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Phuket Sports: F1 – A triumph of errors

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Phuket Sports: F1 – A triumph of errors | The Thaiger

PHUKET: The Valencia GP since its birth has been F1’s answer to Valium. Suddenly it has hosted one of the greatest races any of us has seen. There were pre-race fans opting for the two-snooze strategy. Hah! “And gentlemen in England now-a-bed shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here.”

No-one has been able overtake in Valencia. But this year there was overtaking a-plenty, there was the Pirelli Factor, there were surprises. But most of all there were ‘errors’. And in the supercharged testosterone-soaked 2012 season the errors were fatal.

The race looked predictable. Sebastian Vettel was in pole position and he would run as fast as possible to be able to undercut on his inevitable early pit-stop, Lewis Hamilton would drive more steadily and take the lead when Vettel pitted, and Romain Grosjean would out-wait them both and possibly win on a one-stopper.

Vettel certainly played his part, scorching away and gaining a second per lap over Hamilton who held back the rest of the field, although constantly tested by Grosjean who had already gained a place on the first corner.

But a revolution was starting behind the leaders. Almost unseen, Fernando Alonso was making ground. He started 11th and was 8th after the first lap. Pastor Maldonado who has started third, had many scrapes, and started to slow with debris in his radiator.

Fernando passed him, and with a great pit stop passed Kimi Räikkönen in the pits, passing Kamui Kobayashi on the exit, making him effectively fourth (allowing for those who had not yet pitted). The Valencia crowd felt something was happening, and the atmosphere changed even on our television sets.

Most cars pitted without incident, and the race was settling down again.

Then came ‘the big one’.

It started innocuously enough. Red Bull Junior Jean-Eric Vergne passing Heikki Kovalainen unaccountably clashed with the Caterham. The damage gave Kovalainen a puncture and damaged wheel. But Vergne’s fatally injured Torro Rosso kept going, scattering debris over the track for miles.

The safety car was summoned while the debris was removed. Lapped cars were waved past before the restart, keeping the safety car on-track for an extra two laps.

Vettel managed to keep his lead despite pitting a lap after Grosjean, Hamilton and Alonso. But his hard earned 20 second lead was gone. Hamilton’s pit stop was another tragedy and promoted Alonso to third. Daniel Ricciardo did not stop and took fourth ahead of Räikkönen, with Hamilton down to sixth. Grosjean was fighting Alonso, but it was still Vettel’s race.

Then Vettel’s Red Bull simply died, with alternator problems; soon afterwards so did Grosjean’s Lotus.

Vergne is looking at serious career counseling. He has received a 10 place grid penalty for Silverstone and a €25,000 fine, but I suspect he is more concerned about his team’s reaction.

Renault’s alternator engineers are looking at hard questions too.

Alonso had a comfortable three-second margin over Hamilton and Räikkönen. And it was Hamilton’s tyres that started to degrade. He slipped back in the order, until at turn 12 an on the penultimate lap an over- aggressive Maldonado swung back onto the track into the side of the McLaren, crushing Hamilton into the barrier. Game over for Hamilton.

Maldonado’s wounded Williams briefly held third place behind Räikkönen’s Lotus, but was passed by a string of cars led, surprisingly, by Michael Schumacher followed by Mark Webber.

Where did they come from?

Schumie was as amazed as anyone to be there, but he held on to take his first podium since China in 2006. They all fought to the finish, but this game of dodgems ended this way. It was Alonso’s triumph. He stopped short of the Parc Fermé and he and a Spanish Flag had an emotional bonding with the stewards and grandstands.

Maldonado finished 10th but later received a penalty, so Williams points were from Senna who was promoted by Maldonaldo’s penalty. Cold comfort for Hamilton.

So all in all, as the leaders fell like flies, those with the strength to endure inherited the race. For Alonso, to win a Home GP particularly under such circumstances must be as close to magic as a human can hope for.

So it’s Silverstone next, where Hamilton and Button will hope for the same magic.

All F1 races are shown at the Greenman, Chalong. Click here for more information.

— The Digby

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Tourism

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

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Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO | The Thaiger

There was the original Covid-19 outbreak and lockdowns back in April and May in 2020, then again just before Christmas and New Year when the new clusters emerged in Samut Sakhon and the eastern coastal provinces, Patong’s nightlife was quiet enough, almost non-existent.

