RALLY-CAM RACE Jarama Circuit 2020

The RALLY-CAM RACE was held in Madrid at the Jarama Circuit on the 12th of December. Four sessions were held, each of them had a peculiarity: racing clockwise or anti-clockwise. Every car had to pass obstacles in order to conclude a lap. Many drifted, some went into the dirt. Here are the most characteristic pictures of the race, exclusively provided by Ready Set Sport.

Pictures by Daphne Seberich for Ready Set Sport

Photo rights: Ready Set Sport

RALLY-CAM RACE Jarama Circuit 2020

The RALLY-CAM RACE was held in Madrid at the Jarama Circuit on the 12th of December. Four sessions were held, each of them had a peculiarity: racing clockwise or anti-clockwise. Every car had to pass obstacles in order to conclude a lap. Many drifted, some went into the dirt. Here is a short video recap of the race, exclusively provided by Ready Set Sport.

Video by Daphne Seberich for Ready Set Sport

Video rights: Ready Set Sport

Abu Dhabi and the Silly Season – a 2020 Formula 1 recap

Max Verstappen wins under the flashing lights of the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi to conclude the 2020 Formula 1 season. The last race of the year brought many goodbyes, but the silly season is not over.

Photo credits: XPB/Press Association Images

By Daphne Seberich

It is sorrowful to see a Formula 1 season come to an end, but this one hasn’t been a common one by any means. After the whole world shut down in March, Formula 1 and Liberty Media had to take action and stop the racing for what would feel like endless time. Chase Carey and the FIA went through thick and thin to be able to organize a race calendar with enough races to call this season a championship

On the 5th of July, the Formula 1 world picked up their drills and tires to begin what would be a 17-race championship in 2020 – impressive I’d say, regarding the fact that we are still midst a pandemic. 

Mercedes showed right from the start that their W11 would be hard – if not impossible – to beat. Only three times this season, a non-Mercedes-powered car managed to win a Grand Prix – the RB16 and the Alpha Tauri, driven by the one and only Mad Max and by blessed first-time race winner Pierre Gasly. 

Photo credits: Verstappen.com

The whole race weekend, Red Bull demonstrated to have superior pace on the Yas Marina Circuit, a track that in recent years has only been won by Mercedes. Max Verstappen didn’t disappoint and went on to win the last race of the year, finishing third in the drivers’ championship.

Being the last race of the season as well, it is a point in time where some paths meet or separate. From Monday on, everything changes. Throw the old out, bring in the new. For some, it’s only a matter of changing team. For others, it’s a permanent goodbye from Formula 1. In the case of Sainz, Ricciardo, Vettel and Fernando Alonso, they will be joining their respective new home in the pinnacle of motorsport. 

The nr. 55 driver will leave the team with whom he shared his first podium, as well as legendary teammate Lando Norris at McLaren. 

Photo credits: Fox Sports & Autoweek

Stepping into his footsteps will be Daniel Ricciardo, which can be considered extremely lucky to be part of the British team right at the time they will switch to the Mercedes power-unit, the most powerful on the grid. 

Having been kicked-out of Ferrari even before the season had begun, Sebastian Vettel had to take a crucial decision: whether to continue racing or not. He was looking for a team with potential, someone with whom he could win races. Which better team than Racing Point, future Aston Martin Racing, to move on to.

Photo credits: Il Faro Online

Their 2020 car has been in the spotlight for its controversy. Many saw the resemblance to the 2019 Mercedes W10 car, which explained their sudden boost in performance from one year to the other. Whether it has been replicated or not still remains uncertain. 

With Sebastian Vettel signing for Racing Point, someone had to leave the team. Unfortunately, it was the case of Sakhir GP-winner Sergio Perez, who heard through the walls of his hotel room in Monza that he was going to be laid off by team owner Lawrence Stroll. 

That proves that the F1 world can be cruel sometimes. Even though Checo Perez close the 2020 drivers’ championship in fourth place, his career-best result, he now doesn’t have a seat for next season

Photo credits: Getty Images

His hopes for a contract now lay in Red Bull’s hands, which still haven’t come to a conclusion over who will be driving next to Max Verstappen in the RB17. Alex Albon’s fluctuating performance has brought up whether he’s the right one to fulfill the second driver role the Austrian team needs. The chances, although, are very slim for Checo. Never did Red Bull look for and sign a driver outside of their talent program. 

