Vettel holds off Hamilton to win Australian GP thriller

Ferrari’s German driver Sebastian Vettel celebrates winning the Formula One Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 25, 2018. (Saeed Khan/AFP)
Updated 25 March 2018

Vettel holds off Hamilton to win Australian GP thriller

MELBOURNE: Sebastian Vettel won a thrilling duel with world champion Lewis Hamilton to steal the season-opening Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne on Sunday.
The four-time world champion got the jump on the Mercedes ace off a miscalculation on the pit stop under Virtual Safety Car conditions and held off Hamilton for his second straight win in Melbourne and third overall.
Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen resisted a challenge from Australian Red Bull racer Daniel Ricciardo to take third and join Vettel on the podium.
“Obviously we were a little bit lucky today,” Vettel said at the victory ceremony.
“Lewis did a great lap yesterday and deserved pole and he drove a very good race, controlling in the beginning.
“We got a bit lucky but we will take it. We’re not yet where we want to be, I don’t quite feel the car, but it gives us a good start, good wind and fresh motivation.”
It was Vettel’s 48th win in his 200th grand prix and follows his earlier wins in Melbourne in 2011 for Red Bull and last year for Ferrari.
Vettel, 30, is in a duel this season with Hamilton as they chase 1950s Argentine legend Juan Manuel Fangio’s mark of five world titles — second only to Michael Schumacher’s seven in the all-time list.
Hamilton, who had started from pole position, got out his car and looked a bit bewildered as he removed his helmet, wondering how exactly that race got away from him.
“Today they did the better job. We have to go back to the drawing board and work on it,” Hamilton said.
“We still have great pace and during the race I could apply pressure at the end but it is so hard to overtake here.
“At the end it was live to fight another day and save the engine.”
Vettel had led after Hamilton’s early tire stop and when mid-race the German changed to a new set of soft tires he emerged still ahead, gaining around 10 seconds in the pit lane thanks to the Mercedes driver having to slow on track once the Virtual Safety Car (VSC) had been deployed.
“What just happened guys? Was that my mistake?” a confused Hamilton said on team radio as he saw Vettel come out of the pit lane in front of him before a full safety car was sent out with marshals struggling to remove the stranded Haas of Romain Grosjean.
“We thought we were safe, but there’s obviously something wrong,” the team told Hamilton. Mercedes potentially miscalculated the VSC minimum speed during the phase Vettel claimed the lead.
Vettel retained his lead as the race was restarted and built a lead of seven-tenths of a second.
Hamilton made an error as he locked up at turn nine and fell 2.8 seconds behind Vettel with 11 laps remaining.
Vettel proved too resilient and held on as Hamilton backed off over the final laps realizing he could not pass the flying German.
Team-mate Raikkonen, bidding for his third win in Australia, kept Ricciardo and Red Bull off the podium.
“It was OK. We didn’t have the most luck but what can you do,” he said.
“Luckily it was Seb who got the luck and it was our team at least. I think I had decent speed all day long, it’s just difficult to pass.”
Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso was fifth in his McLaren ahead of Red Bull’s young Dutchman Max Verstappen.
“Well done guys, very proud of you. Long winter, long seasons in the past but now we can fight, we can fight,” Alonso said over the team radio.


India beats New Zealand in 2nd T20, leads 5-match series 2-0

Updated 26 January 2020

India beats New Zealand in 2nd T20, leads 5-match series 2-0

  • New Zealand struggled to achieve any real momentum
  • The match raised further questions about the coaching and captaincy of the New Zealand team

AUCKLAND, New Zealand: K.L. Rahul made an unbeaten 57 Sunday to steer India to a seven-wicket win over New Zealand in the second Twenty20 international and to a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.
Rahul and Shreyas Iyer put on 86 for the third wicket as India cruised past New Zealand’s total of 132-5 with 2.3 overs to spare. Shivam Dube (13 not out) hit a six from the bowling of Tim Southeein in the 18th over to lift India to 135-3.
Iyer made 58 not out and Rahul 56 as India beat New Zealand by six wickets with an over to spare in the first match of the series.
New Zealand made 203-5 batting first in that match but on Sunday, on the same pitch, it struggled to achieve any real momentum. During the second match the pitch played much slower and India bowled expertly to restrict New Zealand’s total.
Martin Guptill made 33 in a 48-run opening partnership with Colin Munro and Tim Seifert made an unbeaten 33 at the end of the innings but New Zealand wasn’t able to reach a total that could stretch India’s deep batting lineup.
Rohit Sharma (8) and captain Virat Kohli (11) were out relatively cheaply but Rahul and Iyer (44) sped India toward a comprehensive victory.
Dube came to the crease shortly before the end and quickly brought the match to a conclusion.
“I think we backed up the first match with a very good performance today, especially with the ball,” Kohli said. “We demanded that the bowlers stood up and took control of what we wanted to do out there.
“I think our line and length and the way we wanted to bowl on that wicket, sticking to one side of the wicket and being shorter was a very good feature of us as a team and helped us restrict a very good New Zealand team.”
New Zealand’s total was inadequate, even on a slower pitch, and India almost toyed with the home side as it made its way to a comfortable win.
New Zealand named the same team that lost the first match of the series and batted after winning the toss, just as it batted when it was outplayed in the first match of the series.
The match raised further questions about the coaching and captaincy of the New Zealand team after its humiliating test series loss in Australia last month. New Zealand showed again Sunday it hasn’t the talent to compete with the best teams in the world.
“As a batting unit we probably needed another 15 or 20 to make that total more competitive,” said New Zealand captain Kane Williamson. “But credit to the way the India side bowled, they’re a class side in all departments and they put us under pressure throughout that middle period.”