2019-20 Australia vs. New Zealand Test Series – Preview

Australia versus New Zealand. One of the great rivalries in world sport, and in cricket that is no exception, and although New Zealand haven’t won a Test series against Australia, either on home soil or on Australian soil, since they won the only test match against Australia back in March, 1990 at the Basin Reserve, and a Test series with multiple test matches against Australia in either New Zealand or Australia since February and March of 1986, where New Zealand won the third and final test match at Eden Park in Auckland to claim a one-nil series victory, the Black Caps are the higher-ranked team according to the ICC Test Match Rankings, second in the rankings behind India, while Australia is ranked fifth, just behind South Africa (4th) and England (3rd).

However, Australia have moved up into second behind India in the ICC World Test Championship after their completely dominant two-nil series victory against Pakistan, and despite winning their recent two-match series against England (1-0), which was not a part of the ICC Test Match Championship, New Zealand (60 points) come into this Test series third in the ICC Test Match Championship, but 116 points behind Australia (176 points), and 300 points behind India (360 points) after drawing their two-match series against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka back in August.

So, who are going to be the key players in this series?

The Australian top order of David Warner, Joe Burns and Marnus Labuschagne starred in the two-match series against Pakistan, and while Burns scored 101 runs at an average of 50.50, Warner and Labuschagne dominated the Pakistan bowlers, with Warner rebounding from a torrid Ashes series in England, where he only scored 95 runs in five test matches (10 innings) at an average of just 9.50, to scoring a series-leading 489 runs from two innings (one not out), including his highest Test match score of 335 not out in Adelaide, the first time anyone has scored 300 or more in a Test match innings at the Adelaide Oval, and the second-highest Test match score by an Australian, while Labuschagne scored 347 runs at an average of 173.50, scoring his first two Test match centuries in the process.

However, you sense the main man for this Test series for Australia as far as the batting is concerned will be Steve Smith, and despite his lean series against Pakistan, his 774 runs in four test matches (seven innings) at an average of 110.57 with three centuries in the 2019 Ashes series is still not far from mind, and he is just 186 runs away, with two test matches remaining in 2019, from scoring 1,000 runs for the fifth time in the last six calendar years. It would be an extraordinary achievement, even by Steve Smith standards, given the difficult times he has had over the last year or so, circumstances we all know so well!

Of course, the Australian bowling attack of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, and Nathan Lyon, who were incidentally the Top Four wicket-takers in the two-match series against Pakistan, with Cummins (51 wickets from 10 matches (19 innings) at 20.31) the only bowler to have taken 50 Test match wickets or more in 2019, will play a huge role, but you sense that Matthew Wade, Travis Head, and Australian captain Tim Paine will need to lift with the bat for Australia (if and when they get the chance) if they are to continue their superiority against New Zealand.

Looking at New Zealand, the obvious key player is their captain in Kane Williamson, who has scored 500 runs in Australia from five test matches (10 innings, one not out) at an average of 55.55. Williamson is also 43 runs away from scoring 500 runs in eight-consecutive calendar years, currently averaging 76.16, which is currently his second-best average in a calendar having averaged 90.15 back in 2015. Williamson was also the leading run-scorer for New Zealand when they last toured Australia back in 2015, scoring 428 runs in three test matches (six innings, one not out) at an average of 85.60.

Ross Taylor is also a vital player for the Black Caps, having scored 405 runs in three test matches (six innings, one not out) at an average of 81.00, including scoring 290 at the WACA, which is his highest test match score, and the third-highest by a New Zealander. Taylor is also 153 runs away from becoming the third Kiwi to score 1,000 Test match runs against Australia.

However, those two will need to be supported by the underrated Tom Latham and BJ Watling, who have scored 525 runs at 65.62 (six test matches, eight innings), and 482 runs at 80.33 (six test matches, seven innings, one not out) respectively in 2019, as well as their bowling attack of Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, and Mitchell Santner.

