Ferrari are the fastest team on the grid, claims Mercedes man Lewis Hamilton

Updated 01 March 2019

Ferrari are the fastest team on the grid, claims Mercedes man Lewis Hamilton

  • Prancing Horse the quickest in pre-season testing.
  • Chasing pack have it all to do, says five-time world champion.

LONDON: Lewis Hamilton claimed Ferrari are “half a second” faster than their pitlane rivals based on the evidence of pre-season testing in Barcelona.
Mercedes’ world champion was speaking as out on the circuit Sebastian Vettel set the fastest lap time of the winter.
“This is going to be the toughest battle yet. Ferrari, their pace is very good at the moment,” the Briton said.
“I think the gap is potentially half a second, something like that,” said Hamilton, before quickly adding: “I have the confidence I have the team to do the job.”
The 34-year-old last week suggested he felt better than ever in his quest for a sixth driver’s title — he may well need to be if his assessment of Ferrari bears out when the season starts in Melbourne on March 17.
“Last year they arrived with a car working well but they have done even better this year.
“It’s OK. We don’t mind the challenge, it just means we have to work harder. I’m not worried or disappointed or anything.
“We have a hill to climb but we know how to do it.”
He cautioned against reading too much into times in testing with cars having different engine settings and fuel loads.
“Melbourne will be the first time we get a sight of it and then it will be four races before we really know where we stand.”

Russian athletics champ blasts own sports authorities

Updated 11 December 2019

Russian athletics champ blasts own sports authorities

  • Lasitskene, a three-time world champion, has in the past been critical of Russia’s athletics federation

MOSCOW: Russian high jump world champion Maria Lasitskene on Tuesday accused her country’s own sports authorities of failing to protect athletes from the deepening doping crisis, in a rare public broadside at top officials.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on Monday handed Russia a new, this time four-year, ban from top global sporting events, including the next summer and winter Olympics and the 2022 soccer World Cup, for tampering with laboratory data.

The ruling means Russian athletes cleared to compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will do so under a neutral flag. But Lasitskene and some other Russian track and field athletes face additional obstacles to being cleared for competition.

“I’ve already missed one Olympics and one-and-a-half years of international competition,” Lasitskene wrote in an open letter addressed to Russia’s sports authorities.

“And it seems that’s not the end of it. So who ultimately is to blame? Who’s going to give me back what I’ve lost?” she wrote in the letter published on Russian sports media outlet Championat.Com.

Lasitskene, a three-time world champion, has in the past been critical of Russia’s athletics federation, which has been suspended for doping since 2015, and has been one of the few Russian athletes to voice her anger publicly.

World Athletics, the global body governing athletics, last month halted the reinstatement procedures for Russia’s athletics federation after its president and six others were provisionally suspended for serious breaches of anti-doping rules.

As a result of these fresh sanctions, World Athletics also said it was reviewing the process it has used in the past to clear some Russians, including Lasitskene, to compete internationally as neutrals.

“Why have we arrived at a situation when an athlete is supposed to be delighted about getting neutral status?” Lasitskene wrote.

“Was the Sports Ministry and Russian Olympic Committee really happy with the Russian athletics federation’s work?”

The president of Russia’s Olympic Committee, Stanislav Pozdnyakov, on Monday dismissed the sanctions against Russia as inappropriate and excessive.