Tag Archives: practice

Lewis Hamilton given five-place grid penalty for Bahrain Grand Prix after gearbox change

Hamilton blow as Mercedes star is hit with five-place grid penalty after gearbox change

By
Ian Parkes, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

10:06 GMT, 20 April 2013

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UPDATED:

11:12 GMT, 20 April 2013

Lewis Hamilton has been slapped with a five-place grid penalty for tomorrow's Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver was forced to change his gearbox after this morning's final practice session following a suspension failure on his in-lap.

As a consequence of changing the left-rear corner of the car, the team have also had to replace the gearbox, resulting in the grid penalty.

Blow: Lewis Hamilton hit with five-place grid penalty after gearbox change

Blow: Lewis Hamilton hit with five-place grid penalty after gearbox change

Blow: Lewis Hamilton has been hit with a five-place grid penalty

Although on pole position a week ago
in China, from where the 28-year-old finished third, balance issues have
affected Hamilton so far this weekend at the Bahrain International
Circuit.

Hamilton finished fifth quickest in final practice, just over two tenths of a second behind Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.

Hamilton is the third driver to face a
penalty for tomorrow's race as Mark Webber was handed a three-place
drop after colliding with Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne in Shanghai.

Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez will also
drop five places following qualifying after he ran into the back of
Force India's Adrian Sutil in the same race.

Drama: The British driver suffered a suspension failure in this morning's practice session

Drama: The British driver suffered a suspension failure in this morning's practice session

Lewis Hamilton

Alonso, on the back of his
31st-career victory in China last Sunday, has been highly impressive
around the desert-based Bahrain International Circuit and was fastest this morning.

With a high police presence around
the track as local authorities are determined to keep anti-government
protesters at bay, Formula One is virtually oblivious to what goes on
away from it.

On the circuit, Alonso led a
tightly-bunched field, with the top six separated by just two tenths of a
second, and the front nine by half a second.

Alonso, last on pole in Germany last
year, set a lap of one minute 33.247secs which was almost a second
quicker than the leading time of yesterday posted by Lotus' Kimi
Raikkonen.

As in second practice, the Red Bull
drivers had to settle for second and third on the timesheet, on this
occasion with reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel ahead of Mark
Webber.

Vettel, who finished 0.101secs behind
Alonso and 0.032secs ahead of team-mate Webber, had looked poised to
snatch top spot from Alonso as he posted personal best times in the
first two sectors, only to be blocked by a Caterham.

Leading the way: Fernando Alonso was fastest in this morning's practice

Leading the way: Fernando Alonso was fastest in this morning's practice

Raikkonen was down in fourth,
0.199secs adrift, with Hamilton an improved fifth and 0.208secs down
after complaining of balance issues yesterday.

Behind the 28-year-old were Lotus'
Romain Grosjean, appearing more comfortable with the new chassis given
to him this weekend, followed by Force India pair Adrian Sutil and Paul
Di Resta.

Mercedes' Nico Hulkenberg was ninth quickest, 0.517secs off Alonso's pace, with Sauber's Nico Hulkenberg completing the top 10.

Out of sorts: Jenson Button was off the pace in 12th

Out of sorts: Jenson Button was off the pace in 12th

Felipe Massa inexplicably now finds
himself struggling for pace as the Brazilian, quickest in first
practice, was languishing in 11th at the end of FP3 and 0.702secs behind
team-mate Alonso.

As for McLaren, their struggles
continue with Jenson Button and Sergio Perez 12th and 13th, the latter a
full second behind Alonso.

Towards the rear, Marussia also face
issues as Max Chilton managed just seven laps due to the team having to
replace the KERS water pump.

Chilton, however, was not last as
that position belonged to Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez who concentrated on
a long run, completing 28 laps overall, but finishing 6.345secs down.

Bryan Habana joins Toulon

Habana joins Jonny and Co at Toulon as South Africa star pens three-year deal with French side

By
Chris Foy

PUBLISHED:

13:54 GMT, 11 January 2013

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UPDATED:

14:01 GMT, 11 January 2013

Bryan Habana's move to Toulon has been confirmed with the World Cup-winning Springbok wing joining a host of other Galacticos on the Cote d'Azur, on a three-year deal.