Boult is under an injury cloud with a side strain injury, along with Colin de Grandhomme, who has an abdominal tear, injuries which kept both of them out of the second test match against England.

Boult was the equal-leading wicket-taker in the 2015 series in Australia, taking 13 wickets, while Wagner is New Zealand’s leading wicket-tacker in 2019, taking 29 wickets at 16.62, but like with Australia with Wade and Head, the likes of Jeet Raval, and Henry Nicholls will need to lift with the bat if New Zealand are going to win their first Test series on Australian soil since 1985.

So, who will win the Test series between Australia and New Zealand?

New Zealand have just won eight of their 57 test matches against Australia overall, with only three of those victories coming in Australia, but they have never won against Australia at either the Melbourne Cricket Ground in three test matches (two draws), or the Sydney Cricket Ground in two test matches (one draw), and have never played at the Optus Stadium in Perth, and although you sense New Zealand are at the top of their games in Test match cricket right now, you certainly can see Australia are on the rise once again, and when that happens, it is close to impossible to defeat them in a Test series in Australia.



2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Preview

It was a masterful performance in an entertaining and chaotic 2019 Brazil Grand Prix by Max Verstappen at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace in São Paulo to claim his third race victory of the season, the eighth win of his career after starting from pole position for the second time, and while Verstappen produced one of the great drives in his young career to date, others had problems with Valtteri Bottas retiring from the race with an oil pressure issues on Lap 52, both Ferrari’s taking each other out with arguably the most innocuous collision in Formula One history, and Lewis Hamilton making a rare mistake in taking out Alexander Albon from podium contention for what would have been Albon’s first podium, and after Hamilton’s five-second penalty after the race allowed both Pierre Gasly and Carlos Sainz Jr. to claim their first podium’s in Formula One.

Now, the grid heads to the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi for the 21st and final round of the 2019 FIA Formula One World Championship, the 2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Hamilton (387 points), despite finishing seventh in Brazil after the five-second penalty for the collision with Albon, still extended his lead over his Mercedes teammate Bottas (314 points) to 73 points, and now has the opportunity to not only match his race victory tally in 2014 and 2018, as well as score 400 points or more for the second-straight season, but also finish every race of a season for the second time in his career.

Hamilton will also have the opportunity to equal his own record of most consecutive points finishes in Formula One history with 33-straight points finishes. Hamilton, coming into this weekend, has finished 65 of his last 66 races inside the points, with his retirement at the 2018 Austrian Grand Prix being the only race he hasn’t finished inside the points since the 2016 Malaysian Grand Prix, where his engine and ultimately his world championship hopes went up in flames after leading the race comfortably!

Bottas will also be looking to finish his season on a high, and prove to himself that he has the capabilities to challenge Hamilton in 2020!

Verstappen (260 points) moves up into third in the championship for Red Bull Racing-Honda, and will be battling for third-place in the standings this weekend with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc (249 points), who surrendered third in the world championship to Verstappen after his collision with teammate Sebastian Vettel in Brazil.

For Verstappen to finish third in the 2019 FIA Formula One World Championship:

1. If Leclerc wins the race (with the fastest lap), Verstappen must finish in second.

2. If Leclerc wins the race (without the fastest lap), Verstappen must finish third or higher (with or without the fastest lap).

3. If Leclerc finishes second (with or without the fastest lap), Verstappen must finish sixth or higher (with or without the fastest lap).

4. If Leclerc finishes third (with the fastest lap), Verstappen must finish seventh or higher.

5. If Leclerc finishes third (without the fastest lap), Verstappen must finish eighth or higher (with or without the fastest lap).

6. If Leclerc finishes fourth (with the fastest lap), Verstappen must finish ninth or higher.

7. If Leclerc finishes fourth (without the fastest lap), Verstappen must finish 10th or higher (with the fastest lap if he finishes in 10th).

