Silver Arrows of Mercedes ready to go for broke in Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Updated 23 November 2018
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Silver Arrows of Mercedes ready to go for broke in Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

ABU DHABI: Toto Wolff hopes to see his champion Mercedes team deliver a “great show for the fans” at this weekend’s season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Mercedes team chief, who has overseen Lewis Hamilton’s memorable fifth title triumph and the Silver Arrows’ fifth consecutive constructors’ championship, said that he felt humbled by the celebrations last week, but also determined to continue setting the pace.

“The celebrations in Brixworth and Brackley were a very humbling experience,” the Austrian said. “Claiming the fifth consecutive double championship — an experience that very few people in the sport have ever had — felt amazing. We cherished that moment.

“At the same time, everyone is keen to continue to raise the bar together and be even stronger in 2019. For now, we have one race to go in 2018 and we want to put on a great show for the fans who supported us this season, be it at the track, in front of their TV or on social media.

“The pressure is off so this is one race where we can really for broke.”

The prospect of five-time champion Hamilton and his team-mate Valtteri Bottas battling for victory against the Ferrari and Red Bull teams at a track where Mercedes have been unbeaten in the modern turbo-hybrid era is tantalizing.

But the Yas Marina circuit has only rarely delivered thrills, even if the racing under floodlights has always looked a dazzling spectacle.

Whatever happens in the race, for many the weekend is likely to be more memorable for two-time champion Fernando Alonso’s farewell to Formula 1 and Kimi Raikkonen’s last foray with Ferrari before he moves to Sauber in a swap that sees Charles Leclerc going the other way.

A victory for the 39-year-old Finn would be also be a first at the track for Ferrari as Abu Dhabi celebrates its 10th hosting of the event.

Alonso, who has won the Monaco Grand Prix and the Le Mans 24-Hours race, is departing to concentrate on winning the Indianapolis 500, the third element of the motorsports triple crown.

“I’ve won more races than I dreamed of when I came here,” Alonso said. “I’ve ticked this box. I need to find another box to fill with another tick now.”


Kane stunner earns Spurs victory over Juventus

Updated 21 July 2019
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Kane stunner earns Spurs victory over Juventus

  • Juventus struggle to adapt to their new manager’s ‘Sarri-ball’ tactic of playing out from the back with short, quick passes

SINGAPORE: Harry Kane scored a stunning 93rd minute winner from the halfway line as Tottenham Hotspur edged Juventus 3-2 in an entertaining pre-season friendly in Singapore on Sunday.

The England captain latched onto Lucas Moura's short pass and launched a first-time shot high over a scrambling substitute Wojciech Szczesny in the Juventus goal as Spurs rallied past new manager Maurizio Sarri's Italian champions in front of a delighted National Stadium crowd.

“It’s probably one of the best goals of my career. I noticed the keeper was often off of his line and thought if I get a chance to shoot I will, and it just went in,” Kane said in a post-match interview.

A youthful Spurs dominated the first half as Juventus struggled to adapt to their new manager’s “Sarri-ball” tactic of playing out from the back with short, quick passes. Instead of moving the ball forward, Juventus often found themselves defending desperately after being caught in possession as Spurs pressed high up the pitch with the Premier League side going on to take a deserved lead on the half-hour mark.

Son Heung-min started the move by holding up play and feeding Troy Parrott for a clear run at Gianluigi Buffon in the Juventus goal, with the 17-year-old forward's low strike parried by the keeper straight into the path of an unmarked Erik Lamela for a routine tap-in.

Juventus had more success after the break when they increased their tempo and went more direct, and halftime substitute Gonzalo Higuain levelled the score in the 56th minute with a drilled strike after exchanging passes with Federico Bernardeschi.

Buoyed by the equalizer, Juventus were soon ahead when Ronaldo arrived late to drive home Mattia De Sciglio's cutback four minutes later, leaving to rapturous applause by an adoring crowd when he was substituted immediately after scoring.

Spurs were level five minutes later, however, when Champions League semifinal hero Lucas fired home record-signing Tanguy Ndombele's low cross, the French midfielder finding the Brazilian with his first touch after coming on as a substitute.

Kane and Higuain both squandered good chances to score winning goals in the final 10 minutes before the England striker prevented the contest going to a penalty shootout with the most brilliant of strikes.

Meantime, Tottenham forward  Moura insists he does not  hold a grudge against boss Mauricio Pochettino despite being dropped for the Champions League final.

“I need to respect the decision of the coach and respect my teammates, so no problem with this,” said Lucas who was left on the bench for the final in spite of scoring a dramatic hat rick in Spurs' stunning semifinal comeback at Ajax.

Pochettino preferred to use  Kane in attack against Liverpool in Madrid despite a lengthy absence following injury.

Brazil international Lucas eventually came on in the 66th minute, but was unable to prevent Tottenham slipping to a 2-0 defeat.

“Of course it was difficult because every player wants to play. But it was even more to lose the game,” Lucas was quoted as saying by several British media outlets.

“For sure he (Pochettino) has a good reason for this (decision) and I am sure that it was difficult for him as well to choose a player. He needs to choose only 11.”

“I respect, I am a professional. No problem for this. Now I look forward to the next season.”