Better reliability and team harmony keys to Hamilton's title

AP Updated: 27 June, 2018, 4:22 PM IST

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Lewis Hamilton credits improved reliability from Mercedes and a better relationship with his teammate as key factors behind his fourth Formula One championship
  • He scored points in every F1 race this year, a first for him. He won nine, and broke Michael Schumacher's record for pole positions
  • Hamilton finished 46 points clear of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, who won five races but capitulated in the second half of the season

Lewis Hamilton credits improved reliability from Mercedes and a better relationship with his teammate as key factors behind his fourth Formula One championship.

He scored points in every F1 race this year, a first for him. He won nine, and broke Michael Schumacher's record for pole positions. He has 72 to go with his 62 race wins, second only to Schumacher's 91.

"I'm incredibly grateful to the team, we've had the best reliability," Hamilton said. "I don't remember another team having this reliability."

Hamilton finished 46 points clear of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, who won five races but capitulated in the second half of the season.

Hamilton has won the F1 title in three of the past four seasons with Mercedes, losing out to former teammate Nico Rosberg last year.

The two were teenage friends from their karting years, but the relationship turned increasingly sour from 2014-16. Rosberg was twice runner-up. Then, the German driver clinched his only F1 title in the final race of 2016.

Hamilton's bitterness toward Rosberg seemingly lingers. He described him in minimal terms on Friday as "a member of the team last year."

Hamilton much prefers fighting Vettel than Rosberg, who has retired.

"This year is the best year. I knew I would be fighting against Ferrari," Hamilton said. "I wanted to bring a positive, rebuilt (and) re-structured me into the team."

Rosberg stunned F1 by retiring days after securing his 2016 title, leaving Mercedes head of motorsport Toto Wolff to scramble for a new driver. He hired Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas from Williams.

"For me it was a lucky moment," Bottas said on Friday at an event hosted by FIA. "I called Toto. I just wanted to make sure they knew I wanted to be in this team."

Hamilton claims to enjoy "perfect harmony" with Bottas. When asked to compare him with Rosberg, Hamilton was curt.

"I wouldn't compare them, I have no plans to," Hamilton said.

On Bottas, he added, "There's an incredible amount of respect between us. Ultimately we want to win the right way by being the fastest on the track. There's nothing happening in the background, he's not trying to do it any other way."

Bottas won three races and finished 58 points behind Hamilton in third place.

"He's very strong in his mind," Hamilton said. "I'm anticipating he's going to be even stronger next year, so I had better stay on my toes."

Although Hamilton's winning margin over Vettel was comfortable, the contest was tense until Vettel's unexpected dip.

Hamilton trailed Vettel at the summer break and, after moving narrowly ahead, looked set to fall behind again in September at the Singapore Grand Prix. Vettel was starting from pole alongside teammate Kimi Raikkonen on a sinewy street circuit more suited to Ferrari. Furthermore, Hamilton was starting fifth.

It was the perfect scenario for Vettel to regain the championship lead.

But Vettel crashed trying to cut off Max Verstappen, causing a four-car collision that took them both out along with Raikkonen and McLaren's Fernando Alonso.

It was the soccer equivalent of Vettel, a four-time F1 champion, scoring an own goal.

Hamilton won to move 28 points ahead overall. Vettel was then hampered by reliability woes, finishing fourth in Malaysia and failing to score in Japan.

"I don't know whether or not if we would have won the championship (otherwise)," Hamilton said. "They lost a ton of points in those races, and at the race in Baku (Azerbaijan) where (Vettel) lost a potential win."

Although Vettel finished fourth in Baku in late June and Hamilton was fifth, he wasted valuable points after being hit with a time penalty. Irritated by what he perceived to be Hamilton's deliberately slow driving behind a safety car — known in F1 as brake-testing — Vettel accelerated and swerved into the left side of his Mercedes.

"I'm sure he's learned a lot," Hamilton said of Vettel. "I can't expect him to make the same mistakes next year."

Vettel said on Friday his Baku rashness left him feeling worse than his Singapore slump.

Get Daily Updates From CricToday

Subscribe and get the latest Sports News delivered to your inbox.

Balancing FTP, T20s versus World Cup scheduling

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 7 August, 2020, 4:29 PM IST

As the preparations for the Indian Premier League (IPL) gathers momentum and the world gears up for the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), the question is whether the focus should be on how to balance the wheel versus where the next year's World Cup should be held.

There is little doubt that there are as many World Cups in cricket as there are Twenty20 leagues currently underway in the game. Even as the discussion rakes up once more about who - the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) or Cricket Australia (CA) - will host next year's ICC Twenty20 World Cup, there is a need for the International Cricket Council (ICC) to address the current situation where too few teams have their plans etched out following the pandemic break.

