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BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX 2013: Nico Rosberg on pole as Lewis Hamilton starts ninth after penalty

Rosberg on pole for Bahrain Grand Prix as Hamilton starts ninth after grid penalty

PUBLISHED:

12:05 GMT, 20 April 2013

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UPDATED:

17:17 GMT, 20 April 2013

Nico Rosberg will start from pole position for only the second time in his career at tomorrow's Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver will be joined on the front row by Sebastian Vettel with Fernando Alonso in third.

Hamilton, who was out-qualified by his team-mate Rosberg for the first time in his Mercedes career, starts in ninth after being handed a five-place grid drop.

Man in the middle: Nico Rosberg will start tomorrow's grand prix from the front of the pack ahead of Sebastian Vettel (right) and Fernando Alonso

Man in the middle: Nico Rosberg will start tomorrow's grand prix from the front of the pack ahead of Sebastian Vettel (right) and Fernando Alonso

Job done: Today's pole for Rosberg is only the second of his Formula One career

Job done: Today's pole for Rosberg is only the second of his Formula One career

The British driver will be joined on the
fifth row by former McLaren team-mate Jenson Button who failed to post a
competitive time in Q3 for the second successive race.

It is the first time since last year's race in China that Rosberg will lead away the field, and the first time this season he has out-qualified team-mate Hamilton.

Following Hamilton's pole in Shanghai, Rosberg handed Mercedes back-to-back poles for the first time since their return to the grid in 2010.

Hamilton cut a bitterly unhappy figure post race as he knows such an incident undoubtedly affects his early title hopes, with the Briton currently 12 points adrift of Red Bull's Vettel.

Asked for his thoughts on a potential rule change, Hamilton said: 'It doesn't really matter. The rules are the rules.

'I've got a penalty and I will have to suck it up and deal with it. I just got unlucky as I think it was some debris with the tyre.'

Red Bull's Mark Webber was fifth quickest, but like Hamilton, faces a penalty of three places after colliding with the Toro Rosso of Jean-Eric Vergne last weekend.

Blow: Lewis Hamilton was handed a five-place grid penalty after he was forced to change his gearbox

Blow: Lewis Hamilton was handed a five-place grid penalty after he was forced to change his gearbox

Head down: Hamilton (right) was out-qualified by Rosberg for the first time in his Mercedes career

Head down: Hamilton (right) was out-qualified by Rosberg for the first time in his Mercedes career

BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX QUALIFYING

1. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
2. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
3. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
4. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)*
5. Mark Webber (Red Bull)**
6. Felipe Massa (Ferrari)
7. Paul Di Resta (Force India)
8. Adrian Sutil (Force India)
9. Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)
10. Jenson Button (McLaren)

* Lewis Hamilton handed five-place grid penalty
** Mark Webber handed three-place grid penalty

It means Felipe Massa will move up to fourth in his Ferrari, with the Force India's of Paul Di Resta and Adrian Sutil lining up fifth and sixth.

Then comes Webber, who actually only loses two places courtesy of Hamilton, followed by Kimi Raikkonen in his Lotus who moves from ninth to eighth.

In 11th and 12th, after dropping out in Q2 will be Romain Grosjean in his Lotus and McLaren's Sergio Perez, beaten by team-mates Raikkonen and Button respectively for the fourth straight race.

Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo, who a week ago in China qualified seventh, will start 13th tomorrow, with team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne 16th.

Sandwiched in between the pair are Sauber's Nico Hulkenberg and the Williams of Valtteri Bottas.

Leading the way: Nico Rosberg sealed only the second pole position of his career on Saturday

Leading the way: Nico Rosberg sealed only the second pole position of his career on Saturday

In a remarkable twist at the end of
the opening 20-minute Q1 session, Pastor Maldonado dropped out after
setting the same time as Williams team-mate Bottas.

Posting
a lap of 1:34,125, as the Venezuelan's time came after that of the
Finn, it left Maldonado kicking his heels whilst Bottas took part in Q2.

Maldonado
will start 17th ahead of Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez, with the Mexican
out-qualified by Hulkenberg for the fourth consecutive race, and failing
to make it into Q2 for the third time.

Slow start: Jenson Button creeped into the top 10 but didn't complete a lap in Q3 and will start tenth

Slow start: Jenson Button creeped into the top 10 but didn't complete a lap in Q3 and will start tenth

With
a five-place grid penalty to serve for the race after running into the
back of Sutil in Shanghai, Gutierrez will start at the back of the grid.

Caterham
and Marussia naturally share the bottom four places, with Charles Pic a
season's best of 19th since switching from the latter to the former for
this season.

Either side
of Caterham's Giedo van der Garde are Marussia duo Jules Bianchi and Max
Chilton, with the 21-year-old Briton setting the slowest time in
qualifying for the first time this year.

On track: Fernando Alonso

On track: Fernando Alonso

Rosberg admitted to being 'a little surprised' at starting from pole, but natually claiming to be 'really, really happy' with 'a fantastic result'.

