My 2019 NRL commentary samples (Second Preliminary Final – Sydney Roosters vs. Melbourne Storm)

 

2019 Russian Grand Prix – Preview

It wasn’t the greatest race of all-time, but it was the end of a 392 day victory drought for Sebastian Vettel, undercutting Lewis Hamilton and most crucially his teammate Charles Leclerc during the pit-stop period to claim the 2019 Singapore Grand Prix, his 53rd race win in his Formula One career, and the third-straight victory for Ferrari in what was Ferrari’s first one-two finish since the 2017 Hungarian Grand Prix.

It is just the second time since the start of 2014 that Mercedes haven’t won over a three-race period, and they will be determined to turn their recent form around at the Sochi Autodrom, a place where they not only haven’t been beaten at, but have also had three one-two finishes.

It is the 2019 Russian Grand Prix, Round 16 of the 2019 FIA Formula One World Championship.

Lewis Hamilton (296 points) still leads the championship by 65 points over his Mercedes teammate in Valtteri Bottas (231 points), and both will be desperate to end Ferrari’s great run of form.

Charles Leclerc (200 points) is up into third in the world championship for Ferrari, and ahead of Max Verstappen (200 points) from Red Bull Racing-Honda based on having one more second-place finish compared to Verstappen after finishing behind his teammate Vettel in Singapore, and given his form since the mid-season break, he could potentially challenge Bottas for second in the championship, something which Verstappen will also fancy his chances of grabbing with a couple of rounds coming up that he and Red Bull should enjoy, in particular in Mexico at high altitude, which will take away the power-unit advantage that both Mercedes and Ferrari have over the Honda (and the Renault).

Vettel (194 points) will also have this same mindset after ending his victory drought in Singapore, and you wouldn’t bet against him in challenging Bottas for second-place in the world championship.

Behind the Top Five in the championship, Pierre Gasly (69 points) remains in sixth in the standings after finishing eighth for Scuderia Toro Rosso-Honda, ahead of McLaren-Renault’s Carlos Sainz Jr. (58 points), while Alexander Albon (42 points) moves into eighth in the world championship after finishing sixth in his third race for Red Bull Racing-Honda, and is ahead of Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo (34 points) and Gasly’s teammate Daniil Kvyat (33 points), who both failed to score in Singapore.

Looking at the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes (527 points) have a lead of 133 points over Ferrari (394 points), with Red Bull Racing-Honda (289 points) continuing to consolidate third in the standings.

Behind the Top Three, McLaren-Renault (89 points) pull away slightly from Renault (67 points), with Scuderia Toro Rosso-Honda (55 points) closing in slightly on the French constructor, followed by Racing Point-BWT Mercedes (46 points), Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari (35 points), Haas-Ferrari (26 points), and Williams-Mercedes (one point).

So, who is going to win the 2019 Russian Grand Prix?

Ferrari on paper look very competitive at the Sochi Autodrom, but you feel you need a well-rounded, all-round car in Sochi, and Mercedes have that, and have shown this throughout 2019, consistently having the best race pace, but if Ferrari can win this weekend, they could start changing the face of this championship, if not for a championship challenge at Lewis Hamilton this season, a championship challenge at him and Mercedes in 2020.

2019 Singapore Grand Prix – Preview

Charles Leclerc has emerged as Ferrari’s lead driver in 2019 after claiming the second win of his career, and his second in as many races to move himself ever closer to third-place in the championship, and while Mercedes haven’t won any of the last two races, you sense the tide is about to turn back in their favour as they head to the Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore for Round 15 of the 2019 FIA Formula One World Championship.

Lewis Hamilton (284 points) leads the championship for Mercedes by 63 points over his teammate Valtteri Bottas (221 points) after finishing third despite applying a lot of pressure on Leclerc throughout the Italian Grand Prix, before making a mistake later in the race at Turn One, allowing Bottas to move ahead of Hamilton into second place.

However, you sense the track characteristics in Singapore will suit the Mercedes better, compared to Belgium and Italy.

Max Verstappen (185 points), and Red Bull Racing-Honda will also be thinking the same way after finishing in eighth at Monza despite starting from the back of the grid, and despite pitting for a new front wing at the end of the opening lap in what was a brilliant drive.

However, he is starting to feel the heat from Leclerc (182 points), who will look to challenge Verstappen for third in the world championship in the final seven races in 2019, while Sebastian Vettel (169 points) had an absolute shocker at Monza, finishing 13th after spinning on Lap Six, and then received a 10-second stop-go penalty for hitting the car of Lance Stroll after re-joining the track unsafely. Vettel will be looking to re-bound in a big this weekend in Singapore.

