F1—British Grand Prix
The British Grand Prix is always a race to look forward to and Sunday’s race was no exception. With Hamilton qualifying a disappointing 6th, behind his teammate Rosberg on pole, Red Bulls’ Vettel, both Mclaren’s and a Force India, – we were in for a battle.
Hamilton got off to a great start however when Raikkonen lost control of his Ferrari, ricocheted off the barriers across the track and caught Massa in the crossfire, the race was red flagged and Massa also retired due to damage. Around 40 minutes later and a new barrier in place, the race was underway. Rosberg led for the first stint but started losing time when Hamilton opted for the harder tyre – it was shaping up to be another fight for the finish between the two but when Rosberg’s gearbox failed he was forced to retire on lap 29. Hamilton went on to win equalling Jackie Stewarts record for 27 wins. Bottas for Williams had a fantastic race coming P2 from 14th with some stunning driving – Williams and in particular Bottas are ones to watch in coming races. The Red Bulls had a successful day finishing Ricciardo P3 and Vettel P5. Vettel had a particularly heated battle with Alonso (P6) which lasted laps; both drivers complaining over the radio about each other. Button came in P4 and nearly caught Ricciardo on the last lap finishing just 0.9s behind the Red Bull. Magnussen crossed the line 7th and Hulkenberg in his Force India 8th – he has scored points in all 9 nine races, his teammate Perez managing 11th. Kvyat and Vergne came 9th and 10th which is a result for Torro Rosso following problems in previous races. Lotus had a mixed race with Grosjean P12 and Maldonado retiring with exhaust problems with just 2 laps to go. Maldonado was lucky to get that far after being launched from the track in spectacular fashion following a move from Sauber’s Gutierrez, Gutierrez was not only forced to retire but handed a 3 place grid penalty for the next race in Germany. Sutil for Sauber finished 13th for the third race in a row and Kobayashi P15 for Caterham was sandwiched between the Marussia boys – Bianchi P14 and Chilton P16, unfortunately for Caterham they lost Ericsson in lap 11 after jumping a kerb and smashing his front suspension. So whilst we didn’t see the drama of multiple tyre failures like last year, this race still had everything, a British home win, a crash which proved just how much safer these cars are – Raikkonen suffered bruises to his legs in the impact which measured 47G, Alonso driving like a demon and Hamilton closing the gap at the top of the leaderboard to 4 points. But let’s not get carried away, It’s Rosbergs home race up next..
Almost back to normality, ladies, as the sun is beginning to set on the World Cup. Expect there’s been fighting over the TV for the last fortnight, with Wimbledon at the same time.
Tennis, what a fabulous Final on Sunday between Federer and Djokovic. I so wanted the Fed to win it, not only because I had tipped him on day 1, but also he was going for his 8th Wimbledon title, a new record, and his 18th Major. Still, t’wasn’t to be as the younger Novak just managed to break the Fed’s serve in the 5th and final set to take his 2nd Wimbledon title. But, oh, it was so close, even tho’ the winner had the opportunity of winning it earlier, in the 4th, but the Fed showed what a great fighter he is by winning 5 games on the trot, to take the set, having been 5-2 down. At least there was some solace for him though, as he moved up to 3rd in the World rankings, not bad for a nearly 33 year old. Brilliant Final and spell-binding TV. As for Our Andy, beaten in the Quarters, he bowed out with not even a whimper as he now drops to No 10 in the rankings. In the Ladies Final, bit of a let-down really, as Czech Petra Kvitova won her second Wimbledon title in 3 years as she crushed Canadian newcomer Eugenie Bouchard in two sets and 55 minutes which makes me agree with Our Andy’s mum, Judy, who thinks that the Ladies Major semis and Finals should be played over 5 sets.
Cycling and in Yorkshire to start with and latterly, Cambridge and then London, were the points of interest as the Tour de France hit England’s green and pleasant land, and fans turned out in their thousands to witness this once in a lifetime event. Don’t know about the “selfies” on the roads that they were taking but suffice to say, the only casualty was Brit Mark Cavendish who, in his own words, instigated the crash that saw him dislocate his collarbone and put his whole Tour in jeopardy. At the time of writing, our favourite, Chris Froome, lies in 5th overall, with Italian Vincenzo Nibali leading by 2 seconds after Stage 3, but most of the honours to date have gone to German Marcel Kittel, who won two stages of the first 3, including the final sprint up the Mall. So it’s off to France now and more news to come next week, with the undoubted assistance of my insider friend and TDF nut, Señor Jules!
Golf after Justin Rose’s recent success in the US of A, it’s congrats to another Brit, this time Graeme “Big Mac” McDowell as he won the Alstom Open in Paris. With an 8 shot deficit going in to the final round and apparently out of contention, he blitzed the final round and dropped only one shot to beat American Kevin Stadler in regulation play, so well done to BM and great practice for next week’s Open.