The question is whether Rosberg has the pace to go on and take the chequered flag given Hamilton dropped back to third from pole in China, and whether the tyres will hold up under the conditions.

'Tomorrow is going to be a tough day given the degradation of the tyres,' added Rosberg.

'I want to really kick start my season given the first three races which have been tough for me so far.

In the lead: Vettel holds a three-point advantage over Alonso ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix

In the lead: Vettel holds a three-point advantage over Alonso ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix

'It's difficult to say if we have enough to pace to win, but I will try, and I'm really looking forward to starting from first.'

Vettel was far from disappointed with second, especially after the time of Rosberg.

'Congratulations to Nico because it was a very strong lap,' said Vettel. 'When I crossed the line and I saw I was second I didn't know how much was missing from my lap.

'But then when I was told the gap to Nico it was clear, even with a perfect lap, he was unbeatable.'

Alonso declared himself 'very, very happy with third'.

It is the third successive race Alonso will start from third, adding: 'Normally we struggle a lot in qualifying, so this has put us in a strong position for the race.'

Meanwhile, Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn was irked by the Hamilton penalty.

Difficult weekend: McLaren driver Sergio Perez could manage only 12th in qualifying

Difficult weekend: McLaren driver Sergio Perez could manage only 12th in qualifying

He said: 'The difficulty we have in the future is where we get marginal cases where you have a problem, perhaps aggravated by the driver, and you don't get a gearbox failure as such, but it needs to be changed.

'Then you get into these long debates.

'But it is frustrating to get a penalty when there has been an outside influence. It's annoying.

'Fortunately it doesn't happen too often, but if it were to happen at a critical part of the season then it would be doubly frustrating, so it's worth looking at again.'

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery was certainly dismissing any prospect one of his company's tyres lay behind Hamilton's woes.

Hembery said: 'The problem seen on Lewis' Mercedes during free practice was not the result of a structural tyre failure, but instead must have been down to a piece of debris on the track.'

It was one of those bitter-sweet afternoons for Mercedes in light of Rosberg helping them to back-to-back poles for the first time since their return to F1 three years ago, and after Hamilton led away the field a week ago in China.

With two DNFs in his first three races, Rosberg has so far suffered in contrast to Hamilton, but was smiling again after claiming what is only his second pole in his 132 races.

'This is great for me because the start (to the season) has really not gone to plan, with a lot of issues,' said Rosberg.

'I'm really hoping this is going to kickstart my season. It's the first time everything has really gone to plan. Up until now it has been great.

'To turn up with the pole position, which I have to admit is a bit of a surprise, I'm really, really happy with.

Off colour: Hamilton will start on the fifth row with former McLaren team-mate Button for company

Off colour: Hamilton will start on the fifth row with former McLaren team-mate Button for company

'I'm now looking forward to tomorrow when hopefully everything will go well, although I'm not sure we have what it takes to win the race.'

That is based on the fact this year's Mercedes, whilst quick over one lap, lacks the race pace of rivals Ferrari, Red Bull, and Lotus on occasion.

The pits: Hamilton had to settle for starting fifth on the grid in the grand prix

The pits: Hamilton had to settle for starting fifth on the grid in the grand prix

Alonso declared himself 'very, very happy with third'.

It is the third successive race Alonso will start from third, adding: 'Normally we struggle a lot in qualifying, so this has put us in a strong position for the race.'

Lewis Hamilton hits the gym ahead of Malaysia Grand Prix

Hamilton hits the gym in Kuala Lumpur… then weighs in on McLaren's poor start

PUBLISHED:

12:32 GMT, 20 March 2013

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UPDATED:

15:57 GMT, 20 March 2013

Lewis Hamilton hit the gym today after weighing into a potential war of words with former team McLaren.

Hamilton, who was mobbed by fans during a signing session in Kuala Lumpur ahead of this weekend’s race in Malaysia, admitted he was surprised by McLaren’s miserable start to the new Formula One season.

The British team are facing up to a mini crisis after just one race with Jenson Button and Sergio Perez managing only ninth and 11th respectively in last Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix.

Iron man: Lewis Hamilton lifting weights ahead of the Malaysia Grand Prix

Iron man: Lewis Hamilton lifting weights ahead of the Malaysia Grand Prix

And speaking ahead of the next instalment of this year’s championship, Hamilton said of his old team: ‘I didn’t think they would struggle.

‘The car that I was working on with them was fantastic last year so I can only have assumed it would have been an evolution this year.’

In contrast to the troubles at his old team, Hamilton, who placed a credible fifth on his Mercedes debut, is hopeful his new outfit will soon be challenging for race victories.

