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F1: Speed, straights and storms – Phuket Sports

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F1: Speed, straights and storms – Phuket Sports | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Before Spa, I said that we must hope that there had been some breakthroughs to spice-up a season dominated by Red Bull. It’s all getting a bit predictable. I trusted rain to add spice, but it was stubbornly dry at Spa (click here for story).

I said that both Spa and the uninteresting new Pirelli tyres would favour Red Bull. And they did. Sebastian Vettel took a tedious victory. Webber ran a reverse tyre strategy, started badly and could finally not pass either Mercedes even on soft tyres, so ended 5th.

My predictions were that Mercedes would qualify on pole, with Red Bull near the top of the order. It was indeed Mercedes, Red Bull, Red Bull, Mercedes. As I hoped, Mercedes may have learned to manage tyres, and came in 3rd and 4th. But they provided no serious challenge to Vettel, and Alonso out-drove Hamilton. I hoped that Lotus might have developed ways to drive in cold weather and Ferrari might have managed those upgrades it missed.

My prediction was that Lotus would qualify in a mediocre fashion. They started 8th and 9th. Kimi Räikkönen’s long finishing streak ended with a brake failure, but to be fair he looked off the pace before that. Romain Grosjean finished where he started on 8th.

I forecast that Fernando Alonso was in contention to win, but that his team-mate Felipe Massa was going to finish near the bottom of the points. Starting 9th and 10th, they finished 2nd and 7th respectively.

So is it really that predictable now?

Is all we have to interest us Kimi’s future seat, the size of Daniel Ricciardo’s bottom, and Louis Hamilton’s refusal to wear his Mercedes team cap unless he redesigns the strip?

Could Monza change things and return racing to the fore? It’s the fastest track of the season with speeds of up to 340 km/h. and the down-force will be very low, which makes the cars even more challenging to drive, particularly around chicanes. This circuit gives all teams the chance to prove what their cars are can do on long straights and it gives the best divers a chance to shine. Massa and others have plenty of opportunities to get the braking wrong and end up in the gravel at Monza.

Monza has an exceptionally high pit loss time, which together with low fuel usage drives teams towards a one-stop strategy. So tyres need to be managed; there are huge energy surges through the tyres, and plenty of bumpy sectors and high-speed impacts with kerbs. Overheating and blistering are challenges

Monza will suit Red Bull, but perhaps not as much as many would think. Red Bull has typically had the fastest lap times in the season but not necessarily the fastest straight-line speed. Alonso, Kimi and Hamilton will all be competitive in the right conditions, and we are expecting thunderstorms. Webber may do better than Vettel. McLaren, Williams and Force India will all feel hopeful, I think.

But is it actually possible for anyone to challenge Vettel for the championship now? Arithmetically it is of course. But what does history say? Look at the chart on this page to see Vettel and Alonso’s last season and this one. In 2012, at the same point in the season, the gap between Vettel and Alonso was much the same as it is this year, albeit the other way round, yet we had a nail-biting finish to the season. Vettel lagged behind Alonso until Race 16 (equivalent to India this year). In fact Vettel did not seriously start to attack Alonso until Race 13 (equivalent to Singapore this year).

Of course, Red Bull suffered from alternator problems last year, but history says that he is catchable by Kimi, Hamilton or Alonso at least. So there is hope.

Monza consists principally of very long straights and tight chicanes. It is one of the greatest tracks in F1. Monza and Monaco are the only two races where teams take aerodynamic components only used at those tracks, so they need to get that right.

The alternative is too horrible to accept.

The race is on Sunday at 7 pm and qualifying is on Saturday at the same time. Join The Digby at The Green Man to watch it on the Big Screen, where we are hoping for a “Big Surprise” (click here for
map).

Keep checking our online Phuket Sports pages, join our Facebook fan page or follow us on Twitter @PhuketGazette for the latest local, national and international sporting tips and action.

— The Digby

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Weather

Strong wind and waves this morning closes Phuket’s beaches, one swimmer rescued

The Thaiger

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Strong wind and waves this morning closes Phuket’s beaches, one swimmer rescued | The Thaiger

Phuket’s Rawai Mayor, Aroon Solos, ordered all beaches in the area to close after a foreigner was rescued this morning after being unable to make it back to shore. The foreigner was swimming off Ao Sane beach, just north of the popular Nai Harn Beach, when lifeguards were sent out to help bring him back to shore. The recent weather has been partly attributed to Tropical Storm Noul as other beaches areas around Patong have been closed since Friday.

Mayor Aroon ordered both the Nai Harn and Ya Nui beaches closed until further notice.

Noul crossed over the Vietnamese coastline in the early hours of Friday morning and tracked westwards into Laos, then Thailand’s north east, dragging in moisture from the Indian Ocean and intensifying the south-west monsoon.

The Chief of the Cherngtalay Tambon says that, once weather is more stable, the island’s beaches will reopen.

“All beaches in our area, Surin Beach, Bang Tao beach and other beaches, are closed today. We will reopen them when the weather improves.” Strong winds have contributed to falling trees and power outages across the island with one tree falling on the island’s main traffic artery, Thepkasattri Road, blocking traffic.

