Lewis out to get even in Aus­tria

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

SPIELBERG, Aus­tria: Se­bas­tian Vet­tel cel­e­brated his 30th birth­day on Mon­day but it can be safely as­sumed Lewis Hamil­ton won’t be bring­ing him any gifts this week­end.

Af­ter the ‘road rage’ of Azer­bai­jan two weeks ago, the For­mula One ti­tle ri­vals head to the bu­colic sur­round­ings of the scenic Red Bull Ring, and its back­drop of hills and forests, with con­tro­versy still sim­mer­ing.

Vet­tel, Fer­rari’s cham­pi­onship leader, had risked a heavy penalty in driv­ing into Hamil­ton’s Mercedes be­hind the safety car in Baku but in­stead the Ger­man ar­rives with no fur­ther sanc­tion and the mat­ter of­fi­cially closed.

Vet­tel has had to ac­cept full re­spon­si­bil­ity, and apol­o­gise to Hamil­ton, and will have to stay on his best be­hav­iour with a race ban looming if he col­lects any more penalty points on his li­cence this week­end. But the in­ci­dent is un­likely to die down im­me­di­ately, even if Mercedes say they have moved on.

Hamil­ton, for one, has said noth­ing. But he has kept so­cial me­dia buzzing with news he had ‘liked’ a fan’s sup­port­ive post on In­sta­gram that said the Paris de­ci­sion had sent the mes­sage that “you can do what­ever you want on track, smash into each other but if you suck up and just apol­o­gise and you get away with it”.

Hamil­ton is now 14 points be­hind Vet­tel af­ter eight of 20 races, with a loose head­rest cost­ing the Bri­ton vic­tory in Azer­bai­jan. Vet­tel, de­spite a stop-and-go penalty, fin­ished fourth and one place ahead of his ri­val. Aus­tria of­fers Hamil­ton the chance to take some of those lost points back.

Mercedes have won ev­ery year since the race re­turned to the cal­en­dar in 2014 and Hamil­ton is the only driver on this sea­son’s grid to have won in Aus­tria – do­ing so last year.

“Ev­ery great For­mula One sea­son is marked by a great ri­valry. Last year it was our in­ter­nal bat­tle be­tween Lewis and Nico (Ros­berg) and this year it seems the fight is on be­tween Fer­rari and Mercedes and Lewis and Se­bas­tian,” said Mercedes boss Toto Wolff. “As calm as it started, it was only a mat­ter of time un­til the ri­valry be­came more fierce and con­tro­ver­sial. That mo­ment hap­pened in Baku and we saw the re­sults of that ten­sion on track. We have moved passed that mo­ment now and it is a closed chap­ter.”

Aside from the MercedesFer­rari bat­tle, Red Bull will also fancy their chances in front of a home crowd af­ter Aus­tralian Daniel Ric­cia­rdo won in Baku for his fourth suc­ces­sive podium fin­ish.

This time, Dutch teenager Max Ver­stap­pen will be hop­ing it is his turn: “Luck evens it­self out. Daniel has had four podi­ums and a race win but I’m sure a big race is around the cor­ner for Max,” team prin­ci­pal Chris­tian Horner said. – Reuters add ups to 29 weeks of the year be­ing taken up by do­mes­tic T20 cricket com­pe­ti­tions.

That means 23 weeks re­main for Tests, ODIs And T20 In­ter­na­tion­als and that’s not ac­count­ing for years with World Cups, Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy and World T20s….so what does this all mean for in­ter­na­tional cricket?

If you heard the MCC World Cricket Com­mit­tee this week, then there’s a “looming po­ten­tial cri­sis,” fac­ing the Test game.

In his ad­dress to the com­mit­tee this week, CSA’s chief ex­ec­u­tive Ha­roon Lor­gat, high­lighted how when the boards of Eng­land, Aus­tralia and In­dia cre­ated a fi­nan­cial model that heav­ily favoured them­selves two years ago, it was im­per­a­tive for Cricket SA to en­sure it

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