Hit with the fans: Mercedes driver Hamilton meets the public in Kuala Lumpur

Hit with the fans: Mercedes driver Hamilton meets the public in Kuala Lumpur

Making their mark: Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg gives an autograph alongside his team-mate Hamilton

Making their mark: Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg gives an autograph alongside his team-mate Hamilton

‘I am really proud of my team now because we have done a great job with the new car and I feel really optimistic about the new upgrades and the developments,’ said Hamilton, who was speaking to Sky Sports News.

‘Coming here to Mercedes is a team that has really struggled over some time and I really hope we can get some results.

‘And I think because of the journey that we’ve been on if we do win any races than the satisfaction will be huge. ‘

Button can conjure the spirit of 2009 to reclaim crown, says new F1 presenter Suzi Perry

Button can capture the spirit of 2009 to reclaim crown, says BBC's new F1 presenter Suzi Perry

By
Andy James

PUBLISHED:

15:36 GMT, 12 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

18:16 GMT, 12 March 2013

Suzi Perry, the new female face of the BBC’s Formula One coverage, believes Jenson Button can repeat the heroics of 2009 to land this season’s coveted crown.

Speaking to Top Gear magazine Perry – who spent 10 years covering MotoGP for the Beeb – expresses doubt over Lewis Hamilton’s chances of landing his second title in his first year after switching to Mercedes.

And she also reveals how James Hunt first attracted her to the sport.

In with a shout: Perry believes Button, in his McLaren above, can reclaim the crown he won in 2009

In with a shout: Perry believes Button, in his McLaren above, can reclaim the crown he won in 2009

Button

Suzi Perry

Driving seat: Perry (right) is the face of the BBC's F1 coverage after taking charge of the MotoGP for ten years

The season curtain raiser in Australia takes place in five days’ time and Perry believes the changes to the tyres this year could see Button land his second championship, but there are number of other, less-fancied, challengers in the frame.

She said: ‘They’re quite a young crop really, when you think that Jenson’s now the most experienced driver on the grid.

'Then you look at the changes in tyre tech, and you’d have to say it suits Jenson, with the softer compounds and wider window of opportunity.

Long shot: Perry feels Lewis Hamilton's switch to Mercedes may prove a stumbling block

Long shot: Perry feels Lewis Hamilton's switch to Mercedes may prove a stumbling block

'Isn’t this the best opportunity for him to go out there and singing ‘We Are the Champions’ like he did in 2009

Top Gear

‘I’ve met the Williams drivers, and it was fascinating looking at their body language. But, Bottas… hmm, there’s something about him.

'He’s got this real-life Action Man thing going on, which is quite cool, something steely. Definitely a dark horse.

‘He also has a lot of fans already, and his girlfriend’s an Olympic swimmer – together they’re like Posh ’n’ Becks.

She added: ‘When I interviewed him the other day, he basically said they’re working towards a long-term goal. Put yourself in his shoes: you’ve come through McLaren since karting days, and that’s all you’ve known.

'It was purely that existence, with so many strong characters around him, so it’s no wonder he wanted to spread his wings. In his own words, he wanted to grow.

‘I think realistically there’s going to be a major shock if he challenges for the title this year, but there could be race wins. Why not’

She added: ‘As a kid, I remember always having F1 on the telly, going right back to James Hunt – I was six when he won the world championship.

'I remember it quite clearly – my dad was really into it, and my mum probably fancied Hunt.

‘Mind you, fair play, he was pretty handsome. When I was in my twenties, I took my bike licence and had a lot of friends who were bikers, so we used to ride together. Then I started covering MotoGP.'

Handsome: Perry remembers James Hunt, pictured in 1976, as the reason she became interested in motor-racing

Handsome: Perry remembers James Hunt, pictured in 1976, as the reason she became interested in motor-racing

The full interview appears in the latest issue of BBC Top Gear magazine, on sale now.

Valentine"s Day 2013: Premier League clubs offer selection of gifts

Love is in the air but would you really treat your loved on to a Chelsea belly bar Top clubs play cupid with Valentine's Day gifts…

By
Liv Lee

PUBLISHED:

10:04 GMT, 14 February 2013

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UPDATED:

12:14 GMT, 14 February 2013

There may not be much love between the clubs right now, with the Premier League title race end just coming into sight, but the same can’t be said for the fans.

And anyone hoping to combine their love of football with a bit of romance can be thrilled with the selection of gifts on offer from their club.

Manchester United fans can spoil their partner with a gold set of club earrings, sure to go well with any item of United clothing, for a not-so-bargain price of 59.99.

 Chelsea have a belly button bar on offer for the special day, while Liverpool are advertising personalised champagne

Chelsea have a belly button bar on offer for the special day, while Liverpool are advertising personalised champagne

Romantic Chelsea have a belly button bar on offer for the special day, while Liverpool are advertising personalised champagne

Elsewhere in Manchester the men should get more of a look-in, with Manchester City offering up a snappy pair of silver cufflinks, adorned with the City crest of course, for 45.00.

For those who want to decorate their body at a slightly lower price, Chelsea have a belly-button bar which is described as being ‘ideal for the Chelsea fanatic’ for less than 10.

