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Lewis Hamilton has British Grand Prix sprint regret after Max Verstappen secures pole

Lewis Hamilton says he wishes he could ‘redo the start’ of Saturday’s sprint race after Max Verstappen secured pole position for Sunday’s British Grand Prix after victory during a historic inaugural qualifying race at Silverstone.

Verstappen jumped Hamilton at the start of the race with better drive off the line, despite the Dutchman’s front left brakes catching on fire while waiting for the lights to go out in front of the Briton’s home crowd.

However, despite Hamilton’s fight back, the championship leader gradually pulled out a comfortable lead from the 36-year-old, as he commanded the race and managed to pick up three important championship points, extending his lead to 33, and will now start on pole for the British Grand Prix.

The Briton was heard on the radio asking for more power from the team on lap 12, as he tried to claw back any time on the Red Bull driver, with blistering reported on Verstappen’s tyres.

But it wasn’t enough, and Verstappen extended his lead with victory on Saturday, with Hamilton finishing second, with two points added to his total, with his team-mate Bottas picking up a point from third.

JUST IN: Lewis Hamilton warns Red Bull he’s going to ‘bring out the lion’

“I gave it everything today,” said Hamilton straight after the race. “First I’m gonna give a lot of love to all these fans, I can’t tell you the energy that I’m getting from everyone, that support means the world to me so I’m sorry I wasn’t able to get the win in sprint one but tomorrow we fight again.

“I hit target on my start, it’s not good what you lose from P1, but, we’ll try and try and turn negative into a positive tomorrow

“Every point counts, but I’m grateful to finish, they’re just so strong in the race, as he was pulling away there was nothing I could do to hold on to him.

“So we’ve really got to try and be in front somehow they’ve done a great job with their engine, their starts are really great, we’ve lost a bit of performance on our stuff so we’ve got to work a bit harder to try and improve that because losing positions is never a great thing.

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Hamilton’s poor start handed Verstappen the perfect opportunity to take the lead of the 17-lap race, and extend his lead in the championship.

“Wish I could redo the start again,” Hamilton rued. “But luckily we have tomorrow.

“I don’t know how it was to watch for the fans, I think this weekend’s been awesome, yesterday was such a fun day to have qualifying on a Friday, way more enjoyable.

“I don’t know whether that was the most exciting race or not, but we should do more like that, maybe a different version of it in future because this makes the weekend more enjoyable I think.

“But I need everyone to bring their energy again tomorrow and I’ll bring my A-game.”

Hamilton stunned on Friday in the evening’s qualifying session, beating Verstappen by just 0.075s in front of a jubilant British crowd.

It means Hamilton lined up ahead of his main title rival who started second, with Hamilton’s Bottas third.

The seven-time world champion was visibly emotional as the home crowd chanted his name, as he looks to add an eighth world title to his name this season.

Cheers echoed around Silverstone, as Hamilton climbed out of the car, with Union Jack flags fluttering in the Silverstone breeze, as the sun beamed down on the world champion, who thanked the fans for their input.

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: Sport

Lewis Hamilton highlights Max Verstappen advantages ahead of British Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton says he hopes to “close the gap” this weekend at the British Grand Prix, as the seven-time world champion hopes to cut the 32 point gap to Max Verstappen over the weekend.

Hamilton has seven wins to his name around the Silverstone circuit in Formula One, and also admitted recently he’s been putting in the hours on the simulator, something he’s admitted in the past to Express Sport he’s not a fan of.

To add to their advantages this weekend, Mercedes are also looking to bring an upgrade package for the W12, alongside the added bonus of Hamilton’s home fans descending on the circuit.

And Hamilton believes it could be a winning formula across the weekend.

“With all those elements, I hope and pray, yeah,” said Hamilton ahead of the British Grand Prix on Thursday

“Obviously we won’t know until tomorrow, and also another element is this sprint race that we have, this new format, of course, it’s easy for any of us to get it wrong.

JUST IN:
Bottas would need ‘different mindset’ to stay in F1 post-Mercedes

Mercedes have taken nine consecutive pole positions at Silverstone, to make it 10, Hamilton would have to win the sprint qualifying race on Saturday.

Yet Hamilton said it was a challenge he was embracing.