8. If Leclerc finishes fifth or lower (with or without the fastest lap).

Vettel (230 points) is fifth in the championship after losing his chance to finish third in the final standings after his race-ending collision with Leclerc in Brazil, but still has the opportunity to finish fourth in the world championship in front of his teammate if he can out-score Leclerc by 19/20 points in Abu Dhabi.

Behind the Top Five, there is the battle for sixth between Gasly (95 points) of Scuderia Toro Rosso-Honda, Sainz (95 points) of McLaren-Renault, and Albon (84 points) of Red Bull Racing-Honda, while Daniel Ricciardo (54 points) from Renault, and Sergio Pérez (46 points) from Racing Point-BWT Mercedes complete the Top 10, with Lando Norris (45 points) from McLaren-Renault, Kimi Räikkönen (43 points) from Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari, Nico Hülkenberg (37 points) from Renault, and Daniil Kvyat (35 points) from Scuderia Toro Rosso-Honda still a realistic chance of finishing the championship inside the Top 10 in the standings.

Looking at the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes (701 points) will finish in first, ahead of Ferrari (479 points) in second, Red Bull Racing-Honda (391 points) in third, and McLaren-Renault (140 points) in fourth. The battle remains open though for fifth between Renault (91 points) and Scuderia Toro Rosso-Honda (83 points), as well as the fight for seventh between Racing Point-BWT Mercedes (67 points) and Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari (57 points). Haas-Ferrari (28 points) will likely finish in ninth, ahead of Williams-Mercedes (one point), who will finish in 10th, barring a minor miracle!

So, who will win the final race of 2019?

I feel like at a circuit which typically offers little shocks or surprises, that a dominant performance from Lewis Hamilton, especially given the race he had in Brazil, would be expected, but you cannot rule out Ferrari, or Max Verstappen from Red Bull Racing-Honda giving him a run for his money in the 2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix!

2019 Newcastle 500 – Preview


Scott McLaughlin clinched his second Supercars Championship last time out at the 2019 Sandown 500, with McLaughlin and his co-driver Alexandre Prémat finished in a lowly ninth, but the drama since the 2019 Bathurst 1000 victory for Car No.17, and for McLaughlin, Prémat, and DJR Team Penske has continued, with of course the penalty surrounding Car No.12 at Bathurst of Fabian Coulthard, who was in the car at the time, and Tony D’Alberto for holding up the field after the safety car was deployed on Lap 135 of the Bathurst 1000, allowing Jamie Whincup and Scott McLaughlin to escape up the road to have essentially a free pit-stop, and was the catalyst for Car No.17 to win the 2019 Bathurst 1000.

Then, we had the revelation from CAMS (Confederation of Australian Motor Sport) and Supercars at Sandown in regards to the qualifying engine of Car No.17 that “the valve lift in a number of cylinders was found to have exceeded the maximum permitted valve lift prescribed”, and then the subsequent penalty for Car No.17 to be disqualified from qualifying at the 2019 Bathurst 1000, and therefore being stripped of their pole position at Bathurst, DJR Team Penske being fined $30,000, and Car No.17 being forced to start the Sandown 500 from the back of the grid, but crucially were able to keep their victory in the 2019 Bathurst 1000.

Now, the way that CAMS, which will become Motorsport Australia in 2020, and Supercars stewards decided to punish Car No.17 was an admission, without actually saying it, is that they had made a mistake in not punishing Car No.17 and DJR Team Penske earlier, as in at the Bathurst 1000, and it is not the first mistake CAMS and Supercars have made in 2019, and both of them are going to have to have a deep review of their technical and sporting operations in the off-season heading into 2020.

However, despite all the conjecture and debate about the credibility and validity of the success of Scott McLaughlin, DJR Team Penske, and the Ford Mustang, the one thing is for sure is that McLaughlin is a deserving two-time Supercars champion, and it will be celebrated at the 2019 Newcastle 500, the 15th and final round of the 2019 Supercars Championship.