West Ham fans can proudly display their team loyalty with a glittering wristwatch decorated with the team crest on the face for only 10, or for him there’s the option of a unique and original bubbles silk tie, sure to get anyone in the mood for a Valentines trip to the Boleyn Ground.

For her West Ham fans have the option of a glitzy wristwatch, while for him there's a special bubble tie

For her West Ham fans have the option of a glitzy wristwatch, while for him there's a special bubble tie

Valentine's selection: For her West Ham fans have the option of a glitzy wristwatch, while for him there's a special bubble tie

Reading fans are privy to a special offer on February 14th, and will be given an extra 14 per cent off when they buy two replica shirts together, while those at Southampton have the opportunity to personalise one of the club’s special Valentine’s Day cards for only 4.

For those who are feeling decadent, Liverpool have in their Valentine’s Day selection a bottle of personalised Rose wine, or, for those who are feeling particularly flush, a bottle of LFC Champagne along with two flutes.

Sunderland, meanwhile, are offering two lucky fans the chance to win a four course meal, courtesy of the club, as well as padded seats at a game and a signed Martin O’Neill rugby shirt in a Valentine’s competition open to those making purchases from their store.

Aston Villa are another team with a package on offer. For 50, couples can relax in a private pitch-side box with champagne, wine and a four-course meal, along with a hostess service, sure to create an atmosphere of romance.

Sergio Perez vows to beat Jenson Button next season

I'm here on merit! Perez vows to beat Button and silence critics who claim he's a 'pay driver'

By
Simon Cass

PUBLISHED:

15:29 GMT, 9 January 2013

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UPDATED:

15:29 GMT, 9 January 2013

Sergio Perez is determined to prove class not cash has earned him his big chance at McLaren by beating Jenson Button in his first season with his new team.

After arriving in style for his first day at work behind the wheel of a 195,000 McLaren road car, the 22-year-old Mexican insisted he is not fazed by the task of replacing Mercedes bound Lewis Hamilton.

And hitting back at claims he is a 'pay driver' who is only in Formula One thanks to the backing of billionaire countryman Carlos Slim, Perez vowed to silence the critics by seeing off the most experienced driver on the grid.

First day on the job: Perez is welcomed by his new team in Woking

First day on the job: Perez is welcomed by his new team in Woking

'I remember my first press conference everyone asked me what it felt like to be a pay driver,' said the 22-year-old Mexican who has spent the past two seasons cutting his teeth with Sauber.

'But it took me a long time to get into Formula One. I had to make a lot of sacrifices. And I think I showed from my very first race in F1 that I was not a pay driver.

'We have to accept that these days we have to come with support. But I was a runner-up in GP2 in 2010 and won five races that year.

'It made me angry at the beginning as people didn’t realise what I had sacrificed. I had to leave my family when I was 15 and live above a restaurant in Germany. But sooner or later you learn how to deal with it.'

Far from paying for his seat this season, impressive driving which brought a trio of podium finishes for Sauber last year convinced McLaren’s powerbrokers to hand Perez a contract worth 20million over the next three seasons.

And Perez fully intends to repay that faith by taking the fight to Button – the 2009 world champion who most assume will provide McLaren with their best chance of glory in the coming campaign.

Centre of attention: Perez is planning for the forthcoming F1 season

Centre of attention: Perez is planning for the forthcoming F1 season

'I think at the moment it looks like Jenson has experience, has the team,’ said Perez. 'He's a great champion – the most experienced driver in the paddock now. So I think I have a lot to learn from him. And obviously I want to beat him as well. I will be disappointed if I don’t beat him. I am here to win.'

'If you don’t expect to win you should go home. I am here to win the championship. That is the target.'

That said, Perez is adamant he should be judged on his own achievements in his first season with McLaren rather than those of Hamilton, his predecessor having come close to winning the drivers’ championship in his debut year before clinching the crown in the following campaign.

Perez said: 'I fully respect Lewis. I think he’s a great driver. Not only that but a very special personality. He’s great. I’m not here to compare myself to him. What he achieved here is incredible – he is the last world champion the team has so he has a lot of respect here. And I wish him all the best at his new team but there’s no point comparing myself to him.'

All smiles: Perez wants to beat Button

All smiles: Perez wants to beat Button

Indeed, Perez conceded he will have enough on his plate dealing with the intense spotlight that is part and parcel of being a McLaren driver.

'When you come into McLaren you realise that everyone is watching you,' he said. 'Not only the journalists watching through the window but the whole world.

'As a driver you always dream to drive for McLaren. To be here sitting down and giving my first interviews as a McLaren driver is a very special moment.

'I am quite surprised about, how warm the team is. How together the team is. From the outside it looks as if it might be a very cold team – very strict and very cold – but when I came here I was surprised at what a great family it is.

'To be part of that family is great. And if they choose me it’s because they saw I can deliver what we all want here – to win the world championship. I have to respond to the trust they put in me.'

