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F1 drivers 'concerned' as Sergio Perez asks for Pirelli answers after Max Verstappen crash

Former Formula One world champion Damon Hill believes Max Verstappen was ‘lucky’ in Baku, admitting it could’ve been a lot worse, with the Dutchman’s teammate demanding answers from Pirelli about what happened.

Max Verstappen was the second driver to suffer a high-speed tyre failure at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, as a tyre blowout catapulted his Red Bull Honda into the wall and out of the lead of the race.

It followed a similar crash earlier in the race that saw Lance Stroll’s tyre fail, spinning the Canadian into the wall and out of the race.

Concerns were raised about the tyres after the race, with a full investigation launched by both Red Bull and Pirelli.

However, with Lewis Hamilton’s hard tyre also showing a cut, Hill believed the issue will remain a concern for the drivers moving forward.

“Certainly, the drivers are concerned and well they might be because the circuit has got some of the highest speeds – sustained high speeds – of any circuit we go to,” said Hill, the 1996 world champion, on Sky Sports News.

JUST IN:
Lewis Hamilton caught by ‘surprise’ by ‘aggressive’ Sergio Perez

“The speeds and getting a failure there it’s something pretty extreme,” said the Red Bull driver.

“Luckily nothing happened today but it’s something that has to be reviewed and make sure that we understand what’s going on.

In the aftermath of the race, Pirelli boss Mario Isola revealed preliminary investigations had pointed towards debris on the track being a possible cause.

“First investigations suggest debris, because the rear-left is not the most stressed tyre on this circuit. It’s the rear-right; if we talk about wear it’s the front-right,” Isola, Pirelli’s head of F1, told Sky Germany.

“So it’s in a position that doesn’t suggest anything special on tyres.

“The other point is that we found another cut on a rear-left tyre from another car [Hamilton] that luckily didn’t cut the construction. 

“It was a rear-left from Lewis, that was clearly a cut from debris.

“When something like that happens, we need to collect information to understand what happened.”

“No warnings or vibrations were detected and none of the other tyres of a similar age or older showed any signs of excess wear.

“So we can not exclude that the damage was caused by an external factor, although these things shouldn’t happen and we can understand the need for answers.”

A full report from Pirelli is expected ahead of the French Grand Prix in two weeks’ time.

Author:
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed

Sergio Perez wins after Hamilton mistake and Verstappen crash

Sergio Perez wins after Hamilton mistakeAzerbaijan Grand Prix LIVE (Image: GETTY)

Azerbaijan Grand Prix RECAP

– Sergio Perez wins his first race with Red Bull after late Lewis Hamilton mistake costs Briton

– Hamilton ended 15th despite having excellent chance of winning race

– Max Verstappen was in control of race but suffered big 200mph crash due to tyre failure
– Red flags had to be brought out after the incident – read more here

– Sebastian Vettel ends in second for Aston Martin, AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly third

4pm: Have you got your breath back yet? Me neither.

That’s all we’ve got time for today – thanks for joining Express Sport for this afternoon’s race.

Stick around for all the best reaction including quotes from Hamilton and Verstappen and more. Cheers!

3.40pm: Read more about that incredible end to the Azerbaijan Grand Prix here.

3.35pm: Words from race-winner Perez: “Normally Baku is pretty crazy. I have to say sorry to Max, it would have been incredible to get that one-two for the team.

“But at the end, it was a fantastic day for us. We were close to retiring the car but luckily we managed to finish the race.

“This is definitely a strong boost of confidence for myself.”

An unforgettable moment for the Mexican, while Vettel labels himself “over the moon” to come second for Aston Martin having also been fifth in Monaco following a great drive.

3.25pm: Perez has to stop on track with a mechanical failure – he’ll be very thankful that issue has come now the race has finished rather than before he reached the finish line.

That’s just his second ever Formula One race win after his Sakhir Grand Prix triumph last year. What a crazy last hour.

That of course means Red Bull remain top of both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ standings.

Perez is on 69 points with Verstappen out in front on 105, ahead of Hamilton on 101. Red Bull’s Constructors’ lead is now 174 points to Mercedes’ 148.

3.20pm: Steam was pouring out of Hamilton’s brakes before the race restart and what a mistake from the Briton.

It’s a rare one but one that has cost him at the very least a podium and perhaps even the full 25 points. He had a great chance of victory but instead he ends up 15th and it’s Perez who steals victory.

Vettel finishes second with Gasly third to complete the podium. Elsewhere, Leclerc ends fourth with Norris fifth, Alonso sixth, Tsunoda eighth and Ricciardo ninth.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix LIVE

Azerbaijan Grand Prix LIVE (Image: GETTY)

SERGIO PEREZ WINS THE AZERBAIJAN GRAND PRIX!

Lap 51: Incredible last-lap drama as Gasly and Leclerc battle for third spot.

