Max Verstappen: ‘If you don’t believe you can do it, it’s better to stay home’

The Red Bull driver says self-analysis and experience means he is as confident as ever heading into the 2019 F1 season

Never one to lack faith in his own abilities Max Verstappen is, as ever, brimming with confidence before his fifth season in Formula One. Such is his prodigious talent and indeed his assurance in it, the popular conception is that it was ever thus. Yet on the eve of the Australian Grand Prix Verstappen unusually admits that even he once harboured shades of doubt. They are, of course, now long-since dismissed, summarily dealt with in the forge that has made his personality so strong, a process he concedes that was tough as a child but from which has emerged a world championship contender.

Now 21, Verstappen started karting aged four, encouraged by his father Jos, who raced in F1 in the 1990s and early 2000s. In 2015, at 17, Verstappen became the youngest driver to compete in a grand prix, a year later he was the youngest to win a race, in Spain for Red Bull, the team for whom he still drives. He has been impossible to ignore, his talent braced by a self-belief of positively belligerent conviction. He is outspoken, entertaining and F1 must hope he is the future. It is the past that has defined why he believes he will be.

Related: F1 2019: team-by-team guide to the cars and drivers | Giles Richards

 There have been plenty of drivers switching seats in the buildup to the new season. Daniel Ricciardo has left Red Bull for Renault, with Carlos Sainz moving to McLaren after Fernando Alonso’s departure. Frenchman Pierre Gasly has been promoted from Toro Rosso to replace Ricciardo, with British-Thai driver Alex Albon taking his place. 

I felt by driving a little slower I became better after those six races. Every single race I learn

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Source: Formula 1

Melbourne ready to roar for F1 and V8 Supercars at Albert Park | Yassmin Abdel-Magied

It is not just Formula One followers who will descend on Melbourne this week, the V8 races draw a different crowd that only adds to the excitement for motorsport fans

The Australian Grand Prix is often a hot affair. The Formula One season opener comes through Melbourne at the tail end of tarmac-melting summer, the week before the nation’s first round of AFL fixtures, and a couple of months after the Australian Open. F1 fans worldwide are hungry for the first broadcast of the 2019 season and Albert Park is a fine place to start, with the picturesque lake and lush greenery a beautiful backdrop.

The Victorian capital has hosted the Australian Grand Prix since 1996, taking it from Adelaide shortly after Melbourne lost its bid for the 1996 Olympics to Atlanta. Rumour has it that the loss, combined with Sydney’s successful bid for the 2000 Olympics, fuelled the state government’s drive to secure the race. Bernie Ecclestone memorably said the negotiations took just 10 minutes – faster than a flat white at a Melbourne cafe. It wasn’t always popular: local residents lamented the lack of access to the park for three months of the year and said that the money could be better spent elsewhere. But the Melbourne contract was re-signed in 2015 and continues until 2023, so it’s not going anywhere any time soon.

Related: F1 2019: who and what to look out for in the new season

Related: Mattia Binotto embarks on marathon sprint to get Ferrari back on track | Richard Williams

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Source: Formula 1

Mattia Binotto embarks on marathon sprint to get Ferrari back on track | Richard Williams

Swiss has a complex task as team principal – ending the Mercedes stranglehold while F1 faces environmental concerns

With his shock of dark hair and his round black-framed spectacles, Mattia Binotto looks as though he might have taken his masters degree at the University of Modena in the theories of the Marxist philosopher Antonio Gramsci rather than motor vehicle technology. But it is the 49-year-old engineer whose success or failure in a new role is likely to define Formula One’s short-term bid to preserve its credibility as it begins its 70th season in Melbourne on Sunday.

In a world increasingly aware of climate change, the sport is engaged in a bout of existential introspection. Does an intrinsically frivolous exercise that so flagrantly depends on the products of non‑renewable fossil fuel have the right to a continued existence? Or is the effect of the sporting use of the internal combustion engine so minuscule compared with the damage caused by its other manifestations that to remove a source of pleasure for many people represents a example of pointless gesture politics?

