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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

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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.

Nick Compton stakes claim as England draw in Mumbai

Compton stakes his claim to face India as England draw warm-up with Mumbai A

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UPDATED:

10:46 GMT, 5 November 2012

Nick Compton attempted to grind his way into England's team for the first Test, scoring an unbeaten 64 in 52 overs as the three-day match against Mumbai A at the DY Patil Stadium ended in a draw.

England's search for Alastair Cook's opening partner ahead of the series curtain-raiser against India at Ahmedabad next week has quickly become their holy grail – not least because Compton, who began the tour as the marginal favourite ahead of Joe Root, made 0 and 1 in his first two innings.

But Root fell for 24, padding up to a delivery from medium-pacer Shardul Thakur that unexpectedly swung in, and Compton took the chance to bed in against some undemanding bowling on a slow surface.

Let me in: Nick Compton wants to be part of the England line-up for the first Test against India

Let me in: Nick Compton wants to be part of the England line-up for the first Test against India

There were some nervy moments early on. He nearly nicked his third ball, which would almost certainly have spelled the end of his Test hopes. And he pulled seamer Kshemal Waingankar just in front of square-leg before he had scored.

But a cover-drive for three in the second over after tea eased a little pressure, and he duly set about occupying the crease in the manner which brought him 1,494 first-class runs for Somerset and England Lions last summer at an average nigh on 100.

England's final practice game starts on Thursday against Haryana in Ahmedabad, and Compton needs to be in the line-up to stand any chance of inclusion against India.

Monday's hard graft will have been noted – for its stubbornness as much as anything else.

Root's failure to convert a decent start as England set about building on a first-innings lead of 59 means he leaves Mumbai with scores of 28 and 24, plus a bonus wicket for his fledgling off-spin. It may not quite be enough.

In contention: Joe Root is also an option for England

In contention: Joe Root is also an option for England

Jonathan Trott also got out after getting in, missing a work to leg as Suryakumar Yadav's off-spin pinned him for 30 from round the wicket, while Ian Bell – another tourist in need of runs – was dropped first ball at leg slip.

But the fluency he showed thereafter in an unbeaten 28 was the highlight of England's innings of 149 for 2.

Earlier, their bowlers did a superb job of wrapping up the Mumbai A innings, which had resumed on 232 for 4.

With Stuart Broad on the field but unable to bowl after scans revealed a bruised left heel, Graham Onions quickly disposed of Hiken Shah for 92, caught down the leg-side by Jonny Bairstow, before England's two left-arm spinners – Monty Panesar and Samit Patel – got to work against some indisciplined batting.

Cause for concern: Stuart Broad was unable to bowl for England on Monday

Cause for concern: Stuart Broad was unable to bowl for England on Monday

They shared the last five wickets to finish with three apiece and complete a Mumbai A collapse of eight for 76.

The speed of their demise meant Broad could spend more time off the field nursing his heel, which looks certain to rule him out of the Haryana game.

England will monitor his progress ahead of the first Test, and he may yet have to play with only 10 overs under his belt from the warm-ups. It is not ideal, but England are quickly learning the art of pragmatism.

Steven Finn, meanwhile, looks a more likely starter in the second Test at Mumbai as he continues to nurse a thigh strain.

India's selectors have named Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh in a 15-man squad for the first two Tests, with Yuvraj set to bat at No 6 in what would be his first Test for nearly a year.

Yuvraj, who scored a half-century and took five wickets for India A in last week's draw against England at the Brabourne Stadium, has emerged from a battle with a rare form of cancer, although Harbhajan is unlikely to edge out either of the first-choice spinners, Ravi Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha.

India squad (for first two Tests v England): MS Dhoni (capt), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Cheteshwar Pujara, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Ravichandran Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha, Zaheer Khan, Umesh Yadav, Ajinkya Rahane, Murali Vijay, Harbhajan Singh, Ishant Sharma.