McLaughlin (3614 points) leads the championship by an unassailable 550 points over Shane Van Gisbergen (3064 points) from Triple Eight Race Engineering, who is in a three-way battle for second in the championship with his teammate Jamie Whincup (2968 points), and McLaughlin’s teammate in Fabian Coulthard (2791 points) heading into Newcastle.

Behind the Top Four, Chaz Mostert (2705 points) is fifth in the standings for Tickford Racing, and is still a chance of finishing third in the championship, while David Reynolds (2517 points) will finish outside of the Top Three in the final standings for Erebus Motorsport regardless of what happens on the streets of Newcastle.

Then, there is a huge five-way fight for what will be likely seventh in the championship between Tickford Racing’s Cameron Waters (2387 points) and two of his teammates in Will Davison (2369 points) and Lee Holdsworth (2323 points), as well as Nick Percat from Brad Jones Racing and James Courtney from Walkinshaw Andretti United, the team that he will be leaving after the Newcastle 500 to join the new Sydney team in 2020.

Looking at the Teams’ Championship, there is 116 points separating DJR Team Penske (6101 points) and Triple Eight Race Engineering (5985 points) with the battle being reinvigorated after the 300 point penalty handed out to DJR Team Penske after the actions of the team in telling Fabian Coulthard to hold up the field at Bathurst.

In regards to the Newcastle Street Circuit, it is important to note that the track has been lengthened by 12 metres to 2.641 kilometres, with the Turn 11 hairpin being revised, with the approach into Turn 11 being lengthened by 11.5 metres.

So, who will win the 2019 Newcastle 500?

I think all the distractions that have happened over the last few weeks, plus the crash on the Gold Coast have really affected Scott McLaughlin, but with the distractions largely out of the way, I think McLaughlin will dominate the Newcastle 500, winning both races to finish his largely incredible season in style!


2019-20 Australia vs. Pakistan Test Series – Preview

On Thursday, it will be the start of the first Test match and subsequently test series of the Australian summer of cricket, but it feels much bigger than that!

It is the return of Steve Smith and David Warner to play their first test match in Australia since the 4th to the 8th of January, 2018, when Australia completed a four-nil Ashes series victory against England, but a lot has changed since then, with the Ball Tampering Scandal just over two months later in South Africa, with Smith, Warner, and Cameron Bancroft, the player who committed the attempted ball tampering, were banned from playing international and domestic cricket for 12, 12, and nine months respectively, with Smith and Bancroft banned from holding a formal leadership position for a further 12 months, and Warner never allowed to hold a formal leadership position in Australian cricket, and as a result, Australia have only achieved one test series victory since then, which was a two-nil series victory against Sri Lanka in the 2018-19 Australian summer.

However, although there is still a lingering feeling, a very minute feeling that others involved, most if not all of them no longer working for Cricket Australia, haven’t taken full responsibility for their roles in the Ball Tampering Scandal, and the subsequent aftermath, you feel like everyone who is within the current Australian team set-up have moved on from that harrowing experience.

774 runs in four test matches (seven innings) at an average of 110.57 with three centuries, and a further three scores of 50 or more from Smith during the 2019 Ashes series in England, and you sense that he has taken his batting to a whole new level, but despite this incredible series, the fifth-most runs scored in any Ashes series in history, Australia were unable to win the series, and the pressure will be on Warner, Joe Burns, Marnus Labuschagne, Travis Head, and Matthew Wade to lift their games.

Labuschagne was Australia’s next best batsman after stepping up in place of Smith to become the first concussion substitute in the history of Test match cricket, scoring 353 runs in four test matches (seven innings) at an average of 50.42 with four fifties, and while Wade was solid in scoring 337 runs in five test matches (10 innings) with two crucial centuries, although at the slightly mediocre average of 33.70, every other Australian batsman scored less than 200 runs, with Warner scoring just 95 runs in five test matches (10 innings) at an average of just 9.50.