The 29-year-old, who has amassed 83 caps, has scored 47 Test tries along the way in establishing himself as one of the most prolific finishers in the world game.

He was named the IRB Player of the Year in 2007, after being at the forefront of the Boks' successful World Cup campaign in France.

Catch me if you can: The South Africa star has joined Toulon on a three-year deal

Catch me if you can: The South Africa star has joined Toulon on a three-year deal

His career has taken him from the Pretoria-based Blue Bulls to Cape Town, where he has played for Western Province and the Stormers in Super Rugby.

Now, after years of being linked with a lucrative move to Europe, he has agreed to add his name to the stellar cast list at Toulon, alongside the likes of Jonny Wilkinson, Matt Giteau, Carl Hayman and Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe.

Here's Jonny: Wilkinson will be joined by Habana at Toulon

Here's Jonny: Wilkinson will be joined by Habana at Toulon

'I would like to thank everyone at Western Province for their support throughout my stay in Cape Town,' Habana said.

'I've had three great seasons in the Cape thus far, and I am looking forward to finishing off on a high before taking on a new challenge overseas.'

In the past, such a move would have removed a player from contention to be picked for South Africa, but that restrictive practice has been relaxed, which leaves the path clear for Habana to aim for a century of international appearances.

'Playing for the Boks is a huge part of my life and I would never turn
my back on my country,' he added.

'I will never stop giving 100 per cent on the field for any team I play for, and
if the Springbok coach picks me, I will be there. It's a wrench to
leave my home, even if only for a short while, but the chance to test
myself against different opposition in a new environment was difficult
to turn down.'

What Toulon will have at their disposal is a player renowned for his blistering pace, having reportedly clocked a time of 10.2 seconds for the 100metres. Such was the fixation with his raw speed that Habana was once pitted against a cheetah in a race.

Having made his Test debut against England at Twickenham in 2004, he soon established himself as a lethal try-scorer and equalled Jonah Lomu's World Cup record tally of eight at the 2007 tournament.

Four years later, he broke the South African record for international tries when he struck against Namibia in a pool match.

Toulon coach Bernard Laporte was in charge of France during the 2007 World Cup and he has made a strong push to recruit the Springboks who evidently caught his attention during that event across the Channel.

In addition to the previous signing of Bakkies Botha, Danie Rossouw is due to arrive at the club shortly, when he has finished his final season in Japan, while ex-Bok skipper John Smit has agreed to join Toulon from Saracens at the end of this season.

Harry Redknapp says Roberto Mancini dealt with Mario Balotelli wrong but brands the striker "difficult"

I would never do what Mancini did: Redknapp scolds City boss but brands Balotelli 'difficult'

By
Duncan Bech, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

23:31 GMT, 4 January 2013

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UPDATED:

23:31 GMT, 4 January 2013

QPR manager Harry Redknapp has questioned the wisdom of managers confronting players after reflecting on the training ground clash between Roberto Mancini and Mario Balotelli.

An argument erupted during Manchester City's practice session yesterday that saw the Italians grapple with each other and Mancini today admitted he lost his temper for 'one or two seconds'.

Redknapp insists such incidents are rare in the modern game and believes there is little to be gained from reading players the riot act.

Redknapp agrees Balotelli is a handful but thinks Mancini got it all wrong

Why always him Redknapp agrees Balotelli is a handful but thinks Mancini got it all wrong

'You shouldn't get in those situations, what can you win It can't happen with players now. Shouting and screaming at players doesn't get you anywhere,' he said.

'Years ago it used to happen. Years and years ago some managers would be throwing cups around. Those days are long gone.

'You lose their respect if you behave like that, you have to talk to them.

'Roberto Mancini's a top manager but I'm sure Balotelli can get you like that. He's difficult.'

Balotelli and Mancini were back in training on Friday morning aftere their bust-up

Glassy eyed: Balotelli and Mancini were back in training on Friday morning aftere their bust-up

On Thursday the two had to be pulled apart as Mancini completely lost his temper

Feud: On Thursday the two had to be pulled apart as Mancini completely lost his temper

There was little danger of Redknapp dueling with any member of QPR's squad yesterday after the 1-0 midweek victory over Chelsea had sent spirits soaring at Loftus Road.

