Valterri Bottas takes pole in Azerbaijan after Leclerc crashes

Mercedes' Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas steers his car during the third practice session ahead of the Formula One Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku. (AFP)
Updated 27 April 2019

Valterri Bottas takes pole in Azerbaijan after Leclerc crashes

BAKU: Valtteri Bottas qualified in pole position for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Saturday after Charles Leclerc’s crash helped to ensure one of the longest qualifying sessions in recent years.
Bottas’ last lap of the session was 1 minute, 40.495 seconds, leaving him 0.059 ahead of teammate and championship leader Lewis Hamilton in a Mercedes 1-2. Sebastian Vettel was third for Ferrari, 0.302 off Bottas’ time.
Bottas showed great timing to get a slipstream down the long final straight.
“I got a good tow on the last lap,” said Bottas. “It’s all about fine details and I hit the sweet spot.”
It was Bottas’ second consecutive pole and the third time in four races that Mercedes has locked out the front row.
“It’s been so close all weekend. Ferrari have looked very quick,” said Hamilton, who said another one-two was even sweeter because Ferrari and Red Bull had upgraded their cars for Baku. “For us to lock out the front row in the circumstances, I’m really grateful for that.”
Leclerc had been fastest in all three practice sessions but crashed his Ferrari and qualified 10th.
“I am stupid, I am stupid, I am stupid,” he said over team radio.
Robert Kubica’s troubled comeback season for Williams continued as he qualified last and crashed at the same spot as Leclerc, a narrow section by the old city walls. The two incidents caused lengthy delays for barrier repairs.
Qualifying was scheduled for one hour but took nearly two, as long as many races.
It finished just under 40 minutes before sunset as the track cooled rapidly and the glare of the setting sun dazzled drivers in places.
“It was difficult to find the right balance,” said Vettel. “The car became really difficult to drive.”
Red Bull driver Pierre Gasly will start Sunday’s race from the pit lane after he failed to stop for weighing when asked to do so Friday. Gasly set the fastest time in the first session of qualifying.
Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi qualified eighth but has a 10-place grid penalty for changing his engine electronics.


Saudi bowlers off to QubicaAMF World Cup

Updated 18 November 2019

Saudi bowlers off to QubicaAMF World Cup

  • First woman from the Kingdom to compete in the championship in Indonesia

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia is sending its first woman to compete in the 55th QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup that begins in Indonesia.

Mashael Alabdulwahid will join her male teammate Abdulrahman Al-Khilaiwi, under the supervision of coach, Mario Joseph, to take part in the contest in Palembang.

Both players underwent training at a camp in Riyadh to prepare for the event. The training program included participating in the Asian Championship in Kuwait for Abdulrahman, and participating in the GCC 6th women’s bowling tournament for Mashael.

The men’s competition started Sunday at 9 p.m.

The women’s competition will begin at 3 p.m. today, where Mashael will take part in six rounds. The competition will run until Nov. 24.

HIGHLIGHT

  • Mashael Alabdulwahid will join her male teammate Abdulrahman Al-Khilaiwi, under the supervision of coach, Mario Joseph, to take part in the contest in Palembang.
  • Both players underwent training at a camp in Riyadh to prepare for the event. The training program included participating at the Asian Championship in Kuwait for Abdulrahman, and participating at the GCC 6th women’s bowling tournament for Mashael.

The competition continues on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and after completing 24 rounds, the top 24 players will be selected to compete for the top eight positions by playing eight runs on Friday. On Saturday, the best four female players and four male players will be chosen to compete in the finals.

Abdulrahman said that he is looking forward to the world cup. “This year there is a new advantage and that is having teammate Mashael joining me for the first time. I’m proud of her! It’s a big thing for Saudi women and for us in the team because this world exposure will help them to learn and give them an incentive to develop their skills,” he said.

The 20-year-old player has been bowling for the past 10 years. Despite his young age, thanks to his perseverance and sense of discipline he managed to win many victories, but the most distinguished were those in 2018. He delivered the bronze medal at the World Cup in Detroit, and two bronzes at the Asian Bowling Championship in the Philippines in the same year, and a gold medal for the trio event at the Arab Bowling Championship in Oman.

Mashael, 32, was only able to play officially last year in February 2018 when the Saudi Bowling Federation (SBF) received the decree to allow women to play in sports. However, she has been playing for fun since early childhood when she used to travel to Egypt with her family and where she managed to learn from the professionals and get hooked on the game. Mashael was chosen to take part in the Egypt Arab Championship and World Bowling Women’s Championship in Las Vegas in August 2018.

Mashael said: “Playing for fun is definitely enjoyable but when you wear your country’s flag that’s a huge responsibility put on your shoulder. You become an ambassador and a role model and when I’m put in that situation, I definitely want to give my all to be fit for that honor, and give the best image worthy of our beloved country.”

The bowlers expressed their gratitude to the Saudi Bowling Federation and its president Bader bin Abdullah Al-Alsheikh for his support and for creating opportunities for them so that they can progress, enrich their experiences and win awards and achievements.