Archivo de la etiqueta: championship

Start your engines!

Ladies and gentlemen. We are one week away from what promises to be a great 2015 Formula 1 Season. Lots of changes since that last race in Abu Dhabi where an engine failure in Nico Rosberg’s car made it “easy” for Lewis Hamilton to win his second driver’s championship. All the behind the scenes preparation over the break will be put to the test in Melbourne next Sunday.

MERCEDES:

The Silver Arrow team has kept both of its world class drivers in charge of delivering another Constructors Championship. From the engineers to the mechanics to almost everyone on the staff will be returning this season. Nico now knows what it is like to handle the pressure of being in title contention feels like. Totto Wolf and Paddy Lowe know that can still get more points from the German driver. Lewis Hamilton will help him add even more points but is not expected to hold back for another shot at another title. Their testing results at Jerez and Barcelona point toward another great season for Mercedes.

RED BULL:

This team is seeing how Mercedes is drifting away with all the glory that used to belong to them. They not only lost their place on the top of the constructors and drivers championships, they also lost Sebastian Vettel. The Germani driver is now with Ferrari and leaves the leadership on the track to Australian sensation, Daniel Ricciardo while promoting Daniil Kvyat from Toro Rosso to Red Bull. The car did well in testing but has some things to figure out to make their Renault engine catch up with Mercedes.

WILLIAMS:

Probably the team that surprised fans the most in 2014 was this one. With Felippe Massa’s resurrection and the solid performances by Valtteri Bottas, they finished third. This year they should obviously be expecting to make it further up the podium. The greatness of this team is greatly powered by a woman. Claire Williams has been accredited with much of the team’s recent success. She is also pushing that in a near future Sussie Wolf could be behind the wheel in her team. This team only looks to be moving forward. The recent deal with BT should really help them get the best out of their cars.

FERRARI

The longest lasting Formula 1 team is experiencing one of its deepest crisis in many years. Their lack of victories is driving officials crazy and last year only one man was able to make it a decent one for Ferrari. Now that Fernando Alonso is on another team, Kimmi Raikkonen will be joined by Sebastian Vettel. They are both world champions but have forgotten about their winning ways. The reconstruction of this team was almost complete over the break. They want to deliver their fans a win but with how Mercedes and other teams are rolling, it will be something hard to see happening, but not impossible.

MCLAREN 

This team has a solid driver’s lineup. Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso are experts at getting the most out of their cars. Unfortunately for the team that returns to run with a Honda engine, it will not be the two of them that line up at Melbourne. After Alonso’s crash during practice, he will miss the first week of action of the season. After that, both drivers will have to make their skills count to get McLaren back to where it once was. Button was about to leave the team, but Alonso suggested that he wanted the Englishman to stay. The team listened and both of these drivers have a lot of catching up to do for McLaren.

FORCE INDIA 

In 2014, this team was really unpredictable. They would have a great race one day and the next weekend they would barely even finish the race. Sergio Perez has found a new contract with this team but his biggest motivation might be having a Grand Prix in Mexico in sight. Perez is known for his aggressive driving that has cost him big points and in some cases a finish in the podium. He has to show maturity this season because he’s got talent. Then his teammate Nico Hulkenberg has been more consistent but not in the spots he would like to be. Team owner Vijay Mallya would like to see his money spent wisely.

TORO ROSSO

The driving school of Red Bull is a team that mostly prides itself in preparing their drivers for the F1 lifestyle by the time they make the jump with Red Bull. Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr are the two drivers representing the Italian constructor. In 166 races, they have one win and one pole position. As we said before, this is more of a development team than a team concerned to win a drivers championship. Sebastian Vettel’s and Daniel Ricciardo’s success at the top can be highly attributed to what they learned from their time at Toro Rosso. So it’s fun to watch their drivers develop throughout the season.

LOTUS

The problems just wouldn’t stop for this British team in 2014. Despite having Pastor Maldonado as their leader, there was not much to celebrate last season. Romain Grosjean and the Venezuelan driver must take advantage of a team that does not seem to have the financial problems it had in 2013 and 2014. They will be supported by a Mercedes engine just like the team that leads the competition does. Their standard to beat last year’s performance is not high. With only 10 points in 2014, they sure have the drivers and hopefully the car to do better.

