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Archive for the ‘Jennifer Willis-Jones’ Category

Hamilton’s rise to stardom

Posted by jenz30 on November 4, 2008

Lewis Hamilton has just become the World Formula One Champion but he has been racing for years.

Karting

At the age of eight, Hamilton began karting and soon won races and championships.

In the period ranging from 1993-1997 he quickly rose through the Cadet ranks, progressing through Junior Yamaha and Junior intercontinental divisions.

Hamilton continued to succeed and rose through the ranks, eventually reaching the Formula Super A division with the TeamMBM.com.

It quickly became clear that the British driver was very skilled when he became European Champion in 2000 with maximum points.

The British Racing Drivers’ Club picked up on this and made him a ‘Rising Star’ Member in the same year.

Former champion Michael Schumacher also realised his potential when he raced against him in 2001.

He’s a quality driver, very strong and only 16. If he keeps this up I’m sure he will reach F1. It’s something special to see a kid of his age out on the circuit. He’s clearly got the right racing mentality.”

Formula Renault and Formula Three

Hamilton began his car racing career in the 2001 British Formula Renault Winter Series.

He enjoyed success almost immediately, finishing third overall with three wins and three pole positions.

However, his spell at Formula three was less fruitful and at one point he was admitted to hospital after a collision with his team mate Tor Graves.

GP2

After only one season he won the championship. Consequently, British magazine Autosport featured Hamilton as one of their ‘Top 50 Drivers of 2005’.

In 2006, a vacancy arose in McLaren in Formula One as Juan Pablo Montoya went to NASCAR and Kimi Räikkönen went to Ferrari.

After some speculation, Hamilton was confirmed as the team’s second driver with Fernando Alonso.

2007 Formula One Season

The Briton got off to a great start by finishing second behind Massa in the Spanish Grand Prix to take the lead in the drivers’ championship.

He then finished third at Magny-Cours behind Ferrari drivers Kimi Räikkönen and Felipe Massa and extended his lead in the Driver’s Championship to 14 points.

But during the European Grand Prix, heavy rain hit and Hamilton spun off but managed to keep his engine running. He rejoined the race but finished ninth, meaning Alonso and Massa reduced Hamilton’s lead.

In Turkey, his lead was further cut and Alonso beat him in both the Italian and Belgian Grand Prix.

It all came to a head, much like this year, in Sao Paulo where Räikkönen narrowly won the Championship from Hamilton and Alonso.

The Briton was said to be extremely disappointed at the time, but this year surely has made up for it all.

Hamilton could not have looked happier.

Jennifer Willis-Jones (jenzltp@hotmail.com)

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Lucky Hamilton wins at last

Posted by jenz30 on November 3, 2008

Lewis Hamilton has become the youngest ever Formula One world champion.

The 23 year old won the championship in Sao Paulo by just one point from Felipe Massa at the very end of the race.

Hamilton told BBC Radio 5 live, “It’s an amazing achievement and it was by far the toughest championship of my life.”

The Race

In what was a nail-biting race, it looked like Massa would indeed become world champion after winning in Brazil. A late rain shower looked to have cost Hamilton the title when he dropped to sixth after a stop for wet tyres.

However, he managed to overtake Toyota’s Timo Glock as he entered the home straight to claim victory.

Meanwhile a jubilant Massa thought he had won the championship as did his Ferrari garage but soon realised that the title had slipped from his grasp.

The Brazilian remained dignified however and thanked his home crowd for all their support.

He told BBC Sport, “It was an emotional day for me. You get here and you’ve almost done everything perfect but we saw Lewis passing Glock again and that mixed emotion.

“Unfortunately we missed [out] by one point but that’s racing.

“We need to be proud of our race and our championship. It’s one more day of our life when I will learn a lot but for sure I’m very emotional.”

Hamilton, who was overwhelmed by winning the championship, celebrated with his girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger, singer with the Pussycat Dolls.

“It’s difficult to really put it in to words. It keeps popping into my head – how crazy I’m world champion” he told BBC Sport.

