Tag Archives: christian

Bernie Ecclestone says Sebastian Vettel was right to overtake Mark Webber in Malaysian Grand Prix

Vettel was right to pass team-mate Webber, says Ecclestone after Malaysia controversy

By
Sunni Upal

PUBLISHED:

18:46 GMT, 27 March 2013

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UPDATED:

23:40 GMT, 27 March 2013

Formula one chief Bernie Ecclestone has backed three-time world champion Sebastian Vettel and said the German was right to ignore team orders and pass Mark Webber to win the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Webber led his Red Bull team-mate Vettel on Sunday before being told to turn his engine down, save his tyres and coast to victory in Sepang.

But world champion Vettel defied team orders and squeezed past Webber on the pit straight in the dying stages to win the race.

Tight: Sebastian Vettel ignored team orders and squeezed past Mark Webber to win in Malaysia

Tight: Sebastian Vettel ignored team orders and squeezed past Mark Webber to win in Malaysia

Authority: Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone

Authority: Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone

Vettel later admitted he was wrong to
pass Webber, but Ecclestone disagreed and claimed that the German did
not undermine team principal Christian Horner by ignoring the radio
messages.

He told Sky Sports News:
'If I was Sebastian Vettel, having won three world championships with
the team, and somebody came on the radio to me and started giving me
instructions I’d probably do exactly the same as Kimi Raikkonen did when
he came back when they gave him some instructions the other day and say
“I know what I’m doing”.

'I don’t think he’s (Vettel) undermined
Christian’s authority at all because Christian knows exactly what should
have happened and didn’t happen.

'Put yourself in Christian’s
position. What should he now do Did he give orders in the first place
and if he did how could he then give more orders

'I think what you have to do is think
very carefully and I always say “show me a good loser and I’ll show you
a loser”. Sebastian is not a loser. Sebastian is a winner.'

Stare: The tension between Webber and Vettel on the podium was clear for all to see

Stare: The tension between Webber and Vettel on the podium was clear for all to see

Ecclestone also laughed off any suggestions that Red Bull would suspend Vettel from racing in the next grand prix in China.

He said: 'Leave Sebastian out No I
don’t think I’d give that any consideration! I’d say to Sebastian,
“Sebastian – just don’t make me look an idiot”.'

The Formula One boss does, however,
believe Vettel and Webber can race as team-mates again after speculation
that the Aussie was considering his future with the team.

Ecclestone said: 'Yes, of course they will, obviously they will. I don’t know about (beyond 2013).'

Tension: Webber refused to celebrate with his team-mate on the podium

Tension: Webber refused to celebrate with his team-mate on the podium

McLaren apologise to Red Bull for ruining Mark Webber"s start after ECU problem at Australian Grand Prix

McLaren apologise to Red Bull after ruining Webber's start in Melbourne

By
Simon Cass

PUBLISHED:

20:06 GMT, 19 March 2013

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UPDATED:

20:06 GMT, 19 March 2013

McLaren have been forced to apologise to their Red Bull rivals for wrecking Mark Webber’s start to his home grand prix in Australia.

A software problem with the engine control unit (ECU) – the electronic brain supplied to all Formula One teams by McLaren which controls the powertrain, drag reduction system and acts as a car's primary data system – meant Webber’s system had to be rebooted during the formation lap.

That lack of vital information caused Webber to tumble through the order from second on the grid before eventually finishing sixth.

Compromised: Mark Webber suffered an ECU problem on the formation lap and lost ground at the start

Compromised: Mark Webber suffered an ECU problem on the formation lap and lost ground at the start

It's their fault: Red Bull team principal Christian Horner blamed McLaren for Webber's awful start in Melbourne

It's their fault: Red Bull team principal Christian Horner blamed McLaren for Webber's awful start in Melbourne

Home grand prix: Webber finished sixth on Sunday

Home grand prix: Webber finished sixth on Sunday

Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner, leapt to the defence of his driver post-race after he faced criticism for what appeared to be yet another poor start.

‘You need to go and ask McLaren why the ECU didn't work,’ said Horner. ‘That totally messed up his preparation.

‘By the time we'd reset the system, he'd lost the start and lost early ground.

'It's something they need to get on top of because there have been a lot of issues in early-season testing.’