Jensen Button beats Lewis Hamilton to British Driver of the Year award

No parting gift for Hamilton as Button beats him to British Driver of the Year award

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UPDATED:

12:12 GMT, 3 December 2012

Jenson Button was last night named British Driver of the Year beating outgoing McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton to the prestigious Autosport award.

Hamilton, who joins Mercedes in a controversial three-year deal next season, ended his McLaren career with more points, victories and pole-positions than his team-mate this term.

But it was Button who scooped the award for the third time in four years, seeing off competition from fellow F1 racers Hamilton and Paul Di Resta as well as Dario Franchitti, who won the Indy 500 for a third time this season, Touring Car Champion Rob Huff and DTM runner-up and McLaren reserve driver Gary Paffett,

Winner: Jensen Button has won the award for a third time in four years

Winner: Jensen Button has won the award for a third time in four years

TALE OF THE TAPE

Hamilton
Wins: 4
Pole positions 7
DNFs: 6
Points: 190

Button
Wins: 3
Pole Positions 1
DNFs: 2
Points 188

Button, who benefited from Hamilton’s retirement in Brazil to win the final race of the season, said:

‘It has been a very up and down year for us, but [winning in Brazil] was a great way to end the season and hopefully for all the guys working that’ll be good for 2013.’

After a disappointing season in 2011, Hamilton bounced back this term to enjoy arguably his best season for McLaren during his six-year spell with the British outfit.

But he was unable to mount a title challenge after retiring from the lead of three races at Singapore, Abu Dhabi and in Brazil, while a pit-stop gaffe and fuel error cost him big points at the Bahrain and Spanish Grands Prix.

Praise: Lewis Hamilton was backed by Button even though he is leaving for Mercedes

Praise: Lewis Hamilton was backed by Button even though he is leaving for Mercedes

And Button, who will be joined at McLaren by Sergio Perez in 2013, was quick to laud his outgoing team-mate after accepting his British Driver of the Year award.

Phil Duncan F1 blog

He said: ‘For me the excitement of going to McLaren was obviously in racing for the team, but it was also racing against Lewis. He’s unbelievably fast.

‘I love the role of being the experienced driver and that is definitely the case next year – I think I am the most experienced guy in F1 next year. Really looking forward to working with Checo [Sergio Perez] next year too, he has shown great speed and seems like he wants to learn, so it should be good fun.

‘I think this year we’ve shown there is a real heart to this team. They are so passionate about motor racing, they’ve been around for decades and achieved so much. They are very professional but they also have a lot of fun fighting for victories. It’s a big family and I didn’t expect that when I got there.’

Sebastian Vettel vows to stay at Red Bull until 2014

Triple-world champion Vettel vows to stay at Red Bull until at least end of 2014 season

|

UPDATED:

15:47 GMT, 26 November 2012

Sebastian Vettel can see no end in sight to the fairytale he is currently enjoying with Red Bull.

After becoming the youngest driver in Formula One history to clinch not just three titles, but to do so in succession, Vettel has reassured his team he has no intention of jumping ship.

The 25-year-old German has a contract with the Milton Keynes-based marque through to the end of 2014, which he has again insisted he will honour.

Game on: Vettel celebrates his third world title with Red Bull

Game on: Vettel celebrates his third world title with Red Bull

That was a reference to the fact that Vettel was linked with Ferrari for 2014 at various stages throughout the campaign, a situation that could be viewed as an attempt at destabilisation.

After finishing sixth in Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix to win the title by three points as Fernando Alonso could only finish second behind Jenson Button, Vettel mentioned 'a lot of people tried to play dirty tricks', but refused to expand. The question now is with three championships to his name, what could motivate him to remain with Red Bull

'The next challenge First of all I want to enjoy now,' Vettel said. 'I've tried to explain the whole time the most important thing is to be in the present. I don't want to get carried away with next year.

Centre of attention: The Red Bull driver is the youngest triple world champion in F1 history

Centre of attention: The Red Bull driver is the youngest triple world champion in F1 history

'I'm very happy now and I want to have a good time with the guys, and then surely at some stage you try to recharge the batteries.

'It's been a tough, long season and I want to come back in shape next year. 'But I'm with the team. I have a contract until the end of 2014 and I'm very happy with what we have achieved so far, and I don't think this story is over yet.

'So I'm very happy and extremely committed to give everything I have in the next (two) years when I'm with them.

Facing the wrong way: Vettel finished sixth after spinning on the opening lap in Brazil

Facing the wrong way: Vettel finished sixth after spinning on the opening lap in Brazil

'At the moment I don't see any point thinking about another team or something else. I'm extremely happy in the position I am in because it's incredible what we have achieved.'

Vettel also refused to suggest he could one day eclipse Michael Schumacher's records of seven titles, 91 race wins and 68 poles.

Although firmly on his way with three championships, 26 victories and 36 poles, Vettel said: 'I'm not commenting on that because it's nonsense.

