Hamilton roars to victory in Chinese Grand Prix

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain, center, poses with Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany, left, and Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands on the podium after winning the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit in Shanghai Sunday. (AP)
Updated 09 April 2017

Hamilton roars to victory in Chinese Grand Prix

SHANGHAI: Lewis Hamilton powered to victory in a chaotic Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai on Sunday, taking swift revenge for his defeat by Sebastian Vettel in the Formula One season-opener.
The Briton, who started on pole, steered his Mercedes to his fifth Chinese Grand Prix win, beating Vettel's Ferrari by just over six seconds with Red Bull's Max Verstappen finishing third after early safety car drama.
"Get in there Lewis!" Hamilton's engineer said over team radio after the three-time world champion took the chequered flag in China for the third time in the last four years.
"That's a great race, mate. An absolute masterclass."
Hamilton replied: "We've worked really hard for this, we've got to keep pushing."
Vettel recovered from a poor start from row one and, after being stuck behind Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen early on, began to show the pace that swept the German to victory in Melbourne two weeks ago.
First Vettel blew past Raikkonen before going wheel-to-wheel with Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo at turn seven, producing puffs of blue smoke as the cars touched tyres.
Verstappen loomed ahead but the young Dutchman, who produced an astonishing first lap after starting from 16th on the grid, suffered a lock-up going into the hairpin allowing Vettel, rather anti-climactically, to take second place.
Hamilton, meanwhile, never looked seriously threatened despite a sequence of fastest laps from his German title rival.
"Grazie a tutti!" said Vettel over the radio. "I think we were a bit unlucky. It felt like we were the quickest, man. We couldn't prove that today but next time we will."
Ricciardo took fourth behind Verstappen after a furious late scrap between the two Red Bulls with Raikkonen finishing in fifth ahead of fellow Finn Valtteri Bottas's Mercedes.
Carlos Sainz finished seventh for Toro Rosso with Kevin Magnussen's Haas eighth and the Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon rounding out the top 10.
Bottas apologised to his team for an embarrassing spin while weaving to warm his tyres behind the safety car, which dropped him down to 12th.
"Really sorry, guys, for the amateur mistake," said Bottas, who had earlier been called "Nico" over team radio. "I'll make up for it in the next race."
A wet track caused havoc early on with the virtual safety car deployed on lap one after Lance Stroll spun off in his Williams.
The safety car was called again after Antonio Giovinazzi smashed his Sauber into a wall.


Mayor of town in north Japan bemoans lack of Olympic funds

Updated 15 September 2019

Mayor of town in north Japan bemoans lack of Olympic funds

  • Tokyo is reportedly spending about $20 billion to prepare the city to host the games
  • Tokyo organizers have faced a series of hurdles as they prepare to host the games

TOKYO: The mayor of a town in northeastern Japan that will host Olympic soccer games says his city has received no funding from the central government that has promised to use the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to help in the reconstruction of the region.

The Japanese government and Tokyo 2020 organizers are hoping to use the Olympics to showcase Japan’s recovery from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Several Olympic events, including soccer and baseball, will be held in northeastern Japan.

But with less than a year to go before the opening ceremony, Yutaka Kumagai, the mayor of Rifu in Miyagi Prefecture, says his city has seen no funding from the central government.

“There is no help from the government, we don’t have any budget from them, none,” Kumagai said on Saturday. “Tokyo 2020 is said to be a symbol of the reconstruction but when it comes to the budget, we don’t have any budget from the Olympic games here in Rifu.”

Kumagai made the comments during a media tour of Miyagi Stadium, a 49,000-seat facility in Rifu that will host men’s and women’s football at the 2020 Olympics.

About 50,000 people are still displaced in the Tohoku region as of August, according to the Reconstruction Agency. Yoshiaki Suda, the mayor of Onagawa in Miyagi Prefecture, concurred with Kumagai. Like Rifu, Onagawa is a coastal city that sustained heavy destruction.

“We haven’t received any subsidy, even one yen, from the central government,” Suda said. “Whatever we do for the venues, for the hospitality for the Olympics, we have to do ourselves.”

Some media reports have made the claim that the Olympics have hampered the reconstruction efforts, taking workers away from the region to help with construction in Tokyo.

Japan is one of the most earthquake- and tsunami-prone areas in the world. On March 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.0 quake offshore caused a tsunami that triggered meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The quake and tsunami heavily damaged coastal neighborhoods in northeastern Japan and took more than 18,000 lives.

Tokyo, which projected total costs of about $7.5 billion in its winning bid for the games in 2013, is reportedly spending about $20 billion to prepare the city to host the games.

A group of anti-Olympic activists, many from outside Japan, have held small protests and other events this summer under the Japanese title “Han-gorin no Kai” — which translates roughly to No Olympics. They oppose Olympic spending, which they say cuts into budgets for housing and environmental issues.

They also call for more money to rebuild Fukushima prefecture located northeast of Tokyo. Organizers say Fukushima is a main focus of the Olympics, staging baseball, softball and soccer games there to persuade the world the area is safe.

Tokyo organizers have faced a series of hurdles as they prepare to host the games. In August, Tokyo’s summer heat forced an Olympic women’s triathlon qualifying event to be shortened because of high temperatures that are likely to impact next year’s games.

Tsunekazu Takeda, the head of the Japanese Olympic Committee, was forced to quit earlier this year when he was implicated in a vote-buying scheme to land the games. He has denied wrongdoing, but acknowledged he signed off on about $2 million that French investigators allege went to buy votes.