Our event of the day is the Australian Grand Prix at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit. The defending driver’s champion, Lewis Hamilton, will start in pole position after an excellent qualifying session yesterday. This is the beginning of an incredibly exciting season of F1, that will see the sport’s 1000th race as well as another showdown between Hamilton and his biggest rival, Sebastian Vettel. With Vettel starting today’s race in third, be sure you don’t miss the action in Melbourne. As he past the chequered flag as the fourth place finisher at last October’s Mexico Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton secured his fifth World Championship, and his fourth in five years. This made him the third driver, along with Juan Manuel Fargo and Michael Schumacher, to win at least five World Championships. Coming into today’s season opening race, where he holds pole position, Hamilton will be eager to begin the hunt for title number six with a strong performance.
However, looking to upstage Hamilton is Sebastian Vettel. His loss to the Brit last year, the conclusion of the ‘Fight for Five’, stung but now he has the chance to deny Hamilton title six and match him at five. Vettel drives the Ferrari, a car that many see as finally able to challenge the Mercedes dynasty of the past five years. Vettel also has a new teammate to motivate him. Kimi Räikkönen the last driver to win a driver’s championship for Ferrari, was cut by the Italian team after eight seasons (in two stints) with them. He is replaced by the young, fiery Charles Leclerc, who comes over from Alfa Romeo Sauber. Leclerc finished 13th in 2018 with ten top-10 finishes and will look to challenge his veteran teammate. For his part, Räikkönen has moved to Alfa Romeo, the team he began his career with in 2001. Also feeling the pressure of a young talent is Hamilton’s teammate, Valtteri Bottas. Bottas has three wins in two years with Mercedes and will be determined to fight for his future as new team acquisition Esteban Ocon waits to take his place. Beyond the drivers, there are big changes to the constructors. Ferrari, eleven years removed from their last constructor’s title, have made major changes to their car. They have watched as Red Bull Racing won four consecutive titles before the current Mercedes dominance began. Many pre-season pundits pegged Ferrari as the favourite for the 2019 constructor’s championship but that remains to be seen as their drivers start today’s race in third and fifth, with Mercedes taking pole and second. Vettel is the defending champion here in Melbourne so be sure you don’t miss the race as another exciting season of Formula 1 racing begins.
Honourable mentions around the globe go to the finals of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California. In the men’s final, Dominic Thiem will face Roger Federer. Thiem met his first real challenge of the tournament in his semi-final with Milos Raonic, pulling off a tight 7-6 6-7 6-4 victory after enjoy beforehand straight-sets wins throughout the tournament. He rallied against the seventh seeded Austrian to take a close victory in yesterday’s semi-final. Meanwhile, after a strong performance during this tournament, Federer didn’t have to put up a battle for a place in the final after Rafael Nadal pulled out of their highly-anticipated semi-final due to injury. In the women’s final, Angelique Kerber will face Bianca Andreescu. Kerber, the eighth seed and reigning Wimbledon champion, has been unstoppable during this tournament and has overcome formidable opponents such as Venus Williams. However, Andreescu has also taken this tournament by storm. The eighteen-year-old is the first wild card entrant and first Canadian to reach the final at Indian Wells. She is also the youngest finalist since Maria Sharapova reached the final at age eighteen in 2006. These are set to be two truly memorable finals. Elsewhere, the New York City Half Marathon takes place today. In the Pakistani Super League, the Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zaimi face off in the league final at the National Stadium in Karachi. In the NBA, the Houston Rockets host the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Toyota Center. In the MLS, Atlanta United host Philadelphia Union at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. In Serie A, AC Milan host Inter Milan at the San Siro. In the NRL, the Penrith Panthers host the Parramatta Eels at the Penrith Stadium in New South Wales.
Whatever you’re watching, enjoy!
Photos by Formula 1
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