'Whatever he has achieved in his career is unbelievable. People tend to forget he was dominant like no other driver ever in Formula One during his time.'

Meanwhile Alonso has called on Ferrari to get their heads down over the winter and find him the speed he needs to end his agonising wait for his own third Formula One world title.

'For the future we need to improve the car,' said Alonso. 'We have the best team in terms of approaching and preparing for the races, we've had zero mechanical problems this season, and we've had good pitstops, good starts, good strategy, but we were too slow.

'We were behind the Red Bulls, the McLarens, and in the last couple of grands prix, behind Williams and Force India. We were clearly slower than them in pace.

'So this is something we must improve next year because we cannot fight for a world championship if we are too slow. We can be a little slower, but not that much.'

Lewis Hamilton farewell to McLaren

Hamilton rues Brazil crash as Brit bids emotional farewell to McLaren

|

UPDATED:

22:41 GMT, 25 November 2012

A numb Lewis Hamilton bade an emotional farewell to McLaren as his six-year journey with the team ended in bitter frustration.

Just seven days after the ultimate high of victory in the United States Grand Prix came a gut-wrenching low after crashing out in an extraordinary race in Brazil when in the lead.

It is the third time in the last seven races Hamilton has lost out on a maximum haul of points when front running, epitomising the turbulent campaign he has been forced to endure.

End of an era: Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button celebrate the latter's win in Brazil

End of an era: Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button celebrate the latter's win in Brazil

On this occasion, with mayhem taking place all over Interlagos, the 27-year-old was slid into by Force India's Nico Hulkenberg as the German attempted to regain a lead he had earlier lost to Hamilton.

The resulting damage of a broken front-left suspension saw Hamilton retire for the fifth time this year, and a walk back to the garage where he was given a standing ovation.

For Hamilton, there is now a month off before joining Mercedes on January 1 on a three-year deal, but not after many goodbyes to a team he has been associated with for the last 14 years.

'I don't remember too much about the accident with Nico, but he came to see me after the race, which was nice,' said Hamilton.

Over and out: Hamilton collided with Nico Hulkenberg and his race was finished

Over and out: Hamilton collided with Nico Hulkenberg and his race was finished

Over and out: Hamilton collided with Nico Hulkenberg and his race was finished

'Now the season is done and dusted, I feel a bit numb. It's been a day of mixed emotions, and I'm sad I didn't finish the race.

'But I'm excited about the future. I'll miss my friends and McLaren, but I'm optimistic about what lies ahead for me.

'I feel comfortable going into this winter because I feel I did a good job this year. I gave 2012 everything I had. I couldn't have done anything more.

'It's been a brilliant experience to be a part of McLaren over the past six years.

'I want to thank everyone, and sincerely wish everyone the very best for the future.

'They've been fantastic, so supportive, and they continue to do an amazing job, so to everyone at McLaren, I'll miss each and every one of you.'

Head to head: Hamilton and Button had one final battle (above) before hugging it out (below)

Head to head: Hamilton and Button had one final battle (above) before hugging it out (below)

Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton at least wore a rocket-red victory top one final time, even if not in the circumstances he had hoped for, given team-mate Jenson Button inherited the victory following his collision with Hulkenberg.

It was Button's third triumph of the year for McLaren, and enough to see him finish ahead of Hamilton on total points over their three-year partnership.

Once the furore had died down, Button paid a heart-felt tribute to Hamilton as he said: 'I had a lot of fun racing with him, especially for the first 10 laps. We had a really good, clean fight.

'It's a pity he wasn't still there at the end, but it was nice to have such a great dice with him in our last race as McLaren team-mates.

'And I really want to say this: 'It's been so good working with you, Lewis. Over the past few years, we've driven a lot of great races together. It's been fab'.'

Lewis Hamilton forced to back down in helmet row: McLaren star left red-faced by offensive message

Lewis forced to back down in helmet row: McLaren star left red-faced by offensive message

|

UPDATED:

21:13 GMT, 17 November 2012

Lewis Hamilton has been forced into
his fifth embarrassing climbdown of the season after ditching a
specially designed helmet for the USA Grand Prix which bore a highly
offensive message.

During Friday practice, Hamilton wore
a Stars and Stripes crash helmet bearing the initials H.A.M. – short
for 'hard as a m*****f*****'.

However, in practice and qualifying sessions, the offending acronym was nowhere to be seen.

Tough guy: Lewis Hamilton shows off his helmet

Tough guy: Lewis Hamilton shows off his helmet

Hamilton had reverted to the
standard yellow helmet design adopted early in his career to match the
colours of his great racing hero, Ayrton Senna.

A McLaren insider would only say: 'He
has decided to take it off.' But it is safe to assume the Woking team's
hierarchy took an extremely dim view of the latest ill-judged stunt
from their driver, who leaves for Mercedes at the end of the season.

Indeed, Hamilton had already used the
phrase in a tweet before opting to take it down for fear of causing
offence, so his decision to use it in such a public fashion once again
is highly bemusing.