SAUBER

The swiss team finished pointless in 2014 so there is no way they could do worst than last season. Esteban Gutierrez was expected to stay with the team but he did not convince the team management it should be that way even with the Mexico Grand Prix in sight. They feel that Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr are what the team need to score some points this upcoming season. Troubles with their engine could be parallel to the ones Ferrari has with theirs. But something is for sure, to belong in this category you need more than a deep wallet. The two drivers have the skills to prove they belong in the F1 world.

When One Call Changes History

Before the season started I was asked during a job interview if the Seattle Seahawks were going to win the Super Bowl after defeating San Francisco for their first league title. My answer was no. I honestly did not see them making it to Glendale, Arizona this time around. I was one call from being wrong.

Other than the Cowboys, I do like the Seahawks when it comes to teams in the NFC. The big names in the team were not selected as big guys in the draft. It was Pete Carroll and his staff the ones that have developed household names in every position. This past Sunday, they were one yard away from achieving greatness and suddenly blew it.

Both teams were at the Super Bowl because of their ability to study their opponents. Seattle came into the big game with the #1 defense in the league, New England was not too far back. The Legion of Boom was dominated by Tom Brady’s short and quick passing. Russell Wilson almost had to wait until the end of the first half to complete one pass.

While the stats suggested that Bill Bellichick’s team could have the lead, the score was tied at 14 before Katy Perry, Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliot took the stage for the halftime show.

As soon as the third quarter began the Seahawks had the momentum of the game. They scored a touchdown and a field goal to get a ten-point lead. If the numbers really mattered, Brady and his guys could have decided to leave the stadium by then. No team in Super Bowl history had overcome a 10-point deficit in the final quarter of a Super Bowl.

Brady is one of the worst quarterbacks when it comes to throwing passes of 20 or more yards. Throwing short passes and running the ball via his running backs are his specialty. At 37, he barely moves out of the pocket. His precision lead the way and in two consecutive possessions they got a three point lead (28-24).

With just over two-minutes to go they turned the pressure onto the Seahawks. Wilson went with long passes and a few rushing plays. It was a pass to Jermaine Kearse on the four-yard-line that gave the Seahawks a reason to believe they would earn a second consecutive Super Bowl win. A play that the rookie Malcolm Butler from the Patriots had not been able to break.

At that point there was no reason to believe destiny was on the Seahawks side. They were destined to win the game and destroy my prediction. Beast Mode carried the ball to the one-yard line. With 26 seconds on the clock, one time out left for Seattle and just a second and goal opportunity almost everyone around the world knew what to do next.

Pete Carroll had other plans decided Wilson should throw a slant instead of running the ball. Wilson executed the play but the ball ended in Butler’s hands. The Patriots won the game and the Super Bowl for a fourth time in franchise history. Tom Brady, earned his fourth championship ring in seven league finals. Those four titles set him in the same list as Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw with the most SB wins.

The man is not planning to retire for as long as he thinks he can still play. The Patriots can keep dreaming of titles with Bill and Brady in the team. By the way, Super Bowl XLIX set a record tv audience of almost half the population of the United States tuning in to watch the big game.

Más Que un Simple Tazón

Cuando llegan las vacaciones decembrinas no todos los estudiantes en Estados Unidos salen de vacaciones. Los basquetbolistas pasan la navidad y el año nuevo tomando ritmo en sus temporadas mientras que jugadores de 72 universidades se disputan el honor de su universidad en uno de los 39 tazones colegiales.

Una de las novedades para este 2014 es el nuevo sistema de playoffs que sustituye al Campeonato Nacional de la BCS. Realmente no hay una manera definitiva de acceder a un tazón. Todo va a depender de los resultados del equipo a lo largo de una temporada, de los rivales contra los que se enfrente, la diferencia en los marcadores, los juegos contra rivales de su conferencia y hasta el mismo prestigio de la escuela y a final de cuentas son votos de confianza los que llevan a un equipo a tener un lugar en un tazón colegial.

Obviamente cuando se deja a votación cualquier proceso existe la polémica. Tal fue el caso este año cuando equipos como Texas Christian University y Baylor University (ambas de Texas), quedaron fuera de los playoffs a pesar de que ambos terminaron con marcas de 11-1. Florida State si fue dado por bueno tras un paso perfecto (13-0) mientras que Alabama, Oregon y Ohio State también accedieron a los playoffs con marca de 12-1.

