Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo comes from third row to win Chinese Grand Prix

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo celebrates with a trophy after winning the Chinese Grand Prix. (Reuters)
Updated 15 April 2018
0

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo comes from third row to win Chinese Grand Prix

  • Australian overtook Bottas on the 45th lap and stayed there
  • Mercedes, the power of the last few seasons, has not won any of the first three races

Shanghai: Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo yanked off his right shoe, poured champagne into it as he stood on the podium, and then drank up to his unlikely victory in Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix.
The Australian started from the third row, but took advantage when the safety car came out on the 31st lap to allow him to get fresh, soft tires when the other leaders were running on worn rubber and couldn’t get in quickly to change.
Ricciardo got quicker and quicker and took the lead on the 45th lap of the 56-lap race, overtaking Valtteri Bottas with a dive on the inside past the Mercedes driver.
“A lot of time you only get one chance, so I make the most of every opportunity,” Ricciardo said. “I don’t seem to win boring races. They all are pretty fun, but that was unexpected.”
Bottas called it a “fair” pass and finished second with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen in third.
Ricciardo said he knew he had a great chance with the fresh rubber. And he knew he got a bit lucky.
“That was obviously giving us a good little bit of grip on the restart,” Ricciardo said. “Once I was aware we had the pace, I wasn’t going to let that slip.”
Red Bull’s victory leaves the Formula One season in a scramble after just three races. There’s no clear favorite and plenty of questions.
Mercedes, the power of the last few seasons, has not won any of the first three races with defending champion Lewis Hamilton and Bottas at the wheel. Hamilton finished fourth on Sunday and was never a factor.
Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari won the first two races in Australia and Bahrain, but failed to capitalize on his pole position in China. He led for the first 20 laps but fell back, first due to a pit stop and then after a collision with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on the 43rd lap. Vettel finished eighth.
Verstappen, who initially finished fourth, was given a 10-second penalty for another brush with Red Bull’s Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly. Verstappen wound up fifth.
Ferrari’s Vettel still leads the season standings with 54 points after three races.
Hamilton, the four-time and defending champion, improved his season points total to 45. Bottas has 40 points in third place and Ricciardo is fourth with 37.
“Saturday and Sunday felt like a disaster from my side,” Hamilton said. “I just haven’t had the pace since yesterday (Saturday), and I struggled with the car.”
Bottas acknowledged Mercedes still “has work to do.”
“It’s so close between Red Bull, Ferrari and us,” he said. “Just depending on the conditions and whoever gets the tires and the set up right. It’s very close depending on the conditions.”
Bottas said the race “slipped away.”
“We were going pretty well and we were looking strong until the safety car,” he said. “It kind of felt like we deserved a victory, but not today. That is racing. These things happen.”
Nico Hulkenberg of Renault was sixth followed by Fernando Alonso of McLaren. Vettel, Carlos Sainz of Renault and Haas’ Kevin Magnussen rounded out the top 10.
This was Ricciardo’s sixth career win, and his first since a victory a year ago in Azerbaijan, the venue for the next race in two weeks.
What a difference a week makes.
In Bahrain a week ago, Ricciardo and Verstappen were out after the first several laps on a frustrating weekend for Red Bull.
“This sport’s crazy,” he said. “A week ago I was with my head down after two laps; frustrated at the sport, frustrated at all the variables that are involved in the sport. Sometimes I question why I chose this sport. It does get you down a lot. But then you have a day like this it’s worth all those bad ones.”


PSG chief Al-Khelaifi charged with corruption over Qatar worlds athletics champs

Updated 23 May 2019
0

PSG chief Al-Khelaifi charged with corruption over Qatar worlds athletics champs

  • BeIN Sports boss Nasser Al-Khelaifi has been under investigation since March
  • Another BeIN executive is also under investigation in France

PARIS: Paris Saint-Germain chief Nasser Al-Khelaifi was on Thursday charged with corruption in connection with the bidding process for this year’s world athletics championships in Doha, judicial sources said.
Al-Khelaifi, who is also the boss of Qatari television channel BeIN Sports, has been under investigation since March in a probe of the bidding process for the 2017 and the 2019 world championships.
Doha lost out to London to stage the 2017 worlds but beat off opposition to host the 2019 event from Eugene in the United States and Barcelona.
Al-Khelaifi was informed by letter of his “mis en examen,” a French legal term that has no direct equivalent in the American or British legal systems but roughly translates as being charged.
The French term does not automatically trigger a trial but means that prosecutors believe there is strong or corroborated evidence of wrongdoing.
Al-Khelaifi was unable to attend questioning by investigators scheduled for May 16 as he was in Qatar for the domestic cup final.
French prosecutors are looking specifically at two payments of $3.5 million in 2011 by Oryx Qatar Sports Investment, a company jointly owned by Al-Khelaifi and his brother Khalid, to a sports marketing firm run by Papa Massata Diack.
Diack’s father Lamine Diack was president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) from 1999 to 2015 and a member of the International Olympic Committee.
As well as probing the world athletics championships the French investigation is also examining circumstances in which the Olympic Games were awarded to Rio de Janeiro for 2016 and Tokyo for 2020.
Prior to the decision to charge him, Al-Khelaifi had been questioned in March as “person of interest” in the case revolving around the 2011 payments by Oryx which were made at a time when Doha was seeking to host the 2017 world athletics championship and the 2020 Olympics.
Investigators were seeking to determine whether, in return for the payments, Lamine Diack used his influence to gain votes for Doha among IAAF members and also to obtain a date change for the competitions to avoid the heat of the Qatar summer.
The world championships take place at the Khalifa International Stadium between September 27 and October 6.
Al-Khelaifi’s lawyer Francis Szpiner denied all wrongdoing on the part of his client saying the Oryx payments were fully transparent and the facts of the case “do not concern him (Al-Khalaifi).”
The head of BeIN Sports “authorized no payment of any kind in relation to the allegations made,” he told AFP.
“Nasser Al-Khelaifi was neither a shareholder, nor a director of Oryx en 2011. He did not intervene either directly or indirectly in the candidature of Doha...”
Another BeIN executive, Yousef Al-Obaidly, a PSG board member and close associate of Al-Khelaifi, is also under investigation in France which claims jurisiction because the IAAF is based in Monaco.
Al-Obaidly has also denied all wrongdoing, saying the allegations were “utterly baseless and unsubstantiated.”
Lamine Diack, meanwhile, was charged with corruption in March in relation to the case while an arrest warrant has been issued for his Senegal-based son, also wanted for corruption and money laundering, according to a source close to the probe.
French prosecutors this week recommended that Diack and his son stand trial in a separate matter, for allegedly obstructing sanctions against Russia for doping in return for payments when he was IAAF president.