The 65-year-old hopes the club's first win at their west London rivals for 30 years will provide the turning point in their battle against relegation from the Barclays Premier League.

'That win brings the pack back a bit now. We're still adrift but at least we have half a chance. If we can put back to back wins together anything can happen,' Redknapp said.

'Everyone's buzzing on the back of Chelsea, the whole place feels better. There's nothing like it.

'I've been through it so many times before when that big win can change everything. Hopefully it can do that for us now.

'Because of the situation we're in we'll have to claw out results, get some results and nick a 1-0 where we can. We're not going to smash teams up.'

Nelson, Onuoha and Hill celebrate as QPR finally won again against Chelsea

Relief: Nelson, Onuoha and Hill celebrate as QPR finally won again against Chelsea

QPR host West Brom in the third round of the FA Cup tomorrow and Redknapp will give the competition the respect he feels it deserves.

'I often wonder why clubs in the middle of the table put weakened teams out,' he said.

'The only chance you've got of winning something in this country unless you're one of the big four or five is the FA or Capital One cup.

'I don't know why clubs don't have a go for it. Going to Wembley is fantastic.

'Winning's a good habit to get into. I thought we could have taken something out of our recent game against West Brom.

'If you ask the four teams in the semi-finals of the League Cup, they'll all want to be in that final.

'Chelsea might be a bit blasi, but Swansea, Aston Villa and Bradford would love it.'

Michael Owen defence: Why is he hated so much?

In defence of Michael Owen… what has the striker done to deserve such loathing

By
David Kent

PUBLISHED:

11:09 GMT, 2 January 2013

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UPDATED:

11:09 GMT, 2 January 2013

There are few players who provoke such abuse as Michael Owen, but why is that

The same Michael Owen whose dazzling goal for England in France 1998 thrust him on to every back page and every child’s bedroom wall.

He was the hero of the nation – the schoolboy whose pace and finishing prowess, already well known on Merseyside, was now announced to the world.

Twitter row: Michael Owen (above left) responded to abuse by posting a picture of his trophy cabinet (below)

Twitter row: Michael Owen (above left) responded to abuse by posting a picture of his trophy cabinet (below)

Michael Owen trophy cabinet

OK, he became a Liverpool striker who then played for Manchester United. He has a terrible injury record and earns a lot of money, so that adds up to the money for old rope argument.

But he was overplayed as a junior and it’s not his fault that he is injured so often.

It’s not his fault clubs have wanted to pay him so much money… and it’s pretty wise business practice to invest money in a business you know about.

Owen likes horse racing and has invested in stables, but what is wrong with that

VIDEO: Owen's goal against Argentina at the 1998 World Cup

We can all get the normal football tribalism. West Ham fans will abuse Jermain Defoe because he asked for a transfer the day after being relegated and now plays (and scores regularly) for Spurs. It might not excuse some of what is said, but supporters abusing a striker who plays for the locals rivals is nothing new.

While you would have to understand the religious splits in Scottish football to fully appreciate the hate directed at Mo Johnston, the former Scotland striker knew what he was getting into when he became the first catholic to play for Rangers. And he was a former Celtic idol.

But what did Owen do to deserve such loathing

Can't hear you: Michael Owen made his name at Liverpool but scored goals at each of his subsequent clubs

Can't hear you: Michael Owen made his name at Liverpool but scored goals at each of his subsequent clubs

Michael Owen

Michael Owen

VIDEO: Owen scores winner in 4-3 derby win for Manchester United

He’s been a very good striker – he scored 40 goals in 89 England games – and has regularly hit the target for all his clubs.

Even though he career has tailed off, because of his injuries, he is still a box office name.

He’s barely played for Stoke, but is on a pay-as-you-play deal so that won’t be proving too taxing for them.

So get off his back and let’s allow him to drift into retirement at his own pace. Not as quick as he used to be, of course, but not making enough noise to offend.

Another one for the collection: Owen (centre) finally won the Premier League with Manchester United

Another one for the collection: Owen (centre) finally won the Premier League with Manchester United

VIDEO: Owen wins the FA Cup for Liverpool against Arsenal

Eric Bristow sure Phil Taylor will win many more world dart"s titles after capturing his 16th against Michael Van Gerwen

Bristow: Don't expect Taylor to throw in the towel anytime soon, he'll grab a few more world titles before he's gone

By
Thom Drake

PUBLISHED:

10:56 GMT, 2 January 2013

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UPDATED:

11:25 GMT, 2 January 2013

Eric Bristow has predicted that Phil Taylor's 16th PDC World Darts Championship title will not be his last after watching him produce a stunning fightback against Dutchman Michael Van Gerwen.