TCU había hecho los méritos necesarios para pertenecer a ese grupo de cuatro pero el haber hecho ver tan fácil ganarle a equipos como Texas y Iowa State pudo haber sido lo que les cortó las alas a un conjunto que pocas veces se ve tan bien como se vió la temporada que acaba de concluir. Aún así fueron invitados al Tazón de Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl y barrieron con Ole Miss por 42 a 3.

Baylor también quería comprobar que era digno de haber sido seleccionado al los Playoffs pero sus esperanzas por ganar un tazón se esfumaron a segundos del final. El equipo de Waco, Texas se sentía local jugando en la casa de Jerry Jones (El Estadio de los Vaqueros de Dallas) pues sólo habían viajado cerca de 100 millas para llegar al estadio, mientras que su rival Michigan State llegó de más de 1000 millas de distancia. En el “Tazón del Algodón” también vinieron de muy lejos para arrebatarle el triunfo de las manos a los los osos y ganar por 42 a 41.

Mientras tanto en los playoffs Oregon y Florida State se vieron las caras en el “Tazón de las Rosa” y ahí dos ganadores del trofeo Heisman se vieron las caras. Jameis Winston quien había ganado el trofeo en el 2013 contra Marcus Mariota de Oregon, mariscal que apenas el año pasado lo ganó. En la cancha nada le salió bien a Winston mientras que Mariota estuvo fino cuando había que estarlo para guiar a su equipo al triunfo por 59 a 20.

Alabama que llegó con el mejor ranking a los playoffs no supo mantener el paso casi perfecto ante Ohio State. OSU se repuso a ir perdiendo en el primer cuarto y encontró un ritmo difícil de frenar para la marea de Alabama y a pesar de muchos errores por ambos equipos en los últimos instantes del partido fueron los Buckeyes quienes se llevaron el “AllState Sugar Bowl” y su pase a la gran final contra Oregon el 12 de enero en el AT&T Stadium.

Otros resultados incluyen la victoria de Wisconsin sobre Auburn por 34 a 31 en el Outback Bowl. Notre Dame venciendo a LSU en el Music City Bowl por 31 a 28 mientras que Texas acabó un año para el olvido ante Arkansas perdiendo 31 a 7 en el Advocare V100 Texas Bowl.

Para terminar hay que mencionar que en estos juegos no sólo importa el resultado, ya que se juega el prestigio, la supremacía y la grandeza de una universidad. Al final del día quienes están en la cancha más que un tazón, y eso es lo que hace grande al fútbol americano colegial de Estados Unidos.

Last Week in Sports (10/06/14-10/12/14)

Starting today, every monday I will be posting a summary of the most important news in the world of sports over the weekend.

NFL

Even though we still have to wait to see how the Monday Night Football game pans out to be, it will hardly overtake the show that Seattle and the Dallas Cowboys displayed yesterday at CenturyLink Field, the house of the 12th man. (considered the second loudest stadium in the NFL right behind Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City)

Dallas was coming off an overtime win over the Houston Texans at home but was expected to face an even harder test on the road against the Super Bowl XLVII Champions.  Things did not start well for the team managed by Jason Garrett and due to a couple of mistakes early in the game, they fell behind 10-0. The underdog responded quickly with some great plays by Tony Romo and came back to take the lead 10-17 before halftime. A fielding mistake by the special teams and a mistimed pass by Travis Frederick were key mistakes to give hope to the Seahawks and turn things around in their favor 20-17. Cowboys came back to tie but another field goal by the Seahawks gave the lead to a team that was getting lucky.

The key play of the game happened with less than five minutes to go in the game. 3rd and 20 for the Cowboys and Tony Romo avoids a couple of sacks to find Terrance Williams 23 yards away. Williams makes the best catch of the game right on the borderline of the field having his toes save him from an incomplete pass. In that same series DeMarco Murray takes the ball for a touchdown and gives the Cowboys its 5th win of the season. They will play division rivals (New York Giants, Washington Redskins) the next two weeks before traveling to London to play the Jaguars.