Lap 50: LEWIS HAMILTON MISTAKE! Wow. Hamilton got past Perez into the first corner but locked up and goes into the run-off area at turn one.

“I’m so sorry guys,” he tells the team radio. He recovers to get back on track but it’s Perez who leads after a great restart.

3pm: The race will get back underway at 10 minutes past the hour. This could be very exciting. Can Mercedes snatch a race win?

This could be a massive moment in the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship battles.

2.55pm: While we wait for the race restart, here’s the current order of the cars…

1) Sergio Perez, Red Bull
2) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
3) Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin
4) Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri
5) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
6) Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri
7) Lando Norris, McLaren
8) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari
9) Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren
10) Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes
11) Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo
12) Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo
13) Nicholas Latifi, Williams
14) Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes
15) George Russell, Williams
16) Mick Schumacher, Haas
17) Nikita Mazepin, Haas
OUT: Max Verstappen, Red Bull
OUT: Lance Stroll, Aston Martin
OUT: Esteban Ocon, Alpine

2.45pm: Red Bull spoke to race director Michael Masi after Verstappen’s collision and explained they’d had no warning of the tyre failure and asked for a red flag to be brought out.

“Michael I know you’re busy, but we got zero warning of that failure. So consider a red flag,” they said.

That’s why we’re at a standstill. Worrying that the Milton Keynes-based outfit had nothing in their data that suggested the tyre would blow up as it did.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix LIVE

Azerbaijan Grand Prix LIVE (Image: GETTY)

2.40pm: We’re expecting the race still to be restarted. The red flags are merely out to clear the debris on the track, not to signal the end of racing.

Looks like cars will be changing to new tyres while they’re in the pits too.

Meanwhile Red Bull boss Christian Horner is heard saying of Verstappen’s crash: “I think it’s a tyre failure. They’re at the end of their life. It’s exactly the same tyred that failed on Stroll, so I think it’s a tyre issue.”

THE RED FLAGS ARE OUT AT THE AZERBAIJAN GRAND PRIX 

Lap 48: Tragic for Verstappen, who had driven so well all afternoon. He’s deeply frustrated as he walks back to the pits. He’s OK, but mentally that is a big blow.

The Red Bull garage look just as devastated after that 200mph crash. Red Bull’s first one-two in a long, long time has been taken from them.

Lap 47: MAX VERSTAPPEN CRASHES OUT! Incredible drama. His left rear failed just like Stroll’s.

He was coming down the main straight but then his tyre went and he couldn’t do anything but spin off into the right-hand side.

Lap 41: Verstappen is clear out in front but his Red Bull team-mate is under pressure because Hamilton is hot on Perez’s heels.

The Briton has just managed a new fastest lap but sees Verstappen immediately takes the extra point back. At this rate, the Dutchman will end the weekend 15 points ahead in the Drivers’ Championship standings.

Lap 37: We’re back racing! Hamilton has got a tow on Perez but can’t get past him on the first lap after the restart.

Vettel gets past Leclerc into fifth and the Ferrari driver is lucky not to shunt into the back of the German a couple of corners later after a lock-up.

Aston Martin’s Vettel then gets beyond Pierre Gasly and is up into fourth. Could he catch Hamilton? His compounds are seven laps fresher.

Bottas was ninth but he’s now down to 13th. A grim weekend for the Finn in Baku.

Lap 36: Schumacher is forced to stop at the of the pitlane, before crossing the white line, and is rolled back into Haas’ box after an unsafe release. He’s still in the race though.

Lap 35: Hamilton says he can’t attack an overtake at the Safety Car restart on his current tyres. He’ll need a pitstop if he’s to get past Perez at any point it seems.

The pitlane opens up before the race restart but at this point, the cars are all bunched together and pitting drivers risk losing an irrecoverable amount of places.

Despite that, Alonso, Russell, Schumacher and Giovinazzi all box.

Lap 32: Big crash! The yellow flags are out and so will be a Safety Car as Stroll leaves debris all over the track due to an 180mph impact.

The Canadian is thankfully fine but suffered a high-speed shove into the wall just before the pitlane entry, spinning off to the left after a left rear tyre puncture.

The pitlane is closed because of where his car is positioned.

Lap 31: Verstappen is comfortable out in front – he’s now nearly seven seconds clear of team-mate Perez in first.

Mercedes rival Bottas has had a hurry-up from the Silver Arrows, being told he’ll finish ninth or 10th if he doesn’t pass Norris.

Lap 28: Was Hamilton playing mind games? He’s just started going faster again behind the two Red Bulls. We’ll see whether it’s fast enough to catch up to and overtake Perez.

