Updated: Nov 22, 2022
Brazilian Grand Prix
F1 was back in Brazil last weekend with the last of the sprint qualifying races of the season and São Paulo delivered a spectacle! The drama started right from the get-go after Fridays qualifying session to determine grid spots for the sprint. Hamilton flew through qualifying, setting the fastest laps in two of the three sessions, showing off the new engine that was going to cost him 5 grid places on race day. If you had told me on Friday that Hamilton would win the Grand Prix after his penalty I would not have been surprised, what’s 5 places over a race with that engine, but 5 places it was not. On Saturday the FIA reprimanded each of the leading two drivers, Verstappen received a €50,000 fine for having a feel of Hamilton’s cars’ rear wing when parked in Parc Ferme. Hamilton on the other hand was disqualified from qualifying, essentially leaving him with a 20-place grid penalty for Saturday’s sprint race, placing him at the back of the grid after qualifying in pole. This was because of an infringement on the rear wing of the Mercedes. The 24-lap sprint provided all the goods for a Saturday evening, Bottas, starting P2, was straight out and overtook Verstappen, who had been in pole, at the first corner. I don’t know what was in the water in the Mercedes garage, but Hamilton too was quick off the mark coming from P20 and making up four places coming out of turn one. Finishing 5th he made 15 overtakes in 24 laps, two of which that stood out were Ricciardo during lap 12 and Vettel during lap 15, both on turn 12 using the pace of Mercedes on the straight. Bottas took the win and 3 championship points to put him in pole for Sunday’s race and to keep Mercedes in the lead in the Constructor standings. Verstappen came 2nd and Carlos Sainz got a point for Ferrari and P3 after finishing 3rd.
Sunday was race day, and if you thought the weekend had been exciting before this, you were in for a treat starting with a very eventful first lap. Verstappen emulated Bottas’ sprint start and managed to overtake the Mercedes going into lap one. Meanwhile Lando Norris who started in 6th, tried to overtake Sainz, but misjudged how far past the Ferrari he was and clipped the edge of the front wing causing a puncture to the McLaren. Going into turn 4 Bottas, along with four or five other cars, went wide leaving space for Sergio Perez to slip past him and give Red Bull a 1,2. Coming out of turn 5 Hamilton overtook Pierre Gasly, his third of the race in only half a lap, about 20 seconds later he slipped past Sebastian Vettel just before crossing the line. As you can tell it was a crazy first lap for the Brazilian Grand Prix. Lap 5 saw an incident between Yuki Tsunoda and Lance Stroll as the Aston Martin seemingly took of half the AlphaTauri’s front wing, leaving debris all over the track necessitating a yellow flag and safety car. This was beneficial to the Mercedes team, as Hamilton was now in 3rd and this provided ample opportunity for him to close the gap to the Red Bulls. One of the most notable incidents was on turn 4 of lap 48, with Verstappen in 1st and Hamilton in 2nd preparing to overtake. On a turn where a lot of drivers had gone wide during the race Verstappen seemed to intentionally go wide to push Hamilton further out and provide the Red Bull with an advantage. There was no onboard footage shown, so whether this was intentional by Verstappen we do not know, no penalty was given during the race and the nose of Hamilton’s car was in front. Hamilton overtook Verstappen in lap 59 just before turn 4, third time lucky for the Englishman. The exciting race ended with Hamilton taking the win, Verstappen 2nd, and Bottas 3rd, Mercedes are now in a more comfortable position and the drivers’ championship is still very much alive!
T20 World Cup
It was a classic rivalry that graced the T20 World Cup final, Australia vs New Zealand. This was New Zealand’s second cricket World Cup final in two years, after narrowly losing to England in 2019 ODI World Cup on a technicality, who the Black Caps beat in the semi-final.
It was Australia who won the toss and decided to field, an unsurprising call after looking at the number of matches that have been won this World Cup by the chasing teams.