“Massively looking forward to it,” added Hamilton. “A lot of work has gone on over the past couple of weeks, so I’m hoping that coming back to a circuit that suits us a little better, hopefully, we can have a closer battle with the Red Bulls.”

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: Sport

World Grand Prix moved from Dublin to Leicester

Leicester’s Morningside Arena will be the venue for the 2021 World Grand Prix, with the tournament’s traditional home in Citywest, Dublin unavailable. PDC chief executive Matthew Porter says they are planning to return to Ireland in 2022.

Last Updated: 05/07/21 1:41pm

World Grand Prix moved from Dublin to Leicester

The World Grand Prix has been moved to Leicester’s Morningside Arena for 2021.

The 24th staging of the double-start format tournament will see 32 of the world’s top players competing across seven days, from October 3-9 for £450,000 in prize money.

Gerwyn Price will be looking to defend his title, with five-time winner Michael van Gerwen and world No 2 Peter Wright set to head up the field.

For a second consecutive year the tournament will take place away from its traditional home, Dublin’s Citywest Convention Centre, which is currently being used by health services in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The PDC plans to return to Ireland with the competition in 2022.

The World Grand Prix was played behind closed doors at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena in 2020, but is now set for the return of fans at the Morningside Arena, which previously hosted the Champions League of Darts in 2019.

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Stay up-to-date with the latest news from around the darting world.

“We are delighted to have secured the Morningside Arena as the venue for this year’s staging of the BoyleSports World Grand Prix,” said PDC chief executive Matthew Porter.

“The venue was a hit with fans and players alike when it played host to the Champions League of Darts in 2019 and we would like to thank them for their co-operation in securing a new home for one of our most prestigious events in 2021.

“The BoyleSports World Grand Prix is always one of the highlights of the PDC calendar, with the unique double-start format providing a challenging element for competitors and extra drama for viewers.

“The Citywest Convention Centre remains part of our plans for 2022 and beyond, and we thank them for their continued support and communication.”

Dirk van Duijvenbode enjoyed a breakthrough run to the final at last year's tournamentDirk van Duijvenbode enjoyed a breakthrough run to the final at last year’s tournament

The first round will be split across two nights on October 3-4, with the second round taking place across October 5-6. The quarter-finals will be held on Thursday October 7, before the semi-finals on Friday October 8 and the final on Saturday October 9.

The tournament will be live on Sky Sports.

2021 BoyleSports World Grand Prix

Sunday October 3 (1900 BST)
8x First Round

Monday October 4 (1900 BST)
8x First Round

Tuesday October 5 (1900 BST)
4x Second Round

Wednesday October 6 (1900 BST)
4x Second Round

Thursday October 7 (1900 BST)
Quarter-Finals

Friday October 8 (1900 BST)
Semi-Finals

Saturday October 9 (1900 BST)
Final

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Styrian Grand Prix LIVE: Max Verstappen leads with Lewis Hamilton second in Austria

Lewis Hamilton’s ‘natural ability is fantastic’ says Button

Styrian Grand Prix: Summary

  • Max Verstappen starts on pole, with Hamilton second
  • Three-place grid penalty relegates Valtteri Bottas from second to fifth
  • Lando Norris’ strong qualifying puts him on Row 2
  • Verstappen leads Drivers’ Championship by 12 points from Hamilton
  • Red Bull leads Constructors’ Championship by 37 points from Mercedes

Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton

Max Verstappen will start from pole position at the Styrian Grand Prix (Image: GETTY)

Styrian Grand Prix: Live Race Updates

Lap 26: Big moment for Lewis Hamilton, who very nearly lost the back end of his Mercedes as he exited Turn 5. It shows just how hard the seven-time world champ is pushing to keep pace with Verstappen, who is now five seconds up the road. It’s looking like Red Bull have things well under control at this stage in proceedings. But, don’t forget, it all looked comfortable for Verstappen in Baku… until it wasn’t.

