Belgian GP 1995 Watchalong: Michael Schumacher vs Damon Hill at wet Spa

Don’t miss the latest Sky F1 Watchalong on Wednesday evening as we transport you back to the midst of one the fiercest rivalries in the sport’s history and a controversial, topsy-turvy battle around arguably its best circuit, in the toughest of wet conditions.

It’s the 1995 Belgian Grand Prix from Spa-Francorchamps where Michael Schumacher made history by winning from 16th on the grid, Damon Hill was angered by his great rival’s defensive driving, and Martin Brundle finished on the podium for outsiders Ligier.

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Hill, Brundle and Johnny Herbert – Schumacher’s Benetton team-mate that day who led the race’s early stages – are reunited to watch back the best (and, in some of their cases, worst) moments from an unforgettable afternoon, with fellow Sky F1 colleague David Croft.

Does Damon still hold the same opinion of Schumacher’s driving a quarter of a century on? How did Johnny go from the lead to seventh place? And just how difficult was it to drive the undulating and fast 4.4-mile circuit in the wet?

Watch along with the Sky F1 team on Sky F1, YouTube, Facebook, and on this page from 7.30pm

The background to a tense race day

Schumacher, F1’s defending champion, held a reduced 11-point lead over big rival Hill going into the race, the 11th round of the 16-race season.

Hill had halved his title deficit at the previous race in Hungary when the Williams driver’s third win of the year had coincided with a rare race retirement for Schumacher and Benetton.

But the Englishman, already enduring a turbulent year on the track, still had it all on to overcome Schumacher and exact revenge on losing out on the title at the last race in the controversial finish to 1994.

But the cards seemed to be falling in Hill’s favour at Spa, as although he qualified only eighth in wet conditions of qualifying, he was still eight places ahead of Schumacher – whose Saturday never got going after a crash in second practice, which was followed by technical problems with his car.

Schumacher therefore started 16th – he had never previously qualified outside the top 10 in F1, while no one had ever won at Spa from lower than 12th on the grid.

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Sebastian Vettel tipped to cause Lewis Hamilton ‘commotion’ if one thing happens

Sebastian Vettel has been continuously linked with a switch to Mercedes for the 2021 F1 season after he announced he would be leaving Ferrari. With most other seats taken, Vettel could end up alongside Lewis Hamilton.

Mercedes have yet to extend Hamilton’s contract and there remain questions over what Valtteri Bottas will do next season.

Vettel has all the credentials needed to driver for the reigning world champions.

But Nick Heidfeld believes it would be unrealistic for the current Ferrari ace to end up at the Silver Arrows.

“It is a shame, but going to Mercedes is not realistic,” he told Sky in Germany.

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“It is interesting to hear that Toto Wolff analyses the qualities and not the nationality.

“A German team, of course, would like to have Vettel for marketing, but in my opinion Hamilton and Vettel will never be able to share a team.”

Heidfeld believes nobody would get anything out of Vettel and Hamilton teaming up at Mercedes.

He added: “No one would benefit from the signing of Vettel by Mercedes.

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“He would go to a team that is completely in the hands of Hamilton, who is also in top form.

“It is not ideal for Vettel, but it would not be good for Hamilton to have such a team-mate either.

“Mercedes wouldn’t want the two to be together either. That causes a lot of commotion and I just don’t see what’s going to happen.

“But we’ll have to wait and see what happens. I haven’t talked to Vettel, so I don’t know what he’s going to do.”

F1 quiz: 15 questions and answers to test your knowledge


  • Sebastian Vettel tipped to announce F1 retirement if one thing happens

Vettel is a four-time F1 world champion but there are a lack of options for him on the grid.

Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren and Racing Point all look set on their driver line-ups for next season.

There is a vacancy at Renault following the announcement Daniel Ricciardo will replace Carlos Sainz at McLaren with the Spaniard taking Vettel’s seat at Ferrari.

Fernando Alonso has been linked with a return to the sport with Renault his most likely option.

That could mean Vettel either joins Mercedes or is forced to leave the sport for 2021 and possible end his career altogether.