Taylor came out on top in a high-quality final at Alexandra Palace in London last night, battling from 4-2 behind to win 7-4.

It earned 52-year-old Taylor a cheque for 200,000 plus the new Sid Waddell Trophy, named after the late commentator.

Taylor's comeback epitomised his continuing class

Unstoppable: Taylor's comeback epitomised the class which has set him apart in the world of darts

Bristow, who dominated darts in the 1980s, helped Taylor financially in the early stages of his career, and has seen the Stoke man develop into the sport's greatest player.

Bristow cannot see Taylor remaining dominant for years to come, but he expects the latest victory will not be the last world title he takes, even if Van Gerwen is threatening to topple him.

'He won't get to 20 but there most likely will be another one in him,' Bristow said on BBC Radio 5 Live.

'He is getting on a bit now. And Michael van Gerwen is going to win a few, he's a brilliant darts player, he's the best of the rest of the bunch.

Bristow is positive that Taylor can add to his 16 world titles in the coming years

Enduring: Bristow is positive that Taylor can add to his 16 world titles in the coming years

Van Gerwen has proved he is the best of the rest at just the age of 23

New generation: Van Gerwen has proved he is the best of the rest at just the age of 23

'It was great for darts. I think we have seen the newcomer coming through, who's going to take over from Phil, but not yet.'

Bristow puts Taylor's success down to intense practice.

'He's just superb, he's very dedicated. He puts a lot of time into his sport,' Bristow said.

'He plays four, five, six hours a day, even now, 30 years on.

'It was a great final, both of them played superbly.'

Bristow himself won five World Championships between 1980 and 1986

Golden oldie: Bristow himself won five World Championships between 1980 and 1986

Taylor had questioned his own future after his ding-dong with Van Barneveld

Feuding: Taylor had questioned his own future after his ding-dong with Van Barneveld

Waddell, known as the voice of darts, died in August after a battle with cancer, and his name was chanted by the crowd during the final.

'That was lovely,' Bristow said.

'Phil went out there to win the title. Obviously he wanted to win the first ever Sid Waddell trophy, but once you're up on that stage you're playing the game.

'Now he's got the trophy and it's got Sid Waddell's name on it, he'll be over the moon about that.'

Alistair Cook joins three England greats after winning Test series in India

Cook joins three of our greats after sealing Test series victory in India

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UPDATED:

00:51 GMT, 18 December 2012

As the England dressing room reverberated to the sound of Slade’s 'Merry Christmas Everybody' on Monday, it was worth recalling just how unfestive they all felt after losing the first Test by nine wickets at Ahmedabad almost a month ago.

Not even solid second-innings batting from Alastair Cook and Matt Prior could varnish the truth: here was a team, with a new captain, a barely reintegrated star batsman and an apparently impotent seam attack, struggling on Asian pitches yet again.

But as India sloped away, scarcely able to comprehend the manner of their defeat and with the local groundsman scratching his head as he explained that the pitch had not broken up as he intended, England were celebrating one of their greatest overseas triumphs.

Top work: Alastair Cook joins an elite list of captains who won Tests in India

Top work: Alastair Cook joins an elite list of captains who won Tests in India

Only three other England captains have won Test series in India: Douglas Jardine in 1933-34, a year after his Body-line victory in Australia; Tony Greig in 1976-77; and David Gower in 1984-85. Now Cook can add himself to the list.

England’s first win in India in nearly 28 years felt as special as the Ashes victory of two winters ago, their first in Australia for 24. But their success here was far more unexpected, not least because of England’s travails on three separate trips to Asia in 2012: a 3-0 defeat by Pakistan in the UAE, a 1-1 draw salvaged at the last in Sri Lanka and a botched defence of the World Twenty20.

While conditions in Australia, where pitches tend to be much bouncier and less prone to turn, were more suited to the English style, the Indians went out of their way to make life uncomfortable for Cook’s men — even going as far as to deny them meaningful practice against spin in their three warm-up games.