Lap 20: Both Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton have been on the radio complaining about handling, but it’s the Red Bull man who holds the advantage after 20 laps of this 71-lap Grand Prix. He leads by four and a half seconds over the world champion, with the window for pit stops about to open. Red Bull have had the edge in strategy and pit work in recent races, but Mercedes need something special here to bring Hamilton into striking distance. The next few laps could be fascinating…

Running order after 20 laps: 

  1. Verstappen
  2. Hamilton
  3. Perez
  4. Bottas
  5. Norris
  6. Stroll
  7. Alonso
  8. Russell
  9. Tsunoda
  10. Sainz

Lap 13: Norris has been passed twice. First, Sergio Perez blew past him with ease, then Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas followed suit. But any worries about the McLaren man’s car appear unfounded at this point. It seems he’s just trying to run a sensible early pace to get as much out of his tyres as possible and potentially go long in his first stint. Up front, Verstappen is holding his lead, with the Red Bull man around 2.8 seconds clear of Hamilton, who is holding steady in second.

Lap 8: Lando Norris is reporting that there’s a lot of debris on the track, and has asked his team to keep an eye on his tyre pressures to make sure he hasn’t picked up a puncture. The opening lap shenanigans in the midfield have caused some shards of wing to be left on the track. Norris’ team-mate Daniel Ricciardo suffered a loss of power and has dropped down the pack. 

Lap 4: Lewis Hamilton reported that “something heavy” hit his car. Could that have been a piece of Verstappen’s car? Or perhaps debris from the opening lap? Watch this space. Charles Leclerc faces a mountainous task in Austria after damaging his front wing on the first lap. He’s going to have to battle his way through the field. He’s pitted and changed his wing and is now languishing back in 18th.

Lap 1: Verstappen gets away cleanly and leads, with Hamilton slotting into second. Sergio Perez has started superbly and squeezed past Lando Norris, who later retook the Red Bull to secure third. Pierre Gasly’s race is likely, however, after suffered a puncture and suspension damage to his rear-left. 

1:55pm: We’re just five minutes from the start, and things could get VERY interesting on the first lap. Not only do we have the battle between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who will duel it out for the apex in Turn 1, we also have the prospect of a racy Lando Norris looking to pull a fast one from third on the grid.

Speaking to Sky Sports F1, even his face mask couldn’t hide Lando’s grin when he was asked about going for it and taking the fight to the front two in the first few corners. Make no mistake, the McLaren man is going to try to throw the cat among the pigeons from the start. 

The cars are just about ready to embark on their warm-up lap, then it’ll be lights out in Austria!

Styrian Grand Prix: Starting Grid

1. Max Verstappen  |  2. Lewis Hamilton

3. Lando Norris  |  4. Sergio Perez

5. Valtteri Bottas*  |  6. Pierre Gasly

7. Charles Leclerc  |  8. Fernando Alonso

9. Lance Stroll  |  10. George Russell

11. Yuki Tsunoda**  |  12. Carlos Sainz

13. Daniel Ricciardo  |  14. Sebastian Vettel

15. Antonio Giovinazzi  |  16. Nicholas Latifi

17. Esteban Ocon  |  18. Kimi Raikkonen

19. Mick Schumacher  |  20. Nikita Mazepin

*Bottas penalised three grid places for “dangerous driving” during Friday’s free practice.
**Tsunoda penalised three grid places for blocking during Saturday’s qualifying session.

The gripping title fight between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton continues in Austria, with Red Bull looking strong at their home circuit this weekend.

Verstappen took pole position in Saturday’s qualifying session, with Hamilton only good enough for third-quickest.

But the Brit received an unexpected bonus with the three-place grid penalty meted out to teammate Valtteri Bottas, who span in the pit lane during free practice earlier in the weekend.

It meant the Finn was demoted from second on the grid to fifth, as Hamilton was bumped up from Row 2 to the front row, alongside title rival Verstappen.

It means the scene is perfectly set for a thrilling race at the short, technical Red Bull Ring, where passing opportunities are available around the relatively short lap in Austria.

The race gets underway at 2:00pm, and we’ll bring you regular updates throughout the Grand Prix. Will there be another twist in the title race, or can Red Bull and Verstappen extend their lead over Hamilton and Mercedes in the Constructors’ and Drivers’ Championships, respectively? We’ll find out this afternoon!

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed

Max Verstappen net worth: French Grand Prix winner’s massive fortune

Max Verstappen net worth

Max Verstappen net worth: Max Verstappen won the French Grand Prix today after a late overtake of Lewis Hamilton. Max races for Red Bull, and at 23, is one of the youngest racers on the track.

Belgian-Dutch, Max was born in Belgium, and competes under the Dutch Flag with the Red Bull Racing team.