Sainz overtakes Alonso back down the order but he’s still only up to 12th. He’s seven seconds behind Bottas in the final points-finishing position. Not the race day the Spaniard will have been hoping for.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix LIVE

Azerbaijan Grand Prix LIVE (Image: GETTY)

Lap 26: Nikita Mazepin goes off down the escape round at turn four due to a lockout on both front tyres in the Haas.

The Russian, running 19th, is able to recover, while cameras show Bottas ran wide at turn 16 as he looks to overtake Norris.

Lap 24: It’s close among the top three but Verstappen boasts a three-second advantage for the timebeing.

Hamilton has just dropped off slightly from Perez but is seven seconds clear of fourth-placed Lance Stroll, who has not yet pitted.

The Briton says he’s “losing ground” on the two Red Bulls and he’s no longer in tow. Does he need to pit once more for fresh tyres towards the end?

Lap 20: Vettel is finally into the pits and Verstappen gratefully takes the lead of the race. The German rejoins in seventh between Leclerc and Tsunoda.

Hamilton is going at a good speed in third but he’s not quite within DRS range of Perez as he slipstreams the Red Bull.

Lap 17: Aston Martin’s Vettel still out in front having yet to stop, while the rest of the top 10 is as follows…

1) Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin
2) Max Verstappen, Red Bull
3) Sergio Perez, Red Bull
4) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
5) Lance Stroll, Aston Martin
6) Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri
7) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
8) Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri
9) Lando Norris, McLaren
10) Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes

Azerbaijan Grand Prix LIVE

Azerbaijan Grand Prix LIVE (Image: GETTY)

Lap 15: Not good for Hamilton. Perez’s pitstop is slow and so he loses the lead to Verstappen, but the Mexican still comes out ahead of the Mercedes.

Can the Briton get back ahead of him while Perez is warming up his new tyres?

Lap 13: Hamilton pits first – but it’s a 4.6 second stop due to Pierre Gasly coming into the pits for AlphaTauri. That’s not an insignificant amount of time.

He rejoins in fourth before Verstappen boxes for a 1.9 second stop. He comes out with a healthy gap on his title rival, though Sergio Perez remains first and Sebastian Vettel – yet to pit- is second in the Aston Martin.

“How’s he so far ahead of me?” asks seven-time world champion Hamilton with Verstappen several seconds ahead of him.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz meanwhile goes into the run-off area at turn eight after locking up on his new hard tyres but is able to back up and return to the track.

Lap 11: Leclerc comes into the pits for the hard rubbers, with Hamilton and Verstappen still yet to come in. The latter is meanwhile on the cusp of DRS range.

Tsunoda, after telling his pitlane to “shut up” when being told to push harder, also makes an early pitstop.

Lap 8: More misery for Leclerc, as he drops to fourth with Red Bull’s Perez – who started sixth – the next to overtake him into the final podium position.

Alonso and Norris both pit with the latter looking to try and undercut ninth-placed Valtteri Bottas in the Mercedes.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix LIVE

Azerbaijan Grand Prix LIVE (Image: GETTY)

Lap 7: Leclerc drops to second as Verstappen gets past the Ferrari. The Dutchman is through to attack race leader Hamilton now.

Further back, Yuki Tsunoda overtakes Alpine’s Fernando Alonso in the AlphaTauri to move into seventh.

Lap 4: We have our first retirement. Esteban Ocon loses power in the Alpine and is forced back into the pits.

Lap 3: Just like that, Lewis Hamilton leads! That superior straight-line speed from the Mercedes, and the tow of Leclerc’s Ferrari, sees the Briton snatch the lead with ease down the 2km straight.

George Russell meanwhile pits for Williams. He’s trying to run on the hard tyres until the end of the race and Antonio Giovinazzi follows suit for Alfa Romeo.

Lap 1: We’re underway in the Azerbaijani capital! A good start for Leclerc and also for Hamilton. Verstappen stays behind the Merc in third.

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez meanwhile jumps up from sixth to fourth after a great start. Norris is down to 12th for McLaren.

AND IT’S LIGHTS OUT AT THE AZERBAIJAN GRAND PRIX!

12.50pm: Almost time for lights out in Baku. Max Verstappen wasn’t happy yesterday about the madness of qualifying and how many stoppages there were.

The angry Dutchman said: “All this s**t is all the time happening in Q3, I don’t care. It’s just unfortunate. It’s a street circuit so these things can happen.

“Qualifying, a lot of things are happening. Maybe in the race these things can happen again. Let’s hope for a clean start and we’ll see from there.”

Will we get an incident-free opening lap? Let’s hope so. Third-placed Verstappen will certainly be crossing his fingers for one.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix LIVE: Charles Leclerc faces Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen battle

Azerbaijan Grand Prix LIVE (Image: GETTY)

12.35pm: Lewis Hamilton, after ending up P2, hailed Mercedes’ remarkable turnaround in qualifying after a miserable Friday which saw them stuck outside of the top 10.