After Ahmedabad, the tourists were in danger of becoming a laughing-stock. And history was against them: not since Gower’s victory had any side claimed a series in India after falling behind. England were not just fighting their own track record but every other visiting team’s, too.

History: Douglas Jardine (left) was England's first captain to win a Test there

History: Douglas Jardine (left) was England's first captain to win a Test there

In that respect, this win surpassed the Ashes triumph under Andrew Strauss because England never trailed Australia, but were only pegged back to 1-1 after losing in Perth. And it recalled the second half of Nasser Hussain’s famous subcontinental double in 2000-01, when England followed up a 1-0 victory over Pakistan with a 2-1 defeat of Sri Lanka after a hammering in the first Test at Galle. Those wins, too, came out of the blue.

Greig’s win ranks highly on any list of success on away tours, not least because England won the first three Tests of a five-match series — almost unheard of among touring sides to India.

Going further back, it’s difficult to overlook the claims of the Ray Illingworth-led win in Australia in 1970-71, when England did not earn a single lbw decision in six Tests.

Then there is the 3-1 win Down Under in 1954-55, when Len Hutton contemplated throwing himself into the River Brisbane after inserting Australia in the first Test at the Gabba — and lost by an innings.

A controversial choice would be the 4-1 win under Jardine in 1932-33, based as it was on the captain’s ruthless leg theory as he sought to silence Don Bradman.

Provocative: Jonathan Trott has enraged Indians in recent weeks

Provocative: Jonathan Trott has enraged Indians in recent weeks

Although Jonathan Trott has enraged the Indians a couple of times over the past few weeks, England’s win here has largely been a triumph of diplomacy.

But for sheer shock value, India 2012 will take its place among the very best of England’s overseas wins.

Even Cook admitted last night that the dressing room had questioned itself after the first Test. And when his Indian counterpart MS Dhoni used his victory press conference to demand another turner in Mumbai, England may have feared the worst.

Cook’s win — like Hutton’s, Hussain’s and Gower’s — was fashioned in adversity. And it took place in a country Englishmen have traditionally dreaded. He will find it hard to match.

Picture dispute: We are unable to carry live pictures from the fourth Test in Nagpur due to a dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and international news organisations.

The BCCI has refused access to Test venues to established picture agencies Getty Images and Action Images and other Indian photographic agencies.

MailOnline consider this action to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to boycott BCCI imagery.

Cowboys play on despite player charged over teammate"s death

Cowboys play on despite player charged with manslaughter after crash killed teammate

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UPDATED:

21:45 GMT, 8 December 2012

Dallas Cowboys have no plans to postpone Sunday's clash at the Cincinnati Bengals despite linebacker Jerry Brown's death on Saturday.

Defensive lineman Josh Price-Brent is facing an intoxication manslaughter charge after a one-vehicle accident that killed linebacker Brown, a member of the team's practice squad.

Irving police spokesman John Argumaniz said the accident happened about 2:20 a.m. on Saturday in the Dallas suburb.

Argumaniz says Price- Brent, 24, was speeding when the vehicle hit a curb and flipped at least once.

Arrested

Arrested: Josh Price- Brent was arrested early on Saturday morning for intoxication manslaughter after a one-vehicle accident that killed teammate Jerry Brown

Deceased

Deceased: Jerry Brown (in a 2012 file photo) died in the accident at 2:20 a.m. on Dec. 7, 2012, in the Dallas suburb of Irving

Argumaniz says Brown, 25, was found unresponsive at the scene and pronounced dead at a hospital.

The police spokesman says officers conducted a field sobriety test on Price-Brent and arrested him.

The charge was upgraded after Brown was pronounced dead.

'We are deeply saddened by the news of this accident and the passing of Jerry Brown,' Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said in a statement.

'At this time, our hearts and prayers and deepest sympathies are with the members of Jerry's family and all of those who knew him and loved him.'

Dallas Cowboys' Josh Brent

Dallas Cowboys' Josh Price- Brent (pictured in Jan. 2012) is facing an intoxication manslaughter charge after a one-vehicle accident that killed linebacker Jerry Brown, a member of the team's practice squad

According to the Dallas Morning News, Brown joined the team in October after he had been with the Indianapolis Colts, where he rotated from the practice squad and the regular roster.