Goodbyes were said at Haas. Magnussen and Grosjean will leave the team after  respectively being four and five years at the American racing company. They will hand their seats over to two young drivers, Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin, the last one of the two being part of a controversial sexual assault case, which Haas said would be dealt with internally. 

And finally, the last big question mark is: Will Lewis Hamilton remain in Formula 1? There still hasn’t been reached an agreement between Mercedes and the 7-time world champion. His future at Mercedes is linked to Toto Wolff’s. Their fate will be decided  sooner or later with the heads of the German manufacturer. The possibility of not seeing LH44 in his Silver Arrows seat next season, although, is very unlikely.

Photo credits: Pio Deportes

In 97 days, Formula 1 will return in Melbourne, Australia. Until then, the silly season will keep us entertained, before lights-out will make our hearts race again and skip a beat for the pinnacle of motorsport in March. 

The Red-and-Black Devil punishes Sparta Praha to hell

Thanks to an outstanding performance of Jans Petter Hauge, the Rossoneri earned the first place of Europa Leauge’s Group H’s ranking, punishing Sparta Praha 0:1.

By Daphne Seberich

No one would have thought at the beginning of the season that the team struggling to make it into Europa League would rank first in the group stage of the tournament. The team coached by Stefano Pioli recovered a strained 2019/2020 season after the lockdown period, not losing a match until the European’s tournament match-day 3’s defeat against Lille.

Sparta Praha’s hopes of progressing to the round-of-32 were dashed by a 2-1 defeat at LOSC Lille on match-day 5. Milan clinched their place in the knockout phase by coming from 0-2 down to beat bottom-placed Celtic 4-2 at home with goals from Hakan Çalhanoğlu, Samu Castillejo, Jens Petter Hauge and Brahim Díaz. 

Sandro Tonali is the player that has the most games of this season under his belt for Milan, a total of 16 matches being over 755 minutes on the pitch. That demonstrates the importance he plays for Pioli and the team’s results. The Diavolo is first in the Serie A ahead of Milan-neighbors-and-nemesis club Inter, which got eliminated from Champions League on Wednesday.

Photo credits: CalcioNews24

Pioli’s youngsters felt the pressure of having to deliver to earn the top spot of the group ranking. Milan needed to win. Lille had to suffer a defeat for the Diavolo to secure first place, which could aid the Italian team to play in the round-of-32 against an easier opponent, prolonging their stay in the tournament.

The economic gain the Milan-based club could inherit through the different stages of the Europa League would be of meaningful support to overcome the financial struggles Covid-19 brought to the 1899 founded football team.  

The Rossoneri were in charge of setting the pace, dominating with ball possession and tactical prowess. Even though it was Stefano Pioli’s new young formation’s debut, their style of playing was just like Milan’s original starting lineup. The Diavolo’s strength not only comes from the players but also from their coach’s preparation and interpretation of the different matches. 

Photo credits: calciomercato.com

Right after a couple of minutes, Dalot gave the Czech’s goalkeeper the first challenge, kicking the ball towards the left corner of the net. Niță defended his club’s goal with his shins, bouncing off the ball outside of the field, conceding Milan the first corner of the match.

On the 23rd minute of the game, Norwegian player Hauge scored the first and only goal of the match for Milan. The young player dribbled the Sparta Praha defenders, tunneled them, and kicked the ball into the right-bottom corner of Niță’s defended goal. A recurrent way of scoring for the 21-year-old.

Photo credits: Corriere dello Sport

Shivers came down the back of the Iron Sparta supporters at the 30th minute of the match. Colombo missed by a hair the Czech’s goal with a head strike. 

The first attempt Milan had in the second half of the match was Hauge trying to surprise Niță using the same scheme and style he used for the previous successful attempt to pierce the net, subsequently advantaging his team, but the goalkeeper didn’t let the ball pass.

At the 77th minute of the match, the decisive referee decision impacted Sparta Praha, leaving them only in 10. Phlechaty aggressively tackled Leão, shunting with his cleats on the Portuguese’s shin. The German referee Daniel Siebert held the red card up without a previous yellow card warning to the Iron Sparta sportsman, sending the Czech player off the pitch.

Photo credits: milanlive.it

Tătăruşanu, Gigi Donnarumma’s replacement, saved his team by blocking the last chance and effort the Czech team had saving Milan from potential despair at the 92nd minute of the match. 