Related: F1 2019: who and what to look out for in the new season

The three engineers appointed before Binotto as Ferrari team principal were all removed within a year

Related: Robert Kubica: ‘You gain nothing from giving up. You have to adapt’

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Source: Formula 1

Robert Kubica: ‘You gain nothing from giving up. You have to adapt’

On the eve of an incredible return to F1, the Williams driver explains how his difficult character helped him overcome the physical and mental effects of losing part of his arm

Robert Kubica is all too aware of the staggering odds he has defied in making his return to Formula One, but his achievement truly hits home upon greeting him in the Williams motorhome. The measure of the remarkable comeback he will make when he takes to the grid for next Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix is starkly illustrated when the Pole leans in to shake hands. His eyes still gleam with a piercing strength of purpose but beneath them his right forearm, partially severed in an accident eight years ago, carries little weight in the handshake and bears the visible disfigurement of repeated surgery.

Even now on the eve of his return, it seems hard to believe he has overcome such a calamitous injury, but for Kubica it was the psychological battle that proved to be the greatest challenge of his life.

Related: Mercedes enjoy constructive winter but Williams sleep through alarm | Richard Williams

You live in a different situation, so in the end there is a kind of switch. I discovered how powerful the brain can be.

 There have been plenty of drivers switching seats in the buildup to the new season. Daniel Ricciardo has left Red Bull for Renault, with Carlos Sainz moving to McLaren after Fernando Alonso’s departure. Frenchman Pierre Gasly has been promoted from Toro Rosso to replace Ricciardo, with British-Thai driver Alex Albon taking his place. 

Related: Netflix’s F1 series offers a captivating, candid glimpse behind the curtain | Giles Richards

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Source: Formula 1

F1 2019: who and what to look out for in the new season

Charles Leclerc’s battle with Vettel, rookie drivers, a fastest lap bonus and easier overtaking are a recipe for drama

Ferrari protégé Charles Leclerc – impressive in his rookie season for Sauber last year – is cleared to race without team orders against Sebastian Vettel. In testing the 21-year-old Monégasque showed no sign of being intimidated, virtually matching the German’s times, and Vettel is unlikely to react well to being beaten by a junior teammate. Potentially the must‑watch drama of the season.

 There have been plenty of drivers switching seats in the buildup to the new season. Daniel Ricciardo has left Red Bull for Renault, with Carlos Sainz moving to McLaren after Fernando Alonso’s departure. Frenchman Pierre Gasly has been promoted from Toro Rosso to replace Ricciardo, with British-Thai driver Alex Albon taking his place. 

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Source: Formula 1

Sports quiz of the week: laughter, LeBron, L'Equipe and F1 fastest laps

Who ‘felt flat’ after a big win? Who prepared in style? Who had a dig at Watford?

‘I looked over at him a few times and that made me laugh a little’ – who said this during the week, and who were they talking about?

Mike Phelan about Neymar

Hatem Ben Arfa about Unai Emery

Kepa Arrizabalaga about Maurizio Sarri

Daniele de Rossi about Eusebio di Francesco

Nick Kyrgios won his first ATP Tour trophy for over a year in Acapulco on Sunday, but how did he prepare for the final?

Getting advice from his friend Andy Murray over the phone

Sitting in a sauna to prepare for extreme heat on court

Spending the afternoon on a jetski

Watching opponent Alexander Zverev’s train from under a sombrero

Who was accused of exaggerating the toughness of his upbringing this week?

Anthony Joshua

Ronnie O’Sullivan

Owen Farrell

Dan Evans

Swiss cyclist Nicole Hanselmann built up a big lead in a race on Sunday, but finished 74th. What went wrong?

She suffered multiple punctures and had to jog the last half-mile

She caught up the men’s race ahead of her and was held up by officials

She had been going the wrong way and had to turn around

She had to stop for an extended comfort break

LeBron James overtook his idol, Michael Jordan, to become the NBA’s fourth-highest points scorer of all time. Who is top of the list?