After performing their own investigation, McLaren have issued a statement accepting they were at fault.

It read: ‘Mark and the team have our apology. We are working together with them to prevent any recurrence.’

The ECU is a new design for the 2013 season and has been introduced in preparation for the switch from V8’s to turbo-charged V6 engines next season.

Mark Webber told he has Red Bull future if he performs well

We'll keep renewing Webber's deal if he's still producing the goods, claim Red Bull

By
Ian Parkes, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

19:18 GMT, 12 March 2013

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UPDATED:

19:45 GMT, 12 March 2013

Mark Webber has been assured of his place at Red Bull providing he continues to deliver for the team.

Not for the first time going into a new Formula One season, Webber is apparently facing the end of the road.

As a driver operating on a rolling one-year contract with Red Bull, and with the Australian turning 37 in August, there are many who doubt how long he can continue in the sport.

Keep it up: Mark Webber must perform well if he is to secure a new deal

Keep it up: Mark Webber must perform well if he is to secure a new deal

For his part, Webber has made it clear he still has the motivation to become a champion and firmly believes he has the support of the team to help him achieve such a goal.

Despite that, the speculation will always persist about Webber, in particular given the fact his team-mate Sebastian Vettel has won the world title for the last three years.

But team principal Christian Horner said: 'The last three years have apparently been Mark's last.

'Yet he has been retained by the team because of what he has done in the car, and again the same rules apply this year.

Retained: Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner (left) says Webber knows what he needs to do

Retained: Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner (left) says Webber knows what he needs to do

'We want the strongest pairing and Mark has contributed significantly to our constructors' world championships over the last three years, and even came close to winning his own title in 2010.

'Mark has been employed by the team to do the best job he can and he knows what's expected of him.

'There are an awful lot of drivers who would like to be sat in a Red Bull car but Mark is there on merit, and while he delivers for the team he will have that place.'

Chit chat: Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson with Webber

Chit chat: Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson with Webber

It was Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko who fuelled the debate about Webber earlier this year by questioning his mental strength and his consistency.

Marko suggested Webber can be unbeatable for a couple of races, but is unable to maintain such form over a year.

Asked whether Webber has it within him to deliver on a more regular basis, Horner added: “The difficulty for Mark is he is constantly judged against a young man in the other car who has achieved so much.

'What Seb's done in 101 races, with 26 victories, being a three-time world champion, youngest points scorer, pole winner, race winner, is remarkable.

Judged: Some say Webber can produce good short term results but cannot hold his form over the season

Judged: Some say Webber can produce good short term results but cannot hold his form over the season

'Mark's being constantly measured against a driver that is, in my view, the best of a generation and that makes it harder for him.

'But at the same time Mark measures the opportunity of being measured against the best.

'He has also demonstrated on his day he can be unbeatable and he does just need to string a campaign together, with 19 of those performances.

'He's improved as he's matured. Last year he drove very well, and if he can get off to a good start and build up some momentum this season that will be important for his campaign.

'Above all, if we didn't think he could still do it then we wouldn't have taken him for another year with the team.'

Southampton sack Nigel Adkins

Southampton SACK Adkins and replace him with Pochettino just two days after drawing away at champions of Europe Chelsea

By
Sami Mokbel

PUBLISHED:

10:40 GMT, 18 January 2013

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UPDATED:

11:58 GMT, 18 January 2013

Nigel Adkins has been sacked by Southampton despite the club sitting three points above the Barclays Premier League relegation zone.

The decision comes just 48 hours after his side fought back for a draw at giants Chelsea.

Southampton have suffered just one defeat in their last seven Premier League games, a run which includes wins over Aston Villa and Reading and draws at Stamford Bridge and at home to Arsenal.

Mauricio Pochettino has been named the club's new manager after talks with executive chairman Nicola Cortese.

Encourage: Nigel Adkins saw his side recover from 2-0 down Chelsea to draw 2-2 with the European champions

Encouraging: Nigel Adkins saw his side recover from 2-0 down at Chelsea to draw 2-2 with the European champions and move three points away from the relegation zone

Sportsmail revealed last week that Adkins' future was still under review by Cortese despite the club's upsurge in fortunes.

