5 Talking Points ahead of the Italian Grand Prix

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The Italian Grand Prix this weekend plays host to the 14th round of the Formula One campaign. By PA

Lewis Hamilton holds a 65-point lead over Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas in his pursuit of a sixth world championship.

Here, the PA news agency looks at five talking points ahead of Sunday’s race at Monza.

Safety in the spotlight after Hubert tragedy

Formula One mourned its first driver tragedy at a grand prix weekend following Anthoine Hubert’s tragic death at Spa-Francorchamps last weekend. The incident will put the sport’s safety record back in the spotlight at Monza, the fastest track on the Formula One calendar which is also known as the Cathedral of Speed. An FIA investigation, led by Australian race director Michael Masi, is being conducted, Belgian police are also carrying out their own inquiry into last Saturday’s accident and Giuliano Alesi’s car has been impounded by the authorities. The Frenchman lost control of his machine, appearing to cause Hubert to take evasive action. Meanwhile, Juan-Manuel Correa, the American driver who tore through Hubert’s car, has been transferred to a London hospital. Correa broke both his legs and suffered spinal cord damage in the 160mph crash.

Leclerc leading Ferrari’s charge

Belgium F1 GP Auto Racing
Charles Leclerc was victorious in Belgium (AP)

Under the cloud of his friend Hubert’s death, Charles Leclerc registered his maiden Formula One victory. The young Monegasque impressed all weekend in Spa, and will start this weekend as the favourite to triumph in front of the Tifoisi. Just as with Spa, the high-speed Monza layout is likely to suit Leclerc’s Ferrari machinery. Sebastian Vettel will be desperate to strike back following his rather drab fourth place. Vettel’s race in Belgium was hindered by a two-stop strategy, but he was comfortably slower than Leclerc, leading Nico Rosberg to say he looked like Rubens Barrichello, the Brazilian who played second fiddle to Michael Schumacher at Ferrari. “Just waving past your team-mate, and helping him out,” said Rosberg. “Amazing for a four-time world champion. He won’t be happy with that.”

Hamilton set to wrap up title number six

British Grand Prix 2019 – Race Day – Silverstone
The future looks bright for Lewis Hamilton (PA)

Lewis Hamilton warned before the last race that the title wasn’t over. Yet, despite a rather tricky weekend – Hamilton suffered a mechanical failure on Friday before crashing out of final practice – the Mercedes star still managed to extend his title lead. The 34-year-old delivered an impressive race performance to hustle Leclerc to the flag, finishing second and increasing his lead over Valtteri Bottas to 65 points. There are just 200 points left to play for. A matter of when, not if, for the five-time world champion…

Grid penalty scuppers Verstappen’s chances

Monaco Grand Prix – Qualifying Day – Circuit de Monte Carlo
Max Verstappen’s hopes of putting pressure on Lewis Hamilton took a knock at Spa (PA)

Max Verstappen had been billed as the man who may thwart Hamilton’s charge to the championship following a strong end to the opening half of the season. But the Dutchman crashed out on the first lap of the Belgian Grand Prix, following a collision with Kimi Raikkonen. He will also start Sunday’s race from the back of the pack, penalised for taking on an upgraded Honda engine for the final round of the European campaign. Verstappen is 87 points behind Hamilton and could trail him by more than a ton once the weekend is out.

Five more years

The Italian Grand Prix will remain at Monza until at least the end of 2024. The track, which has hosted more races (68) than any other, announced a new deal with F1’s owners’ Liberty Media on the eve of the 90th Italian GP. Only Italy and Britain have staged a race every year since the sport’s inception in 1950. Next year’s calendar will feature a record 22 races with the return of a round in Holland and the addition of the Vietnam Grand Prix. The race in Germany has been dropped due to financial difficulties.

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Saturday 30th May - Football ACCA

Up to £100 in Bet Credits for new customers at bet365. Min deposit £5. Bet Credits available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply.

14:30

Hertha Berlin vs Augsburg

Both Teams To Score & Over 2.5 Goals

Hertha Berlin have scored at least 2 goals in their last 5 games and have been in great form, since the league resumed. Augsburg had a very impressive 3-0 win away at Schalke last time out and this fixture usually rains goals, so hopefully it will today as well.

14:30

Mainz vs Hoffenheim

Both Teams To Score & Over 2.5 Goals

This fixture has averaged just under 6 goals in the last 4 fixtures, Hoffenheim have scored in 9 of their last 10 away games and Mainz have had both teams to score in 3 of their last 4 home games. Past fixture results is the main  reason behind this selection.

14:30

Schalke vs Werder Bremen

Both teams to score

Schalke have not been in good form since the resumption of the league, they are conceding lots of goals and have been pretty poor. Werder Bremen have a very good record away at Schalke and have won 4 of the last 5 games. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a draw but both teams will probably concede. 

14:30

Wolfsburg vs Eintracht Frankfurt

Both Teams To Score & Wolfsburg Win

Wolfsburg come into this on the back of a great 4-1 win over Leverkusen. Eintracht Frankfurt did pretty well against Bayern, scoring 2 goals and almost getting back into it. This looks like another game of goals and I fancy Wolfsburg will get back to back wins and Frankfurt will get a another goals in defeat.

17:30

Bayern Munich vs Düsseldorf

Bayern Munich to win both halves

Bayern Munich pretty much won the title with the victory over Dortmund and I can’t seem them sitting back here. Dusseldorf are not in bad form but I expect Bayern to run riot here, scoring 4 or 5 in a big victory. 

Returns and odds correct at time of publishing.