His first entry was at the 2015 Australian Grand Prix, and he won the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix.

Despite his young age, Max has years of experience on the track, as he started out Karting at just four years old.

So after so many years in the spotlight.

What is Max Verstappen net worth?

His sponsers are Jumbo Supermarkets, Ziggo, Red Bull, G-Star Raw, and CarNext.com

How does his net worth fare in comparison to other Formula 1 drivers?

The wealthiest F1 driver is Briton Lewis Hamilton.

READ MORE: Queen Elizabeth wears mint coat & diamond brooch for first appearance at Royal Ascot 2021

According to Celebrity Net Worth, the Max Verstappen net worth of £211 million – so Max has some way to go before he eclipses him.

Born in Hertfordshire in 1985, Lewis was into cars from a young age.

At the age of six, his father bought him a radio-controlled car and the following year, he finished second at the British Radio Car Association Championship.

In 1998, Lewis signed to the McLaren young driver programme and became an official Formula One McLaren driver in 2007.

A year later, he won the F1 World Championship for the first time.

In 2013, he signed to drive for Mercedes and won more World Championships including back to back titles in 2014 and 2015. To date, he has now won six World Championships.

In 2018, Lewis signed a two-year contract extension with Mercedes which was reported to be worth nearly £40 million per year.

Adding to his bank balance is his clothing line which launched in 2018. The TOMMYXLEWIS is a collaboration with American fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger. The line includes menswear, underwear and swimwear.

He is also number 40 on the Forbes rich list to date.

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express
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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.

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Monaco Grand Prix LIVE: Verstappen leads in effort to cut Hamilton gap, Leclerc OUT

F1 preview: A lap of the Monaco Grand Prix

Monaco Grand Prix LIVE updates

– Pole-sitter Charles Leclerc pulls out pre-race after Ferrari suffer problems on formation lap
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen leads from Valtteri Bottas after starting on front row alone
– World champion Lewis Hamilton down in seventh for Mercedes
– Verstappen 14 points behind Hamilton in the championship
– Race gets underway at 2pm UK time

Lap 20: “Let’s show us how much more pace you’ve got,” Bottas is told on the radio.

Not long until the pitstops now. Can they help shake up the order? There’s been no changes since the first lap.

Norris meanwhile gets a black and white flag for track limits at turn 10, presumably cutting the chicane. “No more mistakes,” the McLaren pitwall say.

Lap 17: Williams’ George Russell is still running despite battling power unit issues. The Briton is running down in 15th.

His countryman Hamilton meanwhile says on the Mercedes radio: “These guys are super slow ahead.”

The seven-time world champion is around two seconds behind Gasly still.

Lap 13: “Tyres are good, I’m managing quite a lot. Probably a second if I go all out or more,” says Sebastian Vettel in the Aston Martin.

Seventh-placed Vettel is over six seconds behind Hamilton despite that.

Further ahead, leader Verstappen sets a new fastest lap in his Red Bull with a 1:16.265. Team-mate Sergio Perez soon beats it and goes 1:15.881.

Monaco Grand Prix LIVE

Monaco Grand Prix LIVE (Image: GETTY)

Lap 9: “Yeah, it’s hard to follow,” says Hamilton as he trails the AlphaTauri of Gasly, who is two seconds ahead of him in fifth.

Hamilton is 10-and-a-half seconds behind race leader Verstappen. It’d be some turnaround for him to win today.

Lap 4: Not a good start for Daniel Ricciardo with the Australian’s McLaren dropping from 11th to 13th.

We’ve got 74 more laps to come in Monaco so let’s hope for some more excitement.

Verstappen a little over a second ahead of Bottas, with Sainz four seconds behind the leader.

Lap 1: Verstappen gets away well on the start on the outside line, coming across to cover off Bottas, who had clean air with no Leclerc ahead of him. 

Bottas locks up into turn one but stays ahead of Sainz, who is being closely followed by McLaren’s Lando Norris.

Pierre Gasly is behind Norris with Hamilton still down in sixth. Sebastian Vettel, Sergio Perez, Antonio Giovinazzi and Esteban Ocon complete the current top 10.

IT’S LIGHTS OUT AT THE MONACO GRAND PRIX!