Jennifer Willis-Jones (jenzltp@hotmail.com)

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Ballesteros: Golfing Hero

Posted by jenz30 on October 28, 2008

News of Seve Ballesteros’ condition, as he lies gravely ill in hospital, has touched the hearts of golfing fans worldwide.

Without doubt, he is the most historically significant European player of the last 50 years, winning a record 50 European Tour events and five major championships.

The true ‘special one’

What makes him so remarkable is that he seems to have been blessed with true genius.

For Ballesteros, who hails from Pedrena on Spain’s northern coast, golf has never been about technique and consistency. He was an artist on the green with a true ‘feel’ for golf and great shots.

Confirmation of Ballesteros’ skill comes from probably the best golfer of all time, Jack Nicklaus, who describes Seve’s 230-yard 3-wood from under the lip of a fairway bunker on the 18th hole at PGA National in Florida during the 1983 Ryder Cup as the best shot he has ever seen.

Admiration also comes from the US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy who witnessed Seve’s magical chip shot at Royal Lytham, which placed him perfectly on the green so as to lead him to his third sucessive victory.

But perhaps it is his success in the Ryder Cup that marks him out from the rest. It was his unshakeable confidence that led the Europeans to believe that they could and would beat the Americans.

“Seve was unbeleievable,” says Sam Torrance, eight times a Ryder Cup player speaking to Scotland on Sunday. “He was always there when you needed a boost, always there when you needed help with your game. He always seemed to put the team first, which was remarkable, as he was the world’s No.1 player. Of course, he didn’t much like the Americans. He really wanted to win.”

Inner Strength

Worldwide players and fans alike are hoping that this desire to suceed at all he puts his mind to will pull through this difficult period.

Seve himself has vowed to carry on fighting, “Throughout my career I’ve been one of the best at overcoming obstacles on the golf course. Now I want to be the best confronting the most difficult game of my life, with all my strength as well as with the help of all those whose messages of support are reaching me.”

After all, this is a man who has revitalised European golf at tour level, in the Ryder Cup and in the majors as well as insipiring a generation of young golfers with his unique style. If anyone can overcome a brain tumour, it’s him.

Jennifer Willis-Jones (jenzltp@hotmail.com)

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Best wishes for Ballesteros

Posted by jenz30 on October 26, 2008

Spanish golfer Alvaro Quirós has dedicated his Portuguese Masters’ win to fellow countryman Severiano Ballesteros, who has undergone surgery for a brain tumour.

Ballesteros’ condition seems to have created a sombre mood on the European golfing tour. Other Spanish golfers refuse to discuss the ailing Spaniard in public perhaps out of loyalty or shock but privately they are texting his family, sharing their best wishes.

Frenchman Jean van de Velde, told BBC Sport, “It’s terrible, just 51, just 51” whilst fellow golfers Lee Westwood, Monty and Steve Webster all paid tribute.

Ballesteros’ condition

The five-time major winner was diagnosed with a tumour after suffering dizziness and a brief loss of consciousness at Madrid airport a fortnight ago.

Since then, he has had two operations on his brain followed by periods of heavy sedation.

Fears grew however, when on Thursday it was confirmed that Ballesteros was to undergo a third operation as his tumour was cancerous.

Following this announcement, the La Paz hospital in Madrid said that his condition was serious.

“The tumour has been classified as an oligoastrocytoma (which affects the cells which cover and protect the nervous system cells in the brain and the spinal cord) and is located in a very deep area whiich makes it very complicated to reach.”

Reports have also been circulating that Ballesteros has suffered a brain haemorrhage, although these remain unconfirmed as yet.

The tour now heads to Castellon in Spain and the BBC remarks that Ballesteros’ plight will be even closer to home for the tour golfers as they chase the final cheques of the year with hope and trepadation.

Jennifer Willis-Jones (jenzltp@hotmail.com)

For background information on this article, click here.

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2008 Formula One Season

Posted by jenz30 on October 23, 2008

As this Formula One season comes to a close, it would be nice to look back over the highs and lows of the sport this year.

2008 saw the banning of traction control after it was re-introduced in 2001 and also created two new street circuits,The Valencia Street Circuit and Marina Bay Street Circuit which hosted the European GP and the new Singapore GP respectively. The Singapore GP was also the first Formula One event held at night.