And last weekend's win over Aston Villa and the gutsy 2-2 draw at Chelsea did nothing to convince Cortese that Adkins has a long-term future at the club.

The Italian had long-standing doubts over Adkins' ability to manage in the Premier League and sounded out Christian Gross and Roberto Di Matteo about the manager's role.

In the frame: Pochettino (Pictured) has been targeted by Cortese as he looks to replace Adkins

In the frame: Pochettino (Pictured) has been targeted by Cortese as he looks to replace Adkins

Adkins was hopeful that he will be given until at least the end of the season.

Pochettino's name might already be familiar to football fans in the country as it was his foul on Michael Owen that led to David Beckham's winning penalty in England's 1-0 win over Argentina in World Cup 2002.

The 40-year-old was sacked as Espanyol
manager in November after the club's poor start to the La Liga campaign.
The Barcelona based side were bottom of the league with just nine
points from their first 13 games.

Foul play: Mauricio Pochettino will be remembered by England fans after tripping Michael Owen during the 2002 World Cup which gave David Beckham the chance to score his famous penalty

Foul play: Mauricio Pochettino will be remembered by England fans after tripping Michael Owen during the 2002 World Cup which gave David Beckham the chance to score his famous penalty

McLaren worse without Lewis Hamilton – Christian Horner

Red Bull team principal Horner says McLaren will be worse without Hamilton

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UPDATED:

08:37 GMT, 28 November 2012

McLaren will be a poorer team next season without Lewis Hamilton, according to Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.

Hamilton, who joins Mercedes on a three-year deal in 2013, saw his lengthy association with the British team end in failure after he was forced to retire from the lead of the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Hamilton will be replaced by Sergio Perez, who failed to score a single point in the six races since his move to McLaren was announced in September.

Impact: Christian Horner thinks McLaren will miss Lewis Hamilton

Impact: Christian Horner thinks McLaren will miss Lewis Hamilton

Switch: Hamilton (right) is leaving for Mercedes in 2013

Switch: Hamilton (right) is leaving for Mercedes in 2013

‘McLaren is a weaker team without Lewis,’ said Horner. ‘They would admit that.’

‘Lewis is an outstanding driver and in Lewis and Jenson Button they had a hugely strong driver line-up.’

Hamilton joins a Mercedes team who ended the season desperately off the pace.

But Horner, who last night joined over 500 of his Red Bull colleagues in celebrating Sebastian Vettel’s world championship triumph, still believes Hamilton will be a contender for the title next term.

‘Whichever team had taken Lewis, he will be an asset,’ Horner added.

‘Lewis will naturally bring performance to Mercedes. Fernando Alonso, Lewis and indeed Jenson are very strong threats for next year.’

Vettel completed a hat-trick of titles last Sunday after finishing sixth at the season-ending race in Brazil.

Chat: Mark Webber, Horner, Sebastian Vettel, David Coulthard and Adrian Newey speak to the Red Bull team

Chat: Mark Webber, Horner, Sebastian Vettel, David Coulthard and Adrian Newey speak to the Red Bull team

The 25-year-old German fought his way from the back of the pack after a collision with the Williams of Bruno Senna on the opening lap to beat Alonso to the title by just three points.

Phil Duncan F1 blog

After strong comeback drives in Abu Dhabi, where he finished third after starting from the pit-lane, and in Interlagos, Vettel has done his best to dampen accusations that his strongest performances only come from the front of the pack.

‘It’s actually a little bit of comedy to look back now and you were the driver who can’t overtake,’ said Vettel. ‘Now after just two races people have changed their mind.

‘To win from the front or to come through the field it is the same thing. You still do your best.

‘People credit the fact that you have overtaken drivers more than pulling away from the front and building a lead.

‘Maybe they don’t understand how much it is worth to pull out a gap’

Vettel was gifted sixth place in Sunday’s rain-hit race after Michael Schumacher allowed his fellow countryman to pass with relative ease.

Triple champ: Vettel (left) secured his third consecutive F1 drivers title at the weekend

Triple champ: Vettel (left) secured his third consecutive F1 drivers title at the weekend

It was Schumacher’s final grand prix before retiring from the sport for a second time, and Horner believes the manoeuvre was very significant.

‘Michael is renowned for being a tough racer but it was his gesture to Sebastian,’ added Horner.

