Verstappen feud has finally steered F1 away from painful Hamilton bore-fest

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For longer than we care to remember Formula 1 has been about as interesting as a night in with the mother-in-law.

Those wanting someone to blame for the blandness of the sport need look no further than the brilliance of Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton.

In the Noughties, Schumacher won five world titles on the spin, before Sebastian Vettel claimed four of his own at the turn of the decade.

Then Hamilton took over to dominate, winning countless races that led him to an astonishing six titles in seven seasons.

While Hamilton's success has been magnificent from a British perspective, seeing the same driver lead the same team (Mercedes) to the same world championship year on year has been a precession that has turned the neutral off.

But on the outskirts of Budapest on Sunday afternoon, F1 will host a Grand Prix that might be worth watching.

That's because the same driver who's contributed so much to making his sport dull and predictable, is now providing it with the spark it's needed for ages.

Hamilton's feud with biggest rival Max Verstappen is breathing new life into F1, just like John McEnroe's duels with Bjorn Borg did to tennis all those years ago.

To recap. Verstappen and his Red Bull bosses are seething with Hamilton after blaming him for causing the first lap smash between the two drivers at the recent British Grand Prix.

The title rivals collided at 180mph, sending Verstappen into the barriers and then hospital, while Hamilton raced through the field to win and cut the Dutchman's lead in the standings from 33 points to just eight. Game on.

Both teams have been at each other's throats ever since, while Verstappen gave Hamilton short shrift when the Brit tried to ring him to clear the air.

Thank heavens for Verstappen, who has broken with tradition to challenge Hamilton's domination with the sort of sneering and snarling attitude that marks him down for future greatness.

You need to be of a certain vintage to remember the last time F1 had a rivalry like this.

Back in the late 1980s and early 90s, Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost fought like cat and dog both on and off the track to make their sport unmissable and compelling viewing.

Prost once admitted he was scared of Senna because of the Brazilian's willingness to do anything to win, while Senna refused to refer to Prost by his name, let alone shake his hand or speak to him directly.

Sports fans should be lapping up this similar feud between Hamilton and Verstappen, because it could define an era for F1.

Hamilton is aiming to create more history in Hungary this weekend and become the first Grand Prix driver to reach 100 race wins.

The sporting icon has always insisted he wanted to be forced to scrap for all his records and titles. Well, it looks like he's finally got his wish – and it has been too long in the making.

IT takes something special to impress former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher…

But even he couldn't help becoming swept up by the mood of the nation following the stunning success of Bethany Shriever and Kye White at the Tokyo Olympics.

Schriever won gold in the women's BMX racing final, just moments after team-mate Whyte had claimed Team GB's first Olympic medal in the event with silver in the men's.

The sight of Shriever being lifted into the air by Whyte as their pair celebrated their historic achievements in Japan will live long in the memory.

Those images are why we all love sport in the first place.

And let's hope UK Sport sit up and take notice of them, too.

While British rowing has benefited from almost £25m of funding in the build up to these games but has failed to win a single gold medal, Shriever needed crowdfunding just to make it to the Games and even worked part time as a teaching assistant to make ends meet.

Now BMX biking is firmly on the map thanks to the astonishing efforts of Shriever and Whyte and it has to become a platform for the minority sport to go on and grow.

Let's be honest, if a teenage kid has the choice between getting in a boat and rowing down a river, or pedalling around a track as fast as they can, which one do you think they're going to choose?

Good week…

Duncan Scott – Won his third Olympic medal with silver in the 200m medley to elevate himself to genuine superstar status.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – The United boss is poised to sign Raphael Varane from Real Madrid in a £40m deal that could prove to be one of the bargains of the decade.

Fiji sevens team – The lads beat New Zealand to defend their Olympic title and do their country proud, having been forced to spend five months away from their families in a Covid secure bubble.

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Bad week…

Novak Djokovic – The tennis legend saw his Olympic dream die with a shock semi final defeat to Alexander Zverev in the men's singles.

Pepe – The Portuguese veteran ignored the fact it was just a friendly to spark a mass brawl between Porto and Roma stars after clattering through Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Rassie Erasmus – The World Cup winning coach appears to be on the brink, having spent the week in the build up to South Africa's second Test against the British & Irish Lions ranting and raving like a mad man.

  • Lewis Hamilton
  • Liam Gallagher
  • Max Verstappen
  • Michael Schumacher
  • Novak Djokovic
  • Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
  • Sebastian Vettel
  • Mercedes
  • Olympics
  • World Cup

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