However, Warner’s form since returning to Australia has been more promising, and given his record of 3698 runs in 38 test matches in Australia (67 innings, five times NOT OUT) at an average of 59.64 with 15 hundreds and a further 12 fifties, Warner is surely going to play a huge role, not only in this test series against Pakistan, but also in the test series against New Zealand.

Tim Paine has been excellent since taking over the Australian captaincy, not only in terms of his leadership, but also his wicket-keeping, taking 20 catches in the 2019 Ashes series, while the bowling attack of Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc, and Nathan Lyon in Australian conditions pick themselves, and while Cummins (29 wickets (leading series wicket-taker) at 19.62), and Hazlewood (20 wickets at 21.85) were superb throughout the 2019 Ashes series, and Lyon (20 wickets at 33.40) bowled generally in his consistent normal self, you feel like Starc has a point to prove after playing in just one of the five test matches in England, taking four wickets at an average of 31.50, and being overlooked for the likes of James Pattinson (five wickets at 33.40), and Peter Siddle (seven wickets at 42.14).

Meanwhile, Pakistan are quietly building a team that could be very competitive in Australia with captain Azhar Ali expected to lead the way with the bat, having scored 406 runs in three test matches (six innings, one time NOT OUT) at an average of 81.20 back in the 2016-17 series in Australia to be the second-leading run-scorer in the series behind Smith (441 runs at 110.25), which from an Australia point of view happened after the series between Australia and South Africa, which featured the Hobart Debacle, and in hindsight, the events afterwards were the catalyst to what happened about a year and a half later.

On paper, you would expect that the job of the top order of Imam-ul-Haq, Shan Masood, Azhar Ali, and Haris Sohail to lay a good and solid platform to allow the likes of Asad Shafiq and Babar Azam the ability to shine!

Asad Shafiq was good in patches in the 2016-17 series in Australia, scoring 239 runs in three test matches (six innings) at an average of 39.83, including 137 in the second innings in the first test match at The Gabba in Brisbane to help Pakistan to within 40 runs of what would have been an historic victory, earning the Player of the Match award in the process, while Babar Azam has been dominant in the shorter forms of the game, averaging over 50 in both One Day International cricket (3359 runs in 74 matches at 54.17) and Twenty20 International cricket (1405 runs in 36 matches at 50.17). If he can translate this level of run-scoring into this Test series, and in his Test career in general, where he has scored 1235 runs from 21 matches (40 innings, five times NOT OUT) at an average of 35.28, he could potentially be the difference.

Mohammad Rizwan should be the wicket-keeper, replacing the sacked Sarfaraz Ahmed, but the bowling attack is set to be a mixture of experience and youth. Yasir Shah and Mohammad Abbas are set to be a part of the attack, with both of them set to bowl a lot of overs throughout the course of the series.

Yasir Shah struggled badly in the 2016-17 series in Australia (8 wickets in three test matches at an average of 84.00, and will be looking to perform better this time around, while Mohammad Abbas (66 wickets in 14 test matches at 18.86) will be the man with the task of bringing down the juggernaut that is the great Steve Smith, and you almost feel from a Pakistan point of view that Mohammad Abbas has to be the Player of the Series if Pakistan are to win a series against Australia in Australia for the very first time.

Then you got competition for the final two spots in the bowling attack between Imran Khan, Muhammad Musa, Naseem Shah, and Shaheen Afridi. If Naseem Shah makes his test match debut on Thursday, he will become the youngest player to play a test match on Australian soil in what would be just his eighth first class match, having taken 27 wickets at an average of 16.66 in his seven first class matches to date.

So, who will win the series?

Pakistan have won just four of their 35 test matches against Australia in Australia, and haven’t won a test match in Australia since November 30 to December 4, 1995 at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Pakistan have also never won at either The Gabba (one draw in five test matches) or the Adelaide Oval (three draws in four test matches), but you sense they have a better chance on paper at the Adelaide Oval compared to The Gabba, but while you sense Pakistan are on the rise, you just have that inkling that Australia are going to be better at the crucial moments during this series and that will be the difference in the end!


