The weekend’s showstopping sporting action has already drawn extensive comments in the media, but it was so intense that debates will rage on among many sporting friends for most of this week. We’ll sum up the few arguably most debatable incidents or results that transpired, with our own views.
Starting with Formula One, this is what we wrote following the incident between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen at Silverstone on 18 July (Is This the Fifth Anglo-Dutch War?) Verstappen is not the seducing type and Hamilton won’t succumb to any charms. Their battle will be going down to the wire and we’re hoping they remember that staying alive is their first priority!
Following Saturday’s sensational crash of the pair of ferocious rivals at Monza, in which Lewis came within inches of having his head taken off by a flying Red Bull Honda, we’d like to ask, however deeply disturbing it may sound: Will bookmakers be dark enough to price up on who will die first, Hamilton or Verstappen? Perhaps something as macabre as this will bring them to their senses! (This replay best shows their latest accident).
The Dutch driver was found by stewards to be “predominantly to blame” for the incident that wiped him and his Mercedes rival out of the race won by McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo, a statement read.
Hamilton said he felt lucky to be alive and thanked his cockpit’s Halo that ultimately saved him after Verstappen’s car landed on top of his. “I feel very fortunate today … Thank God for the halo which saved me, and saved my neck. I am so grateful I am still here. I feel incredibly blessed that someone was watching over me today. I don’t think I’ve ever been hit on the head by a car before – and it is quite a big shock for me.”
Verstappen appeared to accuse Hamilton of not leaving enough space for him around the turn, venting to his team: “That’s what you get when you don’t leave the space.” When he stepped out of his car, he showed his dismay by declining to check whether his rival was okay and simply walked away without even looking in Lewis’ direction.
Three notorious moments will spring to the minds of most F1 fans. Two belong to Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost who took turns in taking each other out at the Japanese Grand Prix in title-winning seasons. Prost did it in 1989, before Senna returned serve the following year. The other is when Michael Schumacher won the 1994 title having collided with Damon Hill in Adelaide.
For various reasons, but not excluding the daredevil attitudes they were born with, Senna is now no more than a statue on Copacabana beach while Schumacher’s condition will hopefully be revealed in a documentary this week, and anyone who has speculated about in the last few years has been sued. It may well be ugly, but let’s not speculate at this point.
His accident was not F1-related, but it has been revealed that, while Schumacher was concerned about the condition of the snow before his skiing accident in 2013, he went down the off-piste area anyway. His wife said recently: “(Michael) had “always made it through his races safely” and that, at the time, she was “certain he had a few guardian angels that were keeping an eye out for him.”
Well, as it turned out, this hothead’s guardian angels were having Gluehwein back at the lodge when Schumi hit his head on a rock. Hamilton and Verstappen’s angels will also cry ”enough’ if their subjects continue to put pride and titles above life itself. These drivers are challenging their own existence, and while it’s great to watch, both act like babies and never accept blame. One, or both, will pay the ultimate price if their shenanigans don’t stop. Every time this pair comes together in a race is now a potentially even higher-than-normal risk to their lives, and from what we’ve seen, a risk that can quite conceivably end in disaster.
What would Max have done if Lewis was paralysed or even beheaded on Sunday? Chances are really good he wouldn’t have walked casually by his rival’s car, and reality would’ve struck him like a bolt of lightning: Was all of this really worth it!?
Most football fans, even Man Utd-haters, would have been riveted by Christiano Ronaldo’s fairytale return to his former club on Saturday. With the showbiz now over, however, we know this: While United eventually got the better of the minnows from Newcastle, they do not have the strength in midfield to win the Premier League, let alone the Champions League. They’ll probably burgle a minor title this season, but even if they have Ronaldo, Cavani, Greenwood and Rashford on the pitch and added Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe, they’re not going to topple the major teams with the likes of Fred and Mattic in midfield. It cannot happen. They cannot compete with what City, Chelsea or Liverpool have to offer.
To win an EPL title you need one essential basic: A powerful midfield with a world-class, defensive midfielder. It boggles the mind why United have spent so much on attackers with their midfield not near settled or consistently competitive. At season’s end, management’s inability to secure a rock in the centre of the pitch will probably cost Ole Gunnar Solskjaer his job.
Just a week ago both the Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber, former Bok winger Jacque Fourie and a few others defended the team’s boring, steamroller-type rugby, the style of play relying purely on powerful forward launches and the kick-and-chase. “The aim is to win and we do!” has been the attitude in the Bok camp.
Well, well, well. What now? The Australians exposed the Bok’s one-dimensional shortcomings, crushed them in a massively over-powering final scrum to win the match against the odds, in the final seconds. This was a return of some of their own medicine, and the Wallabies won a test that nobody thought that they could win.
Moral of the story: The Springbok team, thought to be unbeatable and infallible, is actually as vulnerable as they’ve ever been. The All Blacks are going to give them the hiding of their lives soon, unless Rassie Erasmus and Nienaber come up with a miracle turnaround in their style of play. -IRC.