpool able to ‘beat anyone’

  • Swiss international made the move from relegated Stoke City to Liverpool this summer
  • Kosovo-born player believes Reds can match the likes of Manchester City, Real Madrid and Barcelona

LONDON: Liverpool’s new summer signing Xherdan Shaqiri has said that “nothing is impossible” and that the Merseyside club can beat “anyone in the world.”
The Swiss international made the move to Anfield fresh off the back of his country’s elimination from the World Cup in Russia, as part of Jurgen Klopp’s extensive spending spree to strengthen his side ahead of the new season.
And Shaqiri believes the Reds can overhaul Manchester City come the end of the season.
“For me, nothing is impossible,” Shaqiri told the UK’s Guardian in a recent interview.
“We can be everything we want to be. We beat Manchester City in the league and the Champions League last season so I think we can beat anyone in the world.
“We want to compete with the biggest teams like Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Barcelona … they are the best teams in the world and Liverpool is also one of them,” said Shaqiri, who came on as a substitute for Liverpool in their 4-0 victory against West Ham in their first Premier League game of the season on Sunday.
“It has to be our ambition to compete with the best and to go on the field against whoever we play trying to win the game and dominate the game. Our aim is to win as many titles as possible. That is the goal of the club now and we are looking forward to the season,” he added.
The Kosovo-born player, who has won three Swiss Super League titles with FC Basel and two Bundesligas with Bayern Munich, believes Liverpool have the quality to match their ambition of claiming their first English top flight crown since 1990.
He explains: “I came here to try to win titles. I think this club needs to have this ambition to win titles, to play for titles, and to be one of the best teams in the world. It is one of the best clubs in the world and so now we try to show that on the pitch.
And Shaqiri has been impressed with his new club and teammates.
“This is my fourth year in the Premier League now, so I know how they play and how good they are. I saw them many times. I know the quality of this team and you can see it on the pitch that I have started working well with them and passing well with them.
“I think we have a big team with a lot of quality that can win every game. That has to be our goal this season – to focus on every game and not think about what can happen in the winter or next summer. We have to try and win every game because all of them are important. Our goal is to try and win every game.”
The Swiss enforcer was also full of praise for his new boss Klopp when asked the impact the German has had on the club since he arrived from Borussia Dortmund.
“I think when Jürgen arrived here the club was totally different to what it is now,” he says. “He has done a very good job since he’s been here and you can see that the people have a lot of respect for him and his work. The progress of this club and this team is getting higher every year. 

“Everybody is very focused on that and with the transfers the manager did you can see that he wants to go forward and to make more progress. He wants to compete with the best teams in the world and he is going in the right way.”