F1 is currently tentatively scheduled to start in July with two races at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.

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What channel is NASCAR on today? TV schedule, start time for Wednesday night race at Charlotte

The TV channel for a NASCAR race is elusive enough in a normal season when Fox and FS1 trade broadcasts of Cup Series events through the first half of the schedule. The challenges associated with the coronavirus pandemic make the “what channel is today’s NASCAR race on” question even more understandable.

Tonight, for the fourth time in just 11 days, those who seek the TV channel for the NASCAR race will be doing so in order to watch a real, live event rather than a virtual competition. The Alsco Uniforms 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the second of two Cup races at the track in a four-day span after Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600, will broadcast live on FS1 with a start time of 8 p.m. ET.

Wednesday’s race at Charlotte is the fourth in NASCAR’s return on an altered, short-term schedule as it attempts to keep a 36-race slate intact for 2020. For now, with remaining doubt about how NASCAR can construct its schedule beyond June given differing restrictions on gatherings of people from state to state, the short-term schedule includes only a handful of tracks.

As for Wednesday night’s race at Charlotte, it was added to the Cup Series schedule as a replacement for the Sonoma race that was previously scheduled for June 14. In part because it takes place on a week night, the race is relatively short (312 miles, 208 laps), especially compared to Sunday’s 600-mile event at the same track.

Below is how to watch Wednesday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Charlotte, including the TV channel and live stream options.

What channel is NASCAR on today?

Like the schedule itself, the TV channels for Cup Series races after June are up in the air. The Wednesday night’s race at Charlotte, though, as well as two more Cup Series races currently on the schedule for May June, will broadcast live on FS1.

Wednesday night’s race at Charlotte will be the second Cup event shown on FS1 since NASCAR returned to live racing. Last week’s Wednesday night race at Darlington also was shown on FS1. Sunday’s Cup Series race at Bristol also will broadcast live on FS1 before the series returns to Fox for the June 7 race at Atlanta.

As is the case for all the Cup Series races on Fox and FS1 this season, Mike Joy and Jeff Gordon will call Wednesday night’s race at Charlotte. They will do so remotely from the Fox studio rather than the booth at the track.

What time does the NASCAR race start today?

An 8 p.m. ET start time is as late as it gets for a NASCAR Cup Series race, and it works for this particular event since the race is only 312 miles. FS1’s coverage is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, and the green flag is scheduled to wave at 8:25 p.m. ET.

The bad news as it relates to the start time for Wednesday night’s Cup Series race at Charlotte is the weather forecast. More rain is predicted for the Charlotte area Wednesday, so another delay is possible. The Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday had a 68-minute red flag due to a passing rain shower but was able to finish.

The only other night races currently on NASCAR’s modified schedule are the mid-week Martinsville race on Wednesday, June 10 and the Homestead race Sunday, June 14.

NASCAR live stream for Charlotte race

Anybody who has a cable or satellite subscription can stream Wednesday night’s race at Charlotte live via Fox Sports Go. This should be the preferred route for a viewer who has such a subscription but isn’t able to get in front of his or her TV.

For those who don’t have a cable or satellite subscription, there are five OTT TV streaming options that carry FS1 — Sling, Hulu, YouTubeTV, fuboTV and AT&T Now. Of the five, Hulu, YouTubeTV and fuboTV offer free trial options.

Below are links to each.

NASCAR schedule 2020

NASCAR on May 14 released its revised Cup Series schedule for May and June of 2020. It remains committed to running 36 races, four of which were completed before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the sports world. According to Fox Sports, NASCAR hopes to keep its 10 playoff races in the fall intact and at their original tracks.

Below is the schedule revision for the Cup Series:

(NASCAR warns that the stage lengths and start times for the races above are tentative and subject to change.)

To start, NASCAR is scheduling races within driving distance of the Charlotte area, where most race teams are headquartered. That eliminates most of the travel-related logistics issues associated with running multiple races in one week, which appears necessary for a full season of racing.