Gareth Bale injury fears for Tottenham ahead of Newcastle opener

Bale back injury gives new Spurs boss AVB headache ahead of season opener

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UPDATED:

11:07 GMT, 16 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Andre Villas-Boas is sweating on the fitness of Gareth Bale ahead of Saturday's Premier League opener at Newcastle after the Tottenham winger suffered a knock during Wales' 2-0 defeat to Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Bale was taken off on the hour mark by Chris Coleman after his troublesome back injury, which earlier this summer forced him to withdraw from Team GB's London 2012 Olympics squad, flared up in Llanelli.

Cause for concern: Gareth Bale was forced off during Wales' defeat to Bosnia-Herzegovina with a back injury

Cause for concern: Gareth Bale was forced off during Wales' defeat to Bosnia-Herzegovina with a back injury

The 23-year-old landed awkwardly and admitted after the defeat that it had caused him some pain.

He will likely be assessed by Tottenham's medical staff when he returns to report for training at the club's Spurs Lodge HQ in Essex.

But Bale hopes it will ease in time to hand new boss Villa-Boas a welcome boost for the weekend visit to St James' Park.

Pain game: Bale hopes to be fit for Tottenham's opening game of the season at Newcastle

Pain game: Bale hopes to be fit for Tottenham's opening game of the season at Newcastle

‘It was a bit sore when I landed on it, but it wasn’t too bad,’ he said.

‘I will be fine and I just have to get myself ready for the weekend.’

Villas-Boas has endured a frustrating summer so far in failing to secure a new striker in time for Saturday's curtain-raiser, while wantaway midfielder Luka Modric is on his way to Madrid to undergo a medical for Real.

A young Manchester City fan was delighted after Chelsea defender Ashley Cole gave him his medal after the Community Shield

Boys' Own Stuff! Young fan delighted after Ashley Cole gives him medal

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UPDATED:

11:01 GMT, 14 August 2012

Ashley Cole gave his Community Shield runners-up medal to a delighted seven-year-old Manchester City fan after Sunday's curtain-raiser at Villa Park.

The Chelsea left-back walked to the City section and handed over his shiny silver medal to Bailey McColgan, from Wythenshawe.

Bailey had just watched his team beat the Champions League and FA Cup winners Chelsea 3-2 in the traditional start-of-season game.

Manchester City fan Bailey McColgan, 7, was delighted when Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole gave him his Community Shield medal

Manchester City fan Bailey McColgan, 7, was delighted when Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole gave him his Community Shield medal

The young City fan was at Villa Park with his dad for the traditional season curtain-raiser on Sunday

The young City fan was at Villa Park with his dad for the traditional season curtain-raiser on Sunday

He told the Manchester Evening News that the England defender walked up and said: 'That's for you.'

Bailey watched the game with his dad, James, 46, and was proudly wearing his City shirt.

Since getting the medal, he hasn't let it out of his sight – even taking it to bed with him.

The medal is an exact silver replica of the Community Shield trophy

The medal is an exact silver replica of the Community Shield trophy

Bailey has now written a note of thanks to the Chelsea and England defender

Bailey has now written a note of thanks to the Chelsea and England defender

Bailey said: 'I just held out my hand and he gave it to me. It made me feel really happy. I think he must be a nice person because he gave me his medal.

'I've shown the medal to everyone. They all said it was very heavy and that they like the look of it. It's made me feel super.'

He has now written a thank-you note to Cole and asked the Chelsea star to sign the box.

Man City, the Premier League champions, beat Chelsea, the FA Cup winners 3-2 at Villa Park

Man City, the Premier League champions, beat Chelsea, the FA Cup winners 3-2 at Villa Park

His mum, Karla Barlow, 31, said: 'Apparently these medals would go for quite a lot of money but Bailey said he wouldn't sell it for a million pounds.'

His dad added: 'The look on Bailey's face was unbelievable. A lot of stuff gets said about Ashley Cole, but this speaks volumes for him. It paints football in a different light.'

Petr Cech confident Chelsea can have successful season

Cech confident of successful season despite Community Shield defeat to City

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UPDATED:

09:06 GMT, 13 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Petr Cech refused to be downbeat despite Chelsea's Community Shield defeat to Manchester City on Sunday.

