Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 24th 2013 Contents A59
Saturday, August 24, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
SPA---Sebastian Vettel posted the fastest time before
his rear tire punctured in yesterday s second practice
at the Belgian Grand Prix.
The three-time defending Formula One champion
had to stop with about 20 minutes of the session remain-
ing when his right rear tire popped and the loose rubber
flapped around as he made his way back to the pits.
The German had earlier clocked one minute, 49.331
seconds, which was .059 quicker than Red Bull teammate
Mark Webber and .818 faster than Lotus driver Romain
Grosjean. It could be unwelcome news for Pirelli given
the furor surrounding its fast-shredding tires throughout
the season. With his session over, Vettel stood alongside
officials in the garage as they studied the car s data.
"We don t know what happened when I got the punc-
ture. We lost the rear right, very suddenly, so we need
to have a look," Vettel said. "Pirelli is working on finding
out why it happened.
"Other than that, it was a positive day. This morning
(yesterday) was tricky with a few rain drops and the
track was slippery. It s a lot colder here than Hungary,
but that s Spa and part of this circuit."
Tires ripped apart easily at the Spanish GP, and then
blew up at Silverstone, leading to the threat of a boycott
from drivers before the German GP. That prompted
Pirelli to revert back to the 2012 construction twinned
with their 2013 compounds in Budapest.
The modified tires held firm at the Hungarian GP
last month, but Spa is a tougher track because its long,
steep corners create more pressure.
Fernando Alonso was fastest in the morning s rainy
first practice and seventh in the afternoon. As the sun
came out and dried the track, the Red Bulls set the early
pace, while Alonso was held up by traffic.
"We had a pretty good run today but there s still some
performance to find and we need to get the car a bit
better balanced," Webber said. "It was good to have
stable conditions this afternoon."
Moments after Vettel s puncture, Dutch driver Giedo
van der Garde lost control coming out of a turn and
slid across the track into the crash barriers. He climbed
out unharmed but there was damage to the right of his
Hamilton also had a difficult afternoon, finishing 12th.
He asked mechanics over race radio "is my dashboard
telling me the right time? Because the car s all over the
Earlier on, Caterham drivers Charles Pic and Van der
Garde got in each other s way at the Bus Stop chicane
and went off track. When Pic returned, he drove into
the path of Vettel, who broke hard to avoid contact.
In the overcast morning, Alonso gave struggling Ferrari
The two-time former champion is without a win in
five races and has disappointed in qualifying all season,
failing to even place on the front row. But the Spaniard
clocked a best lap of 1:55.198. Vettel was sixth quick-
est.They set their best times when the track was at its
driest, and many drivers stayed in their garages as the
rain started to fall again late in the session. Hamilton,
who won the last race in Hungary, was 15th.
Conditions are often wet in Spa---the longest circuit
on the calendar at 7.004 kilometres (4.352 miles).
Because of its size, different microclimates mean it
can be raining on one part of the track and sunny at
another. Corners such as the steeply rising Eau Rouge
and Blanchimont push drivers and tires to the absolute
In the morning, it was dry at the bottom of the circuit
but damp near the finish line.
Meanwhile, Alonso hopes the varying demands of
the next races offer chances to pressure Vettel.
"We have Spa, medium downforce; Monza, light
downforce; Singapore, maximum downforce," Alonso
said. "Who will catch him or put him in some difficulties,
we will see in the next races." (AP)
Vettel fastest in
2nd Belgian GP
Bill Haas hits a tee
shot on the 14th hole
during the first round
of The Barclays golf
in Jersey City, New
Jersey. Round one
resumed after being
rain delayed Thursday
and then stopped by
darkness. AP PHOTO
JERSEY CITY---Webb Simpson didn t
mind a long day of golf the way he was
playing yesterday at The Barclays in
Simpson ran off six birdies in an eight-
hole stretch to cap a 29-hole marathon
at Liberty National that put him atop the
leaderboard among the top half of the
draw that finished the second round.
"It s much nicer when you re playing
well to keep playing. And when you re
playing well, you feel like you could play
40 holes in a day," Simpson said. "My
main goal ... I just wanted to get done
today. It just felt nice to putt out on nine,
knowing that I ve got tonight to sleep
and catch up on rest."
Simpson was at 9-under 133. Among
those who finished the second round, he
was two shots ahead of Keegan Bradley
(63), Rickie Fowler (64) and Adam Scott,
who was tied for the lead until a lazy
finish gave him a 66.
Phil Mickelson, trying to retool his
game after his British Open win, had a
69 and was seven shots behind.
Tiger Woods, the No 1 player in the
world and in the standings for the FedEx
Cup playoffs, was among the later starters.
He already had three birdies through six
holes and was making up ground on
Simpson, who didn t expect to be the
36-hole leader when the second round
was completed Saturday morning.
The tournament was thrown behind
because of two rain delays that lasted a
combined six hours Thursday.
Simpson only played seven holes the
opening day---five of them birdies---and
played even par the rest of the first round.
He didn t get it going until his second
nine, when he made six birdies until drop-
ping a shot on his final hole.
The players who finished 36 holes yes-
terday had the tougher end of the draw.
It was blustery when they returned in
the morning, and the wind did not die
until they were finished---just about the
time Woods, 18-hole leader Kevin Stadler,
Rory McIlroy and others were starting
"A lot of guys are playing good golf,
and my guess is at the end of two rounds,
I won t be leading because there are a lot
of birdie holes," Simpson said. "The par
5s are reachable. I think that I have to
keep playing well and keep making birdies.
And I think a really low score is going to
win this golf tournament."
The last time The Barclays was at Lib-
erty National, Heath Slocum won at 9-
under 275. Since then, some of the landing
areas were widened and the slopes on
the greens were softened. Plus, the course
was very little rough this year. And the
soft conditions from the rain Thursday
is making it easier to make birdies.
Bradley made eight of them, which
turned his fortunes.
He hit out-of-bounds on the 18th hole
to wrap up his first round, and had to
scramble for double bogey. The former
PGA champion put that behind him
quickly, however, running four birdies on
each nine for the lowest score at Liberty
"They put some of the pins in some
bowls, and I know they want to get us
around the course and finished up as early
as possible," Bradley said. "But this is not
an easy golf course---62 or 63 is not an
easy score no matter what the condi-
Fowler was 6 under over a five-hole
stretch on the back nine, which included
a 35-foot birdie putt and a chip-in for
eagle. He cooled after that, though it was
still enough to put him in good shape for
the weekend. Scott hit a 6-iron from 217
yards to 15 feet on the sixth hole that set
up an eagle.
For some players, their year was over.
Ben Crane, after opening with a 67,
had to withdraw with a lower back injury
after playing just four holes of the second
round. At No 125 in the FedEx Cup, he
won t be among the 100 players advancing
to the second playoff event next week
Lucas Glover withdrew with a hand
injury, ending his season.
The cut would not be made until this
morning, and Erik Compton needed two
more rounds to try to qualify for the next
tournament. He did his part, a birdie-
birdie finish to get back to even-par 142.
That was right on the line for making the
Simpson the early leader
at Liberty National
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