Because those tracks are hosting more races than originally scheduled, NASCAR had to take races away from Chicagoland, Richmond and Sonoma. Via NASCAR, below are the details of those changes:

— “Chicagoland’s NASCAR Cup Series race, originally set for June 21, has been reassigned to Darlington on May 17. The 1.5-mile Illinois track’s Xfinity Series race that was scheduled June 20 will be held May 19 at Darlington. Chicagoland was also set to host the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series (June 19) and ARCA Menards Series (June 18); officials indicated that those races will be reassigned at a later date.”

— “Richmond Raceway’s springtime Cup Series event on the initial schedule for April 19 has been moved to Darlington on May 20. A Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race that was to be run April 18 remains postponed, with officials saying details would come later for rescheduling. The .75-mile Virginia track’s Sept. 11-12 race weekend remains on the schedule.”

— “Sonoma Raceway’s Cup Series date for June 14 has been moved to Charlotte on May 27. Officials for the road course said in a release that they had worked with NASCAR to find an alternate date on the schedule, but that a suitable replacement could not be reached, ‘given the ongoing uncertainty around large events in California.'”

Below are the four NASCAR Cup Series races that are currently postponed (and their original dates on the schedule):

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Odds for NASCAR race at Charlotte: Expert picks & favorites to win Wednesday’s Alsco Uniforms 500

The bad news when it comes to Vegas odds for Wednesday night’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway is its relatively short distance (312 miles, 208 laps) creates an unpredictability factor that makes picking a winner even more difficult than usual. Teams’ strategies will be much different than those used for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600.

The good news is this is the second NASCAR Cup Series night race at Charlotte in the span of four days. So we at least have a decent idea of which drivers might thrive in another race at NASCAR’s home track, and whose struggles might continue.

Brad Keselowski stole the victory in Sunday’s race after a late caution ruined what would have been an easy win for Chase Elliott. Which is part of the reason Elliott is at the top of the odds board for Wednesday night’s race.

Below are the Vegas odds to win Wednesday night’s NASCAR Cup Series at Charlotte, plus our top three picks of drivers who could end up taking the checkered flag.

NASCAR race odds to win at Charlotte

Elliott led 38 laps in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, including what was supposed to the final one on Lap 400. But he pitted during a late-race caution and lost the lead (and the win). But that speed is why Elliott has joined Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. atop the odds board for Wednesday night’s race.

Courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook, below are the complete odds to win Wednesday night’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Charlotte.

Of the drivers in the field, Jimmie Johnson has the best career driver rating (108.9) at Charlotte, but he will start last because of his disqualification from the Coca-Cola 600 results. Johnson’s car failed post-race inspection with illegal rear alignment.

Below are the top 10 career driver ratings at Charlotte (not including Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600):

History says the first and second starting positions are the most proficient in the field, producing more winners (17 each) than any other starting position at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Which is good news for Hendrick Motorsports teammates William Byron and Alex Bowman, who will start first and second, respectively, on Wednesday night since the top 20 starters are an inversion of the top 20 finishers from Sunday’s race.

NASCAR at Charlotte expert picks

1. Alex Bowman

Bowman’s spot on the front row to start the race helps, as the driver who started second has won roughly 14 percent of all NASCAR Cup Series races at Charlotte. But this pick is more about the speed HMS cars have shown this year.

Elliott should have won Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600, and Johnson finished second before failing post-race tech and being given last-place points. Only Kevin Harvick (328 laps) has led more than the 318 laps Bowman has led through seven races in 2020.

All Hendrick drivers will be threats to win Wednesday night’s race, even Johnson from the back of the field. But we’ll go with the one who already has a win on the season.

2. Martin Truex Jr.

Among active drivers, only Johnson and Kyle Busch have led more career laps at Charlotte than Truex’s 972. His 91.3 driver rating at the track is the third best behind Busch’s 107.4 and Hamlin’s 97.0 among drivers currently in the top 10 in points.

Two crashes in the first four races this season set Truex back in points, but last year’s Coca-Cola 600 winner proved with his pair of top-10 finishes last week at Darlington followed by a strong run in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 that his team still has the speed to win.

