Richard Williams

Author's details

Name: Richard Williams
Date registered: October 11, 2014
URL: http://www.theguardian.com/sport/formula-one-2014

Latest posts

  1. Toilet jokes are hard to make when Justin Gatlin’s gold leaves a bad smell | Richard Williams — August 11, 2017
  2. Team Sky rule the Tour de France again but will remain unloved | Richard Williams — July 21, 2017
  3. The punishments for Peter Sagan and Sebastian Vettel cast F1 in a poor light | Richard Williams — July 7, 2017
  4. Mont Ventoux casts shadow on 2017 Tour de France despite absence from route | Richard Williams — June 30, 2017
  5. How England paid the penalty again for an attack of the sporting yips | Richard Williams — May 26, 2017

Author's posts listings

Aug 11

Toilet jokes are hard to make when Justin Gatlin’s gold leaves a bad smell | Richard Williams

The contaminated straw that led a race horse to fail a drugs test might raise a smile but events at the world athletics in London are no laughing matter

If there was a lighter side to a week in which doping dominated the sports headlines, it came in the discovery of O-desmethyltramadol in a sample taken from a horse called Wotadoll. Sitting in judgment, the British Horseracing Authority’s disciplinary committee accepted the explanation that the metabolite of the opioid tramadol – detected after the three-year-old bay filly finished unplaced at Wolverhampton – could be sourced to the urine of a groom who peed in the horse’s box after taking the medication for pain relief.

Related: Boos ring out at Justin Gatlin’s moved 100m medal ceremony

Related: Time is fast running out for athletics to act on the scale of problems it faces | Sean Ingle

Related: Icarus film finds more than Greek tragedy in Russia doping scandal | Sean Ingle

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/aug/11/justin-gatlin-world-gold-usain-bolt-drugs-in-sport-icarus-film-russia

Jul 21

Team Sky rule the Tour de France again but will remain unloved | Richard Williams

Chris Froome’s impending triumph cannot mask the unpopularity of a team tainted by the increasing bullishness of Dave Brailsford in the face of legitimate questions

When Team Sky changed their jerseys from black to white for this year’s Tour de France, it was a fairly transparent attempt to rebrand themselves as good guys. A line of eight or nine riders in pitch-black uniforms stretching out at the front of the peloton day after day, squeezing the life out of the competition, was never a sympathetic look.

So now, as Chris Froome closes to within one 22.5km time trial around the sights of Marseille and one ceremonial parade into Paris of his fourth Tour win in five years, did it do the job? On an aesthetic level, perhaps it did. The Sky squad still rode on the front, all eight of them en bloc after an accident forced Geraint Thomas to withdraw, but the sight of that crushing might was less oppressive.

Related: How Stephen Roche ruled cycling in 1987 | Steven Pye

Related: Boasson Hagen breaks clear to win stage 19 as Froome tightens grip on Tour title

Related: Orica-Scott: 24 hours on the road with the Australian Tour de France team

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/jul/21/team-sky-tour-de-france-dave-brailsford

Jul 07

The punishments for Peter Sagan and Sebastian Vettel cast F1 in a poor light | Richard Williams

The Tour de France took the brave decision to disqualify the world champion but the FIA chose the expedient option on Vettel’s clash with Lewis Hamilton

Did Sebastian Vettel really steer into Lewis Hamilton on purpose? And was there malice in Peter Sagan’s mind when his elbow flew out and Mark Cavendish was pitched into the barriers? The evidence of the last fortnight in top-level sport supports what any junior reporter will tell you, which is that an incident witnessed by more than one person almost invariably produces conflicting interpretations.

Related: Lewis Hamilton asks FIA for explanation over Vettel decision

Related: Tour de France will miss Peter Sagan’s star power but safety must come first | William Fotheringham

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/07/peter-sagan-sebastian-vettel-lewis-hamilton-mark-cavendish-discipline

Jun 30

Mont Ventoux casts shadow on 2017 Tour de France despite absence from route | Richard Williams

The Giant of Provence may only glower in the distance this time but 50 years after Tom Simpson died close to the summit many will be thinking of himThe riders of the Tour de France will not be required to climb the Mont Ventoux this year but they will …

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/jun/30/mont-ventoux-cast-shadow-tour-de-france-despite-absence-route-tom-simpson

May 26

How England paid the penalty again for an attack of the sporting yips | Richard Williams

When the Under-17s lost a final they had all but won with a couple of misses from 12 yards it again underlined that English football’s version of the yips needs a long-overdue cure

The yips can take more than one form. Usually we think of the phenomenon in terms of an individual submitting to a technical meltdown: a golfer seizing up at the sight of a six-inch putt, a tennis player suddenly incapable of tossing the ball up for a serve accurately, or a bowler losing the ability to land the ball anywhere near the cut strip.

Jon Lester is one of the stranger variations. A recent issue of Sports Illustrated carried a long and absorbing feature on the 33-year-old left-handed pitcher for the Chicago Cubs, who mysteriously lost the ability several years ago to throw the ball to first base. Facing a batter, he was as effective as ever. Turn him 90 degrees left, and he was like a man trying to find a target while blindfolded.

Related: The Joy of Six: Sporting chokes | Scott Murray

Related: Wayne Rooney: ‘I’ve made my mind up on my future and have lots of offers’

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/may/26/gareth-southgate-england-penalty-malaise-under-17s

May 19

Vote Paris and keep the Olympics out of Donald Trump’s sticky little fingers | Richard Williams

The IOC has the choice of Paris or Los Angeles to host the 2024 Olympic Games and both have relatively sensible proposals

With the contest for the right to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games down to the last two contestants and nearing a final verdict, there may be several good reasons for giving Paris the right to stage the 2024 Olympics while postponing the return of the Games to Los Angeles until four years later. The most compelling of them must surely be that such a decision would put the Olympics out of the reach of Donald Trump’s sticky little fingers.