Teams

11 teams signed up this year:

  • Ferrari
  • Red Bull
  • Force India
  • Super Aguri
  • Toro Rosso
  • Toyota
  • Williams
  • BMW Sauber
  • Honda
  • McLaren-Mercedes
  • Renault

On 29 July 2008, the Formula One Teams Association FOTA was created at a meeting of the teams competing in this year’s championship. FOTA gives a united voice in ongoing discussions regarding the future of Formula One with the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone’s Formula One Group. With Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo at the helm, the first task of FOTA will be to negotiate the terms of the new Concorde Agreement, the commercial contract which governs the championship, with the FiA and Bernie Ecclestone.

Drivers

A few drivers changed teams this year and re-organised themselves in the following fashion:

  • Ferrari – Kimi Raikkonen + Felipe Massa
  • BMW Sauber – Nick Heidfeld + Robert Kubica
  • ING Renault – Fernando Alonso + Nelson Piquet Jr.
  • At&T Williams – Nico Rosberg + Kazuki Nakajima
  • Red Bull Racing – David Coulthard + Mark Webber
  • Panasonic Toyota Racing – Jarno Trulli + Timo Glock
  • Toro Rosso – Sebastien Bourdais + Sebastian Vettel
  • Honda Racing – Jenson Button + Rubens Barrichello
  • Super Aguri – Takuma Sato + Anthony Davidson
  • Force India – Adrian Sutil + Giancarlo Fisichella
  • Vodafone McLaren – Lewis Hamilton + Heikki Kovalainen

Super Aguri withdrew on May 6 from the 2008 Formula One season due to financial troubles.

Overall Standings

  • Drivers

Currently, Lewis Hamilton is in the lead with 94 points and is expected to win the championship next week in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The only man who could possibly challenge him now is Felipe Massa on 87 points.

  • Constructors

Ferrari are in the lead with 156 points and McLaren are not far behind with 145 points. In third place are BMW Sauber with 135 points.

Jennifer Willis-Jones (jenzltp@hotmail.com)

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Hamiliton or Massa?

Posted by therealquickie on October 19, 2008

Lewis Hamilton is on the brink of winning the Formula 1 chamionship after securing victory in the Chinese Grand Prix.

The only man who could ruin his plans now is Brazilian Felipe Massa.

Hamilton dominated the race in his McLaren with title rival Massa’s Ferrari gaining second.

Can Massa do it?

In short, yes he can. His task is much simpler than Hamilton’s, he just needs to beat him in the final race.

John Watson, runner-up in the world championship in 1982 says, “He (Massa) is in a much more comfortable situation, he’s got nothing to lose.”

Easier said than done however, Hamilton is no easy opponent. He is hungry for the championship after losing out to Kimi Raikkonen last year.

However, the British driver has a worrying record. He is quite capable of throwing everything away at the last minute.

After making a series of errors at the Japanese grand prix a few weeks ago, people began to talk, cementing a reputation that began to form at the end of last season.

Although Hamilton won comfortably at Shanghai, Massa could capitalise on this weakness by maintaining his chasing role. After all, the Brazilian is quick but also a bit wild and unpredictable.

But he, like the Brit, remains inconsistant. He has had some amazing victories in Turkey and Bahrain this year only to spin an embarrassing five times in the wet weather at Silverstone.

Rob Smedley, race engineer at Ferrari, remains confident saying of Massa “You’ve got a world champion in the making.”

Hamilton takes a seven-point lead over Massa into the season finale in Sao Paulo, Brazil on 2 November. But don’t forget, this is Massa’s home track. This race is on.

Jennifer Wilis-Jones (jenzltp@hotmail.com)

For background information on this article, please click here.

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Drop the pressure

Posted by therealquickie on October 14, 2008

England’s International History

Every time the World Cup or Euros come around, all of England is whipped up into a frenzy. Will this be the year that we triumph?

For a start, our hopes are unrealistic. All anyone needs do is look back at our team’s past and yet few of us do that, excluding the year we won of course. I think we need a quick history lesson.

From the beginning

  • England experienced their greatest ever success in 1966, winning the FIFA World Cup Final against West Germany 4-2 after extra time when Geoff Hurst famously scored a hat-trick in the final. However, the same team lost to the Auld Enemy Scotland only a year later with a famous 3-2 for the Scots at Wembley.
  • England qualified for the 1970 FIFA World Cup in Mexico because they were reining cup holders but only reached the Quarter-Finals when they were knocked out by West Germany.
  • For the 1974 and 1978 World Cups, England failed to qualify.
  • Four years later, England under Ron Greenwood qualified for the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain after a 12-year absence but were eliminated from the second round without losing a match.
  • The team under Bobby Robson fared little bit better in 1986 as England reached the quarter finals of the World Cup.
  • Finished fourth in the tournament four years later which was the only time England have progressed beyond the World Cup quarter finals away from home.
  • Graham Taylor’s short reign as Robson’s successor ended after his England failed to qualify for the 1994 FIFA World Cup.
  • However, the 1996 European Championships held in England followed. England, under new coach Terry Venables, had its best performance at a European Championship, reaching the semi-final.

Modern Day

The England team of the 1990s and 2000s has been consistently in football’s top twenty countries, but hasn’t progressed beyond the quarter finals of any international tournament apart from Italia 90 and Euro 96.

The fans favourite, Sven-Göran Eriksson, took charge of the team between 2001 and 2006 and was England’s first non English manager.

England enjoyed some success with top qualifying place in two World Cup tournaments and Euro 2004, losing only five competitive matches during his leadership and rising to a (joint) record FIFA No.4 world ranking for the English national team during the 2006 World Cup under his guidance.

In 2008, England failed to qualify for the Euro’s and Fabio Capello took over.

England to win in the future?

On reflection, it is a wonder that we put so much pressure on our national team. Perhaps we are being unrealistic.

Yes, we have a good team but so do many other countries. I can’t help but feel that if we just leave our team to their own devices they might just surprise us. We might even win.

Jennifer Wilis-Jones (jenzltp@hotmail.com)

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England Win at Wembley

Posted by therealquickie on October 14, 2008

England football coach Fabio Capello describes England’s 5-1 win over Kazakhstan on Saturday at Wembley as “a game of two halves.”

England made it three wins out of three in their World Cup qualifying campaign but the margin of victory flattered England in what was a tricky evening for Capello and Ashley Cole.

After a lifeless and subdued first half Rio Ferdinand, captain in the absence of the injured John Terry, nodded in a corner followed by an own goal by Alexandr Kuchma off a Lampard free kick.

Kazakhstan refused to admit defeat however and Zhambyl Kukeyev fired one back after Ashley Cole made a crucial mistake.

An upset Cole then endured boos for the rest of the match of which Capello said afterwards, “At that moment, a player needs the crowd to help, not boo. I don’t understand it at all.”

But England regained their composure and Wayne Rooney headed in a Wes Brown cross and then tapped another one in after a David Beckham free kick. Jermain Defoe finished off the scoring with a late, low finish.

Capello’s concerns

Capello’s first feeling when the final whistle blew must have been one of relief after watching his team struggle for long periods to break down their stubborn, hard-working visitors especially during a poor first half.

The England boss said, much to everyone’s agreement that, “After the first 45 minutes I was not happy, no. But we changed things, and after that we did well.”

Capello did indeed change things at half time by swapping his 4-3-3 formation and replacing it with a 4-4-2.

This allowed Wayne Rooney who had been wasted in the first half to play alongside Emile Heskey thereby creating more problems for the Kazakh defenders.

In response to the booing heard from the England supporters, Capello has underlined his concerns about England playing at Wembley believing that fans boo players “for their first touch” and suggested that it was easier for the players away from home.

England’s future

Although England are in a strong position ahead of a potentially tricky visit to Belarus on Wednesday as the only team to have a perfect record in their group, they are nowhere near qualifying for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Capello will know better than most that qualification for that tournament is still some way off.

Jennifer Wilis-Jones (jenzltp@hotmail.com)

For background on this article, please click here.

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