The Premier League champions ran out 3-2 winners in the traditional curtain raiser for the new season at Villa Park.

But Cech insists there are plenty of positives to take from the performance, which was hampered by Branislav Ivanovic's red card.

Here we go again: Petr Cech hopes Chelsea can have another good season

Here we go again: Petr Cech hopes Chelsea can have another good season

'We had quite a good first half, we went 1-0 up and it was an equal, interesting game for the first one of the season, but then unfortunately the red card happened and in the second half they took advantage of having a man more,' he said.

'We now have the most unfortunate international break, which is not ideal but the players go off, then we come back and the season starts on Sunday.

'We can take positives from this game but hopefully next week we will be fitter and sharper, Manchester City was a step forward and I am sure we will be ready for Wigan.'

Seeing red: Branislav Ivanovic was sent off against Manchester City

Seeing red: Branislav Ivanovic was sent off against Manchester City

Cech also admitted that it was the right decision to dismiss his Chelsea team-mate Ivanopic.

'I saw Iva going in for the ball but his leg was over the ball, so it was a bit high and if he caught him, then it’s a red card, that’s what the referees have told us in meetings we have had,' he added.

'There was no intention to hurt the player, but the tackle happened and so it was probably a red card.'

Chelsea v Manchester City – Community Shield live

LIVE: Chelsea v Manchester City – follow the Community Shield action from Villa Park

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UPDATED:

03:00 GMT, 12 August 2012

The Community Shield – the curtain-raiser to the Barclays Premier League season – takes place at Villa Park today as Chelsea and Manchester City flex their muscles ahead of the title race. Keep track of all the latest news and pictures as the action unfolds…

***Coverage begins at 12.30pm***

Rivals: Eden Hazard and Sergio Aguero are set to go head-to-head

Rivals: Eden Hazard and Sergio Aguero are set to go head-to-head

Manchester United to splash 50m on Lucas Moura and Robin Van Persie as Glazers send a signal

United to splash 50m on Moura and Van Persie as Glazers send a signal

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UPDATED:

21:29 GMT, 4 August 2012

Manchester United have agreed a 30million deal for Brazil's Lucas Moura – and Sir Alex Ferguson is hoping to take his spending to close on 50m by finally ending the Robin van Persie transfer saga this week.

Fantasy football 2012

Lucas Moura will have a medical in Manchester today after travelling down last night from Newcastle for Brazil's Olympic Games quarter-final against Honduras at St James' Park, where he started on the bench.

Ferguson stayed behind to finalise the Moura business when the team left for Norway yesterday for the match against Valerenga.

Van the man: Robin Van Persie is close to moving to Manchester United

Van the man: Robin Van Persie is close to moving to Manchester United

He will also be on hand to press ahead with Van Persie's move.

Ferguson is optimistic that any further hitches will be overcome for the Holland striker to become a United player before the season's curtain-raiser in a fortnight.

The Arsenal striker, the current Footballer of the Year, has been courted by Manchester City and Inter Milan and his inclusion in the squad's pre-season preparation in Germany has increased speculation that he may even sign a new contract at the Emirates.

Twinkle toes: Lucas Moura will move to Old Trafford

Twinkle toes: Lucas Moura will move to Old Trafford

But he has not concealed his desire to move to Old Trafford and that is the ace up Ferguson's sleeve.

The United boss will have to compromise on his refusal to comply with the Gunners' 25m demand, with the final figure likely to be about the 20m mark.

United's long-awaited transfer move nails suggestions, denied by Ferguson in an interview in The Mail On Sunday two weeks ago, that his spending budget had been restricted because of the club's massive debts incurred by the Glazer family's takeover.

But there remains a schism between a large faction of United supporters and the American owners, heightened by their bid to pay down some of their 420m debt by raising money on the New York Stock Exchange.

However, Ferguson remains committed to the club in spite of issuing a passionate response last week to speculation that he stood to profit from the Initial Public Offering to sell off 10.2 per cent of the club.

Already Andy Green, a financial analyst and one of the leaders of the anti-Glazer contingent, has been forced to apologise to the 70-year-old Scot after suggesting in his blog that Ferguson's support for the Glazers was based on financial gain.

