Lewis Hamilton top in Bahrain Grand Prix practice as Alex Albon crashes

Qualifying and the race are both live on 5 Live Sports Extra and the BBC Sport website

Alexander Albon suffered a heavy crash in second practice at the Bahrain Grand Prix, leaving his Red Bull career hanging by a thread.

The British-Thai driver is trying to prove to Red Bull that he deserves to be kept on for 2021.

But his crash, in which he was uninjured, was the latest in a series of incidents that are undermining his case.

World champion Lewis Hamilton was fastest from Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

Albon lost control at the final corner when on his qualifying simulation run, sliding wide, over-correcting the car and then flicking back the other way into the barriers, wiping out the right-hand side of the car and giving the team a long repair job overnight.

At the time, he was 0.7 seconds slower than team-mate Max Verstappen and trying to improve.

The incident followed spins during the past two races in Turkey and Italy, both times when he was running in a strong points position.

Red Bull have said that they want him to earn the drive, but insist they have not yet made a decision on whether to plump for a more experienced driver from outside the Red Bull programme, including either Sergio Perez or Nico Hulkenberg.

“[I’ve] had a few of them so used to it,” said Albon. “I should have pulled out of it really. I was a bit surprised by the lack of grip. Just one of those things. Not fun but all good.

“I did back out, but not enough. When you have one tyre on the Astro and one on the grip, that’s when the tank-slappers happen.”

The way the session developed, with teams on different programmes, and two red flag periods, one for Albon’s crash and one immediately after the restart because a dog was loose on the circuit, meant it was hard to get a definitive read on overall competitiveness.

Hamilton’s fastest time was just over 0.3 seconds faster than Verstappen, with the Briton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas 0.018secs behind the Dutchman.

Racing Point’s Sergio Perez was fourth fastest, from Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo, Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly and McLaren’s Lando Norris.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, in a close fight with Perez and Ricciardo for fourth in the championship, was down in 14th on a day when the Italian team appeared to struggle for pace, and the drivers with the car. Team-mate Sebastian Vettel was 12th quickest.

Both sessions were influenced by tyre supplier Pirelli handing the teams 2021-specification tyres, designed with a more robust construction to run in both sessions.

Having to use two sets per driver meant the teams’ programmes diverged more than usual and put many out of sync with each other.

Hamilton, fresh from clinching his record-equalling seventh world title at the last race, was also fastest in the first session, with Bottas second and Perez third.

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Sydney Thunder’s Sam Bates finally has her shot at grand final glory against Melbourne Stars

“As years have gone by and we haven’t gotten back to that final, I think it’s definitely dawned on me that, that might have been my one opportunity,” she said.

“It was one of the clutch games as well and in those moments you always think about what you could have given to the team and how you could have contributed. Sitting on the sideline, the coaches also seem to be more stressed than the players so sitting around them was definitely tough.”

Sam Bates is looking forward to playing in her first WBBL final.Credit:Getty

Bates is optimistic about the Thunder’s chances against the Melbourne Stars on Saturday mainly because the moos within the 2020 team reminds her of the team spirit in the squad that took out the maiden title. Bates and skipper Rachael Haynes are the only remaining members of the inaugural side.

“We all get along really well and looked out for each other; this year has been quite similar,” she said.

One thing that has changed since 2016 is the stature of the WBBL tournament, which didn’t have any prize money back then and failed to garner any “big publicity”, Bates said.

“There’s lots of difference,” she said. “We definitely didn’t sell out in the crowd…and this year it’s already sold out before we knew who was in the final. To be recognised the way we have been in the last couple of weeks is pretty amazing.”

Boosting her confidence in the lead-up to the finals, Bates signed a contract extension for two more years with the Thunder on Wednesday.

“I didn’t play any underage cricket growing up, I was always a last selection all the time for these kinds of competitions, so to be able to roll the first ball of WBBL and then be here six years later and hopefully for another couple of years to come is quite an unreal moment,” Bates said.

On Friday, 17-year-old superstar Phoebe Litchfield also signed a two-year extension with the club, after a stellar second WBBL year. Litchfield, whose contributions in several run-chases this year have been vital, believes her side is going in the finals as the “underdogs”.


“I definitely am nervous out there, but having that senior player with me helps,” she said about her No.5 spot. “We always are really good in the bowling sort of side, but with our batting, we just need to definitely have that one big partnership.”

One thing Litchfield is not looking forward to is leaving the WBBL village, where the Thunder have spent the last four weeks in a biosecure bubble.

The environment has provided some awkward encounters over the past couple of days, with only the Thunder and the Stars remaining in the hotel.

“Yeah, it’s weird when we see them,” she said. “But, to be honest, I don’t really want to leave. A lot of people are like ‘oh my god get me out of here’ but I’m definitely going to miss the group.”

Haynes is eagerly anticipating the chance to see her Melbourne family again after being separated from them since March due to border closures.

“I’ve got to say, I haven’t enjoyed it,” she said on Friday morning. “I’m not coming at it from a point of view of being ungrateful or anything like that…but it is a tough environment to be in, it’s hard to get away from the game.”

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F1 2020: Bahrain Grand Prix, Sakhir Circuit, new track, news, update, Daniel Ricciardo,

After months traipsing across Europe, Formula One is heading to Bahrain for back-to-back race weekends as the season’s conclusion looms.

And it’s set to provide two weekends of incredible drama – particularly the second week, which will take place on a ‘bonkers’ new-look circuit.

The first race will take place on the standard 5.4km track at the Sakhir Circuit, which has been in use for nearly two decades. But the second weekend will take place on the 3.5 km outer track – a high-speed loop that is expected to see lap times of under a minute!