Jens Petter Hauge and Samu Castillejo were undoubtedly the best players on the pitch. They were the pillars of Milan from the get-go, pushing and leading the rest of the team to victory. 

Now the Rossoneri have to wait until the draft in Nyon, Switzerland on Monday define their future opponent that will decide their path in Europa League, as well as the future goals of their 2020/2021 campaign

Photo credits: Tuttosport.com

The Old Lady and CR7: a match made in heaven

Juventus annihilates the Blaugrana to earn the top spot of the Champions League Group G ranking, beating them 0:3 thanks to two penalty kicks scored by the one and only CR7. Never had an Italian team scored as many goals against Barcelona at Camp Nou. 

Photo credits: Tuttomercatoweb.com

By Daphne Seberich

What a stellar night it was for Juventus. The decisive Matchday 6 game was the last opportunity for the Bianconeri to secure the top spot of the Champions League Group G, allowing them to play in the round-of-16 with the 2nd best team ranked in the other groups. Juventus had a colossal task to be able to beat Lionel Messi and his team to 1st place. They needed to score at least three goals and have a two-goal difference to pass the group stage as leaders.

Barcelona was unbeaten in 38 UEFA Champions League home matches, a run that started in September 2013. On the 8th of December 2020, over seven years later, the winning streak came to an end, thanks to a historical team effort of the Italian club. 

It was the night of the exes. Miralem Pjanić, who played four years for the Old Lady and was considered as one of the pillars of the team, was part of an exchange deal undergone by Barça and Juve last summer. The 30-year old Bosnian player got transferred to the Catalan team. Arthur, the young Brazilian prodigy, arrived in Turin to play for Juve. 

Before the Matchday 6 game between the two rivals, Miralem Pjanić released an interview to La Gazzetta Dello Sport, voicing criticism against his new coach Koeman and the atmosphere at the Spanish team, sparking rumors of him wanting to move back to Italy. 

Photo credits: El País

That did not help the Spaniards to keep a united front against the Bianconeri. The Blaugrana struggled the whole match. Keeping up with the high pace of the game was not an easy task for the strained team. Their current performance in La Liga is not helping the morale of the team either. 

Right from the get-go, the Old Lady set the pace, dominating the field. The Catalans were like puppets in the hands of the Juventini puppeteers.

Shivers came down the back for the Barça supporters in the 12th minute of the match.

CR7 was fowled in Barça’s penalty area, letting Tobias Stieler award a penalty to the Bianconeri. Cristiano Ronaldo’s talent and knowledge from the penalty mark allowed him to score what would be the first of three goals of the match. 

Soon after, a perfect pass from Cuadrado turned into an assist for McKennie, who blasted the ball mid-air into the goal defended by German Ter Stegen. Juventus scored two goals in the first twenty minutes of the match, something that no one could have seen coming.

Photo credits: El Comercio Perú

The Bianconeri were striving, thanks in particular to Álvaro Morata’s deadly counterattacks, which put loads of pressure on the Catalan club. The intensity was at an all-time high. 

A first-half-last-minute scare was McKennie knocking down Messi in the Bianconeri’s penalty area, but the VAR demonstrated that the foul was an accident and not intentional. No penalty was awarded.

The second half of the match saw Barça fight back, but the Italians were just on another planet. McKennie, who in my opinion was the man-of-the-match, kicked a challenging ball towards Ter Stegen’s goal, which the German, by a miracle, managed to punch off the pitch. The VAR showed Lenglet touching the ball with his hand far off the sides of his body inside of his penalty area. Tobias Stieler decided to concede the second penalty of the match to the Juventini. 

Photo credits: Outlook India

CR7 did not disappoint and scored the second penalty and final goal of the game. Juventus had earned the needed advantage to secure first place in the group ranking.

The legendary Italian goalkeeper Buffon, who replaced Szczęsny for this match, saved the Juventini from a potential goal at the 65th minute of the game, proving that he still is one of the greatest, even at age 42.

Photo credits: Getty Images

Bonucci managed to score a fourth goal for Juve, which unfortunately did not get validated due to Ronaldo’s offside. He had served the Italian defender the ball.   

Juventus was playing their best football of this season. The team looked united, supporting each other and fighting for every ball, no matter which position the players were supposed to be playing. Even CR7 gave it a go sweeping the ball off Messi in his penalty area during the second half of the match. 