‘It was almost like passing the baton on. It wouldn’t have been well received at his former team but Michael obviously felt it was something he wanted to do and it was very generous.’

On Schumacher, Vettel, who could challenge his fellow countryman’s incredible record of seven world titles, added: ‘He is extremely happy for me.

‘It is a great gift and great part of your character if you can be truly happy for somebody else because I think there is a lot of guys who pretend to be happy buy they’re not.

‘In that regard it is impressive after what he has achieved.’

Sebastian Vettel earns Red Bull employees 10k bonus each

Cheers Seb! Over 550 Red Bull employees pick up 10k each after Vettel wins title

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UPDATED:

12:03 GMT, 27 November 2012

Christmas has come early for the employees at Red Bull Racing.

Each member of the 550-strong team will
land a cool 10,000 bonus after Sebastian Vettel wrapped up his third
drivers’ title on the bounce following Sunday’s dramatic Brazilian Grand Prix.

The 25-year-old German fought his way from the back of the field to finish sixth and deny Fernando Alonso the title by just three points.

Centre of attention: Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel surrounded by his colleagues... who each picked up a cool 10k

Centre of attention: Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel surrounded by his colleagues… who each picked up a cool 10k

It was Red Bull’s second success in as many weeks after they sealed the constructors’ championship at the penultimate round of the season in Austin.

In a recent interview with Sportsmail, team principal Christian Horner stressed that the key ingredient behind his team’s unprecedented success was its ‘people’.

And they’ll now be rewarded with a tidy bonus just in time for the festive season after securing an incredible three drivers’ and constructors’ titles on the spin.

Blow: When Hamilton's car got damaged McLaren paid the price to the tune of 7m

Blow: When Hamilton's car got damaged McLaren paid the price to the tune of 7m

Vettel, his team-mate Mark Webber and Horner will make a triumphant return to the Red Bull factory in Milton Keynes today, where they’ll be given the chance to celebrate their triumph with fellow Red Bull colleagues.

Over at rivals McLaren however, the picture isn’t quite so rosy.

Lewis Hamilton’s retirement from the lead of the season-ending race in Brazil has cost the British team in excess of 7million in prize money – the difference between finishing second and third in the constructors’ championship.

McLaren were on course to leapfrog Ferrari in the standings before Hamilton was denied victory in his final race for the Woking-based outfit after he sustained irreparable suspension damage in a collision with the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg.

Christian Benteke interview: Striker makes big impression at Villa Park, Thierry Henry is his idol

Onward Christian soldier: Benteke makes big impression at Villa Park

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 23 November 2012

Christian Benteke has been an imposing presence on the football pitch all his life. But that hasn’t always been an advantage.

Indeed, as a young footballer, the Aston Villa forward often had to provide proof of his age before being allowed to play.

‘Other teams didn’t believe me,’ he said. ‘When I played I always had to produce my national identity card to prove I was the age I said I was.

Big impact: Christian Benteke has impressed Villa fans as he makes his mark in England

Big impact: Christian Benteke has impressed Villa fans as he makes his mark in England

‘I was 14 years old at the time. They thought I was five years older because I was much bigger than everyone else. I’ve seen players change positions after I’ve walked on to a pitch. One time they refused to play. I heard them talking about it but I carried on and they played in the end.

‘Another time they just didn’t believe how old I was and I couldn’t play. So I left a photocopy of my card at the club permanently so, if anyone asked, we could prove how old I was.’

Benteke grins. He is 6ft 3in tall. Powerfully built, but lean.

And boy, is he strong! When Chris Smalling made the mistake of trying to shoulder-charge the Belgium striker two weeks ago, the Manchester United and England defender came off second best. /11/23/article-2237606-162B955F000005DC-687_634x427.jpg” width=”634″ height=”427″ alt=”No returns: Belgian Benteke has not been back to the Congo since his parents fled with him when he was three” class=”blkBorder” />

No returns: Belgian Benteke has not been back to the Congo since his parents fled with him when he was three

‘My favourite moment was after he left Arsenal and, when he comes back, he scores against Leeds in the FA Cup. I think if you like football you have to feel some emotion over that.’