“We definitely weren’t expecting that,” the seven-time world champion admitted. “This is such a monumental result for us because we’ve been struggling like you couldn’t believe all weekend. You can see it.

“We kept our composure. We’ve continued to have difficult discussions in the background and challenging one another, and just never taking no for an answer.

“We’ve moved around, made so many changes, over these two days. Just chasing our tail and it’s been so difficult.”

He added of today’s race: “For us to turn it around and to be in the top three competing so closely with the Red Bulls and the Ferraris, who have been just destroying everyone last weekend and this weekend, is just [great to be] in the fight.

“We have got a race tomorrow and we are in a position to get some good points. I’m just excited.”

12.20pm: There were four red flags in a hectic qualifying session and Alpine’s Fernando Alonso has urged his Formula One rivals to “calm down a little bit”.

“I think the people need to calm down a little bit and drive 98 per cent in a street circuit because if you crash and you start last in the race, maybe you don’t drive over your possibilities,” the two-time world champion told Sky Sports F1.

“Today we saw many people driving over the possibilities of their car or their abilities.”

The Spaniard starts eighth in Baku today and said: “We have a good car; it has been good all weekend. We have always been in the top 10 in every session and we felt comfortable.

“Here you can overtake if you have the pace, so we need to take care of the tyres – that will be the hot topic for the race, I guess – but we are reasonably confident to take good points.”

Azerbaijan Grand Prix LIVE: Charles Leclerc faces Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen battle

Azerbaijan Grand Prix LIVE (Image: GETTY)

12.05pm: As a result of Norris’ three-place grid penalty, the top 10 for today’s race start is as follows…

1) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
2) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
3) Max Verstappen, Red Bull
4) Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri
5) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari
6) Sergio Perez, Red Bull
7) Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri
8) Fernando Alonso, Alpine
9) Lando Norris, McLaren
10) Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes

Azerbaijan Grand Prix LIVE: Charles Leclerc faces Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen battle

Azerbaijan Grand Prix LIVE (Image: GETTY)

12pm: Further down the grid, Lando Norris will start ninth for McLaren, having been pushed down three spots because of a red-flag infringement.

The Briton did not pit at the first opportunity during a red flag as is mandatory, although his punishment has been reduced from the usual five-place penalty.

The stewards said: “During the hearing the driver admitted that he lifted the throttle, braked and was committed to and able to enter the pitlane.

“At that moment he was not sure what to do and asked his team over the radio. Although the team ordered him immediately to enter the pits, it was too late and NOR crossed the finish line one more time.

“The stewards assume that if a red flag is not respected during qualifying, a drop of 5 grid positions is appropriate.

“However, if you consider that the driver only had a very short time to react due to his position on the track, a drop of three grid positions is sufficient as an exception.”

Azerbaijan Grand Prix LIVE: Charles Leclerc faces Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen battle

Azerbaijan Grand Prix LIVE (Image: GETTY)

11.45pm: Good afternoon and welcome to Express Sport’s live coverage of the 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix!

Charles Leclerc starts on pole for Ferrari having been denied the chance to front the pack in Monaco a fortnight ago by a pre-race mechanical issue.

The Monegasque, bidding to secure the Prancing Horse’s first race win in two years, is joined by Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton on the front row after Q3 was cut short by a red flag yesterday.

Yuki Tsunoda in the AlphaTauri crashed at Turn 3 and was followed by Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz who locked up and went into the run-off area just seconds later as the session came to a premature end.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, the Drivers’ Championship leader, was denied the chance to beat his time and starts third with AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly fourth.

Author:
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed

Britney Spears fans blast BBC for allowing critic Perez Hilton to contribute to new doc

Fans of Britney Spears have slammed BBC‘s latest documentary The Battle For Britney, after producers allowed Perez Hilton to contribute and talk about her conservatorship. The US blogger previously launched a number of savage attacks on the singer during her darkest days, and viewers felt it was “inappropriate” for him to have a platform to speak on her case now.
The BBC Two documentary is the latest attempt to shed light on the conservatorship she has been under since 2008, but there has been much criticism about the focus of the multiple films released this year, with Britney herself branding them all “hypocritical”.

But with the media fully hung-up on the ins and outs of the songstresses life, fans rushed to her defence after Perez admitted he believes Britney would “be dead” without the controversial conservatorship in place.

It should be noted he didn’t agree fully with the terms of the arrangement that sees her dad Jamie Spears have full control of her finances and personal affairs, and went on to explain how he regrets how he hounded and humiliated the pop icon.

But after the show aired on BBC iPlayer, viewers took to Twitter to complain and question its choice of interviewees.

READ MORE: Britney Spears boyfriend: Star felt ‘vulnerable’ after weight loss

“Geez. 2021 is definitely way better than 2020 but I never knew it was gonna be like THIS!” she began alongside videos of her dancing.