So far this season, Hamilton has had
to apologise tweeting his displeasure at being beaten to pole position
in Belgium by team-mate Jenson Button after being infuriated by the
joint decision to run an older spec rear wing.


Lewis Hamilton of McLaren

Worse was to follow when Hamilton
escaped sanction by his team after posting sensitive telemetry data on
his Twitter site comparing his speed to that of Button's in Spa.

Then there was the infamous rant at
Button for 'unfollowing' him on Twitter, which was swiftly followed by a
public apology after he discovered he had never been followed by his
team-mate.

The latest incident comes hot on the
heels of a warning by the sport's governing body, the FIA , for drivers
to mind their language after both Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen
swore on live television during their podium interviews.

Vettel was at it again in the pre-race press conference in Austin, using the F-word, although he thought his microphone was off.

In fairness, the manner in which Vettel and Red Bull have stormed back this season to lead the championship with two races to go is perhaps enough of an excuse to have their rivals turning the air blue.

Hamilton has warned new team Mercedes they must find a way to emulate the stunning achievements of Red Bull.

In position: Sebastian Vettel is close to another championship

In position: Sebastian Vettel is close to another championship

Red Bull stand on the verge of clinching a remarkable third successive constructors' title at the race on the outskirts of Austin, despite this being only their eighth season in the sport.

Meanwhile, Vettel is odds-on to make it three drivers' title in as many years.

Hamilton has been forced to watch their dominance as even the mighty McLaren have been left trailing in their wake.

'Red Bull took five years to be champions, so hopefully we can do it quicker than that,' said Hamilton.

'That is what our target must be. Red Bull have set the target for every team.'

Insisting that he simply has not had the equipment to compete with Vettel on a regular basis, Hamilton added: 'Sebastian's team have done a better job, and he's done the job with the car they've given him.

'I was fortunate to arrive at McLaren when they were competitive. It's just unfortunate that we weren't able to continue that every year.'

Arsenal 5 Tottenham 2 match report: Emmanuel Adebayor sent off as Gunners win derby

Arsenal 5 Tottenham 2: Adebayor opens scoring before seeing red for desperate lunge as Gunners seal derby delight

|

UPDATED:

15:29 GMT, 17 November 2012

A moment of madness from Emmanuel Adebayor sparked a spectacular Tottenham collapse as Arsenal romped to victory in today's entertaining north London derby at the Emirates Stadium.

Adebayor scored against his former employers to give Tottenham a 10th-minute lead, but he pressed the self-destruct button seven minutes later when he was given a straight red for a horrific sliding tackle on the excellent Santi Cazorla.

Tottenham struggled to cope with the numerical disadvantage thereafter and it only took a few minutes for Per Mertesacker to equalise.

Lunge: Adebayor was shown a straight red card for a wild tackle on Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla

Lunge: Adebayor was shown a straight red card for a wild tackle on Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla

Red hot: Theo Walcott scored the final goal as Hugo Lloris shipped five

Red hot: Theo Walcott scored the final goal as Hugo Lloris shipped five

Match facts

Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Arteta, Wilshere (Ramsey 72), Cazorla, Walcott, Podolski (Santos 80), Giroud (Oxlade-Chamberlain 86).

Subs: Mannone, Jenkinson, Coquelin, Arshavin.

Booked: Podolski

Goals: Mertesacker 24, Podolski 42, Giroud 45+1, Cazorla 60, Walcott 90+1.

Tottenham: Lloris, Walker (Dawson 46), Gallas, Vertonghen, Naughton (Dempsey 46), Lennon, Sandro, Huddlestone (Carroll 72), Bale, Adebayor, Defoe.

Subs: Friedel, Livermore, Townsend, Sigurdsson.

Booked: Lennon, Sandro

Sent off: Adebayor

Goals: Adebayor 10, Bale 71.

Att: 60,111

Ref: Howard Webb.

The latest Premier League table, fixtures and results

Lukas Podolski's strike, and Olivier
Giroud's fifth goal in his last five games gave Arsenal a comfortable
two-goal cushion by half-time.

Tottenham fared slightly better in the
second half, but their only reward came through a Gareth Bale
consolation after Cazorla killed the contest.

To add insult to injury Theo Walcott
grabbed a deserved goal in injury time to make the score the same as the
5-2 win that Arsenal used as a springboard for their Champions League
assault last season.

Arsenal's victory means they jump
above Tottenham in the table, while Spurs have now suffered four
successive defeats under Andre Villas-Boas, who will have questions to
answer about why he decided to play Adebayor if there were doubts about
whether the striker could keep a lid on his emotions.

It was clear from the off that
Adebayor was pumped up for the clash. After being snubbed by his former
team-mates in the tunnel, he tussled aggressively with Jack Wilshere for
the ball inside the first minute.