The deceased was originally from St. Louis. He had been a defensive lineman at the University of Illinois, where Price- Brent had been his teammate.

According to local reports, Price-Brent had been jailed for misdemeanor DUI when he was a student-athlete at the University of Illinois in 2009.

He was given two years of probation and 60 days in jail as part of a plea deal for the at incident.

'Sad news for the Illini #Family today,' Illinois coach Tim Beckman tweeted. 'Jerry Brown, former Illini and current NFL player has passed away. Keep him in your prayers.'

The Cowboys were preparing to fly to Cincinnati on Saturday for a Sunday game against the
Bengals, when the team was told of the news, according to ESPN.

The players were told on the plane just
before takeoff of what happened after non-team personnel were asked to
go outside.

This marks a second time that a Cowboys player has been involved in a fatal car crash.

In 2003, Dwayne Goodrich, a second-round pick in 2000, was involved in a hit-and-run accident in which two people were killed.

Goodrich was convicted in 2003 of two counts of criminally negligent homicide and was released from prison in October 2011.

The Cowboys are a game behind the Super Bowl champion New York Giants in the race for the NFC East division and face a must-win game in Cincinnati on Sunday if they have designs on making the playoffs.

Valtteri Bottas replaces Bruno Senna at Williams for 2013 season

Bottas given his chance as highly-rated Finn replaces Senna at Williams for 2013

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UPDATED:

11:54 GMT, 28 November 2012

Valtteri Bottas has been promoted to race driver for the 2013 Formula One season as he will line up alongside Pastor Maldonado at Williams.

Venezuelan Maldonado has retained his seat with the Grove-based marque for a third year, while Bottas, who has been the team's reserve driver for the past two seasons, replaces Bruno Senna.

It had long been suggested Bottas would get his chance in 2013 after impressing in a number of Friday practice sessions this year.

All smiles: Bottas has been confirmed at Williams for 2013

All smiles: Bottas has been confirmed at Williams for 2013

Bottas was GP3 champion in 2010 ahead of his appointment at Williams, where he has played a patient role prior to now being given his long-awaited chance.

Unsurprisingly, Bottas concedes it has been his 'lifelong dream to compete in Formula One.'

He added: 'To do so with one of the most legendary teams in the sport is incredibly special.

'I've really enjoyed my three years with Williams so far and feel very at home here so my goal was always to stay for 2013 and progress to a race seat.

Final act: Senna's last race with Williams ended in disappointment after crashing out at his home grand prix in Brazil

Final act: Senna's last race with Williams ended in disappointment after crashing out at his home grand prix in Brazil

'I'm looking forward to getting my Formula One career started and enjoying a lot of success with Williams.'

Founder and team principal Sir Frank Williams has high expectations of Bottas and, after two years of learning and maturing in the wings, has no doubts he can deliver.

Williams said: 'In Pastor and Valtteri we have two of the most exciting talents in motor racing and I am especially excited about what 2013 can bring for Williams.

'Pastor has always demonstrated remarkable pace and this year has seen him mature as a racing driver.

Retained: Maldonado will keep his seat for 2013

Retained: Maldonado will keep his seat for 2013

'Valtteri is quite simply one of the most talented young racing drivers I have come across and we expect great things from him in the future.'

Maldonado endured a turbulent year, from the high of winning the team's first race for seven-and-a-half years in Barcelona in May to the low of several on-track incidents that resulted in a number of trips to the stewards and penalties.

But given his sponsorship from state-owned Venezuelan oil and gas company PDVSA, worth a reputed 27million per year to the team, it is no surprise he has kept his seat ahead of Senna.

Confident of improving further next year, Maldonado said: 'I'm really enjoying my time with Williams and I was obviously very happy when I was told I would be continuing with the team in 2013.

'This season was a memorable year for me with the win in Barcelona and we made a big step forward in terms of performance.

'I have a lot of confidence in the team and hopefully next year will see us move even further up the grid and taste more success.'

It leaves Senna as the latest driver of renown to now be searching for a seat, with the one at Force India – alongside Paul di Resta – the most highly prized.

