Sebastian Vettel wins Bahrain Grand Prix, Kimi Raikkonen’s car hits mechanic

Ferrari's German driver Sebastian Vettel celebrates on his car after winning the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Sakhir circuit in Manama on April 8, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 08 April 2018
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Sebastian Vettel wins Bahrain Grand Prix, Kimi Raikkonen’s car hits mechanic

  • Sebastian Vettel makes perfect start to F1 season with two wins from two
  • Raikkonen’s car hit a team mechanic. Ferrari said the mechanic was taken to the hospital for treatment
SAKHIR, Bahrain: Sebastian Vettel just held on to win a dramatic Bahrain Grand Prix from pole position on Sunday and extended his championship lead over Lewis Hamilton, who finished third behind teammate Valtteri Bottas despite starting from ninth.
Vettel was almost overtaken by Bottas on the last lap, but made a crucial blocking move and won by only 0.6 seconds.
Hamilton was gifted a podium spot after Ferrari botched Kimi Raikkonen’s second tire change. A rear wheel was not fitted properly and, in his haste to get back into the race, Raikkonen’s car hit a team mechanic. Ferrari said the mechanic was taken to the hospital for treatment. There was no immediate update on his condition or the nature of his injury.
Vettel made it two straight F1 wins after victory at the season-opening Australian GP two weeks ago, sealing his 49th career win on his 200th race start.
“A bit sad because one of our mechanics got injured,” Vettel said. “A mixed day overall.”
Red Bull had an awful race, with Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen retiring early on. In an ironic twist, Red Bull’s feeder team Toro Rosso had arguably the result of the day — with French driver Pierre Gasly driving superbly to finish a career-best fourth.
But it was determined and astute defending from Vettel, who drove just like a four-time F1 champion. He was under serious pressure from the faster car of Bottas, who was on better tires, but did not crack.
Vettel whooped with joy as he crossed the finish line, although his team’s celebrations were more low-key than usual following the mechanic’s hospitalization.
Raikkonen came in for his second tire change of the race after 36 of 57 laps of the 5.4-kilometer (3.3-mile) desert circuit, but the left rear tire was not secured properly. Raikkonen was given the green light to go but it was an unsafe release and, as he pulled away, he hit one of the mechanics.
Raikkonen’s car came to a halt a few meters later and he took off the steering wheel and dejectedly threw it into the cockpit. As he walked back through the team garage, the Finnish driver swiped away a water bottle in frustration.
Ferrari said it was “thinking about our man, waiting to know more after the treatment.”
It was a poor error from Ferrari, which was fined 5,000 euros ($6,140) for an unsafe pit release during practice on Friday.
As the sun set, tension rose on the grid as drivers prepared for their showdown under floodlights.
Vettel started on the front row with Raikkonen, and Bottas started third. Hamilton was ninth on the grid after incurring a five-place grid penalty for an unauthorized gearbox change.
A frantic start saw Vettel hold the lead but Raikkonen got passed in the first corner by Bottas.
Red Bull’s nightmare scenario made things easier for Hamilton, who no longer had two of the best drivers on the grid to contend with. But it was immensely frustrating for Verstappen. The Dutch driver had done brilliantly to jump from 15th on the grid, and fought with Hamilton on the inside heading into turn one. But he sustained too much damage after puncturing his left rear tire.
Moments later, there were heads on hands in the Red Bull garage as Ricciardo’s race was ended. He pulled over on the side of the track because of an electrical failure, prompting the safety car to come out. With the VSC on track, Verstappen managed to crawl back into the pits. He resumed the race but abandoned shortly after.


Man City humbled in 2-1 loss to Lyon in Champions League

City were humbled by French side Lyon in Manchester. (Reuters)
Updated 20 September 2018
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Man City humbled in 2-1 loss to Lyon in Champions League

  • City’s players were humbled 2-1 by Lyon in a sloppy and apathetic display at the start of their European campaign

MANCHESTER, England: If Manchester City wants to finally win a first Champions League title, it will have to start taking the competition a bit more seriously — on and off the field.
Surrounded by swathes of empty seats in the Etihad Stadium, City’s players were humbled 2-1 by Lyon in a sloppy and apathetic display at the start of their European campaign on Wednesday.
Banned from the touchline and unable to communicate with the bench, City manager Pep Guardiola did fill one seat in the stands and he saw his Premier League champions easily picked apart by the French visitors.
“We felt under threat every time we lost the ball and sometimes that brings the confidence a little bit lower,” said City assistant manager Mikel Arteta, who was in charge on the bench in Guardiola’s absence.
Errors by midfielder Fernandinho led to both Lyon goals, typifying how careless City was against a team that finished third in the French league last season and was even held to a draw at the weekend by 10-man Caen.
When a pass by the Brazilian midfielder was intercepted around the halfway line, Lyon charged forward. Nabil Fekir sent in a cross from the left that evaded Fabian Delph’s swinging legs, allowing Maxwel Cornet to slot it home in the 26th minute. Delph held his head in his hands as the consequences of his mistake became clear.
City’s troubles deepened when Fernandinho was caught in possession again. Memphis Depay set Fekir on a run and the forward doubled Lyon’s lead in the 43rd by striking through the legs of John Stones.
“It was a difficult game,” said Depay, who struggled to make an impact at Manchester United before leaving after two seasons in 2017. “But when we had the ball we tried to play and when we won the ball we tried to counterattack.”
Perhaps the only reason for City to feel aggrieved in the first half was Gabriel Jesus being denied a penalty when he was tripped by former Manchester United defender Rafael da Silva just before Depay scored.
“To concede two goals like we did is very frustrating,” Stones said. “We came in at halftime a bit deflated I think. But we picked ourselves up and we came out second half fighting and played a better second half.”
But the improvement wasn’t sufficient.
City pulled one back in the 67th when Bernardo Silva scored from substitute Leroy Sane’s cutback. But the attacking threat was too patchy from a City side that won the Premier League with a record 100 points only four months ago, and are widely seen as one of the big favorites in this season’s Champions League.
“I suffered as I was scared they’d score a second goal,” Lyon coach Bruno Genesio said. “We would have taken 2-2 before the match but given the way the game went we’d have been disappointed not to leave with the three points.”
With Hoffenheim and Shakhtar Donetsk also in Group F, City appeared to have one of the kinder draws but is now playing catch-up.
Celebrating a decade under Abu Dhabi ownership, which allowed City to assemble a squad for more than $1 billion, the Champions League is the one big prize the club has yet to win.
But City fans still have a fraught relationship with Europe’s premier competition.