Cricket and England begin their 5 match Test Series against India on Wednesday, so let’s hope Cookie and his new boys can get off to a flyer. Much more interesting was the admission by ex-skipper Andrew Strauss, on the Aussie airwaves, that KP and I quote, “was a complete ****”, a term I actually agree with, as although KP is a stunning batsman it was all about me,me,me and as for his best friend, that demented Gooner, Piers Morgan, (I love the quote from Paul Newman, the Mail’s Cricket Correspondent “that thoroughly unpleasant mouthpiece”), he should shut his trap as well!
‘Tis all for this week and looking forward to a Brazil/Argentina WC Final on Sunday. Oh, Jez, you naughty soon-to-be-pensioner, you’ve let the cat outta the bag!
(ed—not your best prediction Jezza)
Jezza’S World Cup Result
Quarter Final Results
Brazil 2 Colombia 1 – what should have been a classic was marred by Neymar’s injury as the host’s star player was literally assaulted by Colombia’s Juan Zuniga with a knee in the back resulting in Neymar being airlifted to hospital with what turned out to be a broken vertebra. Mind you, the Brazilians weren’t blameless as they took it in turns to hammer Colombia’s star player Hames Rodriguez in what can only be described as ‘rotational fouling’ a new saying in the footie vernacular. Shame, really, as it took the headlines from a stunning strike by PSG’s new boy, David Luiz that proved to be the winner and see the hosts progress to the Semis.
Germany 1 France 0 – oh dear, oh dear, whatever happened to French flair! They must have thought it was a group game as they had no urgency and no real ideas, whilst Germany were, well, just Germany! Not really much to cheer here apart from Neuer’s wonderful instinctive save from France’s Benzema which would have taken the game in to extra time and Hummels winning header from a set-piece. So, Germany march on to their 4th consecutive semi-final, a new record, and a meeting with hosts Brazil on Tuesday.
Holland 0 Costa Rica 0 – the Dutch go through after extra-time winning the penalty shoot-out 4-3 and a master-stroke from Man Utd’s new manager, Louis van Gaal, as he substitutes ‘keeper Cillessen for Newcastle Utd’s Tim Krol in the last minute of extra-time. Psychological brilliance which paid off as Krol saves 2 Rican penalties to take the Dutch through to the Semis. Apart from that, you have to credit the “minnows” of England’s group for getting so far, but not much of a match which Holland were expected to win fairly easily.
Argentina 1 Belgium 0 – two of my “head” teams come face to face and, just like France, Belgium ran out of ideas in what turned out to be a pretty boring Quarter, only brought to life by Messi’s brilliance including a 45 yard defence-splitting pass and Higuain’s stunning and instinctive strike for the winner. As for the Premier League stars in the Belgian side, Hazard faded, Fellaini was rubbish, Lukaku was wasted and only ‘keeper Courtois showed just why he’ll start next season as Chelsea’s No. 1. So, my tip pre-WC, Argentina, sneak through to a Semi with Holland on Wednesday.
Said most of what I wanted to say above, apart from the fact that my prediction in last week’s report has come through with two should-be classic Semis; Brazil v. Germany and Argentina v. Holland. Two European giants v. two South American giants. Match-ups all over the place with Luiz/Muller, Fernandinho/Schweinsteiger; Hulk/Hummels; van Persie and Robben/DiMichelis and Mascherano; Messi/Sneijder etc. etc. As for predictions, well, Brazil without Neymar and skipper Thiago must tilt it in Germany’s favour, but I’m going for 58,000 Brazilian fans in the stadium and millions on the streets to pull the hosts through to play, hmmmmm! Argentina, mainly due to the brilliance of one Lionel Messi. Probably go to at least extra-time and penalties and di Maria will be a miss for them but methinks Holland, after their pretty poor showing against Costa Rica, could have shot their bolt, unless Robben and van Persie can produce the fireworks and van Gaal produces another master-stroke!
First Semi Final
Brazil 1 Germany 7 (SEVEN!) – Well, well, who would have anticipated that scoreline! Absolutely incredible and I’m still trying to get my head round it. As well as Germany played, Brazil just collapsed, with no leadership, no ideas, no midfield and certainly no defence. When Germany went 1-0 up we all thought the hosts would come back, but when Germany scored 4 in an amazing 7 minute spell to be 5-0 up after 29 minutes, there was just no way back. We all wondered how Brazil would react in the second half, and although they came out with 2 subs and a more positive outlook, at least for the first 15 minutes, Germany were able to counter-attack with pace and scored twice more to inflict Brazil’s equal worst defeat ever, let alone a WC Semi. Well done to Germany, though, and especially to striker Miroslav Klose, who scored his 16th WC Finals goal overtaking Brazilian legend Ronaldo, and help take Germany to their 8th WC Final. Some result and whoever they play in the Final, Argentina or Holland, must be quivering in their boots!
The newspaper will be at print during the second semi final game.
The final is on Sunday 13th at 9pm local Spanish time.