SOCCER

With most club activity suspended for the week due to FIFA Dates national teams in North and South America played friendly games while teams in Europe continued Euro 2016 Qualifiers. Mexico played Honduras on thursday and won 2-0 with goals from Oswaldo Alanis and “Chicharito” Hernández who is now just nine goals behind Jared Borgetti as the all-time best national team scorer. On sunday they played Panama and with the first goal of Erik Torres with the national team they took the win (1-0).

Among other important results Landon Donovan said farewell to the U.S. Men’s National Team. He played his last 40 minutes with the jersey he wore 157 times and 19 of them as the captain of the squad. After not being included by Jurgen Klinsmann to play in the World Cup the decision of retiring was clear for the best soccer player to ever represent the red, white and blue on a soccer field. Unfortunately after a memorable night Ecuador’s Enner Valencia tied the game in its final stretch for a 1-1 draw.

Brazil beat Argentina in what is probably the biggest rivalry in soccer at an international level. Diego Tardelli scored both goals for the “Verde Amarela”. Messi had a chance from the penalty spot to temporarily tie the game but he missed. This friendly game was played in Beijing, China.

In Euro 2015 Qualifiers scores Spain beat Luxemburg 4-0 after falling 2-1 earlier in the week to Slovakia. England had an easy week winning 5-0 over San Marino and 1-0 over Estonia. France beat Portugal 2-1 even with Ronaldo on the pitch but even more shocking Germany lost against Poland 0-2.

MLB

We are approaching the very end of a very long baseball season and surprises keep popping up. Probably the biggest one is that the L.A. Dodgers aren’t in the hunt for a World Series anymore. Now the Kansas City Royals are back to a spot they are not very used to be in. They are facing the Orioles in the American League Championship Series who are also pretty unfamiliar with this stages. Their rival in the biggest stage in baseball will come from the winner between the San Francisco Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals who are playing to reach the National League Championship Series to access the World Series.

F1

A very unusual week unfolded in Formula 1. Most people have now seen or heard the accident in which Marussia’s driver Jules Bianchi was involved back in the Japan Grand Prix. Today Bianchi is still in critical condition in a hospital in Japan and is being supervised by a medical team lead by two doctors provided by Ferrari. Most of the people that surround F1 races say they are having a tough time dealing with the situation. But the show must go on and Russia welcomed the highest category in auto-racing for the first time. A circuit with lots of turns and few spaces to overpass other drivers built around the same Olympic Park that hosted the recent 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

It was again the Mercedes drivers who occupied the top two positions . Lewis Hamilton came in first after leading the whole race and Nico Rosberg finished second in a competition where most cars only needed one stop Marussia only had Max Chilton’s car on track as a tribute to his teammate. Unfortunately he had to abandon the race early on due to technical difficulties. With the 1-2 for Mercedes Benz drivers, the team secured the Constructors Championship with three races to go in the season. Apparently Russia is having to pay $50 million as a hosting fee per year for this new venture. Next up is the United States Grand Prix in Austin (special coverage from the Circuit of the Americas, stay tuned).

TENNIS MASTERS

Roger Federer has shown the world he is not done playing great tennis. The swiss who for a very long time had ranked number one in the world won the Shanghai Masters for the first time in his career after defeating Frenchman Gilles Simon 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-2). A close match that was mostly defined by Federer’s efficiency from the net taking 24 of 35 points. With the absence from Nadal in the tournament, combined with this result, Federer is now second in the ATP Rankings just behind Novak Djokovic.

CHICAGO MARATHON

There were close to ideal conditions in the “Windy City” yesterday for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. No world-records were broken, nor even course records and that is mostly due to a highly conservative pace from the leaders on both the women’s and men’s side of the field. It was a Kenyan podium on the men’s side with Eliud Kipchoge taking first place with a time of 2:04:11. Followed by Sammy Kitwara and Dickson Chumba less than a minute behind. On the women’s side Rita Jeptoo won the race with a 2:24:35 Rita Jeptoo (KEN) 2:24:35, Mare Dibaba came second and Florence Kiplagat finished third. Jeptoo from Kenya also clinched the 2013-2014 World Marathon Majors title.

OTHERS

Finally mexican golfer Carlos Ortiz made his PGA debut at the Frys.com Open in Napa Valley, California. The University of North Texas alumni and “Web.Com Player of the Year”finished with a scorecard of one stroke under par to rank 57 allowing him to rank 56 in the PGA Tour. Also Paola Longoria from Mexico won the U.S. Open in racquetball after defeating María José Vargas from Argentina 3-0 at Minneapolis. It is Longoria’s fifth U.S. Open title and 150th consecutive win for the player from San Luis Potosi.