It’s difficult not to feel grateful for your lot when you hear Benteke talk, without a hint of bitterness, about the sacrifices his father Jean-Pierre, then employed in the military, made when he decided to uproot his family to escape the Mobutu regime in the Congo, or Zaire as it was known.

Trouble has flared once more in central Africa this week. Benteke, 21, has never returned to the country of his birth, but sends money home to help out the family who remained.

‘We weren’t living near the fighting but my father was in the military and anticipated that it would reach us,’ he said.

‘He didn’t want to take any risks but my uncle and aunt are still there. We have several relations there, too.

‘They are OK at the moment, the conflict is nowhere near them. But it is still a worry.

‘In our culture we shelter our families, so I do that with mine. I send them money to make sure things are OK. They have spoken to my parents to tell them they are fine. I have heard from friends that Congo has beautiful parts.

‘I left when I was young and I’ve never been back. I want to see where it was that I grew up, where I was born. It’s important for me, the history, it’s something I want to tell my children about. So, I’ll go when it’s safe. I’m still young, I’m sure I will have the chance to go back.’

Up for the cup: Benteke of Aston Villa celebrates his winning goal against Swindon in the Capital One cup with Gabriel Agbonlahor

Up for the cup: Benteke of Aston Villa celebrates his winning goal against Swindon in the Capital One cup with Gabriel Agbonlahor

It’s clear from Benteke’s description of his father that he is a disciplinarian. ‘He’s strict on me because of life, because of my little brother and sister, because he has seen what can happen,’ Benteke continued.

‘But he says “Well done” to me. Well, he does sometimes. He’s more likely to tell me when I’m s***. After the Manchester United game, he said, “Well played”, but then asked me why I didn’t score…’

And so to Benteke’s growing reputation.

He has scored four times already after becoming an 8million deadline-day purchase from Belgian Jupiler League club Genk.

There’s also that memorable tussle with Smalling which has gone down in Villa folklore.

‘Off the field, I have respect for all of these players because they play for famous clubs,’ he said. ‘On the park, it’s different. I have to show I want to win.

Watch out: Thomas Vermaelen should prepare for a battle with Benteke

Watch out: Thomas Vermaelen should prepare for a battle with Benteke

‘I want to know who I’m up against but, once the game starts, it’s more important for Villa to win than for me to push over one defender.

‘Here, the defenders are stronger. You have to fight them.

‘I was playing against (Manchester City’s fellow Belgian international) Vincent Kompany last week — he told me during the game we were no longer friends.

‘And, hopefully, against Arsenal I’ll be playing against (another Belgian) Thomas Vermaelen. He’s a great player, for sure, but during the game I think we’re gonna have a fight.’

Apologies in advance, Arsene. But Christian Benteke really doesn’t know any other way.

Christian Benteke and his Villa team-mates have donated 25,000 to the Premier League Players’ Kit Scheme, a Barclays and PFA initiative.

The scheme is now accepting applications at www.premierleague.com from U16 schools, clubs and youth organisations.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic"s best goals

Reckon the propeller kick is special It might not even be Ibrahimovic's best goal… check out his greatest hits

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UPDATED:

09:52 GMT, 15 November 2012

It was immediately dubbed the ‘greatest goal ever’ and why not

A quite sublime piece of audacity from Zlatan Ibrahimovic set the seal on an outstanding four-goal performance as Sweden beat England 4-2 in Stockholm last night.

It was the perfect riposte to those who have called him ‘overrated’ and those cheeky England fans who thought him inferior to Andy Carroll.

For Zlatan, though, it was also the latest masterpiece to add to an impressive collection of breath-taking goals. Enjoy some of his best here.

Watch Ibrahimovic's goals from last night here

Special: Ibrahimovic soaks up the acclaim of his home crowd after yet another spectacular goal against England last night

Special: Ibrahimovic soaks up the acclaim of his home crowd after yet another spectacular goal against England last night

Tying opposition defences in knots for Ajax

Ibrahimovic was a long way short of the finished product we see today when at Ajax, but his stock was rising with each of his 48 goals in 110 appearances.

The pick came in his final season with the Dutch club, against NAC Breda in 2004, when he tied the opposition in knots with a mazy run, beating the same players two or three times each.