3. Erik Jones

Speaking of speed from Joe Gibbs Racing, Jones had a hot rod for parts of Sunday’s race. He will start Wednesday’s event on the outside of Row 5, the best starting position of the four JGR teams in the field, which is notable for a race that’s roughly half the distance of the Coca-Cola 600.

Jones is a relative long shot based on the odds for Wednesday night’s race, but he is every bit as capable as his powerhouse teammates of winning. While his driver rating at Charlotte (68.6) is not great, it comes from a small sample size. Wednesday night’s race will be Jones’ sixth at Charlotte in a Cup car.

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Formula E driver Abt suspended by Audi for cheating in esports event

Daniel Abt has been suspended from the Audi Formula E team after cheating in a charity esports event at the weekend.

Abt was disqualified from the online race and ordered to pay €10,000 to charity after it emerged that he organised for a professional gamer to race under his name in the official esports race.

Abt later issued an apology, saying, “I did not take it as seriously as I should have.” His ringer, pro gamer Lorenz Hoerzing, was disqualified from all future rounds of the separate Challenge Grid competition. Rival drivers had been suspicious about Abt’s performance during the race, with Mercedes driver Stoffel Vandoorne raising concerns on his Twitch feed.

On Tuesday, Audi issued a statement saying Abt had been suspended from his role in the team due to his actions.

“Daniel Abt did not drive his car in qualifying and the race at the fifth event of the Race at Home Challenge on May 23 himself, but let a professional sim-racer do so,” the Audi statement said. “He directly apologised for this on the following day and accepted the disqualification.

“Integrity, transparency and consistent compliance with applicable rules are top priorities for Audi — this applies to all activities the brand is involved in without exception. For this reason, Audi Sport has decided to suspend Daniel Abt with immediate effect.”

The Audi Formula E team is run by Audi tuning and motorsports specialists Abt Sportsline, which is owned by Abt’s father, Hans-Jurgen Abt.

Organisers of the official Formula E season are hoping to get the 2019-20 championship back underway in July.

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Why Jimmie Johnson was disqualified from Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte

Jimmie Johnson was a position away from ending his 101-race winless streak with a second-place finish in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday night. Yet that second-place finish quickly turned into a last-place finish in terms of points awarded.

NASCAR announced after the race that Johnson’s No. 48 car failed post-race inspection and was disqualified, meaning his team will get credit for a 40th-place finish. NASCAR Cup Series director Jay Fabien said early Monday that Johnson was disqualified after the rear alignment of his car did not meet post-race requirements.

Cliff Daniels, Johnson’s crew chief, claimed he thinks “something must’ve broken.”

Below is the transcript from Fabien’s media conference in which he explained why Johnson was disqualified:

FABIAN: Yeah, so tonight after the race, post-race inspection, going through the optical scanning station, the 48 car has failed the post-race alignment numbers in the rule book and will be DQ’d.

Q.: Can you be a little bit more specific in terms of what particular area? Obviously there’s a fudge factor for the car movement. More detail on this please, sir.

FABIAN: Yeah, the failure was rear alignment. It’s the same thing that we check at least a handful of cars for post-race after every event. I can’t really give specifics on the numbers. Yes, there is a pre-race number and a post-race number that does give a pretty decent tolerance. It was outside of those post-race numbers.

Q.: This is a speeded-up process with the crazy schedule. The team would still be allowed to potentially appeal by noon tomorrow?

FABIAN: So they do have a standard right to appeal, just like any penalty. I would have to follow up, with the crazy schedule, like you said, with the rule book to see exactly when that deadline is because it’s 2 in the morning Eastern time. I would have to verify when that appeal deadline is.

Q.: Cliff tweeted they think they broke something. Is there any sort of allowance for breaks or damages when deciding on this type of penalty?

FABIAN: The 48 ran strong tonight all night. I hate it for them. They had a good car, performed well. But, yeah, the allowance is built in for parts that move. There’s an allowance for that. But if parts break, you know, the number is the number. There is no real parameter outside of that. There’s parts in the past that have been designed to fail or break. Certainly not suggesting that’s the case here. But that’s what’s gotten us to this hardline of this is a post-race number and there is a fair tolerance from pre-race numbers to post.