“So many documentaries about me this year with other people’s takes on my life, what can I say, I’m deeply flattered!”

She went on to call the docs “so hypocritical”.

“They criticise the media and then do the same thing? Damn, I don’t know y’all but I’m thrilled to remind you all that although I’ve had some pretty tough times in my life,” she admitted honestly.

“I’ve had waaaayyyy more amazing times in my life and unfortunately my friends, I think the world is more interested in the negative!”

She continued: “Isn’t this supposed to be a business and society about THE FUTURE.

“Why highlight the most negative and traumatizing times in my life from forever ago? I mean DAMN.”

With millions of fans backing her right to freedom with the ‘Free Britney’ campaign in full swing, the singer set to take the stand in the court battle over her conservatorship case on June 23, 2021.

Author:
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Celebrity News Feed

Florentino Perez hands Joel Glazer perfect chance to fulfil Man Utd promise

Author [email protected] (Ben Husband)
This post originally appeared on Mirror – Football

The latest Glazer gaffe at Manchester United, has the potential to be their most damaging.

Even before the Super League fiasco, the American owners at Old Trafford were amongst the least popular in the Premier League.

Since taking over the club in 2005, they have leveraged debt against the club, failed to maintain the stadium and overseen a deterioration of the playing staff.

But the baffling decision to sign up to a competition that players and fans detested in equal measure could be the final straw.

Due to the backlash, Joel Glazer was forced to do what the family very rarely do – speak to the fans directly.

In a lengthy apology, Glazer apologised to supporters for misjudging the situation and are now focusing on making amends.

Joel Glazer offered a lengthy apology to supporters for their part in the ESL project
Joel Glazer offered a lengthy apology to supporters for their part in the ESL project

Towards the end of the statement, Joel promised: “This is the world’s greatest football club and we apologise unreservedly for the unrest caused during these past few days.

“It is important for us to put that right.”

It will be very difficult to repair the damage that has been done in the previous days, but football can be a fickle game and if United can finally end their wait for a title next season, it may ease the pressure at least.

In order to do that, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will need to be heavily backed in the transfer window. His top target is believed to be Erling Haaland, with the Borussia Dortmund superstar valued at £150million.

Erling Haaland has been extensively linked with a move to Manchester United
Erling Haaland has been extensively linked with a move to Manchester United

Real Madrid are also in the hunt for the Norwegian, but president Florentino Perez has handed them a major boost by suggesting they will be unable to pull off any deal of that magnitude.

In fact, he predicted no team in Europe would be able to do so, although that feels an assessment rooted in his anger and disappointment at the failed ESL.

“In general, there will not be big transfers this summer,” Perez told El Larguero.

“When money does not flow from the rich clubs to the poor clubs, everyone suffers.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez believes there won't be many big transfers this summer
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez believes there won’t be many big transfers this summer

“It’s impossible to make signings like Mbappe and Haaland, in general, not just for Real Madrid, without the Super League.

“If we don’t sign Mbappe this summer, I don’t think any fan will shoot himself in the head. They know we’re doing our best, and if things don’t happen, it’s because they’re impossible.”

Signing Haaland would move Manchester United back to the pinnacle of European football.

“Manchester United has a rich heritage and we recognise our responsibility to live up to its great traditions and values,” Glazer assured fans. Signing Haaland could prove he really means it.

Sign up to the Mirror Football email here for the latest news and transfer gossip

Florentino Perez issues threat to big six and discusses fine for leaving

Author [email protected] (Jake Polden)
This post originally appeared on Mirror – Football

Florentino Perez took to the radio in a last-gasp attempt to keep his Super League dream alive on Wednesday night.

The president of the controversial competition, which was met with a huge backlash when it was announced on Sunday, discussed teams U-turning, penalisation fees for leaving, Jurgen Klopp and Chelsea supporters in a wide-ranging and, in places, bizarre interview.

Perez began by discussing the elephant in the room – the six Premier League clubs pulling out of the Super League and leaving the tournament in tatters.

And he claimed that there was a rotten apple in the bunch that ultimately infected the group.

Perez told the El Larguero radio station: “There was someone in the English six clubs who did not have much interest. That started to affect the others, there was fear. One of the English clubs was never really convinced.”

Florentino Perez took to the radio in a last-gasp attempt to keep his Super League dream alive
Florentino Perez took to the radio in a last-gasp attempt to keep his Super League dream alive

European Super League announcement fallout

Perez doesn’t name the club, but it appears either Chelsea or Manchester City are the most likely candidate.

Murmurs Chelsea were getting cold feet emerged on Tuesday night before Manchester City became the first club to issue a statement saying they were backing out of the competition.

Perez went on to issue something of a threat to the clubs who confirmed they are leaving, reminding them why the plan for a Super League was hatched in the first place.