Monaco Grand Prix LIVE

Monaco Grand Prix LIVE (Image: GETTY)

1.50pm: Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff tells Sky Sports F1: “I’m surprised because they checked the box. It’s a shame, he’s Monegasque and he deserved it, his lap was spectacular.

“Max can score 25 points, that’s not good for us. We wanted Charles to lead. Let’s see what opportunity it gives to Valtteri.

“Lewis and Valtteri can work together here. Maybe Lewis can play a role. He isn’t happy of course but he’s a fighter. We’ve had setbacks in Monaco before, let’s see how he can climb from P7.”

1.45pm: More disappointment for Leclerc – he will not race at all at his home circuit.

“We’re not racing I am afraid,” Laurent Mekies tells the stewards on team radio. “Sorry to hear,” replies race director Masi.

Ferrari have a problem with the left driveshaft that is impossible to fix before the race start.

Leclerc looks gutted as he walks through the paddock despite cheers from the crowd. Verstappen now has a golden chance to make up ground on championship leader Hamilton.

1.35pm: The pits are closed and that’s it confirmed, Leclerc will be starting from the pits if he can start at all. Devastation for the Monegasque, but those gearbox problems are too much for Ferrari.

“We have an issue. We’re not going to the grid. We try to fix it here. We will not make it to the grid,” Ferrari tell FIA race director Michael Masi.

It’s Verstappen on the front row on his own now, as the grid will not be shuffled up, with Bottas getting clean air in third on the inside of the Red Bull.

Can the Dutchman clinch a race win and overtake Hamilton in the Drivers’ Championship?

Monaco Grand Prix LIVE

Monaco Grand Prix LIVE (Image: GETTY)

1.30pm: Here’s what Hamilton, the last race winner in Monaco back in 2019, meanwhile had to say yesterday after qualifying only seventh.

“It didn’t feel too bad on Thursday and we made some changes and it was pretty terrible today,” he told Sky Sports F1. “We go back to the drawing board.

“It’s almost impossible to overtake here so…. Up front where we are it’s pretty much the case when everyone is on the same speed. Saturday is the day [in Monaco], so obviously that really does put for sure the win out of reach.

“I guess the minimum would be hopefully seventh and then we’ve got to somehow see how we can move forwards.”

He added on social media: “Failure never feels good but it provides us with opportunities for growth. We have struggled this weekend, for many different reasons but we win and we lose together.

“Tomorrow will be tough, so if you got time, do a little rain dance for me. Let the heavens open.”

1.25pm: Pre-race drama! “No, no, no, the glovebox guys,” Leclerc says on his team radio as he crawls round the track on the formation lap.

Leclerc heads back to the pits and is going through the gears as Ferrari look to get to the bottom of their problems. Will he have to start from the pits?

There’s not long for Ferrari to change the gearbox if they have to.

Monaco Grand Prix LIVE: Ferrari's Leclerc starts on pole ahead of Verstappen, Hamilton 7th

Monaco Grand Prix LIVE (Image: GETTY)

1.20pm: Leclerc’s collision with the barriers, which left him with front and side damage, means today’s starting grid looks like this…
1st: Charles Leclerc, 2nd: Max Verstappen
3rd: Valtteri Bottas, 4th: Carlos Sainz
5th: Lando Norris, 6th: Pierre Gasly
7th: Lewis Hamilton, 8th: Sebastian Vettel
9th: Sergio Perez, 10th: Antonio Giovinazzi
11th: Esteban Ocon, 12th: Daniel Ricciardo
13th: Lance Stroll, 14th: Kimi Raikkonen
15th: George Russell, 16th: Yuki Tsunoda
17th: Fernando Alonso, 18th: Nicholas Latifi
19th: Nikita Mazepin, 20th: Mick Schumacher

It’s certainly an intringuingly mixed grid. Might we get some Monaco drama after all? Let’s hope so.

1.10pm: Ferrari’s social media statement on pole-sitter Leclerc earlier was as follows…

“Following further in depth checks this morning, no apparent defects were found on @Charles_Leclerc’s gearbox, therefore the Monegasque driver will start today’s race from pole position, as per the qualifying result.”

1pm: Good afternoon and welcome to Express Sport’s live coverage of the 2021 Monaco Grand Prix!