Q.: Can you characterize it at all? Was it close or not close?

FABIAN: Yeah, I’m not going to characterize that. It was out of the box. In the OSS, once that box turns red, it’s exactly like a speeding penalty. There is no turning back from that.

Johnson, who had earned 46 points throughout Sunday night’s race, would have moved up to eighth in the Cup Series points standings. He instead earned zero points and sits 15th in points. The technical last-place finish also means Johnson will start Wednesday night’s race at Charlotte, for which there will be no qualifying, in last place.

Brad Keselowski, who took the lead in overtime Sunday night after Chase Elliott pitted during the final caution, won the Coca-Cola 600 by beating Johnson to the checkered flag.

“I feel sorry for Chase,” Johnson said of his Hendrick Motorsports teammate after the race, before the No. 48 car failed post-race tech. “Last week — Wednesday, it was — he had such a great car, and to be leading here and have the caution come out with a couple to go, I feel bad for him.
“But I’m very proud of my team, very proud of everybody. Second’s OK, but it’s tough being this close to victory lane. But we’ll get there.”

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Who won the NASCAR race yesterday? Full results for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte

Chase Elliott was cruising to what would be a uniquely satisfying win in the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday night given what had happened a few days prior.

Until he wasn’t.

Elliott, who was wrecked by Kyle Busch in the closing laps at Darlington on Wednesday night, was leading with just a few laps to go at Charlotte Motor Speedway when his Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron spun out with a flat tire and brought out a caution. Elliott pitted under yellow, allowing Brad Keselowski to assume the lead and beat Jimmie Johnson to the checkered flag to win the Coca-Cola 600.

COCA-COLA 600: Complete highlights from Sunday night’s race

“That’s got to be a joke,” Elliott said on his radio when the caution came out for Byron’s spin. Added Elliott after the race regarding his team’s decision to pit before overtime: “You just try to make the best decision you can. Those guys are just going to do the opposite of whatever we do. That’s just a part of it. You make decisions and you live with them. It wasn’t the pit call — I think being on offense is fine.
“Like I said, those guys are going to do whatever’s the opposite of what you do.”

Who won the Coca-Cola 600?

Brad Keselowski pulled away from Jimmie Johnson in overtime to win the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway after Chase Elliott surrendered the lead by pitting.

“I feel like I’ve thrown this race away a couple of times, and I thought we were going to lose it today,” Keselowski said after the race. “I know we’ve lost it the way Chase lost it, and that really stinks, and today we finally won it that way (by staying out).
“It’s major. It’s the Coke 600. That only leaves one major for me, the Daytona 500. We’re checking ‘em off. We may not have been the fastest car today, but, whoa, did we grind this one out. The pit crew on the yellow before the last had a blazing stop to get us up front.”

NASCAR at Charlotte results

Below are the complete results from Sunday night’s Coca-Cola 600, which became the longest race in NASCAR history when it reached overtime and a total of 405 laps.

Johnson’s car failed post-race inspection, so the No. 48 team was relegated to a last-place finish.

Average speed of race winner: 135.042 mph

Time of race: 4 Hrs, 29 Mins, 55 Secs. Margin of Victory: .293 Seconds.

Caution flags: 8 for 52 laps.

Lead changes: 20 among 11 drivers.

Lap Leaders: K. Busch 1-54; A. Bowman 55-159;J . Johnson 160-162; J. Nemechek 163; R. Preece 164; R. Stenhouse Jr. 165; A. Bowman 166-223; M. Truex Jr. 224-255; B. Keselowski 256-262; M. Truex Jr. 263-277; J. Logano 278-302; A. Bowman 303; M. DiBenedetto 304-306; J. Logano 307; M. Truex Jr. 308; M. DiBenedetto 309-311; M. Truex Jr. 312-350; J. Johnson 351-353; B. Keselowski 354-362; C. Elliott 363-400; B. Keselowski 401-405.