Officials are also warning road travellers to drive carefully after a car reportedly flipped over yesterday during wet conditions. The Thai Meteorological Department has also re-issued a weather warning today, saying that Noul has been now downgraded from a Category 3 tropical storm to a tropical depression.

The remnants of Noul currently sit over the Kancanaburi province after surging through Thailand’s north eastern and central provinces earlier today.

“Strong wind waves are likely in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. In the upper portion of both seas, the waves will be likely 2-4 meters high and more than 4 meters high in thundershowers. In the lower portion, the waves will be likely about 2 meters and in thundershower areas more than 3 meters high. All ships keep ashore through 20 September.”

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Thailand

Phuket residents going hungry after local government assistance runs out

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket residents going hungry after local government assistance runs out | The Thaiger

Residents in Phuket, particularly those living in and around the west coast townships, are reportedly going hungry as the government’s municipal budget to provide food has been depleted. Despite efforts to revive tourism in the area, thousands of people are still in need of donated food to survive and continue to queue up for donated food every day. A public relations staff member at the Patong municipality says, sadly, there is no budget to do any more food handouts in the near future and that there is no word on when or if there will be any more handouts.

The Phuket Town Deputy Mayor told The Phuket News that there has only been 2 handouts since the pandemic struck the tourist-reliant area. One handout was in March while the last handout was in June with the mayor saying 28 million baht was spent in those 2 handouts. Meanwhile a number of foreign residents in the town have been providing supplies for food queues for many months to help the impoverished residents.

One Phuket expat says the majority of those affected in the Patong area are Burmese migrant workers, with long queues for private donations still being seen on the streets of Patong. Such private donations are a result of charity events that are being held across the island with the assistance of dedicated volunteers.

Like Thailand’s Mental Health Department, many are concerned about the impact that food insecurity is having on those struggling. According to the department, 2,551 people had killed themselves across Thailand in the first half of 2020, a 22 % increase, year on year. In response, the National Reform Committee on Labour was ordered on September 11 to issue an amnesty on all outstanding debts, while providing financial support anyone who remains unemployed on the island.

At a recent meeting, other requests were made that include the government giving incentives for more Thais to visit the island and to use social security funds and soft loans as support for local business owners. For now, the situation is grim as Phuket residents are resorting to relying on private charities for food donations.

Phuket’s vice governor Phichet saysd that Phuket has been badly affected by the Covid crises, and delivered 3 requests to the Senate Standing Committee on Tourism… to extend the financial support by the Social Security Office for a further 3 months, allow workers from other provinces to transfer their house registration to Phuket so the Phuket government can receive more funds to provide better care for them, and ask the Ministry of Labour to provide assistance to at least 1,000 unemployed in Phuket.

Whilst the government unveiled plans for a “Phuket Model” to revive tourism on the island, it came to nothing, despite a high power delegation of Ministers and Bangkok officials who visited Phuket 2 weekends ago.

One such charity is set to record a song by leading Phuket musicians with the hopes of continuing to help feed those in need on the island.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Weather

Heavy rain across the country this weekend – local forecasts

The Thaiger

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Heavy rain across the country this weekend – local forecasts | The Thaiger

Heavy rain is expected across much of Thailand over the next few days, mostly as a result of the intensity of a tropical storm crossing into Vietnam today, ‘Noul’, from the South China Sea. The low pressure cell will help intensify the effects of the south west monsoon too. But the remnants of the storm won’t “slam” into Northern Thailand as one news site claimed – rather it will be a lot of rain and increased winds. The storm is expected to cross into Thailand around the Mukdahan province some time early tomorrow,

Around the country, Saturday will be the worst with rains easing during Sunday. Thailand north east ‘Isaan’ provinces will be the worst affected as they are in the direct track of the storm as it crosses Vietnam, into Laos, and then crossing Thailand’s borders in the upper north east in the early hours of tomorrow morning.

Whilst tropical storm ‘Noul’ has been packing winds from 80 – 120 kilometres per hour as it reaches the central Vietnam coast areas, including popular tourist locations like Da Nang and Hoi An, the storm will continue to dissipate as it moves inland. The storm has been tracking across the South China Sea this week, gathering strength, in a west northwesterly direction.

Residents in the coastal town of Hoi An report that it rained continuously last night, with strong winds, and that they expect widespread flooding to be reported during the day.

The forecast for heavy rain in Bangkok will probably dampen some of the enthusiasm for tomorrow’s anti-government rally to be held in and around the Thammasat University Tha Prachan campus.

Here are the forecasts for Saturday and Sunday around the country…

Bangkok

Heavy rain across the country this weekend - local forecasts | News by The Thaiger

Phuket

Heavy rain across the country this weekend - local forecasts | News by The Thaiger

Chiang Mai

Heavy rain across the country this weekend - local forecasts | News by The Thaiger

Pattaya

Heavy rain across the country this weekend - local forecasts | News by The Thaiger

Khon Kaen

Heavy rain across the country this weekend - local forecasts | News by The Thaiger

Koh Samui

Heavy rain across the country this weekend - local forecasts | News by The Thaiger

Read more about Thailand’s annual monsoons HERE.

SOURCE: weather.com

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