Behind the Top Five in the championship, Pierre Gasly (65 points) for Scuderia Toro Rosso-Honda, and Carlos Sainz Jr. (58 points) for McLaren-Renault are still sixth and seventh in the standings respectively, while Daniel Ricciardo (34 points) is up into eighth in the world championship after finishing fourth at Monza, the best result Ricciardo has had since joining the team, and the team’s best result (under the Renault banner) since Nick Heidfeld finished third for the team back at the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix, with teammate Nico Hülkenberg (31 points), who is currently 11th in the standings, finishing fifth.

Alexander Albon (34 points) is ninth in the championship after finishing sixth in his second race with Red Bull Racing-Honda, while Gasly’s teammate Daniil Kvyat (33 points) completes the Top 10 in the standings.

Looking at the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes (505 points) have extended their lead over Ferrari (351 points) to 154 points despite the win for the latter at Monza, while Red Bull Racing-Honda (266 points) remain in a comfortable third.

Behind the Top Three, McLaren-Renault (83 points) remain in a strong fourth, Renault (65 points) move into a solid fifth, while Scuderia Toro Rosso-Honda (51 points) and Racing Point-BWT Mercedes (46 points) are locked in a battle for sixth, with Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari (34 points) and Haas-Ferrari (26 points) in a battle for eighth. Williams-Mercedes (one point) remain in a distant 10th and last in the Constructors’ Championship.

So, who is going to win the 2019 Singapore Grand Prix?

I sense it is going to be battle between Mercedes and Red Bull Racing-Honda, and most likely, a battle between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen on a circuit that should be well-suited to their cars, and given the form that Verstappen has shown in challenging Hamilton in Monaco and Hungary, I think the Red Bull driver can win in Singapore for the very first time.

2019 Aragon GP (MotoGP) – Preview

It was an absorbing battle at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli between Fabio Quartararo and Marc Márquez, Quartararo leading for most of the race, Márquez stalking the young 20 year old from France until the final lap, taking the lead at Turn One, and managing to fight of the challenges from Quartararo to take a magnificent seventh race victory of the season at the 2019 San Marino Grand Prix, moving past Mike Hailwood in the record books for most wins across all classes, and move ever closer to a sixth MotoGP World Championship, and an eighth across all classes.

So, can anyone offer a consistent challenge to the great Spaniard? We will find out this weekend at Motorland Aragón at the 2019 Aragon Grand Prix, Round 14 of the 2019 MotoGP World Championship.

Márquez (275 points) leads by 93 points (the same as his bike number) for the Repsol Honda Team over Mission Winnow Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso (182 points) with six races remaining.

Although he cannot win the championship this weekend at home in Spain at Aragon, a place he has won at five time across all classes, including four times in the premier class, including in each of the last three years, Márquez can move towards an opportunity of securing the world championship at the next round in Thailand with a typically strong result this weekend.

Márquez has finished on the podium in 27 of his last 32 races, including inside the Top Two in 18 of his last 21 races. While for Dovizioso, the challenge for him will be to attempt to secure second in the championship for the third-straight season.

Dovizioso’s teammate Danilo Petrucci (151 points) re-took third position in the world championship, despite finishing a disappointing 10th in Misano, from Team SUZUKI ECSTAR rider Álex Rins (149 points), who crashed out of the San Marino Grand Prix after enduring a difficult race.

They will both be challenged for third-place in the championship by the two Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP riders in Maverick Viñales (134 points) and Valentino Rossi (129 points) who finished third and fourth in Misano, as well as by Quartararo (112 points) from Petronas Yamaha SRT, who looks to be the rider that can challenge Márquez for the world championship in the next two to three years, if not sooner.

Jack Miller (101 points) is eighth in the championship for Alma Pramac Racing after finishing ninth in Misano, while Cal Crutchlow (88 points) from LCR Honda and Quartararo’s teammate Franco Morbidelli (80 points) complete the Top 10 in the standings, with the latter finishing an impressive fifth in the San Marino Grand Prix, while Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider Pol Espargaró (77 points) is just behind them after finishing a remarkable seventh at Misano.

So, who is going to win the 2019 Aragon Grand Prix?

The obvious one to beat is Marc Márquez, and I think he will win at Motorland Aragón for the fourth-straight year, but who will join him on the podium is a difficult question to answer as I think Ducati, Yamaha, and Suzuki should be relatively strong, but I get the feeling it will be another duel between Márquez and Fabio Quartararo, with Andrea Dovizioso, Jack Miller, Maverick Viñales, Valentino Rossi, and Álex Rins thrown into the mix for the final spot on the podium.