Leaders summary (driver, times lead, laps led): Alex Bowman 3 times for 164 laps; Martin Truex Jr. 4 times for 87 laps; Kurt Busch 1 time for 54 laps; Chase Elliott 1 time for 38 laps; Joey Logano 2 times for 26 laps; Brad Keselowski 3 times for 21 laps; Matt DiBenedetto 2 times for 6 laps; Jimmie Johnson 2 times for 6 laps; Ryan Preece 1 time for 1 lap; John Hunter Nemechek 1 time for 1 lap; Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage 1 top 10: 88, 19, 9, 8, 22, 18, 3, 48, 24, 1

Stage 2 top 10: 88,19,18,24,9,20,22,3,12,48

Stage 3 top 10: 22, 88, 12, 48, 19, 18, 20, 2, 3, 24

Material from the NASCAR Wire Service was used in this report.

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Glamorous, glitzy and so gaudy.. Monaco's the ultimate F1 spectacle

Stars from Sinatra to Bieber, Prince Albert’s cocktail party, a £100,000-a-night hotel suite and 200,000 fans make Monaco the ultimate F1 spectacle… but the party is over for now

  • The harbour remains home to the planet’s greatest motor-racing spectacle 
  • The ‘haves and have-yachts’ usually spend £100m during their days of plenty
  • But coronavirus has struck and, for the first time since 1955, the race is off 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Of all the spots, in all the world, that would have been heaven to attend this weekend, the Monaco Grand Prix leads them all.

It is always best if someone else is picking up the tab. In fact, it is almost the only way to do it without breaking the bank at, well, Monte Carlo.

But every trip to that overpriced, cliched harbour of the gorgeous and the gaudy is worth it because it remains home to the planet’s greatest motor-racing spectacle.

British legend Stirling Moss joins the party with fashion model Liz Hooley in 1973

For this annual jamboree on the cramped principality, just over half the size of New York’s Central Park, marginally outstrips the Indianapolis 500 that usually takes place on the same day with its counter-charms of Gasoline Alley and American machismo.

Given his death last month, it is appropriate to recall Sir Stirling Moss, the first Briton to win at Monaco in 1956, to put his finger on this playground’s fusion of attractions. ‘Monaco,’ he said, pronouncing it Mu-narr-co, of course, ‘has always been the place of glamour.

‘All the pretty girls come over the road from Italy. You wave at them and blow kisses as you drive around. These things are all part and parcel of it. But you must be prepared to dabble on the boundary of disaster.’

He just found time around Loews hairpin for his salute to the blondes. His victory in 1961, the last of his three on the thin ribbon of road that would never meet health and safety criteria if it were starting today, was the one he rated highest of all his grand prix drives, as he held off the superior Ferraris lap after lap.

Yachts and spectators line the race track during the Monaco Grand Prix last year

Ayrton Senna, who won the race a record six times, produced a similarly astonishing performance in taking pole position 1.4 sec ahead of his second-placed McLaren team-mate Alain Prost in 1988.

Was it a lap at 100 per cent? David Coulthard, twice a winner, says that is impossible, given the dangers represented by the Armco barriers on the slowest but most testing track of the year.

‘It’s about knowing where you can push, about trying to maximise braking, hitting the apex and making a good exit,’ explained the Scot. ‘What you can’t do on this circuit is look away and back up again.’ In normal times, we would have followed Lewis Hamilton this weekend aiming for his fourth Monaco victory.

Instead, the world champion is lying low in America, away from his main address in the principality, which is still the tax haven home of most of the grid’s leading cast.

Coronavirus has struck and, for the first time since 1955, the race is cancelled. The cost to the local economy is some £100million — the amount the ‘haves and have-yachts’ usually spend during their days of plenty, as they compete to be heard above the scream of the engines. Glasses are clinked, deals are struck.

Three-time world champion Jackie Stewart hangs out with Princess Caroline in 1977

The grandes dames of hotels are the Hermitage and Hotel de Paris, right on Casino Square. The Churchill Suite at the Hotel de Paris goes for £100,000 a night on race weekends. But tonight, the party having died, an ordinary room is yours for £600. Chicken feed.