Now when the restrictions are lifted, Nimz will take you through Phuket’s famous nightlife spot Bangla Road, Patong Beach and Phuket Town. It’s quiet, but there are still clubs open and operating and ready to welcome you.

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Expats

Deceased Phuket expat’s body stuck in hospital due to passport mix-up

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Deceased Phuket expat’s body stuck in hospital due to passport mix-up | The Thaiger

In a nightmarish scenario, a deceased Phuket expat’s body is stuck in a Thai hospital as his step‐daughter claims hospital administrators won’t release the body due to a passport mix‐up.

Gemma Swift, the step‐daughter of 75 year old David Donoghue, who died 2 weeks ago, says she is pleading with embassy staff in Thailand to resolve, what she says, is purely an administrative issue after Donoghue’s passport number at the hospital was from that of an expired one.

Donoghue’s current passport was on file with the British Embassy, but because it did not match what the hospital had, his body has remained at the hospital. Swift says it was something that could easily be corrected and the situation was “horrendous” for the family.

“The British Embassy over in Bangkok, they said that because [the number] was from his current passport, they were unable to change the letter. They have said that they won’t reissue a letter with the passport number that he’s got in the hospital with him.”

She said her family planned to arrange a funeral for him in Thailand, then bring his ashes back to the UK. As he retired to Phuket 15 years ago, her family would then take his ashes back to Thailand, as per his wishes, to scatter them.

However, none of his family members were able to travel to Thailand to be with Donoghue in his final days, as the mandatory 14 day quarantine period upon entering Thailand, would not have allowed them to see him.

“I thought this was a basic human right to be able to give somebody a funeral and I accept that there is always going to be red tape…but please just issue a letter and let us bring him home.”

She said before Covid-19, family members travelled often to Phuket to visit Donoghue, who once worked for the Thai tourist police. She says the entire ordeal has been heartbreaking as her family was unable to say goodbye.

“That on its own was heart breaking, and now to get this two weeks later, to find out we can’t give him a funeral, or get his ashes back, it’s just horrendous.”

“It’s like being on autopilot… once we know we have done everything we can, we can start the grieving process, but at the minute we can’t.”

A Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office spokesperson said they are assisting Donoghue’s family during the difficult time.

“Our staff are in contact with the local hospital and funeral director to help his family obtain the necessary paperwork to ensure his body is treated in line with their wishes.”

If the situation isn’t fixed, Donoghue’s body will join a mass cremation at the hospital.

SOURCE: BBC News

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Phuket

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

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Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2 | The Thaiger

In today’s Thailand News Today…. The island of Phuket has a firm plan to get its residents vaccinated leading up to an October opening for tourists, the Thai PM backs up his police over last Sunday’s protest violence and Thai Airway’s employee union criticises the changes to employee contracts.

But the plan must be approved by the national government by April, if the province wants to open tourism by October 1. Phuket has a resident population of around 300- 400,000 people.

Before you go rushing off to book your plane tickets we’d stress that this is another in a long list of proposals that have not come to fruition and we’d urge patience until the Government approves the plans.

Meanwhile the island has taken delivery of 4,000 doses of the Chinese Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine. Vaccinations started yesterday, with priority given to 1,500 healthcare workers and 500 “at-risk” officials exposed to Covid-19 patients.

On a broader note… Thailand’s Tourism Minister says he has asked the Public Health Ministry to approve a vaccine passport scheme aimed at reviving Thailand’s devastated tourism sector. According to the Minister, the government is looking to the World Health Organisation to issue a statement on vaccine passports before it makes a final decision on the matter.

The Thai PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha has defended police action against protesters taking part in Sunday’s anti-government rally in Bangkok. Officers from the Metropolitan Police Bureau used tear gas, a water cannon and rubber bullets in an effort to drive protesters back from the PM’s residence. The PM insists the actions were in line with international standards. He says that police did not violate the protesters’ rights.

Thai researchers are claiming that horseshoe bats are not responsible for transmitting the Covid virus to humans. A researcher with the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Diseases-Health Science Centre, says that even though the bats have tested positive for a coronavirus, it is not the strain that is transmissible to humans, and it’s certainly not the virus that causes Covid-19.

As Thai Airways tries to sell new contracts and conditions to its remaining workforce, the labour union of the national carrier is challenging changes to the employment contracts, where Thai Airways employees are being asked to agree to changes as part of the bigger financial rehabilitation program.

But a union representative says the new contracts are unfair because it includes fewer leave days and shorter holidays. The union has filed a complaint with the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare.

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