Thu, Feb 09, 2012 - Page 18


Raikkonen off to nice start

Kimi Raikkonen’s comeback with Lotus got off to a perfect start, as the former world champion was fastest on the first day of preseason testing on Tuesday in Jerez, Spain. The Finnish driver and 2007 F1 champion marked his first official ride since the end of 2009 with a fastest lap time of 1 minute, 19.670 seconds at the Jerez circuit for the former Renault team. “It was a positive first day of testing and everything went almost to plan,” Raikkonen said. “We had no major issues and I got a good feel for the car and the tires. I’m looking forward to making further progress with the car tomorrow.” Raikkonen edged Force India’s Paul di Resta and Nico Rosberg of Mercedes, with constructors’ champions Red Bull beginning their campaign with a fourth-place run by Mark Webber, who trailed Raikkonen by more than eight-tenths of a second. Red Bull’s session were delayed due to fog at the airport that kept the team from receiving rear-wing components they needed.


Billups out for season

The Los Angeles Clippers were dealt a blow as starting guard Chauncey Billups was ruled out for the rest of the NBA season with a torn left Achilles tendon, the team said on Tuesday. He will also miss this year’s London Olympics. The five-time All-Star suffered the injury in the fourth quarter of the Clippers’ win on Monday over the Orlando Magic when he tried to change direction after missing a three-point shot. Los Angeles acquired the 35-year-old Billups off waivers in December last year just before trading for four-time All-Star Chris Paul. The tandem has helped the Clippers to a first-place start in the Pacific Division and turned them into contenders, but the loss of Billups clouds their status. “It was tough. It was deflating,” Billups told reporters of his injury during a television interview. “The team is coming together and what we have going on is exciting. To know that this season is over, it hurt.”


Carmelo out one, two weeks

New York Knicks All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony will be sidelined for one to two weeks with a strained right groin, the team said on Tuesday. Anthony, the Knicks’ leading scorer, apparently was hurt while throwing an alley-oop pass to center Tyson Chandler midway through the first quarter of Monday’s 99-88 victory over the Utah Jazz. He left the game on the Knicks’ next possession and did not return. Anthony, who was recently named a starter in this year’s Feb. 26 All-Star game in Orlando, is averaging 22.3 points, 6 rebounds and 4.2 assists in his second season with New York.


Michel hired to coach Sevilla

Sevilla hired coach Jose Miguel “Michel” Gonzalez on Tuesday to take over from the fired Marcelino Garcia Toral. Michel agreed to a contract until the end of the season that will automatically be extended an extra year if he manages to guide the Andalusian club to a top-four finish and a place in next season’s Champions League. “My message is clear, there are three months to go and I am very excited to help Sevilla get to where [they] should be,” Michel said. “I know the team for the quality of its players. I also know that I arrive in an abnormal situation for a club like Sevilla, [who have] always had good results but in the last two years [have] fallen into a complicated situation.”