At the time, Zlatan was in a feud with Rafael Van Der Vaart, who claimed that Ibra deliberately injured him in training. After the wondergoal, the camera cuts to an ashen-faced VVD in the stands. Ibra didn’t care, he signed for Juventus the following day.

A flick in the knick of time for Sweden

Euro 2004 and things are looking bleak for Sweden, trailing Italy in their second group match with the clock ticking down. A corner sparks pandemonium in the Italian defence and, with a moment of sheer improvisation, Ibra comes up with a kind of looping back heel which has just enough elevation and dip to evade the Christian Vieri on the post.

Paying back his transfer fee for Juve

Ibrahimovic had plenty to prove after making the 16m euro (12.8m) switch to Juventus and started to repay his transfer fee with strikes like this against Benfica.

Marauding down the left channel, there didn’t seem a lot on but utilising the element of surprise to devastating effect, Ibra launched a powerful, dipping shot inside the near post.

A chance from nothing against Roma

Another excellent illustration of Ibra’s ability to create something out of nothing. Surrounded by Roma defenders, and near the half-way line, he looked very isolated when the ball comes across.

But a flick of genius sends him spinning away from the defender, his pace carries him clear and a clinical finish doubles Juve’s lead.

67mph free-kick against Fiorentina

After Juventus came a 24.8m euro (20m) switch to Internazionale and a flurry of spectacular goals. The pick may well be this one – a stunning 32-metre free-kick at the San Siro against Fiorentina in 2009 which reached 67mph as it flew past the goalkeeper and crashed in off the bar.

More set-piece magic for Barcelona

Another outstanding free-kick, this time in the colours of Barcelona, whom Ibra joined in a megabucks move in 2009. Things didn’t transpire too well in Catalonia but he did grab 22 goals in 46 matches – including this marvellous Nou Camp set-piece against Real Zaragoza.

Loopy goal against Lecce

After spending the 2010-2011 season on loan at AC Milan, the move was soon made permanent. More comfortable to be playing back in Italy, it wasn’t long before Ibra was indulging in the spectacular again.

In this goal against Lecce, lashed in from a good 30 yards, it looks as though the Swede isn’t even looking at where the goal is.

Acrobatics for Milan against Fiorentina

In all, Ibra scored 56 goals in 85 games for Milan, an impressive tally, and he clearly revelled in inflicting pain on Fiorentina. Not a free-kick this time, but a piece of acrobatic trickery in the penalty area.

He pinches the ball from between the legs of the defender, a keepie uppie and then, while falling backwards, a scissor kick.

Lance Armstrong deletes Tour de France titles from Twitter

Armstrong finally accepts defeat over Tour titles by deleting Twitter boast… and now faces paying back 2.4m winnings

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UPDATED:

09:02 GMT, 23 October 2012

Disgraced Lance Armstrong could be forced to repay his Tour de France winnings after being stripped of his seven titles for doping offences.

Armstrong won an estimated 2.4million, some of which was shared with team-mates, for dominating the race between 1999 and 2005.

The UCI, cycling's world governing body, ratified the sanctions recommended by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, who concluded Armstrong and his United States Postal Service team ran 'the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen'.

Armstrong was banned for life and all
his results from August 1, 1998 removed. So far, Armstrong's only
response has been to remove reference to being a seven-time Tour winner
from his Twitter biography.

Give it back: Lance Armstrong could be forced to return his earnings from the Tour de France

Give it back: Lance Armstrong could be forced to return his earnings from the Tour de France

Previously, the profile read: 'Father of 5 amazing kids, 7-time Tour de France winner, full time cancer fighter, part time triathlete.'

It has now been altered to: 'Raising my five kids. Fighting Cancer. Swim, bike, run and golf whenever I can.'

The UCI management committee will meet on Friday to discuss the 'exact sporting consequences' of the decision, including whether the titles and prize money will be re-distributed.

Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme believes the race must not have a victor in the Armstrong years.

Seven up: Armstrong won the Tour de France from 1999-2005 but has now been stripped of the titles

Seven up: Armstrong won the Tour de France from 1999-2005 but has now been stripped of the titles

Prudhomme said: 'The formal decision has to be taken by the UCI but for us, we must have a clean record. This period must be marked by the absence of winners.

'The UCI rules are clear. When a rider is disqualified, he must pay the prize money back.'