The Togolese's every touch was booed
during an opening five minutes which was bereft of goal-mouth action,
but packed with passion thanks to the white-hot atmosphere inside the
Emirates Stadium.

Protest: The Togo international was given his marching orders by referee Howard Webb

Protest: The Togo international was given his marching orders by referee Howard Webb

Protest: The Togo international was given his marching orders by referee Howard Webb

William Gallas, whose status as a
former Gunner also meant he was jeered constantly, thought he had given
Spurs an early lead when he intercepted Tom Huddlestone's shot and
curled a shot past Wojciech Szczesny, but the Frenchman was correctly
given offside.

One minute later Spurs did have the
lead, however, through their controversial number 10. Szczesny palmed
Jermain Defoe's shot in to Adebayor's path and he twisted his body to
tap in to an empty net.

Net gains: Adebayor had given the away side a deserved lead after tapping home with 10 minutes gone at the Emirates

Net gains: Adebayor had given the away side a deserved lead after tapping home with 10 minutes gone at the Emirates

Net gains: Adebayor had given the away side a deserved lead after tapping home with 10 minutes gone at the Emirates

Net gains: Adebayor had given the away side a deserved lead after tapping home with 10 minutes gone at the Emirates

The striker, famed for running the
whole length of the pitch to celebrate in front of Arsenal's fans three
years ago, hurdled the advertising boards and goaded the irate home
support.

Such was the vitriol against Adebayor that some of the home fans were ejected for hurling abuse at the 28-year-old.

Seven minutes later the home fans were jeering Adebayor off after his awful foul on Cazorla.

Studs showing, the Spurs striker
propelled himself in to a high tackle on the Spaniard, who was in
mid-air and Howard Webb had no option but to send the player off.

Head boy: Mertesacker scored his first goal for the club with a well-executed header

Head boy: Mertesacker scored his first goal for the club with a well-executed header

Head boy: Mertesacker scored his first goal for the club with a well-executed header

Head boy: Mertesacker scored his first goal for the club with a well-executed header

Arsenal peppered the Tottenham box as the visitors struggled to cope with the one-man deficit.

The inevitable equaliser came after 23
minutes. Walcott latched on to Wilshere's ball and crossed for
Mertesacker, who headed past Hugo Lloris after Huddlestone went missing
in the box.

Villas-Boas checked his notepad for
inspiration, but he must have known there was little he could do to stop
Arsenal from taking the lead.

Lloris, making just his second league start, did his best to keep the Gunners out, saving twice in succession from Giroud.

On target: Podolski celebrates after giving Arsenal the lead shortly before the interval

On target: Podolski celebrates after giving Arsenal the lead shortly before the interval

Cazorla bent a swirling drive just
over Lloris' bar as Tottenham tried to hold on until the break, but
Huddlestone then gifted the Gunners the lead.

The midfielder, recalled to the
England squad this week, poked Mikel Arteta's pass unwittingly in to the
path of Podolski and his shot deflected off Gallas past Lloris.

Arsenal bagged their third in
first-half injury time. Kyle Naughton knocked Cazorla down but he picked
himself up and squared to Giroud, who beat Gallas to the ball and
dispatched a close-range finish.

French fancy: Giroud celebrates with Walcott after scoring a third for the hosts in first-half stoppage time

French fancy: Giroud celebrates with Walcott after scoring a third for the hosts in first-half stoppage time

Kyle Walker and Bale remonstrated with
Webb as they left the field at half-time, but in reality there was
little they could complain about.

Villas-Boas brought on Michael Dawson
and Clint Dempsey and moved to 3-5-1, but the move made little impact as
Arsenal remained in control.

Lloris managed to keep the hosts out
for 14 minutes before Arsenal hit on the break through Walcott and
Podolski, who found Cazorla at the back post and he made no mistake from
five yards.

Santi Cazorla

Reign in Spain: Cazorla scored the home side's fourth goal after the interval at the Emirates

Santi Cazorla

Only a crucial block by Gallas stopped
Arsenal from scoring their fifth as the hosts threatened a
record-breaking victory margin.

Bale then restored a bit of pride for
the away side with 20 minutes to go when he outpaced Mertesacker and
drove past Szczesny through Laurent Koscielny's legs.

Flashes of Spurs' Bale-inspired near
comeback against Inter Milan flashed in to the minds of the away support
as the winger again went charging down the left and cut in to the box
but this time the his shot flew wide.

Hope: Bale scored with a right-footed effort after 71 minutes

Hope: Bale scored with a right-footed effort after 71 minutes

As the clock ticked towards 90 minutes Tottenham started to throw more bodies forward, but they were left exposed at the back.

Defoe attempted a 10-yard volley while
unmarked at the back post but he missed the ball Thomas Vermaelen shot
just wide and Arsenal finished off the rout in injury time when Alex
Oxlade-Chamberlain took advantage of a Jan Vertonghen mistake to play in
Walcott.

Job done: Walcott completes the rout in stoppage time

Job done: Walcott completes the rout in stoppage time