My 2019 Rugby League commentary samples

Here are all of my calls of the rugby league matches I have done throughout 2019!

62 matches in total, including my first official call live at the ground, which was the 2019 NRL pre-season trial match between the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles and the Sydney Roosters at the Central Coast Stadium in Gosford, a match where both teams were under-strength for various reasons, the Roosters more so than the Sea Eagles after a number of players were rested after winning the 2019 World Club Challenge (their fourth WCC crown) vs. Wigan Warriors, with only three of the 17 that defeated Wigan, and none of the 17 who won the 2018 NRL (National Rugby League) Grand Final vs. Melbourne Storm took part in this pre-season trial match.

It was also the Roosters first match on Australian soil in 2019 in either a pre-season trial match, or a normal NRL competition match, the year where they became the first club in an unified competition since the Brisbane Broncos in 1992-1993 to win back-to-back premierships, and the first Roosters’ team to go back-to-back since Arthur Beetson (captain) and Jack Gibson (coach) in 1974-1975.

I would like to thank the NRL, and the entire nrl.com team for giving me the opportunity to call this pre-season trial match, as well as everyone that supported me and/or gave me any sort of advice in the lead-up, and to everyone who supported/thanked me for my call! I really enjoyed it, and I hope I can do it again very soon!

In addition to this, I have 61 SoundCloud calls, including 55 NRL matches, seven of them NRL Finals matches, including both semi-finals, both preliminary finals, and the 2019 NRL Grand Final, where Trent Robinson’s Sydney Roosters marched into rugby league immortality by defeating a brave and gallant Canberra Raiders team coached by Ricky Stuart, who of course took the Raiders to their first grand final in 25 years.

As well as this, I did five test match calls, including Papua New Guinea’s historic win over Great Britain, which was just their third victory against Tier One opposition (Australia, New Zealand, England, or Great Britain), and their first since May 27, 1990, which was also against Great Britain, as well as the second-ever Women’s State Of Origin match.

Accompanying each of my SoundCloud calls, I have photos showing the amount of work and research I have put into each of my calls, whether that be the SoundCloud calls that I have done, or an official call like the 2019 NRL pre-season trial match between the Sea Eagles and the Roosters, and I hope you can see/hear this come through in each of my calls as I chase my dream of one day becoming a full-time professional sports commentator.

I would like to say thank you to everyone (too many names to mention) that has supported me, or given advice throughout this year, and I hope you continue to support me going forward as I continue to chase the dream, my dream of one day becoming a full-time professional sports commentator.

I hope you all enjoy listening to the calls I have done, and the work I have done, showing you how I have prepared for my calls!
































































2019 Brazil Grand Prix – Preview

Lewis Hamilton claimed his sixth Formula One World Championship to move to within one of Michael Schumacher’s record of seven after finishing second behind his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas at the 2019 United States Grand Prix, and will be looking to not only match and surpass his race victory tally in 2014 and 2018 over the course of the last two rounds of 2019, but also score 400 points or more for the second-straight season as the grid heads to the Autódromo José Carlos Pace in São Paulo in Brazil for the 2019 Brazil Grand Prix, Round 20 of the 2019 FIA Formula One World Championship.

Hamilton (381 points) leads by an insurmountable 67 points over Bottas (314 points) after a season which both him and his team have faced some challenges, the death of three-time world champion Niki Lauda, who was the non-executive chairman of Mercedes, and the surge of form towards the end of the season from Ferrari, but a year which Hamilton has confirmed his place as a legend of the sport.