In axing Senna, Williams added: 'I would like to take this opportunity to thank Bruno for his hard work over the past year and wish him the best of luck going forward.'

Stuart Broad must improve, says David Saker

BROADside! Coach tells bowler to buck up and drop the defeatist attitude

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UPDATED:

19:56 GMT, 27 November 2012

Wicketless: Broad has struggled in India

Wicketless: Broad has struggled in India

England will consider leaving one of their most influential players, Stuart Broad, out of the crucial third Test after his anaemic performances in India.

The vice-captain was a bystander in the historic win here in Mumbai and it emerged on Tuesday the tourists will not hesitate to drop a bowler who has been one of their outstanding cricketers over the last four years.

The morning after an epic day dawned with Steven Finn, who was set to play an integral role in England’s attack in India before injury, beginning his attempt to prove his fitness for next week’s Kolkata Test.

Finn played for the England
Performance Programme squad who have just begun their own month-long
tour of India and took four for 60 in 16 hostile overs against a Mumbai
side to enhance his chances of returning at Eden Gardens.

If he has no reaction from the thigh
injury he suffered in the first warm-up game of the tour, he will become
a strong contender and, with England sure to retain two spinners, it is
Broad’s place that is under threat.

The choice of David Saker, the
fast-bowling coach, to face the media yesterday looked a curious one in
the aftermath of such a spin-dominated triumph until it became clear
that he seemed anxious to provide Broad with a public kick up the
backside.

Vice-captain: Broad is second in command for EnglandVice-captain: Broad is second in command for England

Vice-captain: Broad is second in command for England

Chat: David Saker talks to James Anderson (right) during a practice session

Chat: David Saker talks to James Anderson (right) during a practice session

‘He needs to front up and find out what’s the best way to go about it over here,’ said Saker.

‘He has to find ways to survive in
India. The great fast bowlers have had success here. You can’t just
think that the fast bowlers won’t have much influence. A defeatist
attitude like that is pretty much not accepted.’

Broad was the leading Test
wicket-taker in world cricket in 2012 ahead of this tour and is highly
regarded by England but has had an anonymous two matches on
spin-friendly pitches, bowling 12 wicketless overs for 60 in the first
innings here and not even being used in the second.

His unhappy tour was compounded by a
Twitter spat with Sir Ian Botham after the first Test that earned him a
rebuke from Andy Flower.

‘I just think he’s lacking a bit of
confidence and finding it really difficult to get his head around maybe
changing the way he bowls in India,’ continued Saker. ‘If you bowl wide
of the stumps here you get hurt. We did discuss that before this trip,
how bowling straight is crucial, and we watched a lot of footage of the
teams who have come here and done well.’

Broad, as Twenty20 captain, is a
member of the management committee here and, in theory, would be in on
the discussions over his own place but England are clearly preparing him
for the possibility of bad news.

Saker confirmed that Broad was unwell
ahead of the second Test, as revealed by Sportsmail last Friday,
but that he had insisted he was fit enough to take his place.

‘He had a bit of illness and he was
asked on the first morning of the Test whether he was good to go and he
said yes,’ said the Australian.

Knocking on the door: Finn plays for the Performance Squad this week

Knocking on the door: Finn plays for the Performance Squad this week

‘If the coach says, “Are you all right
to go”, and you say yes then to me you’re 100 per cent fit. If you’re
not sure, it’s a decision for the captain and coach, but he said he was
right.’

FORM GUIDE

Stuart Broad is yet to take a wicket in two Tests here but his form in 2012 has been good. He has 40 wickets, making him the leading wicket-taker in Tests until he was overtaken by Graeme Swann in Ahmedabad.

Broad did well on Asian-type pitches when he took 13 wickets in the 3-0 defeat by Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates but his best form came at home, with seven for 72 against West Indies at Lord’s and five wickets in the first innings against South Africa at Headingley.

Now Saker accepts that he must play
his part in restoring the brio that has made Broad such a confident and
successful competitor for England.

‘I’ve been blessed in that I haven’t
had to do a lot of hard yards as a bowling coach but now, with Tim
Bresnan and Stuart of late, we’ve had to have some good talks and maybe
some tinkering with actions.