Few of the party crowd have access to the tunnel during the practice session, when, if they had, the streaking cars would rattle their senses from head to toe.

Another joy is to stand on the pit lane overlooking the swimming pool complex. There you see, close up, the dexterity of these machines, slowing and accelerating with two-fingers to physics.

Hamilton has known good days and bad in Monaco. He has won there in every formula, including the GP2 race in 2006 when he announced his incoming talent to a wider world. It was, however, the same place where, after driving way below his talents in 2011, he wondered aloud why the stewards had penalised him. ‘Maybe it’s because I’m black,’ he half-joked. ‘That’s what Ali G says.’

Riccardo Patrese celebrates his dramatic victory with Prince Rainier III in 1982

But that was a minor slip compared to the sporting deception when Michael Schumacher parked his car on the racing line at the Rascasse corner, impeding Fernando Alonso, whose pole lap he was trying to frustrate.

The Ferrari man protested his innocence. He always did. But Keke Rosberg, the 1982 world champion, convicted him as a ‘cheap cheat’.

The stewards took until late into the night to reach the obvious verdict. Schumacher was chucked to the back of the grid. He drove brilliantly the next day to finish fifth, on a track where it is meant to be impossible to overtake. That weekend in 2006 framed the worst and the best of him.

From the criminal to the tragic. In 1967, two years before Schumacher was born, another Ferrari driver, Lorenzo Bandini, crashed and died in his burning car.

Twelve editions before, Alberto Ascari, the double world champion, had overshot the chicane on the exit of the tunnel and careered into the sea. There was nobody to fish him out. He swam to safety. Four days later he died testing a sports car at Monza.

Lewis Hamilton has known good days and bad at Monaco with three victories under his belt

The glamour of Monaco was sharpened by the marriage in 1956 into the 13th century royal family of the Hollywood actress, Grace Kelly. ‘She was, as custom dictated, known as Her Serene Highness,’ Sir Jackie Stewart once noted of his friend. ‘And the title fitted her perfectly.’ Up in the Grimaldi Palace that overlooks the track, Rainier and Grace’s heir, Prince Albert, and his wife Princess Charlene host the Friday night cocktail party and the gala dinner after the race. Black tie and all that.

The rhythm of the Monte Carlo weekend is different from other grands prix, just as the panjandrums of the Automobile Club de Monaco like it: practice on Thursday, a day off on Friday for a bank holiday, before the usual qualifying on Saturday and race on Sunday.

A plethora of stars have attended across the years, from Sinatra to Bieber, heaven forfend!

Often, the glitterati have high-stepped their Jimmy Choo’s from the Cannes Film Festival to be out there on the packed grid, sashaying among the snazzy people before the lights go out. Every inch of escarpment and balcony is filled with craning necks, 200,000 in all.

An all-time favourite there was Graham Hill, the five-time winner they called ‘Mr Monaco’. Celebrating his win in 1965, he was singing so loudly in Rosie’s Bar that two gendarmes arrived to arrest him. He invited them in, bought them a beer, and the party went on.

But it is over for now. Yes, there are downsides to Monaco. Some pug-ugly buildings. The dodgy phone signals. A race that is often a procession. And, yes, it can be, as Lord Charteris remarked of the Duchess of York, ‘Vulgar, vulgar, vulgar!’ But, really, you can’t see those glitches clearly when you are under its spell.

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NASCAR at Charlotte live race updates, results, highlights from the Coca-Cola 600

The Coca-Cola 600 is the third NASCAR Cup Series race in seven days, thanks to the sport’s new compact schedule. After two races in Darlington, the Cup Series has moved to Charlotte. 

Drivers had a qualifying session, the last of the season, at Charlotte Motor Speedway to set the starting lineup for the Coca-Cola 600. Kurt Busch earned the pole position, barely edging out Jimmie Johnson. 