The International Olympic Committee will await Friday's UCI meeting and further information before a decision is made on the bronze medal Armstrong won in Sydney in 2000.

Staying put: International Cycling Union president Pat McQuaid insists he will not be resigning

Staying put: International Cycling Union president Pat McQuaid insists he will not be resigning

Armstrong, who battled back from cancer to return to professional cycling, has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and refused to co-operate with the USADA investigation.

Armstrong, who cuts an increasingly isolated figure as Oakley became the latest sponsor to withdraw their backing, or the World Anti-Doping Agency could yet take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

UCI president Pat McQuaid rejected calls for his resignation over perceived failures by the world governing body over the Armstrong affair, instead insisting the sport has a positive future and 'Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling'.

McQuaid was forced to insist the UCI has 'nothing to hide' over a donation of more than $100,000 (62,000) made by Armstrong in 2002, denying it was connected to any cover-up of a positive test.

Backing: Disgraced Armstrong had plenty of support during his Tour de France years

Backing: Disgraced Armstrong had plenty of support during his Tour de France years

'UCI has nothing to hide in responding to the USADA report,' McQuaid added. 'Don't try to make the connection between the suspicious test and the donation. There were no positive tests from him.

'There is no connection between the donation given to the UCI and a test being covered up because there was no test covered up.

'It's certainly not a resignation issue. It would be better if we hadn't done it, and if we were to do it in the future, we would do it in a different way.'

British rider Mark Cavendish was also quick to defend his sport, saying on Twitter: 'With doping, I'm saddened that modern cycling's seen as a culprit, not a casualty of individuals. Don't paint everyone with the same brush.'

Meanwhile, Armstrong has been asked to repay a disputed bonus payment.

The 41-year-old received a bonus payment of $5million after a legal battle with SCA Promotions, who had declined to pay the sum in the belief the American had doped to win his seven Tour titles.

Jeff Tillotson, lawyer for SCA Promotions, said: 'It is inappropriate and improper for him to keep those bonus amounts and we will be demanding them back and pursuing appropriate legal action if he does not return them.'

Singapore Grand Prix: Sebatian Vettel wins but Lewis Hamilton breaks down

Vettel wins in Singapore but it's Marina Bay hell for Hamilton after break down

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UPDATED:

14:50 GMT, 23 September 2012

Sebastian Vettel shone in Formula One's night race for the second successive season, but for Lewis Hamilton the lights may have gone out on his championship chances.

Vettel capitalised on Hamilton's retirement with a gearbox problem on lap 23 when comfortably leading the Singapore Grand Prix to take the chequered flag.

This latest win for the reigning world champion ends Vettel's longest winless run of nine races since joining Red Bull in 2009.

Retirement: Lewis Hamilton is forced to quit the race after his car malfunctioned

Retirement: Lewis Hamilton is forced to quit the race after his car malfunctioned

Break down: Hamilton appears upset after abandoning the race

Break down: Hamilton appears upset after abandoning the race

Upset Hamilton

As team principal Christian Horner
pointed out to Vettel after crossing the line: 'Well done, you're back
in the championship again.'

The 24-year-old now trails Ferrari's
Fernando Alonso by 29 points, the Spaniard claiming the 81st podium of
his career – only Michael Schumacher and Alain Prost have more – by
finishing third behind McLaren's Jenson Button.

Podium people: Sebastian Vettel (centre), Jenson Button (left) and Fernando Alonso (right)

Podium people: Sebastian Vettel (centre), Jenson Button (left) and Fernando Alonso (right)

Wet look: Button showers Vettel with champagne

Wet look: Button showers Vettel with champagne

For Hamilton, his recent rollercoaster run now leaves him 52 points behind Alonso, and with his last five races reading – retired, first, retired, first, retired.

Just when Hamilton garners belief he has a chance of the title, he finds his hopes cruelly snatched away.

In Germany, Hamilton retired 11 laps from home with puncture damage, albeit after an unhappy start when he was forced into an early pit stop after running over debris from a lap-one incident.