“There are people with privileges who do not want to lose them and are willing to run clubs, although when the clubs are ruined they will lose their privileges,” said Perez.

As unhappy as Perez is that the English teams pulled out of the competition and ruined its worth, he is somewhat sympathetic to their reason for doing so.

“The English clubs tried to do something, but they were being told they were killing football. But there is no other solution than the Super League. Or somebody invents something else,” added Perez.

Chelsea fans protest outside Stamford Bridge
Chelsea fans protest outside Stamford Bridge

“They are leaving due to UEFA putting on a show, which surprised me. I don’t want to get into it with the UEFA president, but he needs to be able to talk. It was like we had thrown an atomic bomb.

“They did not let us explain, as they did not want anything to change.”

On the protests in England, he appeared to suggest they had been orchestrated by a higher power, adding: “There were only 40 Chelsea fans, and I could tell who brought them.”

“Who brought those Chelsea fans to protest? Someone moved them.”

As the interview progressed the Real Madrid president also discussed finances and provided clarity on his motives.

“It cannot be that in England, the six lose money, and 14 make money. In Spain, the top three lose money, and the others make money. It cannot continue – at the moment the rich are those who are losing money,” he said.

Perez mentioned Jurgen Klopp during his radio interview
Perez mentioned Jurgen Klopp during his radio interview

Following the decision of the Premier League big six to back out of the competition, La Liga giants Atletico Madrid and Serie A outfit Inter Milan did the same thing.

There are murmurs that Barcelona may soon follow suit, while AC Milan and Real Madrid are still standing firm.

Perez admits the Super League is looking less likely now, but is determined to still make it work, and believes there is a chance it can be altered with fewer teams in the competition.

He said: “Juventus and Milan have not left. Barca are thinking about it. Maybe we can change it a bit – that the top four in England enter, the top four in Spain. The important thing is that the big teams play each other, so the kids will watch football.

“The founder clubs believed in this project. It is not dead. We will keep working.”

Another big question of the night was whether the clubs who have backed out of the competition are liable to fines.

Perez' European Super League dream has all but collapsed
Perez’ European Super League dream has all but collapsed

Perez has previously made it very clear that the 12 founding clubs all signed ‘binding contracts’, which prevents them from backing out of the competition should they get cold feet.

But Perez is remaining calm on this front.

He is yet to threaten any of the big six with a fine as – as far as he is concerned – the Premier League’s big six are still very much involved in the competition, despite their statements to the contrary.

“Nobody has yet paid the penalisation fee for leaving. We are almost all still in this, they have not left yet,” said Perez.

“All 12 founder clubs signed the same contract, not a comma more or less.”

Finally, and a little off-topic, although Jurgen Klopp isn’t likely to be in Perez’s good books after he failed to provide a ringing endorsement of the Super League and Liverpool later back out of the competition, Perez aimed a dig at the Reds boss.

The Super League chief, now in his role as Real Madrid president, referred to Los Blancos’ recent Champions League win over Liverpool and comments made by Klopp about having to play the away leg on the training pitch rather than at the Bernabeu.

“I don’t know why Klopp did not like Valdebebas,” said Perez. “Here and in Kiev, the same score, 3-1.”

Florentino Perez says Man Utd, Liverpool, Chelsea and Co can't leave European Super League

Florentino Perez has revealed that all 12 founding clubs of the European Super League have signed a legally binding contract, which means they cannot leave under any circumstances. The concerning revelation from the Real Madrid president is a dagger to the hearts of loyal fans of the Big Six, who are desperate to see the elaborate plans engineered by their greedy owners fall like a deck of cards.
Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal are now all facing potential sanctions from both the Premier League and UEFA for their involvement in the controversial breakaway.

UEFA are set to meet later this week to discuss the possibility of kicking City, United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Real Madrid out of the Champions League and Europa League respectively with immediate effect.

There’s hope that the threat of serious punishments will force clubs into a rethink but now Perez has sensationally claimed nobody can opt out of the agreement, meaning the European Super League looks set to go ahead.

“The contract of the Super League is binding,” he told El Chiringuito TV.

“Nobody can leave, we will work all together. All the clubs signed the contracts last Saturday, there’s no problem.”

And when asked about UEFA coming down on those involved by booting them out of current competitions, Perez added: “Don’t worry, this will not happen.

“They won’t be banned if they join the Super League.

“Real Madrid, Manchester City and Chelsea, and the other clubs of the Super League will not be banned from the Champions League or domestic leagues, 100 per cent. I’m sure. Impossible.”

Perez also claims the European Super League “will save football”, adding that young people are no longer interested in the game.

He also admitted that he is considering reducing the duration of matches, meaning they may no longer last 90 minutes.

So far, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona have signed up while Sevilla rejected the proposal.