He said: 'As one of the people suggesting he was likely to participate in the $288m “2012 Equity Incentive Reward Plan” the club are putting in place, I'd like to apologise to Sir Alex for suggesting that personal gain was a motivation in his support for the owners.'

Meanwhile, United will be featuring a number of first-team regulars against Valerenga, with the likes of Wayne Rooney, Patrice Evra and possibly Nemanja Vidic returning for their first pre-season action.

All smiles: Alex Ferguson looks on during Macnhester United's friendly against Shanghai Shenhua

All smiles: Alex Ferguson looks on during Macnhester United's friendly against Shanghai Shenhua

It will lift concerns, expressed by Ferguson on the recent tour of South Africa, that a number of players might not be tuned up for the Premier League kick-off because of their Euro 2012 exertions.

'It's definitely an awkward feeling,' he said. 'It's a different feeling because, although you might think you know what your best starting team is for Everton away in the first game of the season, it's not necessarily going to be that way.

'I'll probably play the ones who are the fittest ones, the ones who've had a proper pre-season. We've got plenty of options but to complete your team you're going to look at the ones who are going to come back in terms of fitness and what they're like.'

Charlie Mulgrew out of Celtic"s match against Aberdeen

Mulgrew a lost Bhoy as Celtic defender ruled out of Aberdeen clash for pre-season red card

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UPDATED:

23:05 GMT, 3 August 2012

Charlie Mulgrew has been sensationally ruled out of champions Celtic's SPL curtain-raiser with Aberdeen on Saturday – for a red card picked up in a pre-season match.

The Celtic defender – a goal hero in the midweek Champions League victory over HJK Helsinki – was sent off for handball on the goal-line in the 4-0 defeat to Ajax in Amsterdam two weeks ago.

Given that the sending off was not for violent conduct, no one in the Celtic camp expected there to be any repercussions further down the line.

Out: Charlie Mulgrew (left) has been ruled out of Celtic's curtain raiser against Aberdeen

Out: Charlie Mulgrew (left) has been ruled out of Celtic's curtain raiser against Aberdeen

Late yesterday, however, the Dutch FA (KNVB) belatedly informed their counterparts in Glasgow of the sanction – sparking a remarkable chain of events that will see the defender miss the game against his former club, which will be preceded by the raising of the league flag.

Mulgrew himself admitted last night that he had been left stunned when the news was broken to him.

He tweeted: 'Suspended for the game tomor row because of the red card against Ajax. Gutted.

'I didn't think it counted either and that's what we were told after the game. Thought it only counted for violent conduct if reported by ref!'

Celtic will have to cope without Mulgrew as their domestic season begins on Saturday

Celtic will have to cope without Mulgrew as their domestic season begins on Saturday

It is highly unusual for a red card picked up on a pre-season trip to be reported by the local association to a team's own FA.

Generally, only serious instances of serious foul play have led to word of such matters making their way home.

But as soon as the KNVB opted to report the mat ter to the SFA, Hampden officials had no option but to contact Celtic and inform them that Mulgrew was ineligible for Saturday's lunchtime kick-off.

SFA rules only allow for an appeal in the event of mistaken identity or wrongful dismissal. Meantime, Celtic boss Neil Lennon insists he is not surprised by Premiership interest in Victor Wanyama and has backed the Kenyan to achieve anything he wants in the game.

Wanted man: Victor Wanyama (left) is being tracked by Manchester United, Ciy and Milan

Wanted man: Victor Wanyama (left) is being tracked by Manchester United, Ciy and Milan

Both Manchester United and Arsenal have repeatedly scouted the 21-yearold midfielder, while QPR are also keen on a player likely to turn Celtic a 700-per-cent profit if he is sold for market value.

Bought for 900,000 from Belgian side Beerschot last summer, Wanyama is now priced around the 7million mark.

'Interest in Wanyama doesn't surprise me because he's a class player,' said Lennon.

'Am I surprised by the quality of teams linked with him No, because I think he's got all the attributes to be anything he wants to be.