FC Barcelona is in big trouble. Potentially, they could draw a top-ranked team that could cut their Champions League path short, letting them miss out on a substantial amount of money, of which they are in desperate need.

Now, we can only wait until the 14th of December to find out against which team Juve will play in the round-of-16. Fact is, they will have an easier task than the Spanish rivals to make it to the quarterfinal stage of the 2020/2021 Champions League.

Photo credits: Il Corriere dello Sport

IX Trofeo Jarama de Navidad

The IX Trofeo Jarama de Navidad was held in Madrid on the 6th of December. Over 25 cars raced against each other to earn the trophy of their division. The winners lapped the circuit over 90 times for a total duration of three hours. Here are the most characteristic pictures of the race, exclusively provided by Ready Set Sport.

Pictures by Daphne Seberich for Ready Set Sport

Photo rights: Ready Set Sport

The uncertain future and fate of Perez and Russell

Sergio Perez won the Sakhir GP after being involved in a first-lap incident and having to recover from P20. Will his performance convince Red Bull to give him a seat for 2021? George Russell dominated the race, but a fatal mishap done by Mercedes put an end to his victory hopes.

Photo credits: The Telegraph

By Daphne Seberich

Checo Perez’s maiden victory feels like revenge. After being kicked out of Racing Point (former Force India, which survived a financial crisis thanks to him) and being replaced by Sebastian Vettel, even though he was under contract until 2023, the Mexican proved to deserve a seat in Formula 1. Why did Racing Point even consider ending Perez’s contract after all he did for the team? Why did Vettel not take Stroll’s place? Why did Racing Point not choose the strongest driver lineup they could possibly have?

The answer is easy: Lance Stroll is the son of team owner Lawrence Stroll. Even though the Canadian proved to be in good shape this season, being awarded third place in Monza and Bahrain at the Sakhir GP, as well as a pole position in Turkey, he can’t even come close to what Checo has achieved. He was the runner-up at the Turkish GP and almost earned a back-to-back podium last week in Bahrain if it wasn’t for his Mercedes engine failing on the second-to-last lap.

Are other teams interested in signing him? His options are only two: Red Bull offering him Alex Albon’s seat or taking a sabbatical. 

Formula 1 can be cruel and unfair. That is the case for Checo Perez. Helmut Marko and Christian Horner will have to rethink their driver lineup after today. The Mexican deserves to stay in the circus. They would be insane to keep Albon after the disappointing season he had. Yes. He did get on the podium two times this season, but his consistency can’t compare to Perez’s.

It’s time for Red Bull to look outside of their driver pool and give Max Verstappen a challenge. If they really want to be a championship contender next season and finally end Mercedes’s winning streak, the Mexican is the answer to their dilemma.

Photo credits: MomentoGP

There were talks already between Horner and Albon, which, in the case of Red Bull signing the nr. 11 driver, would become the Austrian Formula 1 team’s reserve driver, which is probably what he deserves anyway. The call the Thai driver got to the top, replacing Pierre Gasly at Red Bull, was premature. 

A sabbatical could mean the end of Sergio Perez’s career in Formula 1. Nico Hülkenberg, another racer rejected by the circus, portrayed his qualities, jumping in for Checo when he tested positive for Covid-19. Still, he didn’t get any offer to drive for a team next season. 

On the other side, George Russell, which replaced Lewis Hamilton in his W11, proved to deserve the promotion to the championship-winning team. After qualifying second, only 0.026 behind teammate Valtteri Bottas on his first drive in the new car, the Brit had a brilliant start overtaking the poleman to take the lead of the pack, an unusual scenario for the Williams driver. His dominance was unthinkable. Russell started from the dirty side of the track, which usually disadvantages the drivers that qualify as an even number. 

At some point, I was wondering if Hamilton was driving the car. Russell’s pace was unmatched. Lap after lap, the Brit proved consistently to be faster than Bottas, opening the gap to the Finn to three seconds in twenty laps. His first tire change advantaged him substantially, even though there was a scary moment when his Mercedes lost power, a sensor problem that thankfully got easily fixed.

What changed the Brit’s fate was the double pit-stop that the Mercedes mechanics didn’t manage well. Russell stopped first, but due to an oversight of the team, the tires that were mounted onto his car weren’t the correct ones: he was driving on a set of mediums that belonged to Bottas. The Mercedes mechanics soon figured the mishap out. Instead of following the same mistake with the Finn’s car, they just remounted the same tire he used for his previous twenty laps. What a mess.