Italian giants Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan have also agreed to join while impressively, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain stood firm and declined to participate.

Perez also claimed that the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic forced his hand after over two years of secretive talks.

“Together we have lost 5 billion (euros),” he said. “In two seasons Madrid have lost 400 million.”

“When you have no income other than television, you say that the solution is to make more attractive matches that fans from all over the world can see with all the big clubs and we came to the conclusion that if instead of having a Champions League we have a Super League we would be able to alleviate what we have lost.”

This article originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed

‘So out of touch’: Elderly billionaire Real Madrid president Perez claims young people shun football and ‘in 2024 we are all dead’

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has been slammed for being “so out of touch” following comments made in an interview on Spanish television attempting to justify the creation of the controversial new European Super League.

Speaking on the hugely-popular El Chiringuito show, the elderly billionaire stated that the LaLiga champions are financially “ruined” after losing $ 482 million over the past two seasons, while $ 6 billion has been lost collectively between the 12 founding outfits.

Claiming that the move is being made in a bid “to save football at this critical moment”, Perez just as outlandishly said that that “young people are no longer interested in football”, putting forward ideas to shorten 90-minute matches in order to keep their attention. 

“Audiences are decreasing and rights are decreasing and something had to be done. We are all ruined. Television has to change so we can adapt,” Perez insisted.

In Perez’s view, the younger generation are tuning out “because there are a lot of poor quality games and they are not interested – they have other platforms on which to distract themselves.”

In response to reforms to its flagship club competition passed by UEFA on Monday, Perez argued: “If we continue with the Champions League, there is less and less interest and then it’s over.

“The new format, which starts in 2024, is absurd. In 2024 we are all dead.

“When you have no income other than television, you say that the solution is to make more attractive matches that fans from all over the world can see with all the big clubs, and we came to the conclusion that if instead of having a Champions League we have a Super League, we would be able to alleviate what we have lost.”

Reacting on Twitter, the majority of fans were against the ESL, calling Perez “out of touch” for spouting “so much nonsense” and “utter drivel”.

“What young people is he speaking to?” one asked, while a critic noted: “He is doing the ‘millennials killed insert business’ stuff.”

Another wondered: “Is he just burning down the house at this point for fun and thinking it’s a blaze of glory?”

“Legacy fans are stuck in the past, future fans are simple-minded with a short attention span, and managers and players are irrelevant and obsequious to the slave God, Money? What’s the goal here?”

Elsewhere, it has been claimed by a couple of different outlets that some of the founding clubs are getting cold feet already. 

“Two English clubs are close to losing their nerve,” wrote a journalist from the Mail on Sunday, while another from Sky said that there are now “strong differences of opinion emerging in private between breakaway clubs”.

There is reportedly a feeling from some “nervous” and “disappointed” execs that they are “being hung out to dry”, and that the project and its resulting furor are not what they signed up for.

By contrast, the BBC claimed that “there is no weakening of resolve within the six English clubs who have signed up to ESL”, as the plans have “been thought through and will benefit the game as a whole”, with bosses “waiting for the storm to die down”.

In the Premier League, Everton have released one of the strongest-worded statements yet in criticism of the developments, saying that those behind it were “betraying the majority of football supporters across our country and beyond” while demonstrating “preposterous arrogance”.

“Six clubs acting entirely in their own interests. Six clubs tarnishing the reputation of our league and the game,” it scathed, addressing its domestic rivals who have opted to join the ESL.

Trying to lighten the mood, Wolverhampton Wanderers have altered their Twitter bio to imagine an edition of the English top flight that they would have won had the six ESL clubs gone through with their plan before then. “Probably too late for a parade,” they admitted.
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Perez insists Super League agreement is “binding” after two years of planning

Super League president Florentino Perez insists clubs have no get-out after secretly plotting their bombshell competition for more than two years.

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Inter Milan, Juventus, AC Milan, Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham have all been condemned for signing up for the competition.

Governing bodies around the world have threatened serious punishments and there have already been hopes some clubs could pull out.

Speaking on Sky Sports Monday Night Football, Jamie Carragher said: “If one of them goes, I think it can fall like a pack of cards.”

But Real Madrid chief Perez, heading up the controversial new competition, has claimed in the first public interview that the proposals announced late on Sunday night have been in the works for over two years.

Florentino Perez has opened up on the European Super League in a controversial interview
Florentino Perez has opened up on the European Super League in a controversial interview

He declared the agreement is “binding” and he is confident no clubs will back out of a plan he insists will “save football”.

Speaking on Spanish TV channel El Chiringuito, Perez said (via AS ): “We have been working a lot, more than two years.

“The pandemic has given us the finishing touch to a situation that was deteriorating. We are doing the impossible.”

Asked why they announced it now, he added: “In case we can start next season, soon.