Charles Leclerc starts on pole after Ferrari confirmed no gearbox damage to his SF21 despite his shunt into the wall at swimming pool at the end of qualifying.

The Ferrari crash meant Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas were denied a chance to snatch pole as the session was red-flagged.

And that means it’s advantage to the Monegasque in Monaco, a tricky notoriously tricky to overtake on.

Of the other big stories, reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton starts well down in seventh after a dreadful Saturday.

The Briton has ruled out taking a race win today but he’ll hope to lessen the damage as Verstappen looks to cut the gap to the championship leader.

Today’s race gets underway at 2pm and we’ll have live lap-by-lap updates for you once the lights are out.

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Charles Leclerc heartbreak as Ferrari driver retires from Monaco Grand Prix before race

Ferrari ace Charles Leclerc has dramatically been ruled out of the Monaco Grand Prix after suffering an issue with his left driveshaft on his out lap ahead of the race.

Leclerc discovered the issue as he circulated the Monte Carlo circuit to take up his place at the front of the grid for today’s race after qualifying on pole position yesterday.

As the Ferrari driver was heading towards the grid to line up on pole position, a despondent Leclerc shouted over the radio, “No! No! No! No!” as the car started slowing.

The Ferrari driver limped the car back to the pits to be checked by the team, but ultimately ran out of time to get to the grid and the pit lane closed, and the hometown hero climbed out of the car and retired from the race before he even took up his place on the grid.

After crashing heavily at the end of Saturday’s qualifying session, the team confirmed in a statement they were satisfied Leclerc’s gearbox had survived the crash without incurring significant damage.

“Following further in-depth checks this morning, no apparent defects were found on Charles Leclerc’s gearbox, therefore the Monegasque driver will start today’s race from pole position, as per the qualifying result,” the team announced.

An initial assessment of the damage on Leclerc’s car by the team revealed “no serious damage”, but Ferrari confirmed in a statement after qualifying that they would conduct further checks on Sunday and “prioritise reliability over pole”.

The Monegasque driver topped the timesheets in both Q1 and Q2 and was once again the fastest in Q3 in the first run and had put his car on provisional pole in the first run with Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas just behind him.

Most cars were out in the final couple of minutes to try and improve on their time, but Leclerc’s collision with the wall with just 18 seconds left on the clock effectively halted any hot laps from his rivals as he sealed his first pole position of 2021. 

However, there was some concern Leclerc would suffer a five-place grid penalty after the heavy impact, which saw the scarlet Ferrari planted into the wall towards the end of the lap at the swimming pool complex, with many pundits expressing concern that Leclerc’s gearbox may have incurred damage serious enough to force a replacement.

Leclerc would have been given an automatic five-place grid penalty, and would have lost his maiden hometown pole, if the team had opted to replace the gearbox.

But, despite the car subsequently being given a clean bill of health, Leclerc’s dream of winning Formula 1’s most iconic race in his home town was wiped out before he even saw the starting lights as an issue with his left drive shaft forced him out of the Grand Prix.

It meant that the rest of the grid formed up in the same spots as before, with Leclerc the notable absentee from the pole position spot, as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen took over at the head of the field.

It was a shocking turn of events ahead of the biggest F1 race of the year, with Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff sympathising with Leclerc, who missed out on a huge opportunity in his home race.

“I’m surprised because they checked the box,” Wolff told Sky Sports before the race start.

“It’s a shame, he’s Monegasque and he deserved it, his lap was spectacular.”

Wolff also explained that Leclerc’s removal from the front row of the grid also causes his own team additional headaches, with their championship rival Max Verstappen afforded a free run into Sainte Devote.

“Max can score 25 points – that’s not good for us,” he said.

“We wanted Charles to lead. Let’s see what opportunity it gives to Valtteri.

“Lewis and Valtteri can work together here. Maybe Lewis can play a role. He isn’t happy, of course, but he’s a fighter.

“We’ve had setbacks in Monaco before, let’s see how he can climb from P7.”

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Ferrari's Charles Leclerc has two Monaco Grand Prix concerns after taking 'surprise' pole

Charles Leclerc admits he’s concerned about the gearbox of his SF21 after crashing out in the Ferrari in the final seconds of Monaco Grand Prix qualifying, though he made sure of pole position in doing so. The Monegasque driver will front the grid in his homeland on Sunday provided he has not damaged his gearbox, which would incur a penalty.
Leclerc would drop to P6 if his gearbox were to need changing and would cancel out all the hard work the 23-year-old put in on Saturday.

