Sports Shorts

Bahrain GP provides a ‘classic’ start to the F1 season

News and reactions from the world of sport, including a boost for England ahead of Poland clash

1

Formula 1 

Hamilton and Verstappen serve up a thriller 

Formula 1 pundits and fans were hoping to see a shoot-out between the sport’s two top drivers and that’s exactly what happened at the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday. 

Mercedes’s Lewis Hamilton, the seven-time world champion, started second on the grid behind Red Bull’s polesitter Max Verstappen, but the British ace took the chequered flag after a “thrilling head-to-head duel”, says Sky Sports

Full of “richness and intrigue”, the season opener showcased F1 at its very best, says the BBC’s Andrew Benson. And the straight fight between Hamilton and Verstappen “sets up what could be a classic season”.

Race winner Hamilton said he “loved every minute of it” but admits that Mercedes will “have to do better and be smarter” against title contenders Red Bull. 

2

Football

Poland star Lewandowski misses England clash

Poland will be without their captain and star striker Robert Lewandowski for the 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifying match against England at Wembley on Wednesday night. The Bayern Munich forward, 32, injured ligaments in his right knee in Poland’s 3-0 win against Andorra on Sunday and has returned to Germany for treatment. 

Lewandowski has scored 42 goals for Bayern this season and he now faces a race to be fit for their Champions League quarter-final first leg against Paris Saint-Germain on 7 April. 

After two games in group I England are top with six points and Poland are joint-second with four points. The match at Wembley on Wednesday kicks off at 7.45pm.  

3

Athletics 

Katarina Johnson-Thompson

Getty Images

Johnson-Thompson sets sights on Tokyo and Paris 

Team GB’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson, the heptathlon world champion, has set her sights on competing at two more Olympic Games at least. The 28-year-old almost quit athletics after Rio 2016, but says she has “unfinished business”, Sky Sports reports. 

“Another two at least, counting Tokyo,” she told the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games’s 22 Voices podcast. “Definitely until Paris 2024, that’s for sure, that will be almost like a home games. I still don’t feel like I’ve gotten everything I wanted out of the sport so I think that’s a huge driving force and my motivation.”

4

Snooker 

O’Sullivan hails Robertson for ‘amazing play’ in final

Neil Robertson beat Ronnie O’Sullivan 10-4 to win snooker’s Tour Championship final on Sunday. The Australian was in superb form as he made five century breaks. 

O’Sullivan, the six-time world champion, could only watch and admire as Robertson claimed his 20th ranking title. “I’ve never seen anyone play as well as that,” said the Englishman. “His cue action is ridiculous. It was like he was playing on a pool table. I can’t compete with that. I just have to sit back and enjoy that amazing play.”

5

English sport

Return of outdoor grassroots sport

The easing of lockdown restrictions sees a number of outdoor sporting activities start again from today. Grassroots football, golf and tennis can resume in England and facilities such as cricket pitches, basketball courts and outdoor swimming pools are also allowed to reopen. 

Sports minister Nigel Huddleston said the reopening of outdoor grassroots sport is “so important” after activity levels dropped during lockdown. Indoor leisure centres, swimming pools and gyms will be allowed to reopen from 12 April.

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