“City, United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham … Inter, Milan, Juventus, Madrid, Atleti, Barcelona….When we have left it is with the certainty that we are doing well.

Perez insists Premier League clubs have a "binding" agreement after two-years of secret talks
Perez insists Premier League clubs have a “binding” agreement after two-years of secret talks

European Super League announcement fallout

“We all signed on Saturday. Anyone to leave? No, it is binding. They do not leave. We are all going to negotiate together.

“The English are most upset because anyone could think that the Premier League was going to disappear. Those who do not want to lose their privileges have said that.”

In response to stinging criticism, he added: “They have said that it is for the rich and it is not true. It is to save football and based on solidarity.

“Someone has been interested to explain it like this, to say that the rich will be richer and the poor, poorer. And it is not so.

“We are all going to go out and explain the truth of what this is. We are going to save football, we are not going to allow football to disappear.

“This is the only option to save the modest, the medium clubs. Those who have the right to have an opinion are the fans, those 4,000 million.

“They want better competitions, more competitive. And nobody cares about this. It is not true that we end the leagues.”

[email protected] (Rich Jones)

This article originally appeared on Mirror – Football

Lewis Hamilton beats Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen to take Emilia Romagna GP pole

Lewis Hamilton edged out Sergio Perez and championship rival Max Verstappen to put his Mercedes on pole for the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix. In a tense and unpredictable session at Imola, the seven-time world champion held his nerve to beat Perez by just 0.035 seconds, with Verstappen a surprise third. It marked the 99th pole of the Briton’s stunning career.
McLaren driver Lando Norris had briefly moved into second behind Hamilton, but his final lap was deleted for exceeding track limits. He had to settle for seventh.

Charles Leclerc finished fourth for Ferrari, three tenths adrift of Hamilton, while the Briton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas was only eighth in the other Mercedes.

Fans are hopeful that Hamilton and Verstappen will provide a season-long battle for the championship and the sport’s two brightest stars will occupy the top three positions in Sunday’s second instalment of the year.

And after Hamilton drew on all his experience to keep Verstappen at bay to win a thrilling season opener in Bahrain three weeks ago, the Red Bull man will be seeking revenge on Sunday.

McLaren driver Lando Norris had briefly moved into second behind Hamilton, but his final lap was deleted for exceeding track limits. He had to settle for seventh.

Charles Leclerc finished fourth for Ferrari, three tenths adrift of Hamilton, while the Briton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas was only eighth in the other Mercedes.

Fans are hopeful that Hamilton and Verstappen will provide a season-long battle for the championship and the sport’s two brightest stars will occupy the top three positions in Sunday’s second instalment of the year.

And after Hamilton drew on all his experience to keep Verstappen at bay to win a thrilling season opener in Bahrain three weeks ago, the Red Bull man will be seeking revenge on Sunday.

But with overtaking around the Imola circuit among the hardest on the calendar, Hamilton will hold the advantage as he bids to claim his second win in as many races.

“Today has been great,” said Hamilton. “I did not expect to be ahead of the two Red Bulls because they have been so quick this weekend.

“I love it, I love the challenge. It is great that finally we have got the two Red Bulls there. I am so happy. The first lap was really nice, really clean.”

A disappointed Verstappen said: “It was not so good in Q3. I went off in turn three so it was a bit messy and not a good lap. But you cannot be good every time.”

Q1 was red-flagged after only six minutes when Yuki Tsunoda crashed out.

The Japanese rookie lost control of his AlphaTauri on the exit of the Variante Alta, sliding backwards and into the tyre wall.

Tsunoda emerged unscathed from his cockpit but sustained significant damage to the rear of his car.

On an encouraging afternoon for Williams both George Russell and Nicholas Latifi progressed to the second phase.

The British team have been on a downward curve for a number of years, but now, under new management and new ownership, are showing tentative signs of improvement.

Russell finished 12th, ahead of Latifi in 14th. The Williams drivers will be surrounded by two world champions, with Sebastian Vettel only 13th for Aston Martin and Fernando Alonso 15th in his Alpine. Both men were upstaged by their junior team-mates Esteban Ocon and Lance Stroll, ninth and 10th respectively.

Meanwhile, Mick Schumacher qualified 18th, one place above team-mate Nikita Mazepin, with Tsunoda rounding out the grid following his early shunt.

Qualifying results

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
2. Sergio Perez (Red Bull)
3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
4. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
5. Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri)
6. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren)
7. Lando Norris (McLaren)
8. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
9. Esteban Ocon (Alpine)
10. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)
11. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)
12. George Russell (Williams)
13. Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin)
14. Nicholas Latifi (Williams)
15. Fernando Alonso (Alpine)
16. Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo)
17. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo)
18. Mick Schumacher (Haas)
19. Nikita Mazepin (Haas)
20. Yuki Tsunoda (Alpha Tauri)

This article originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed