By Ian RansomMELBOURNE,(REUTERS)-Lewis Hamilton took pole for Mercedes at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on Saturday but Sebastian Vettel raised hope of a Ferrari renaissance by grabbing a spot on the front row.Hamilton’s flying lap of one minute 22.188 seconds set a new record at Albert Park but was only 0.268 seconds in front of German Vettel, offering the tantalising prospect of a competitive championship after three years of domination by the Silver Arrows.Vettel left Hamilton’s new team mate Valtteri Bottas frustrated in the second row, the meat in a Ferrari sandwich next to fourth fastest Kimi Raikkonen.On a cloudy day with the merest hint of rain, 32-year-old Hamilton grabbed his 62nd pole in Formula One, holding firm as Vettel and Bottas pushed hard late in the session.After it wrapped up, the Briton rolled around the lakeside track with his index finger raised, 10 years after his brilliant debut at the same circuit when he qualified fourth for McLaren and finished third in the race.“It has been a fantastic weekend so far,” Hamilton told reporters.“I am really proud of my team, the guys have worked so hard to make the car what it is today.“Valtteri has done a great job and it is great for Mercedes. It is close between us all and it will be a tight race.”After Hamilton dominated Friday practice, Vettel topped the timesheets in the final session on Saturday but rued a mistake in his fastest qualifying lap.”I lost it a bit in turn one… Anyway, great job,” Vettel said on his team radio.It was still encouraging enough for him to declare that the ‘scuderia’ could contend in Sunday’s race, having shown impressive pace and reliability during winter testing.Red Bull’s Max Verstappen qualified fifth but it was a forgettable day for his team mate Daniel Ricciardo, whose hopes of becoming the race’s first home winner spun out early in Q3.He took a spin at turn 14, ended up in the gravel and will start 10th on the grid.“I’m alright, sorry guys,” he said on the team radio before his car was towed off the track.With McLaren plagued by power unit and reliability problems during winter testing, it was something of a surprise that twice champion Fernando Alonso survived the cut to Q2 and will start 13th on the grid.His rookie team mate Stoffel Vandoorne will start 18th for the Honda-powered team.Canadian teenager Lance Stroll has had a memorable, if drama-filled, debut for Williams and the 18-year-old was 19th fastest in Q1.He will start last on the grid, however, due to a five-place penalty for needing a new gearbox following a crash during practice earlier on Saturday.Antonio Giovinazzi, a late replacement for Pascal Wehrlein after the German pulled out with fitness concerns, will start 16th for Sauber after an impressive debut in qualifying, one behind team mate Marcus Ericsson.
Published on October 21, 2015 at 7:55 pm Contact Sam: [email protected] | @Sam4TR As Rob Weers drove his rental Kia Sorento through Syracuse, he turned to the passenger seat and asked his daughter which direction to turn for J.S. Coyne Stadium.It had become a familiar conversation through the years, first while biking to primary school in the Netherlands.“She said to go to the left and she meant the right,” Rob said. “She is dyslexic … so it’s difficult to distinguish for her. Left and right are abstract; (they) don’t say anything.”Eventually the Weers family arrived and Roos had two goals and two assists in a 9-1 win later that day.It’s been a season of successes for Weers — who leads No. 1, undefeated Syracuse in goals, game-winning goals and is tied for most assists — especially considering she was going to attend Albany until a chance encounter with SU midfielder Alma Fenne at a friend’s birthday party in the Netherlands.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe transition to American field hockey has been a challenge, but it’s one Weers wanted. She expected to learn English, but didn’t know the jargon of the sport she’d played all her life – the one her father thought she’d never learn – would change.“It was pretty embarrassing in the beginning,” Weers said. “(At practice, my teammates) said, ‘Right, Roos,’ and I’d say, ‘I’m on my way,’ but be going the wrong way.”Weers grew up hearing “forehand” instead of “right” and “backhand” instead of “left” on the pitch about 500 meters from the family’s house. Holding the stick helped her visualize the directions and made dealing with dyslexia easier.Her mother, Janneke Rutten, a schoolteacher who also has dyslexia, recognized the signs around when Weers was five years old. Weers struggled to read and write words and repeated her mistakes, sometimes 10 times consecutively. It took her twice or three times as long as others to learn the same material and she never read in groups.“It’s difficult because sometimes it’s really annoying and embarrassing,” Weers said. “… You have to accept it. You can’t do anything about it. The only thing you can do is work harder. That’s what I’ve done all my life.”When Rob, a field hockey coach, and her brother, Bram Weers, a star player who’d eventually play on one of the world’s top clubs, went to the pitch, Roos went too.Rob describes Bram as a natural talent who didn’t need much instruction and could do anything with the ball.“Then Roos started. Complete different story,” he said, laughing. “I explained things to her and she’d always do the opposite … I said to her mother, ‘I think she’s never going to learn it.’”Weers joined a team and trained four times per week. In her free time, Weers copied Bram and they played games. They practiced one of field hockey’s most difficult skills, the drag flick. It requires wrist action which many American girls aren’t strong enough for, Rob said. Roos stood at the 25-yard line and Bram stood about 20 yards behind her. They practiced flicking, competing to see who could most consistently reach the baseline.At 14, Roos joined Bram’s club, Kampong, and played there for five years. By the time she reached juniors at 17, the club asked Roos to play Saturdays in the younger tournaments and Sundays for the seniors.“She puts a lot of effort in … People with a lot of talent have it easier,” Rob said. “(Bram) doesn’t get all out of his skills, and Roos does.”Weers wanted to travel and learn foreign languages, but she had a difficult time learning Dutch itself. She decided she needed immersion, playing for clubs in Barcelona and Manchester. After her year abroad, Weers returned to Amsterdam, where she met Fenne.Before Fenne and Weers moved to Syracuse, became South Campus roommates and the top two scorers for the Orange, they ran into one another at a friend’s birthday party in the Netherlands and started talking about America.Fenne thought she was going to Boston College, but “they blew me off,” she said. Weers mentioned she’d been talking to Albany for three months because her friend, Fiori Van Rijswijk, went there.“Well, I’m not sure if they’re good enough, like if I would learn a lot,” Weers said.“Oh my God, dude. You have to come to Syracuse,” Fenne said.As soon as Weers arrived, she struggled. Not just with the lefts and rights; she also hadn’t finished her paperwork, couldn’t travel to away scrimmages and failed her first 2,000-meter run test. English presented a challenge, but a welcome one. She’s learning tenses. Sometimes she says, “I did saw,” instead of “I saw,” but she’s practicing. She also finds comfort in her South Campus apartment, where she cooks Dutch pancakes and speaks Dutch with Fenne, friends over FaceTime and her parents.But which language Weers is speaking doesn’t matter; she’s usually talking about one thing.“She debates in field hockey over everything,” Fenne said. “Sometimes it’s really fun debating in Dutch … Sometimes it’s like, ‘OK, Roos. No field hockey today. We practice for four hours.’”When Rob came to Syracuse and the three went to Chili’s, Fenne saw it was a family attribute. Rob peppered dinner conversation with questions about the team’s press defense.Earlier that day, Rob had watched practice. There he saw his daughter, the one who left him exasperated many years ago on the pitch near home, as one of the best players on America’s No. 1 field hockey team.“Every time, I’m surprised,” Rob said. “… When she was eight, I thought, ‘Ohhhh. We’re never going to make it.’“But we did.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+