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The Malaysian Insider :: Sports

Copycats McLaren have made huge leap, says Newey

Posted: 30 Mar 2011 05:58 PM PDT

Sebastian Vettel — on his way to becoming F1 champion in his debut season — sprays champagne on Adrian Newey after winning the Japanese F1 Grand Prix October 10, 2010. — Reuters pic

LONDON, March 31 — McLaren's much-improved form in Australia last weekend owed a lot to Red Bull, the Formula One world champions' technical director Adrian Newey said yesterday.

Red Bull's world champion Sebastian Vettel won the season opener in Melbourne, with McLaren's Lewis Hamilton second.

"McLaren made a huge leap forward — by copying our exhaust, it has to be said," Newey said at the RAC Club in London before being presented with the prestigious Segrave Trophy.

"But the bottom line is they still made huge leaps forward. I am sure they will be pushing us hard," added the man who joined Red Bull from McLaren in 2006.

Before Melbourne, last year's runners-up were struggling in testing with a car that was proving neither fast nor reliable.

The Mercedes-powered team then ditched the exhaust system and floor they had tested with and replaced it with what they described as a simpler version.

Williams have also said they hope to use a similar exhaust by China, the third race of the season, on April 17.

"We think it works for us," said Newey. "It seems it also works for McLaren. It's a form of flattery but it's a bit of a pain if they then beat you with it."

Although Hamilton damaged his car during the race, Vettel was dominant in a car without the KERS (kinetic energy recovery system) that gives a power boost at the push of a button. The team removed it due to reliability concerns but Newey hoped they would be able to run it properly next week in Malaysia, the second round.

KERS decision

"If we feel it's reliable then we will try to race it," he said. "We will have to make that decision on Friday evening (at Sepang).

"KERS is a benefit off the start line. So even if you are on the front row, without KERS there's a risk that you won't be first into the first corner."

Team boss Christian Horner had suggested Newey was reluctant to compromise on the aerodynamic details of the car, making it harder to package the KERS within it, but the designer said that was exaggerated.

"It's not really a packaging problem as such," he told Reuters. "We have packaged it in quite an aggressive manner but that wasn't the cause of the problem.

"It was actually a relatively trivial problem but KERS is a complicated system, we have been trying to develop the element of it that has been giving us a bit of trouble ourselves and we're not experts in that field."

The Segrave Trophy, named after the late Henry Segrave, is awarded to those whose achievements are deemed to put them on a par with the man who held world speed records on land and water in the 1920s.

Previous recipients include Malcolm and Donald Campbell, Stirling Moss, Bruce McLaren, Jackie Stewart, Barry Sheene, Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill and Hamilton.

"To receive such an illustrious and distinguished trophy like this, it almost sends shivers down my spine when I look at the names that have received it in the past . . . I feel very honoured," said Newey. — Reuters

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India keep alive a billion dreams

Posted: 30 Mar 2011 05:30 PM PDT

Sachin Tendulkar celebrates with captain and wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni as Pakistan's Misbah-ul-Haq walks off the field in Mohali, March 30, 2011. — Reuters pic

MOHALI, India,  March 31 — India kept alive a billion dreams after sinking Pakistan in their World Cup semi-final last night to set up an all-Asian final against Sri Lanka.

Unlike their opponents from across the border, India did not look overwhelmed by the hype surrounding the showdown that forced a virtual lockdown in this tiny north Indian town.

The 1983 champions put 260-9 on board and then returned to bowl out their opponents for 231 with just one delivery left to complete a 29-run victory to spark euphoria in and around the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium.

The victory not only pits them against Sri Lanka in Saturday's final between the co-hosts in Mumbai but also spared them some unnecessary plane-hopping.

"One good thing (about this win) is that the next flight would be a chartered flight," India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, fed up of jumping on and off connecting flights over the past six weeks, told reporters. "We will go to Delhi first, and from there to Mumbai (without changing planes)."

Harbhajan Singh celebrates the wicket of Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi. — Reuters pic

On the pitch, Sachin Tendulkar endured a bumpy ride yesterday.

Shahid Afridi had vowed not to allow the Indian to score his 100th international century against Pakistan, but his teammates seemed to have different ideas.

Tendulkar was dropped by Misbah-ul-Haq, Younus Khan and Umar Akmal, whose elder brother Kamran also missed a half-chance at stumping the batsman.

This was after Tendulkar had successfully overturned an lbw decision that had gone against him using the same decision review system he has been critical about.

Tendulkar, however, still could not reach the 100 mark as Afridi took matters into his own hands, literally, by catching the Indian off Saeed Ajmal to dismiss Tendulkar for 85.

It was his opening partner Virender Sehwag (38) who gave India a blazing start, almost oblivious of the monstrous burden of expectation that rested on the shoulders of all 22 players who featured in the contest.

The presence of prime ministers of both the countries may have suited the "cricket diplomacy" initiatives but if anything, it only increased the pressure on most of the players.

Sehwag, however, took it all in his stride as he blasted 21 runs off an Umar Gul over, a shock the Pakistani pace spearhead could not recover from in the remainder of the match.

India, however, could not make the most of the start and Wahab Riaz's maiden five-wicket haul restricted them to a total that would not have been possible but for Suresh Raina's unbeaten 36-run cameo down the order.

Pakistan were off to a decent start too but while the likes of Mohammad Hafeez (43) and Asad Shadiq (30) got the starts, they could not convert it into big knocks.

Down the order, Misbah (56) came out with some lusty hits but lack of partnerships meant by then the game had slipped through Pakistan's fingers, just like one of those catches from Tendulkar that went begging.

"Lack of partnerships has been a problem for us right from the start of the tournament and it recurred today," Afridi rued after Pakistan once again succumbed to the jinx of never beating their arch-rivals in one-day cricket's biggest stage.

"We have invariably won matches where we had partnerships. Besides, our shot selection was very poor." — Reuters

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