His pole was his and Ferrari’s first since the 2019 Mexico Grand Prix and provided he does not take any penalties, offers him an excellent chance of a maiden race win in his home country and only the third of his career. 

But he insists he is incredibly unfortunate in Monaco and also says he’s worried about the state of his machinery, having sustained damage to the front and side of his car.

Leclerc told Sky Sports F1: “It’s a shame to finish in the wall, it doesn’t feel the same. At the same time I’m incredibly happy about my first time lap.

“The first corner was quite tricky, I didn’t do a great first corner but the second and third sectors, I nailed it. Just very, very happy to be on pole obviously.

“It was very, very difficult to manage myself mentally after Q2. I could feel I was quite emotional in the car but I told myself ‘now it’s Q3, now it’s time to put everything together.’

“I managed to do so so I’m incredibly happy. It’s tomorrow that we score points but I have to say it’s a big surprise for everyone to be on pole and in fourth place for the race tomorrow.”

Leclerc crashing out meant Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas could not beat his time, with the session abandoned.

And asked if he now has a real chance to win Sunday’s race, Leclerc said: “I’ve always been very unlucky here so let’s wait and see.”

Then quizzed about whether he’s worried about gearbox damage, the two-time race-winner admitted: “I am. But let’s see.”

Verstappen, who will start second, said: “It’s unfortunate for the red flag. I felt really comfortable building up to qualifying.

“Nobody was really putting a lap time in on the first lap and that’s how we planned it out, to do two laps then the third one was the fastest.

“The second run with the fresh laps we did I was feeling good. I was quite a bit down on my lap time so I’m gutted.

“I think we made good progress throughout the week with the car. Definitely happier with it in qualifying. We should’ve had a shot at pole in the last run.

“We’ll try anything we can tomorrow in the race. It’s Monaco, anything can happen.”

Victory for Leclerc on Sunday would only be Ferrari’s second since 2001, with their last coming via Sebastian Vettel in 2019.

The Italian team endured their worst season in 40 years last season but are looking stronger in 2021 and sit fourth in the Constructors’ Championship ahead of the Monaco race.

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Lewis Hamilton demands Monaco Grand Prix changes ahead of latest Max Verstappen battle

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has urged organisers and F1 to make changes to the Monaco Grand Prix to make it more exciting for fans, with the seven-time world champion branding it impossible to overtake on the street circuit.

Despite the glitz and the glamour in Monaco and the tight, windy nature of the track, it’s become increasingly processional once qualifying has set the stage ahead of the race, with overtaking opportunities minimal.

The Briton, who leads the way in the driver’s standing’s heading into Sunday’s race, has only won three times in 13 visits to Monaco, with his closest title rival Max Verstappen having never stood on the podium in a result that counted.

And even though the race is a driver favourite, Hamilton said they must act to make changes.

“There is zero opportunity to overtake in a race but that has been the case for some time, it needs to change, we have had the same format for years,” said Hamilton. “It is the best venue, the most beautiful place we get to race at but you know it is never exciting for fans.

JUST IN:
Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes director agree on Monaco GP concerns – ‘It was a surprise’

“On the list of difficult places to overtake it’s off the scale, highly unlikely you would get the opportunity and I don’t think fans enjoy that. I don’t know what the solution is but I hope when we look forward it can be a more exciting race.”

Yet after four thrilling races, with close wheel-to-wheel with Verstappen over the opening races, Hamilton expects very few fireworks on Sunday.

He added: “We’ve got a lot of tracks that we go to where you see racing. I think it’s been an exciting start to a season where you are seeing people overtaking and you see the whole field closed up.

“You’re going to just see a train, naturally, on Sunday. The fans already know that’s what’s going to happen this weekend, however it’s still exciting to watch, somehow.”

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“And I looked at this graph from the sort of 60s cars up until today, even from the late 90s, and they’ve got way too big in my opinion, as a fan.

“They need to get back to a smaller car, so the tracks fit them again, It’s a real shame, you look at Imola and they just look huge.

“They’re unbelievably impressive cars, but I think for the fans at home they need to race better, and one of those things might be actually having a smaller car.”

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