England is said to be still in a dismal situation despite the fact that the West Indies have successfully completed their your and Pakistan are playing the first Test. Their limited-overs series with Australia is in the dock as the Australian cricketers are contemplating how to play in England and then fly to the UAE for the IPL.

The hurdles for the IPL abound in the fact that players and teams are expected to arrive a month in advance to the scheduled September schedule to meet the Coronavirus pandemic measures but also, for franchisees to have the opportunity to work with their teams and devise a conditioning camp to get them out of the rust/rest period and towards winning ways.

South Africa are battling internal wranglings as they are fighting broader issues of corruption and uncertainty of scheduling. It is throwing their fragile, recently laid down game plan in turmoil, and given the player turnover, they will be concerned, despite the innovative 3T cricket distraction, for their jitters to calm down with an international series.

The pandemic break and the rescheduling after has meant that more than one team besides South Africa are looking at an immediate bleak future.

Australia are going all out to keep their date with the schedule of India's tour. But not many teams have India and thereby, a lucrative proposition in the offing. Calls for England to reciprocate the tour for the West Indies grows as players have been asked to undergo a pay cut despite the tour of England.

At a time when it is important that the ICC take cognizance of this FTP that is in immediate need of handling, it seems inane that after wasting more than three months in the offing while Cricket Australia refused to host the world cup this year, that they would waste more time finalizing whether CA and the BCCI would swap hosting rights for a year that is still far away when there are too many immediate concerns that need the attention of the governing body in consultation with its permanent board members on the collective issue regarding the state of the game.

More Stories

IPL’s leading hat-trick taker still hoping to play for India, says he is not dependent on league

IPL: Euphoria fine but there is also responsibility

Also Read The Latest Edition Of Cricket Today Magazine

Can Rohit Sharma become the next Virender Sehwag? 

MS Dhoni will score a lot of runs in Indian Premier League - Former Player

Abhishek Singh Updated: 7 August, 2020, 3:59 PM IST

With the Indian Premier League (IPL) about to start soon, all the fans of Mahendra Singh Dhoni would finally be able to watch him play. These fans have been expecting the ‘Thala’ to play international cricket and make a comeback in Team India.

However, cricketer-turned commentator, Aakash Chopra believes that Dhoni would not be bothered about team India selection as he has risen above that. Aakash feels that 39-year-old MSD’s only focus would be to get Chennai into the finals.

"For Dhoni, it really doesn’t matter whether he is selected or not. I believe as a cricketer and as a batsman, he would just look to score runs and guide his team to victory. The maturity he has achieved won’t let me worry him about the selection and his only focus would be to win the games for Chennai Super Kings (CSK),” Aakash said in a video posted on his YouTube channel.

Saying that CSK is more or less built around MSD, therefore the success of Ranchi boy would also be reflected in his team’s success, Chopra tried to broaden the spectrum of Dhoni’s impact.

"CSK’s success depends upon MSD a lot. If he is in god form, chances are that CSK would do well because then he would be involved a lot in the game,” Chopra added.

Dhoni will score runs even after not playing competitive cricket for a long time - Chopra

Further the Delhi born commentator also said that Dhoni, even after not being part of any competitive match from July last year, would score good runs.

"Just take a thorough look at his career and you would realize that he gives very little to no damn about anything going on in the surroundings that might affect him. So I believe that even when he has not played cricket for quite some time, he is going to score runs and succeed this season,” 42-year-old Chopra concluded.

More Stories

Patriotic Shoaib Akhtar salutes Pakistani Army, says will eat grass if it increases army's budget

Shoaib Akhtar believes in wild love, says he broke Yuvraj’s back and Afridi’s ribs

Also Read The Latest Issue Of Cricket Today Magazine

Can Rohit Sharma become the next Virender Sehwag? 

Pakistani players are jealous of Indians - Former Indian cricketer

Abhishek Singh Updated: 7 August, 2020, 3:46 PM IST

While Indo-Pak relations have been sour politically over the years, it is in sports and among sportsmen, especially cricketers that we have some amount of camaraderie. However, it seems that Pak cricketers accusing BCCI of postponing the T20 World Cup didn’t go down well with former India cricketer Madan Lal.

Reacting to the comments of former Pak cricketers, Madan Lal, member of BCCI’s Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) said that the cricketers from our neighboring country are jealous of us.

“Most of the Pak cricketers hardly think before opening their mouth. Claiming that India used muscle and money to postpone the World Cup is utter nonsense. Basically they are jealous of our success,” Madan Lal was quoted as saying on Sports Tak.

“The reason why the World Cup was postponed was the coronavirus. It was the joint decision of Cricket Australia and the International Cricket Council because a league and a world cup are totally different things. You would always want a crowd and sponsors to make the World Cup successful. So in that aspect postponing it was a rather smart decision,” Lal added.

IPL was always going to happen - Madan Lal

 

The 69-year-old former World Cup winner also defended BCCI saying that the plan for IPL was already made and it has been very well executed by the board.

“There was no question of IPL not happening, it was always going to take place. The window of September-October was pre-decided. So basically the board had already planned the IPL accordingly,” Lal said.

More Stories

Aaron Finch to be Virat Kohli’s main man in IPL, ready to help RCB skipper in winning the title

Pakistan cricketers don’t think before they speak – Madan Lal

IPL’s leading hat-trick taker still hoping to play for India, says he is not dependent on league

Garima Kotroo Updated: 7 August, 2020, 3:44 PM IST

The Indian veteran spinner Amit Mishra is one of the best performers in the IPL. Playing for Delhi Capitals, the 37-year-old leg-spinner has never failed to meet the expectations of his fans and teammates. He is even holding the record of most hat-tricks in the history of the tournament. But as far as international cricket is concerned, he hasn’t donned the Indian jersey for the last three years. Mishra made his last appearance for the Men in Blue in the 2017 T20I series against England.

However, the veteran spinner didn’t lose all his hopes to play for his country yet again. During his recent interview, when Mishra was asked if he is still hoping to make a comeback in the national squad, he replied that he is always ready to play for the Indian team.

“Of course, I do! That is why I am still playing. I am not someone who will keep playing just for IPL. I should always be ready and prepared when a call from the Indian team comes. That is the belief I always have,” Mishra told cricket.com.

Self-motivation is very important – Amit Mishra

Furthermore, Mishra also spoke about his future plans. He admitted that the thought of retirement has crossed his mind but the leggie feels that he still has some cricket left in him.

“Age should not be a criterion to judge your performance. One should always see whether a player is fit or not.”

“I have always tried to stay away from negative thoughts. Self-motivation is very important. We all are surrounded by pessimism when we don't see much success. If we try to work harder, negativity generally goes away,” Mishra added

More Stories

Pakistani players are jealous of Indians - Former Indian cricketer

MS Dhoni will score a lot of runs in Indian Premier League - Former Player

IPL: Euphoria fine but there is also responsibility

Partab Ramchand Updated: 7 August, 2020, 3:31 PM IST

There is obviously a lot of anticipation over the conduct of the long-awaited IPL. The popular cash-rich tournament is normally held in the March-May window but because of reasons that have been well documented there was a great deal of suspense over whether it would be held at all. Now of course the suspense is over, the IPL will be held in the UAE from September 19 to November 10 and the long wait has already whetted the appetite of cricket fans. And summing up the euphoria is King’s XI Punjab co-owner Ness Wadia who is confident that the 13th edition of the event is set to be ``the best ever.’’ But he is also concerned about the safety of the players and all others involved. ``Even if there is one Covid-19 case the IPL could be doomed’’ he said after the owners’ meeting on Wednesday.

Wadia has a point. For one thing, the coronavirus threat is still looming large the world over, and as there are over 6000 active cases in the UAE the conduct of the IPL has not received unanimous approval. Secondly, the IPL is a mega event attracting worldwide attention and if it is to be affected in any way by Covid-19 it will not just be a question of eyebrows being raised and questions asked. The BCCI has sent an exhaustive 16-page SOP to teams for the smooth conduct of the tournament. It requires players, support staff team officials and owners to be part of the bio-secure environment. Wadia himself has not decided on traveling to the UAE for the tournament but emphasized that safety cannot be compromised. ``We have to adjust and acclimatize to the biosecure environment. Extraneous circumstances require ordinary people to do extraordinary things’’ he added.

Indeed, with eight teams and 60 games spread over 53 days, the organizers cannot afford any slip-up especially with local officials talking in terms of allowing a limited number of spectators at the three venues. One remembers all too well the incident involving Jofra Archer last month in England. He took a detour to go home – a basic human urge - but in these fraught times his move almost put entire England – West Indies series in jeopardy as he had breached medical and security protocols. The officials have to ensure that while cricket prospers on the field the larger picture of everyone’s welfare is not ignored. The virus remains a threat and the hunger for profit should not override health concerns for everyone associated with the conduct of the IPL.

More Stories

IPL’s leading hat-trick taker still hoping to play for India, says he is not dependent on league

Patriotic Shoaib Akhtar salutes Pakistani Army, says will eat grass if it increases army's budget