Chase Elliot, who was spun out by Kyle Busch in Wednesday’s race at Darlington, is in starting in third place. Matt Kenseth and Tyler Riddick round out the top five. NASCAR officials will be watching the weather closely as thunderstorms are possible in Charlotte Sunday night. 

Sporting News is tracking live race updates and lap-by-lap highlights from the Coca-Cola 600. Follow along below for complete results from Charlotte.

NASCAR at Charlotte live updates, highlights from Coca-Cola 600

Updates will begin with the green flag at 6:28 p.m. ET

What time does the NASCAR race start today?

A 6 p.m. ET start time has become the customary protocol for the Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR’s longest race. It’s the only event in the sport that features four stages rather than three, and each Coca-Cola 600 stage will be 100 laps.

The Coca-Cola 600 begins in the heat of the daylight, but it gradually turns into a night race over the span of roughly 4 1/2 hours. That leads to cooling track temperatures and puts the onus on adjustments as teams attempt to navigate the race.

Fox’s coverage of pre-race ceremonies from Charlotte Motor Speedway — which are special on Memorial Day weekend — will begin at 6 p.m. ET, and the Coca-Cola 600 is scheduled to take the green flag 28 minutes later.

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Hamilton considered quitting F1 in break

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has revealed he considered quitting Formula 1 while stuck in lockdown.

Hamilton’s current contract with Mercedes is in its final year, and the six-time world champion has not announced his intentions for 2021 and beyond.

However, the 35-year-old British driver confessed he has regularly struggled to stay motivated during the coronavirus epidemic, and has pondered whether this should be his last season in Formula 1.

“I’ve been really spending time trying to take time for me, making sure that I appreciate me, acknowledging things that you do well, acknowledging also when you fail and you don’t do it so great. It’s okay. And not being so hard on yourself, all these different things,” Hamilton told Deep Dive on Tuesday.

“I have days when I wake up and feel groggy, I don’t feel motivated to work out. I feel, ‘Jeez, where are we going? What’s next? Should I continue racing?’

“I think all these different things, and then I’m like, ‘Damn it’, and the next hour, or whatever, it passes, and I’m like, ‘Damn, I love what I do. Why would I ever consider not continuing?”

Lewis Hamilton is targeting a seventh Formula 1 title in 2020.Source:AP

Spectators are not expected to be permitted to attend Formula 1 races when the sport returns. Earlier this month, Hamilton said leaving the sport for a year would be a mistake, even if it would have a positive impact on his physical and mental wellbeing.

“You’re going to have nobody in the crowd … It’s going to be very empty. For us, it’s going to be like a test day, probably even worse than a test day,” Hamilton said.

“I don’t think that for an athlete to step away in their prime for a year is ever a good thing.

“To take a sabbatical is not on the cards. But we’ve been handed a part-sabbatical, which I’m enjoying.”

Hamilton is determined not to waste his new-found spare time, and has been focusing on his fitness while in lockdown. The British superstar also said he is in “pretty decent shape”, but admitted there is room for improvement.

“If we are not improving and growing during these days, then what are we doing? You’re obviously just wasting your time sitting on your backside,” Hamilton told Deep Dive.

“Nothing’s going to get handed to any of us. We’ve got to go out there and get whatever it is we want, and you’ve got to want it more than the person you’re fighting against. You’ve just got to get off your arse and do it.

Lewis Hamilton ahead of the 2020 Australian Grand Prix.Source:AAP

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“I’m in pretty decent shape, but I can always be in better shape. I see things and I’m like, ‘Damn, I’ve got a bit of fat here. Shoot, I’ve got to work harder, I’ve got to go for a run’. In actual reality, I don’t really have much fat.

“But there are people out there that have these things going through their minds. You’ve just got to let go, find what it is you love and say I’m going to do it. I’m not going to let anything get in my way.

“It might take a long time. People forget I started racing when I was eight and I didn’t get to Formula 1 until I was 22, so that was a long time for me to get there, but patience is also very, very important.

“I do hope to come back better.”

Hamilton showed off his ripped physique on Instagram in March, having lost five kilograms since last season.

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