He won Formula One’s 1000th race back at the Chinese Grand Prix in April, and in Monaco, produced arguably the best drive of his career, certainly one of the two best defensive drives of his career, along with the 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix, to win the Monaco Grand Prix for the third time, keeping Max Verstappen (who had a five-second penalty to be added), Sebastian Vettel, and Bottas behind him, and then we had the race-long battle between Hamilton and Verstappen at the Hungarian Grand Prix, with Hamilton and Mercedes taking a strategic gamble in switching to a two-stop strategy on Lap 48, and with a lack of challengers from behind, it worked with Hamilton catching and passing Verstappen with the best part of four laps to go to clinch a memorable victory.

However, Hamilton’s legendary career has had so many moments that we will remember forever, his first race victory in Canada back in 2007, his fourth race victory of his career in torrential rain at Fuji Speedway in Japan in 2007, his dominant victory in Australia in 2008 in scorching hot conditions, his first win in Monaco in 2008, his first win at the British Grand Prix in 2008 in extremely wet conditions, winning by over a minute from Nick Heidfeld, to his charge to victory at the 2008 German Grand Prix at Hockenheim, his first victory of the 2009 season in Hungary after McLaren managed to get back up to speed after a difficult start to 2009, his amazing drive in China in 2011 after almost being forced to start from the pit-lane due to a technical issue, then his first victory with Mercedes in Hungary in 2013, to a number of countless performances over the last six seasons that have left us all watching in awe!

The question for 2020 for Hamilton is, can he equal Schumacher’s record? Only time will tell with that one, but you wouldn’t bet against him, that is for sure!

For his teammate Bottas, he has only been outscored by two points by Hamilton over the last four races, and will be looking to beat him over the last two races to give himself a huge confidence boost heading into 2020.

Behind the two Mercedes drivers, there is a three-way battle for third in the championship between Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc (249 points), Max Verstappen (235 points) from Red Bull Racing-Honda, and Leclerc’s teammate in Vettel (230 points).

Leclerc has had a magnificent first season at Ferrari, winning both in Belgium and Italy, as well as taking seven pole positions, while Verstappen has been simply superb in dragging the Red Bull car to two race victories in Austria and Germany, as well as securing his first career pole position in Hungary, but Vettel hasn’t quite been at his best in 2019, with his only win this year so far coming at the Singapore Grand Prix.

Leclerc can claim third in the world championship this weekend if he outscores Verstappen by 13 points, and Vettel by eight points.

Behind the Top Five in the standings, Alexander Albon (84 points) has moved up to sixth in the championship for Red Bull Racing-Honda after finishing fifth at the Circuit of the Americas, and has now been officially confirmed as Verstappen’s teammate at Red Bull for 2020.

However, Carlos Sainz Jr. (80 points) for McLaren-Renault, and Pierre Gasly (77 points) for Scuderia Toro Rosso-Honda will be looking to challenge Albon for sixth in the standings over the course of the final two races of 2019.

Completing the Top 10 in the world championship are Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo (46 points), and Sergio Pérez (44 points) from Racing Point-BWT Mercedes.

Looking at the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes (695 points) lead by 216 points over Ferrari (479 points) as they look to score 700 points in a season for the fourth time in the last six seasons, with Red Bull Racing-Honda (366 points) 113 points behind Ferrari, with both Ferrari and Red Bull locked into second and third respectively.

Behind the Top Three, McLaren-Renault (121 points) are on the verge of officially securing fourth in the championship, which would be their first Top Four finish in the Constructors’ Championship since 2012, when they finished third, with Renault (83 points) looking like finishing in fifth, a spot worse than in 2018.

Behind those two, Racing Point-BWT Mercedes (65 points) and Scuderia Toro Rosso-Honda (64 points) are in a titanic battle for sixth with only a point separating the two teams with two races remaining, while Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari (35 points) and Haas-Ferrari (28 points) are in a battle for eighth with Williams-Mercedes (one point) looking certain to finish 10th and last.

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

Mercedes have found some form in recent races, winning the last four, and you feel that a big weekend, and a huge performance is just around the corner from Lewis Hamilton to really put the icing on the cake celebrating his sixth world championship. I think he will win in Brazil for the third time, and end his eight race drought without a pole position in the process!