So New Zealand were up to bat first, scoring 172/4, a reasonably strong target to set for their neighbours. Kane Williamson, the New Zealand captain, shone for his side, scoring a whopping 85 runs facing just 48 balls, contributing 10 fours and 3 sixes towards his country’s overall run count. He batted in four partnerships, none really taking off, but held his ground to score half of New Zealand’s’ overall runs. A mention should be made to the Aussie bowlers, particularly Josh Hazelwood, who took three of the four wickets. As the teams switched at half time Australia knew they had an uphill battle for the World Title and they did not manage the best start, with Aaron Finch going out on just 5 runs off 7 balls before the Aussies could really get into their stride. David Warner and Mitchell Marsh put on a spectacle for viewers, creating a solid partnership for 10 overs before Marsh was bowled by Trent Boult, and went out with 53 runs off 38 balls, including 4 fours and 3 sixes. Marsh played a big role in the Australian performance, with two important partnerships, and scoring 6 fours and 4 sixes, along with Glenn Maxwell to help their country get to 173 runs, with 7 balls remaining. It was a fantastic end to the match, with the boundaries coming thick and fast for the Aussie batsmen. You do have to feel a bit sorry for New Zealand though, after such a gallant effort and coming so close in yet another World Cup, it just wasn’t their day and although the trophy will be going to Oceania, unfortunately for the Black Caps it will be on the wrong side of the Tasman Sea.
The European World Cup qualifiers interrupted the premier league last weekend as England faced both Albania and San Marino. It was goals galore for the Three Lions with 15 goals from 8 different players over the two matches, with one scoring a hattrick in both. Friday night saw England host Albania at Wembley and it was off with a bang, Harry Maguire headed in Reece James’ free kick in the 9th minute. Not to be outshone by his namesake, Harry Kane went on a goal scoring spree, a hattrick in under 20 minutes to be specific. The three goals were assisted by three different players, Sterling, Foden and Henderson, who was in turn set up by Kane for his goal. There was a slick exchange between the England captain and Henderson before he buried the ball in the Albanian net in the 28th minute. A special mention must go to my favourite goal of the match which was just before half time in the 45+1 minute where Phill Foden’s corner was slotted into the goal by Kane’s scissor kick. England sailed through this match, 5-0 up at half time, and left them needing just one point to secure their place in the 2022 World Cup. This was easily achieved by the Three Lions as they breezed past San Marino with a staggering 10-0 win. In an effort to outdo himself, Kane scored 4 goals in this match, admittedly that included two penalties, but still goals for the England Captain, who now has the 3rd most goals for England, just behind Wayne Rooney and Sir Bobby Charlton. It was a great match for English Arsenal fans who saw Aaron Ramsdale’s international debut, Emile Smith-Rowe’s first start and goal as well as Saka scoring the 10th and final goal of the match. Maguire was among the goal scorers for a second match in a row, he was joined by Tyrone Mings, Tammy Abraham, and even San Marino’s Filippo Fabri. It was not San Marino’s day; they were already 7-0 down before Dante Rossi was sent off. This win was great news to England fans as they have secured a place in the 2022 World Cup, see you in Qatar.
Women’s Super League
The WSL was in action last weekend for matchday 7, it started with the North London derby, Tottenham hosted Arsenal at the Hive. Arsenal were coming off a six-game winning streak that Spurs would’ve been only too happy to end. The first half was pretty uneventful, with Arsenal missing several good chances including players hitting the woodwork. While Beth Mead was a thorn in the side of Tottenham, she was unable to score, hitting the post before the hosts managed to turn the match in their favour. Spurs scored in the 65th minute with Rachel Williams managing to put the ball in the back of the net after some sloppy defending from Arsenal. Tottenham looked all set to win the match causing a major upset for their North London neighbours, however, Arsenal were not going down without a fight. In the 90+2 minute the Gunners’ always reliable Vivianne Miedema headed the ball into the goal to secure a point and remain top of the table and unbeaten in the league.
In other Matches it was light blue vs dark blue as Manchester City hosted Chelsea who were back to their high scoring ways. Chelsea outshone Man City despite having similar possession and the same number of shots on target, it was the players in dark blue who managed to capitalise on them. It was quite a start to the match with Jessie Flemming scoring inside the first 2 minutes, although, it then took another 45 minutes before Sam Kerr managed Chelsea’s 2nd goal of the match in first half injury time. Chelsea managed to double their 2-0 lead with two goals in three minutes after half time courtesy of Fran Kirby and Magdena Eriksson. This was a disappointing match for Man City who have now faced three home defeats, and a second by four or more goals.