The two-term limit of the recently inaugurated US president will end in 2025 – unless, that is, Trump decides to follow the example of Julius Caesar and declare himself dictator perpetuo. He might even emulate Caligula by pronouncing himself divine before presiding over the Games on a golden throne. And then why not go all the way? In the Olympics of 67AD, Nero awarded himself an entry in the 10-horse chariot race. Having persuaded the organisers to insert the event into the schedule, Trump could then invent a local rule forcing all competitors who are not heads of state of the host nation to blindfold their horses.

Related: They smashed my face and demolished my home – all for the Rio Olympics | Maria da Penha Macena

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/may/19/paris-los-angeles-olympic-games-2024-donald-trump

Aug 26

Cal Crutchlow’s MotoGP triumph in Brno deserves Olympian acclaim | Richard Williams

The first British MotoGP win for 35 years went under the radar but he and his sport deserve a wider profile

For some, the imminent blizzard of damehoods, knighthoods and other honours for Britain’s medal winners in Rio will serve as a sharp reminder that John Surtees – the only man in history to have won world championships on two and four wheels – continues, at 82, to be denied the title bestowed upon Sir Jackie Stewart and Sir Stirling Moss, not to mention Sir Philip Green.

Silverstone’s grandstands and grass banks will be full of enthusiasts to witness next week’s MotoGP meeting, but motorbike racing has never enjoyed much in the way of status in Britain, even though the top international formula was dominated for several decades not only by Surtees but also by Geoff Duke, Mike Hailwood, Phil Read and Barry Sheene. So it was no surprise when Cal Crutchlow’s success at Brno last weekend – the first for a British rider since Sheene’s win in Sweden 35 years ago – went widely unnoticed, drowned in the acclaim for various homeward-bound tumblers, pedallers, trampolinists, divers and dressage artists.

Crutchlow’s success reminded me of watching Keke Rosberg at Monaco in 1983 when Nico’s dad gambled on starting on slicks

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2016/aug/26/cal-crutchlow-motogp-brno-richard-williams

Nov 23

Lewis Hamilton joins F1’s very best after becoming serial title winner | Richard Williams

Second drivers’ crown sets 29-year-old Briton on path to becoming one of the great champions
• Hamilton wins Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to take title

Next to Lewis Hamilton’s brilliance at the wheel he is noted for his mood swings. He is the grand prix driver who does not appear to have had Kipling’s lessons about triumph and disaster recited to him from the cradle onwards. Whatever is going on in his life tends to be reflected in his face and in his performance.

His mood will never have swung higher than after the result that finally, at the end of his eighth season in Formula One, sets him on the path to becoming one of the great champions, a status that is earned only by winning the title once and then going back and winning it again.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: http://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2014/nov/23/lewis-hamilton-sweeps-away-doubts-serial-title-winner

Nov 21

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg rivalry as team-mates nothing new in F1 | Richard Williams

Merecedes’ reliabilty has increased the chance of both their drivers aiming to be crowned world champion after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

From Cain and Abel via Hamlet and Claudius and Michael and Fredo Corleone to the Milibands, fratricide always pulls a crowd. And in Formula One there is nothing as exhilarating, and at times as blood-freezing, as a battle between team-mates with identical machinery at their disposal and the stakes at their highest.

Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, a floodlit event in a billionaires’ neon playground spiced by the unprecedented contrivance of the award of double points, promises a hot-blooded brotherly tussle to match the epic confrontations of the past: a showdown between the two Mercedes drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, who have been racing each other since they were schoolboys and are now competing for the biggest prize in their sport.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2014/nov/21/lewis-hamilton-nico-rosberg-team-mates-abu-dhabi-grand-prix

Oct 31

F1s meritocracy undone by letting richest teams write the regulations | Richard Williams

Money always talked but once you could rise from sweeping the floor to running teams built from scratch. Now, as Marussia and Caterham teeter, the best-funded have all the powerOne by one, the legendary figures of a golden era Stirling Moss, John Surt…

Permanent link to this article: http://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2014/oct/31/f1-richest-teams-regulations-marussia-caterham

Oct 10

Why Formula One should improve safety without removing risk | Richard Williams

Almost all accidents contain some element of the freakish and unforeseen, and close analysis of their individual features has become the way F1 improves its safety standards F1 drivers to demand safety assurances F1 safety heightened at Russian GP in w…

Permanent link to this article: http://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2014/oct/10/formula-one-safety-risk

Aug 30

Cal Crutchlow takes Ducati gamble to follow Barry Sheene dream | Richard Williams

British Grand Prix gives Yamaha rider chance to end 32-year wait for a GB elite-class win but the long game is the world title

Silverstone hasn’t been the luckiest of places for Cal Crutchlow. Two years ago, in his rookie season as a MotoGP rider, he crashed in qualifying for the British Grand Prix, broke his collarbone and was forced to miss the race. Last year he had another spill in practice and broke an ankle but made it on to the grid and finished a brave sixth.

It had a nasty surprise for him on Friday, too, when he set off in the morning’s free practice session only to discover that a wasp had found its way into his leathers. “I was beating my chest to try to kill it,” he said. “The crowd must have thought I was pretending to be Tarzan but it stung me three times. Quiet painful.”

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: http://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2013/aug/30/cal-crutchlow-ducati-barry-sheene