‘The key is holding your length and
line. It’s an old adage but if you bowl at the stumps you’ve a chance.
Stuart probably just hasn’t played that well in these two Tests. Maybe
he’s looking for something that isn’t there. He’s asking questions that
probably don’t need to be asked.’

Saker insisted that he has every
confidence in Broad should he remain as one of only two seamers in
England’s Kolkata line-up but clearly he would like to see Finn’s extra
height and bounce added to the team.

‘Finn has been monitored the last few
days and he’s playing this game with the Lions squad so if he gets
through there’s a good chance he might play in Kolkata,’ said Saker.
‘He’s a special talent and has the pace we probably need for this place.
We’d like to get him. It will be an interesting selection call if he is
fit.’

There was a feeling of satisfaction
here among the England squad on Tuesday but there is no question that
another defeat would have led to some tough questions being asked within
the camp.

Saker added: ‘I was questioning myself as to whether we were
doing the right things, and if I’m doing that I think others in the camp
were wondering if we were going in the right direction too. But it
turned out to be as good a win as I’ve experienced with this group.’

England are considering adding
another spinner to their squad after the spectacular success of Monty
Panesar and Graeme Swann. They are concerned they have no specialist
back-up and could fly in James Tredwell or turn to Lancashire’s slow
left-armer Simon Kerrigan, who took four wickets for the Lions on
Tuesday.

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix final practice: Sebastian Vettel has problems

Problems for Vettel as championship leader's car falters in final practice

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UPDATED:

12:19 GMT, 3 November 2012

Sebastian Vettel endured a nerve-wracking final practice session in the build-up to qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The reliability issue title rival Fernando Alonso had perhaps been praying for materialised in the closing 60-minute outing at the Yas Marina circuit where McLaren's Lewis Hamilton again led the way for the sixth time in 12 attempts over the four years at this track.

Vettel completed nothing more than two installation laps before then spending all bar the final four minutes in the Red Bull garage as the team worked on a brake problem.

Hope floats: Sebastian Vettel experienced problems in the final practice before qualifying in Abu Dhabi

Hope floats: Sebastian Vettel experienced problems in the final practice before qualifying in Abu Dhabi

Hope floats: Sebastian Vettel experienced problems in the final practice before qualifying in Abu Dhabi

On the medium-compound Pirelli tyres, the slightly slower but more durable rubber, Hamilton posted a top time of one minute 42.148secs, before all teams switched to a blast on the softs in the late stages.

Hamilton appeared on course to better Vettel's best of Friday's when he set a 1:41.751 when he was quickest in the first two sectors.

However, he was forced to ease up in the final sector and finish with a timesheet-topping 1:42.130, 0.290secs ahead of team-mate Jenson Button.

As for Vettel, it was touch and go as to whether he would make it out on track, but his team performed wonders to ensure he had a shot on the soft tyres.

Even with his limited running as he managed just two quick laps, the 25-year-old reigning double world champion still posted the quickest middle sector to finish third overall, half a second behind Hamilton.

As for Alonso, there is likely to be concern in the Ferrari garage, particularly as the team broke the FIA curfew – a period of time when mechanics are not allowed to work on the car – for a second straight day.

Playing catch-up: Fernando Alonso will hope to make the most of his rivals' poor run

Playing catch-up: Fernando Alonso will hope to make the most of his rivals' poor run

The Spaniard, who trails Vettel by 13 points following the German's run of four successive victories, could only manage eighth quickest and was a second down on Hamilton, something he cannot repeat in qualifying if he is to have any chance in Sunday's race.

Sandwiched in between himself and Vettel were Mark Webber in his Red Bull, the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg, Lotus' Romain Grosjean and Williams of Pastor Maldonado.

Behind Alonso were Kimi Raikkonen in his Lotus and Paul di Resta in his Force India, the Scot appearing happier after his team opted for a change of chassis given his recent issues and without a point in his last three races, finishing 1.2secs down.

Ferrari's Felipe Massa was 11th, 1.350secs adrift, underlining the problems faced by his team, with Sergio Perez 12th in his Sauber.

Mercedes are also struggling as Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher were down in 13th and 14th, around 1.5secs down, with Kamui Kobayashi 15th in his Sauber.

At the rear of the field was Narain Karthikeyan in his HRT, nearly five seconds adrift and half a second behind team-mate Pedro de la Rosa.