'He's a great athlete, technically very good, strong and composed.' One man on the way out the door is defender Kelvin Wilson, with Ipswich boss Paul Jewell ready to pay 250,000 for him.

The 26-year-old has failed to settle since joining from Nottingham Forest last summer.

London 2012 Olympics: David Beckham reveals opening ceremony role after Muhammad Ali meeting

Beckham reveals opening ceremony role after London meeting with Ali (will he be involved too)

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UPDATED:

06:32 GMT, 25 July 2012

Olympics 2012

David Beckham has confirmed he will have a role in the opening ceremony of the Olympics – but the former England captain refused to be drawn on whether he might light the flame.

The former England footballer confirmed on Tuesday night that he will have a part in the ceremony after he meet sporting great Muhammad Ali at the Beyond Sport summit in London.

The boxing legend's presence appeared to enhance the chances of the 70-year-old playing a part in Friday's curtain-raiser at the Olympic Stadium.

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Sporting icons: Muhammad Ali and David Beckham together at the Beyond Sport Summit in London on Tuesday evening

Sporting icons: Muhammad Ali and David Beckham together at the Beyond Sport Summit in London on Tuesday evening

Ali, who travelled to Britain with his
wife Lonnie, is expected to make several fund-raising appearances
within the next week and is set to address members of the USA team.

Ali famously won gold at the 1960
Games in Rome that guided him towards an illustrious career inside the
ropes, winning the world heavyweight championship to become recognised
as the greatest of all-time.

He joined Beckham to present the
inaugural Generation Ali Beyond Sport Award, which recognizes Service,
Leadership, and Action in the community, to Matiullah Haidar, a
19-year-old who came to the UK just four years ago after losing his
whole family in a tragic single day during the war in Afghanistan.

The greatest: Ali is with his wife Lonnie in London, where the legend will meet the USA team ahead of the Games

The greatest: Ali is with his wife Lonnie in London, where the legend will meet the USA team ahead of the Games

While Ali's role at the Games remains
unclear, It is understood however that 37-year-old Beckham will not be
the person who lights the cauldron.

The opening ceremony is expected to have a final torch relay inside the stadium, as has happened with all recent Olympic Games, with a number of sports stars, former Olympians and others selected for their contribution to the London Games carrying the torch before the flame is lit.

The identity of the person who will actually light the flame remains a closely-guarded secret.

Beckham told CNN: 'I'm excited to be part of such a huge occasion for our country.

'It's exciting to have the Games in the east end of London and I'm very honoured to be part of that.'

Asked if a flame was involved, Beckham added: 'I think I might have one aboard.'

Star attraction: Beckham admits he will have a role to play in the opening ceremony

Star attraction: Beckham admits he will have a role to play in the opening ceremony

Beckham was part of the London bid team that won the right to host the
Games in Singapore in 2005 and he said he was proud to see the Olympics
actually happening in his home city.

'It
was seven years when this whole process started and to bring the Games
to the part of London where I grew up is so exciting,' he said.

'I was at the stadium yesterday and it really is incredible to see the changes that have happened there and around about.

'There will be a few events I'm hoping to get to and take my kids to so it should be fun.'

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David Beckham will have role in London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony

Beckham reveals he will have role to play in Olympics opening ceremony

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UPDATED:

18:44 GMT, 24 July 2012

David Beckham has confirmed he will have a role in the opening ceremony of the Olympics – but the former England captain refused to be drawn on whether he might light the flame.

The 37-year-old Los Angeles midfielder had hoped to play for Team GB at the Games, but he was not included in the squad by Stuart Pearce.

Star attraction: Beckham admits he will have a role to play in the opening ceremony

Star attraction: Beckham admits he'll have a role to play in the opening ceremony

Instead, Beckham will play a part in the curtain raiser, the details of which have been heavily guarded, after campaigning to help London win the Games in 2005.

Speaking on Tuesday evening, Beckham said: '(I will have) some kind of role in the opening ceremony which I am honored to be involved in because obviously I was involved in the start of this process seven years ago.'

'For Seb to have kept me involved, I'm very proud of that.'