On song: Vettel was in good form

On song: Vettel was in good form

Away they go: Hamilton started in pole position

Away they go: Hamilton started in pole position

TOP TEN

1. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
2. Jenson Button (McLaren)
3. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
4. Paul Di Resta (Force India)
5. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
6. Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)
7. Romain Grosjean (Lotus)
8. Felipe Massa (Ferrari)
9. Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso)
10. Mark Webber (Red Bull)

A superb victory in Hungary followed
before the summer break, after which his Belgian Grand Prix ended at the
first corner as he was one of four cars involved in a major pile-up.

The 27-year-old bounced back a
fortnight ago with his win in Italy, and back-to-back triumphs appeared
on the cards when he grabbed his 24th career pole on Saturday.

The threat at the start for Hamilton
was from Williams' Pastor Maldonado alongside him on the front row of
the grid given the Venezuelan's penchant for poor judgment and errors
this season which has resulted in many penalties.

But when the five red lights
disappeared Hamilton's getaway was as sweet as he could have dreamed of,
instead leaving Maldonado to deal with Vettel and Button.

From the perspective of both men they
quickly managed to blast their way past Maldonado through the opening
corners, dropping the 27-year-old to fourth ahead of Alonso who was
unable to follow suit.

Leading comfortably from Vettel,
however, Hamilton's gearbox gave way on lap 23, the Briton grinding to a
halt down an escape road.

Keeing up: Alonso still has a 29 point lead

Keeing up: Alonso still has a 29 point lead

There was a clear shake of the head from Hamilton and a moment when he put his head in his hands.

That promoted Vettel into the lead
ahead of Button and Maldonado, but the latter was also forced into
retirement during the first of the two safety car sessions that followed
in quick succession.

Narain Karthikeyan sparked the
opener, maintaining Singapore's 100% record for safety cars over its
five-year run, sliding his HRT into a wall on entry into Anderson Bridge
from which there was no recovery.

The safety car pitted after running
for five laps, but not for a moment of drama as Button nearly ran into
the back of Vettel at one point shortly before the restart.

Crunch: Michael Schumacher crashes into Jean-Eric Vergne

Crunch: Michael Schumacher crashes into Jean-Eric Vergne

Smash: Schumacher's race is over

However, it was not long before
safety car driver Bernd Maylander was back on track as for the second
successive year at this track, Schumacher ran into the back of a rival.

On this occasion the seven-time
champion was late on to the brakes of his Mercedes, hurtling into the
rear of Jean-Eric Vergne's Toro Rosso.

After clambering from their cars Schumacher and Vergne embraced one another rather than engaging in any finger pointing.

Although both cars had slid down an
escape road, there was enough debris on track to force the safety car
quickly back into play.

Strong race: Button performed well to finish second

Strong race: Button performed well to finish second

But once it disappeared, for the
leaders the rest of the race was fairly routine, with Vettel finishing
8.9secs clear of Button, with Alonso grinding out another podium.

Behind the trio, Force India's Paul
Di Resta grabbed a career-high fourth, followed by Mercedes' Nico
Rosberg and Kimi Raikkonen in his Lotus, the Finn now 45 points adrift
in the title race.

Team-mate Romain Grosjean was seventh,
followed by Ferrari's Felipe Massa, Daniel Ricciardo in his Toro Rosso
and Red Bull's Mark Webber, surely out of the title running now as he is
61 points down.

Scenic: Many look forward to the Singapore race for its interesting views

Scenic: Many look forward to the Singapore race for its interesting views

Following his 23rd career win, an ecstatic Vettel said: 'This is one of the toughest races all year, two hours, the circuit is a killer and the race seems to go on forever.

'Obviously we benefited from Lewis' retirement, the pace was there, so I'm incredibly happy and proud.

'I'd like to dedicate it to a very special man, Sid Watkins (former race doctor and FIA medical delegate who recently passed away), a big thank you to him.'

Star power: Katy Perry was present and correct

Star power: Katy Perry was present and correct

Button said: 'That was a pretty tough two hours for us. It's a good second place. We all want to win, but you can't win them all.

'For us as a team another failure is not great for us.'

Alonso, who continues to hang on to the lead as his rivals trip over themselves, said: 'This is one of the best tracks to drive, it was a fun race again.'

This way: Grid girls line up before the start

This way: Grid girls line up before the start

Ready to go: Vettel at the start of the race

Ready to go: Vettel at the start of the race