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Hamiton equals Schumacher


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F1 2020 News: Turkish Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton, Contract, Mercedes, Valtteri Bottas, Retirement

Eleven days after hinting that he may retire, an enigmatic Lewis Hamilton on Thursday declared he was planning to carry on leading Mercedes’ assault on the Formula One record books next year.

But, he added, almost teasingly, that “nothing is set in stone”.

Hamilton was speaking on the eve of opening practice for this weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix in which he can draw level with Michael Schumacher as a seven-time world champion.

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Lewis Hamilton did not rule anything out.. (Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA / POOL / AFP)Source: AFP

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Australian Open 2021: Short delay to Grand Slam ‘likely’ says government minister

Sofia Kenin won her maiden Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in 2020

The Australian Open is expected to be postponed by one or two weeks, says a Victoria government minister.

The first Grand Slam of the year is scheduled to take place in Melbourne from 18-31 January 2021.

However, Covid-19 quarantine regulations in Victoria mean players may not be allowed in the state until the end of December at the earliest.

Victoria’s sports minister Martin Pakula said it is “likely to be delayed by a week or two”.

“I still think it’s much more likely that it will be a shorter rather than longer delay,” Pakula added.

Tennis Australia had been hoping players could arrive in Melbourne in mid-December and quarantine for two weeks, before starting the season on 1 January.

If the players have to delay and arrive in late December, they could potentially have enough time to be ready to play in tournaments in the build-up to the Slam.

But while it is likely players will be able to practise during their quarantine, it has not yet been signed off by the state authorities.

“The exact nature of that quarantine, whether or not it’s their own bubble, or something more common, is still part of those conversations,” Pakula said.

“The quarantine requirements will be those that are ultimately agreed with the public health authorities and then it will be a matter for the ATP and the WTA about whether or not they are acceptable.”

The French Open was delayed by four months because of the coronavirus pandemic, while Wimbledon was cancelled in 2020.

Reigning Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic previously asked for “support and understanding”external-link from the government in allowing players to compete before the Slam begins.

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F1 2020, Turkish Grand Prix, Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, McLaren, practice 1, 2, standings, pay, Mercedes

Daniel Ricciardo has revealed he would drive for free if it meant getting behind the wheel of Mercedes’ seven-time world title-winning car.

Ricciardo is currently fourth in the driver standings and in the form of his life as he has propelled Renault almost single-handedly into third in the constructor championship as he prepares to move on to McLaren for next season.

Despite outscoring both McLaren drivers and Renault sitting a few points above its rivals on the standings, Ricciardo is switching teams after being forced to make a decision before seeing either cars race in 2020 due to COVID-19.

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Australia F1 2021 confirmed


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F1 2020, Bahrain Grand Prix, driver contracts 2021: Sergio Perez to Red Bull, Racing Point axe a travesty

Within the joy of a first-ever second-place finish, Racing Point owner Lawrence Stroll must have winced last weekend, even if for just a brief moment.

There was Sergio Perez, almost literally on a pedestal, standing in front of the world having finished second at the Turkish Grand Prix.

His appearance on the podium served as a jarring reminder that this talented and experienced F1 driver might not be an F1 driver at all in a few weeks time.

Racing Point doesn’t want him anymore.

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F1 2020, Turkish Grand Prix, qualifying results, Daniel Ricciardo, grid, weather, highlights

Daniel Ricciardo revealed he was “just glad I made it” after a dicey qualifying session at the Turkish Grand Prix overnight.

The Aussie will start Sunday evening’s (AEDT) race in Istanbul from P5 on the grid after Lance Stroll took his maiden pole in a shock ending to a red flag-dominated qualifying session.

There were numerous spins as the session was red flagged twice, putting into doubt whether the rest of the session would even be able to be completed.

It was already a tough track to negotiate on Friday’s practice sessions because the newly-laid tarmac made it feel like an “ice rink” as the drivers struggled to get any sort of grip.

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MotoGP 2020: Portuguese Grand Prix live, timing, live stream, Jack Miller, grid position, Moto2, Remy Gardner, pole position, news

Australia’s top MotoGP and Moto2 hopes, Jack Miller and Remy Gardner, are chasing glory with front-row starts in the final round of their respective seasons in Portugal.

Miller (Pramac Ducati) will start third in the premier class finale at Portimao, ahead of new world champion Joan Mir, in the MotoGP race starting at 1am AEDT.

Earlier Gardner will start on pole in the Moto2 season finale, after he earned the third pole position of his career and second of the season (Austria). One of Enea Bastianini, Sam Lowes, Luca Marini or Marco Bezzecchi will be crowned champion in the race that begins at 11:20pm AEDT.

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LIVE TIMING: Follow the Portuguese Grand Prix here

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Moto GP: Joan Mir wins world title, Valencia Grand Prix results Franco Morbidelli, Jack Miller, highlights

Suzuki’s Joan Mir won the MotoGP world title on Sunday a week after finally securing his maiden Grand Prix triumph at the same Valencia circuit.

The 23-year-old from Mallorca inherited the crown left vacant by the injured six-time champion Marc Marquez when finishing seventh in the Valencia Grand Prix, won by Italy’s Franco Morbidelli.

The ecstatic new champion better known for diligence and perseverance, was able to make a rare celebration.

Pulling wheelies and screeching his smoking tyres in front of the paddock, there were no fans but his family where there to celebrate too.

“I’ve been fighting for this all my life, I can neither laugh nor cry but I’m flooded with emotions,” said Mir.

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