Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 19th 2014 Contents A63
Saturday, April 19, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
SHANGHAI---Mercedes set the fastest
practice times again at the Chinese Grand
Prix yesterday, though rivals Ferrari and
Red Bull may have closed the gap some-
what on Formula One s runaway leader.
Mercedes Lewis Hamilton, winner of the
past two F1 races, was quickest around the
Shanghai International Circuit in the after-
noon session after a suspension problem
limited him to only nine laps in the morning
Ferrari s Fernando Alonso, however, was
just 0.141 seconds behind Hamilton under
the watch of new team principal Marco
Mattiacci, who arrived in Shanghai to take
charge following Stefano Domenicali s res-
ignation this week.
Alonso also set the quickest time during
the morning practice.
Hamilton was delayed in the garage for
a half hour in the afternoon session while
his crew tried to resolve the suspension
"It s great to be still up front even though
we have those issues," he said. "But, still,
you want to get the car ready, you want to
get the long runs feeling a little better, so
there s some work to do."
Teammate Nico Rosberg had the third
fastest practice time, about 0.4 seconds
behind Hamilton. He said Mercedes still
expects to win the race tomorrow, even if
its rivals performed well in practice.
"We re still looking pretty decent at the
moment," he said. "The competitors are
pushing---today (yesterday), Ferrari was very
Mercedes has dominated the season, with
Hamilton winning in Bahrain and Malaysia
and Rosberg in Australia. Only an engine
problem on Hamilton s car in the opening
race in Melbourne prevented three successive
But Alonso, the defending Chinese GP
champion, kept pace with them in the cool
conditions of Shanghai, indicating his strug-
gling team may just emerge as a challenger
Ferrari has lagged behind Mercedes fol-
lowing the series switch to V6 turbo hybrid
engines, and new fuel-saving regulations.
The slow start prompted Ferrari to part ways
with Domenicali after six years, replacing
him with Mattiacci, formerly president of
Ferrari North America.
"Leaving aside the performance of the
others, I am happy with what we have done
today," Alonso said. "At every race, all the
teams bring something new and we must
try and make an additional step forward if
we want to be competitive."
Red Bull also kept up the pace on Friday,
with Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel
finishing fourth and fifth, respectively.
Ricciardo said, however, he believes Mer-
cedes may have been holding back during
"We have to see where they are tomorrow.
The gap seems a bit too close for now," he
said. "I would like to say we ve caught up
but they ve got a bit more in there."
He was pleased with Red Bull s improve-
ment since Bahrain, where both drivers fin-
ished off the podium.
"We re making small improvements," Ric-
ciardo said. "I mean, the gap is a big one
so it s not going to come over one race, but
we ve crept up a little bit more." (AP)
MESA---Michael Phelps is entered in three
events at his first swimming meet since
he retired after the 2012 London Olympics.
The 22-time Olympic medalist is set to
swim the 50- and 100-meter freestyles and
the 100 butterfly at the Arena Grand Prix
in Mesa, Arizona, starting next Thursday.
Entries were released yesterday.
Phelps is the top seed in the 100 fly, where
he owns the world and American records.
He is seeded eighth in the 100 free, which
features a loaded field including Olympians
Anthony Ervin and Nathan Adrian, along
with Yannick Agnel of France, who trains
with Phelps in Baltimore, Maryland.
Phelps is seeded 28th in the 50 free. The
28-year-old swimmer is planning to compete
in fewer and shorter events in his comeback
than he did while winning a record 18
Olympic gold medals during the height of
his career. (AP)
HANOI---Vietnam has withdrawn as the host
of the 2019 Asian Games, saying it lacked
funds and the country s reputation could be
at risk if the event flops.
The government s initial decision to host the
games had generated little excitement domes-
tically, and there had been increasing opposition
in the media and on blogs. Many questioned
whether the cost---in the hundreds of millions
of dollars---was worth it given the country was
still struggling to emerge from the global finan-
The Olympic Council of Asia yesterday said
it was "surprised" by the decision, which leaves
it scrambling to find a new host.
"The matter will have to be discussed at
length by the OCA," Randhir Singh, the group s
secretary-general, told The Associated Press.
"It s a decision which has to be taken judiciously
considering various factors. We have to decide
who will be able to deliver, keeping in mind
the time factor."
Vietnam s sports ministry had budgeted $150
million for the event, the largest in terms of
participant numbers outside of the Summer
Olympics. But economists and others had said
the bill could be five times higher, and possibly
reach the spending levels for this year s Asian
Games in Incheon, South Korea, which could
reportedly top $1 billion.
Vietnam s authoritarian government is highly
adverse to domestic criticism, and an explosion
in Internet use in recent years has given its
opponents many hard-to-control avenues to
express opposition. As Russia found during the
Winter Games, hosting a major event also brings
international and social media scrutiny, some-
thing Vietnam s secretive leaders generally seek
"Hosting this could help us promote the
country s image and position. However if the
hosting is not properly and successfully pre-
pared, it will have the opposite effect," the gov-
ernment said in a statement late Thursday.
"The state budget is limited and must be pri-
oritised for other immediate tasks."
Singh said the Vietnam government had yet
to inform the OCA of its decision. So unexpected
was the announcement that the OCA website
still had Hanoi scheduled as the 2019 host early
yesterday, with a video promoting the event.
While the OCA will have to quickly decide
on a replacement host, it does have the benefit
of an extra year as Hanoi was to have been the
first games of a new schedule that would put
the event the year ahead of the Summer
Surabaya, Indonesia, had been the other seri-
ous bidder for 2019, while Dubai, United Arab
Emirates, expressed initial interest but with-
Vietnam s top sprinter, Vu Thi Huong, was
personally disappointed but she supported the
"Like all Vietnamese, I would like friends
from other countries to come to Vietnam to
see the country with their own eyes, but once
they come they should have a good impression
of Vietnam," said Huong who has won five gold
medals at the Southeast Asian Games and a
silver and a bronze medals at the Asian Games.
"As an athlete I would have loved to have the
Asian Games in Vietnam, but our current con-
ditions do not allow that." (AP)
KINGSTON---A Jamaican attorney who is
a top official with the sprinting power-
house s anti-doping disciplinary panel has
been arrested following a raid at a massage
parlor he reportedly owns.
Jamaican police said Thursday that Lennox
Gayle has been charged with alleged viola-
tions of a local sex offenses act. Investigators
with the organised crime division allege the
45-year-old attorney operates a massage
parlor in Montego Bay where prostitution
Seven women have been arrested on pros-
titution charges following a weekend raid at
Gayle got bail late Wednesday.
He is expected to appear in court on May
5. He could not immediately be contacted
He was the lead panelist of the Jamaica
Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel that recently
delivered doping suspensions for Olympic
sprinters Asafa Powell and Sherene Simpson.
Hamilton sets the pace
in Chinese GP practice
out of hosting
Phelps entered in 3 events at comeback meet
Jamaica anti-doping official arrested after raid
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain chats with his crew inside the garage during the practice session ahead of tomorrow's Chinese
Formula One Grand Prix at Shanghai International Circuit in Shanghai, China yesterday. AP PHOTO
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