Due to the incorrect tires that were fitted onto the W11, the Mercedes Junior driver had to pit once again to not have to undergo a penalty. Russell lost the lead of the race and found himself behind the nr. 77 driver in 5th place, although on a fresher set of tires. He quickly swept through the field to regain his merit, but the odds were not in his favor. A rear-left puncture forced the former Williams driver to switch to another set of tires and to work his way up the field from P15. What a pity.

Although Lady Luck wasn’t on George Russell’s side, he demolished the drivers ahead of him, finishing the race in P9. 

Photo credits: Corriere

Fate was on Perez’s side today, but both drivers deserved the win. What does the future hold for the two drivers? Will Checo stay in Formula 1 next season? In my opinion, he deserves to be part of the pinnacle of motorsport.

Will Russell get the call up to Mercedes for 2021? Not likely, but he proved the whole world to merit to drive in Formula 1 and for a top team. George is a brilliant driver and can withstand the comparison to other youngsters like Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc. They are the future of racing. 

Thomas Müller – the pillar of Bayern Munich

The deciding factor that determined the fate of both teams was Hans Flick’s smart move to exchange Javi Martinez for Bayern legend Thomas Müller. As soon as he entered the field, he proved to be a pillar of the Bavarian team. 

Photo credits: TyC Sports

By Daphne Seberich

It only ended in a draw between the Colchoneros and the German giants in the 5th matchday of Group A at the 2020/2021 Champions League tournament. Bayern München has secured first place in Group A with two games to spare, while Atlético de Madrid has to deliver at the last face-off against RB Salzburg in Austria to secure a spot in the round-of-16 of this year’s elite football tournament.  

Bayern proves to be a title contender for this year’s cup-with-the-big-ears tournament. Even though they weren’t playing with their top team, young stars like 17-year-old Musiala shined on the pitch of the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid. The superiority of the German isn’t abysmal, but the Spaniards couldn’t avenge themselves. The Colchoneros took a beat in the match held in Munich, losing 4-0 against the Bavarian team. 

The German giants had extended their competition record run of victories to 15 this season, following the home defeat of Atlético with wins at Lokomotiv Moskva and Salzburg. A 3-1 home victory against the Austrians sealed the top spot of the ranking to move on to the knockout stage. The draw ended their winning streak.

In 2020 Bayern has prevailed in 38 of their 41 matches. After a 0-0 draw at home to Leipzig on the 9th of February, they were on a run of 23 successive competitive wins – a new German record – and 32 matches without defeat, until a 4-1 loss against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim on the 27th of September brought their accomplishments to an end.

The first half of the match saw Atlético Madrid be more of a threat to the Group A ranking leaders, showing off their Portuguese no. 7 player João Félix (the new Cristiano?) and other assets like Correa and Carrasco. 

An ingenuity from defender Süle offers the youngster from Viseu a chance to pierce the net defended by Neuer’s replacement Alexander Nübel at the 26th minute of the match.

Then it was Bayern’s turn to show off their upcoming player Musiala, which they bought from Chelsea in 2019. The Brit hit the back of the net, missing out by a hair on a potential first goal in the Champions League

The second half of the game saw Bayern pick up the slack from the first minutes of the match, assuring their dominance on the pitch. Hernandez had a big occasion from a corner, just missing out on a head strike if it wasn’t for a miraculous intervention by the Colchoneros’ defense. 

João Felix makes the Bayern supporters shiver. In the 58th minute of the match, he blasts the ball onto the post of the German team’s goal. 

Bayern continuously attacked the Colchoneros, putting a lot of pressure on Simeone and his players. On the 85th round-of-the-clock, the match completely changes. Müller, the new entry for Bayern, who was well in the penalty area of the Spaniards, got knocked down by a naive Felipe, securing a penalty for his team. Oblak guessed the corner that Müller chose, but the ball surpassed the goal line and awarded Bayern the needed goal to avoid their first defeat in the Champions League since 15 consecutive wins.

The Germans are undoubtedly the favorites to raise the cup with the big ears for the second time in a row. Will they succeed? Only Real Madrid in the 2016/2017 season and AC Milan in 1989/1990 managed to defend their title. Could Bayern join those football giants in this exclusive statistic?

Photo credits: Milenio