Max Verstappen has suggested Lewis Hamilton was being a hypocrite by saying different things to different people about driver safety. Charles Coates / Getty Images
Max Verstappen has suggested Lewis Hamilton was being a hypocrite by saying different things to different people about driver safety. Charles Coates / Getty Images

Hamilton clinches Austrian Grand Prix pole, criticised by Verstappen for ’acting cool’



SPIELBERG, Austria // Britain’s Lewis Hamilton sped through the rain and sunshine with perfect timing in his Mercedes-GP on Saturday to secure pole position for Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix.

The defending three-time world champion judged his speed and his tyre selection to perfection in challenging and changing conditions, claiming the prime starting spot with a best lap in 1min 7.922sec.

It was his second successive pole in Austria, his fifth of 2016 and the 54th of his career.

His Mercedes teammate and championship leader Nico Rosberg was second fastest, but the German will start Sunday’s race with a five-place grid penalty after a gearbox change following his crash in practice on Saturday morning.

Another German, Nico Hulkenberg, was third fastest for Force India, but faced a visit to the stewards’ office for an earlier infringement.

Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel was fourth for Ferrari, but he also faces a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change.

Briton Jenson Button timed his intervention to perfection also to take fifth place for McLaren Honda ahead of Finn Kimi Raikkonen in the second Ferrari.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo was seventh for Red Bull Racing ahead of Valtteri Bottas of Williams, Dutch teenager Max Verstappen in the second Red Bull and Brazilian Felipe Massa in the second Williams.

After all the penalties are applied, Hamilton is expected to start ahead of Hulkenberg on the front row with Button third in a McLaren.

Hamilton is seeking to reduce Rosberg’s 24-point lead in the drivers’ championship after eight of this year’s 21 races. Rosberg is seeking to complete a hat-trick of successive wins in Austria.

Hamilton ‘wants to be cool’

Meanwhile, Hamilton has been accused of masking his real feelings about the dangers of F1 in a bid to appear “cool”, Verstappen has claimed.

Hamilton has adopted a rather liberal stance on safety, blasting the halo — the driver-head protection device set to be introduced in 2017 — as “the worst-looking modification in Formula One history”, as well as branding his fellow drivers “moaners”.

Speaking at the last race in Azerbaijan where a number of his peers expressed their concerns with the Baku track, Hamilton said: “These drivers moan so much, so much about so many things.”

The quick entry to the pit lane in Baku — a street circuit that was billed as the fastest on the calendar — attracted criticism from Rosberg and Hamilton’s former McLaren teammate Jenson Button, who is a director of the Grand Prix Drivers Association.

Verstappen, at 18 Formula One’s youngest ever driver, also aired his grievances in the drivers’ briefing ahead of the Azerbaijan race.

“In the media he’s saying like he doesn’t care, but when he talks to his team it is different,” said Verstappen, who won on his Red Bull debut in Spain earlier this year. “I had an incident in the drivers’ briefing in Baku saying the pit entry was quite tricky, and he’s like ‘oh, you shouldn’t bother about it’.

“But then Nico jumped in and said ‘wait Lewis, you just said you were getting scared when you were always entering the pit lane. So what is this approach?’

“Maybe he wants to be cool. We are looking to improve safety, and we don’t want to die on the track.”

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MATCH INFO

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New Zealand 176-8 (20 ovs)

England 155 (19.5 ovs)

New Zealand win by 21 runs

if you go

The flights

Direct flights from the UAE to the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu, are available with Air Arabia, (www.airarabia.com) Fly Dubai (www.flydubai.com) or Etihad (www.etihad.com) from Dh1,200 return including taxes. The trek described here started from Jomson, but there are many other start and end point variations depending on how you tailor your trek. To get to Jomson from Kathmandu you must first fly to the lake-side resort town of Pokhara with either Buddha Air (www.buddhaair.com) or Yeti Airlines (www.yetiairlines.com). Both charge around US$240 (Dh880) return. From Pokhara there are early morning flights to Jomson with Yeti Airlines or Simrik Airlines (www.simrikairlines.com) for around US$220 (Dh800) return. 

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Restricted area permits (US$500 per person) are required for trekking in the Upper Mustang area. The challenging Meso Kanto pass between Tilcho Lake and Jomson should not be attempted by those without a lot of mountain experience and a good support team. An excellent trekking company with good knowledge of Upper Mustang, the Annaurpuna Circuit and Tilcho Lake area and who can help organise a version of the trek described here is the Nepal-UK run Snow Cat Travel (www.snowcattravel.com). Prices vary widely depending on accommodation types and the level of assistance required. 

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Coffee: black death or elixir of life?

It is among the greatest health debates of our time; splashed across newspapers with contradicting headlines - is coffee good for you or not?

Depending on what you read, it is either a cancer-causing, sleep-depriving, stomach ulcer-inducing black death or the secret to long life, cutting the chance of stroke, diabetes and cancer.

The latest research - a study of 8,412 people across the UK who each underwent an MRI heart scan - is intended to put to bed (caffeine allowing) conflicting reports of the pros and cons of consumption.

The study, funded by the British Heart Foundation, contradicted previous findings that it stiffens arteries, putting pressure on the heart and increasing the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke, leading to warnings to cut down.

Numerous studies have recognised the benefits of coffee in cutting oral and esophageal cancer, the risk of a stroke and cirrhosis of the liver. 

The benefits are often linked to biologically active compounds including caffeine, flavonoids, lignans, and other polyphenols, which benefit the body. These and othetr coffee compounds regulate genes involved in DNA repair, have anti-inflammatory properties and are associated with lower risk of insulin resistance, which is linked to type-2 diabetes.

But as doctors warn, too much of anything is inadvisable. The British Heart Foundation found the heaviest coffee drinkers in the study were most likely to be men who smoked and drank alcohol regularly.

Excessive amounts of coffee also unsettle the stomach causing or contributing to stomach ulcers. It also stains the teeth over time, hampers absorption of minerals and vitamins like zinc and iron.

It also raises blood pressure, which is largely problematic for people with existing conditions.

So the heaviest drinkers of the black stuff - some in the study had up to 25 cups per day - may want to rein it in.

Rory Reynolds

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