Changes at the Speed of F1

When the 2014 Formula 1 Season started in march there were big changes to what we were used to see before. For the first time in a very long time Sebastian Vettel wasn’t the winner and he still hasn’t managed to be on top of the podium with less than half the season remaining. The sound of the new engines was widely criticized by fans which now creates part of its power by a Energy Recovery System. On the bright side we have seen a tougher competition among the whole field with the exception of the Mercedes Benz drivers who have won all but three races of the season so far.

Ferrari has not been the same team ever since Michael Schumacher left the team. They have not lived up to its name and Stefano Domenicali resigned from his position as team principal of the Ferrari Formula One team on mid-august. Marco Mattiacci, former president and CEO of Ferrari North America replaced him. Fernando Alonso has done more for the team than what his car has to offer. The two-time world champion has repeatedly performed at a world-class level but will not be with the “Cavallino Rampante” starting next season. Four-time F1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel is about to make his move to Ferrari official any minute. Alonso could be going back to McLaren.

I’ve been following Formula 1 for a bit now and I can assure you that this one has been the most exciting one. Besides Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Daniel Ricciardo being the only three pilots who have won races this far, the battle for second to 23rd place is always up for anyone. Mexican driver Sergio Perez is having his best season. He finished third in Bahrein and has been able to rack up some points in nine races currently sitting on the tenth spot overall. Esteban Gutierrez had a strong finish in the 2013 season, but the changes to his car have not been positive and so far he has no points, either has his teammate Adrian Sutil. Hamilton leads the board just ten points over Rosberg.

Just to show how tough these drivers are, they have endured extreme temperatures in places like Singapore and a close typhoon in Japan. At the first one Danii Kyvat and Kevin Magnussen reported burns and dehydration during the night race. That was nothing compared to what happened in Japan. The race started under a yellow flag due to the heavy rain. After a short pause it resumed and it was impressive to see how short of a visibility range drivers had along the course while still driving over 200 km/h.

The race was about to end when Adrian Sutil lost control of his car on turn 12 and crashed with a safety wall. There was a provisional yellow flag issued (which should have resulted in the safety car immediately). One lap later Jules Bianchi lost control of his Marussia in the same exact spot. The result was him crashing against the crane that was lifting Sutil’s car at around 160 miles per hour. it took a while for the press to know what was going on since there was no video of the incident.

What should have been a week of celebration in the wake of the first Russian Grand Prix ever, has been a week where Bianchi is fighting for his life in Japan and all the attention is on increasing an already tight security around Formula 1 plus really knowing what happened in what is surely Bianchi’s last lap ever as a F1 driver. Some experts say that race should have not even happened under the conditions it was raced in.

Sergio Perez at the Japan GP under heavy rain conditions. (Force India)
Sergio Perez at the Japan GP under heavy rain conditions. (Force India)

But now Russia is set to host a Grand Prix. Next year Mexico will have the return of the highest category in automotive racing come to a city where many stories were written. Austin is setting itself as one of the driver’s favorite places to race at with just two years in existence, the rumor is New York could be next and it could actually be a street-circuit and not on an actual track. You can already tell safety will be made an even higher priority from now on at old and new circuits.

Safety measures are bound to change, but what spectators around the world hope that does not change is the excitement of the current F1 season. Many of us were tired of the dictatorship that drivers like Vettel and Schumacher had at every race. If Bernie Ecclestone wants more fans to tune into F1 activities, a season as exciting as this one should be a common situation.

But for now lets just hope Jules Bianchi survives a horrifying incident. #ForzaJules

Viewer Discretion is advised to watch this link containing the crash of Jules Bianchi.

Top 5 Drivers: 1) Lewis Hamilton, 2) Nico Rosberg, 3) Daniel Ricciardo, 4) Sebastian Vettel, 5) Fernando Alonso

Top 5 Constructors: 1) Mercedes, 2) Red Bull, 3) Williams, 4) Ferrari, 5) Force India

Races to go: 4 (Russia, United States, Brazil, Abu Dhabi)