Kobe Bryant

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Shaquille O’Neal

Karl Malone

Who joined an exclusive club by earning 10/10 from L’Equipe in midweek?

Romelu Lukaku

Hakim Ziyech

Dusan Tadic

Iker Casillas

France head to Dublin in the Six Nations on Sunday, and have a poor recent away record in the competition. Where did they last win a game in Britain or Ireland?

Murrayfield

Croke Park

Etihad Stadium

Stadium:mk

‘I feel a bit flat to be honest with you’ – who said this after a landmark win this week?

Harry Kane

Virat Kohli

Phil Neville

Nick Kyrgios

Harry Kane will face Southampton on Saturday having scored seven goals in eight Premier League games against them. Who was Kane playing for when he first faced the Saints?

Norwich

Spurs

Millwall

Leyton Orient

Formula One returns next weekend, with the organisers set to introduce what prize for the fastest lap in each race?

A two-place boost up the grid in the next race

A gold helmet to wear in the next race

A bonus point that counts towards the overall standings

£250,000 in cash

8 and above.

Outstanding. Enjoy the rest of your weekend

0 and above.

Unlucky. Enjoy the rest of your weekend

3 and above.

A fair effort. Enjoy the rest of your weekend

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Source: Formula 1

F1 set to bring back bonus points for fastest laps after 60-year absence

• Driver with fastest lap in each GP set to earn bonus point
• Points were last awarded for fastest laps in 1959 season

Formula One is set to re-introduce the awarding of a bonus point for the driver who records the fastest lap at a grand prix this season, after an absence of 60 years. The decision is still subject to ratification but is expected to be implemented before the season begins in Melbourne next week.

Related: Ferrari have best chance for years but must give ground on money, says Brawn

 There have been plenty of drivers switching seats in the buildup to the new season. Daniel Ricciardo has left Red Bull for Renault, with Carlos Sainz moving to McLaren after Fernando Alonso’s departure. Frenchman Pierre Gasly has been promoted from Toro Rosso to replace Ricciardo, with British-Thai driver Alex Albon taking his place. 

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Source: Formula 1

Ferrari have best chance for years but must give ground on money, says Brawn

• Vettel capable of winning championship, says F1 director
• New deal needed to address ‘unfair distribution’ of funds

The Formula One sporting director, Ross Brawn, believes Ferrari are in the best possible position to challenge for the world championship this season. Brawn said the team had been in disarray last year but had emerged stronger. He also warned that when the new commercial agreement with the teams is made, Ferrari could no longer expect to receive a disproportionate payment from the sport’s revenue as F1 seeks a more equitable distribution of funds.

Related: Only one conclusion to draw from F1 2019 testing: advantage Ferrari | Giles Richards

Twitter: follow us at @guardian_sport

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Source: Formula 1

Netflix’s F1 series offers a captivating, candid glimpse behind the curtain | Giles Richards

In the absence of Ferrari and Mercedes, the new documentary allows characters like the acerbic Haas team principal, Guenther Steiner, to shine and show F1’s human face

Skill, drama, spectacle and of course entertainment are the elements that should drive Formula One with, hopefully, a fine narrative to push the show along. Netflix certainly believes the sport has a story to tell, even though the two biggest names involved – Ferrari and Mercedes – refused to play ball when their cameras roamed the paddock last season. The result, Formula 1: Drive To Survive, is released on Friday and as it turns out, Netflix perhaps achieved something even more intriguing in their absence.

The 10-part series was made by executive producer James Gay-Rees, who was behind the biopic documentaries Senna and Amy. The hyperbolic, faintly ridiculous title aside, he and Netflix have made a very decent fist of it. The fact that it exists at all is indicative of how the sport has changed. Such a project would have been unthinkable under Bernie Ecclestone, and it shows that F1’s owners, Liberty Media, understand that they need to sell that drama, spectacle and entertainment.

Related: Only one conclusion to draw from F1 2019 testing: advantage Ferrari | Giles Richards

Australian Grand Prix Melbourne, 17 March
Bahrain GP Sakhir, 31 March
Chinese GP Shanghai, 14 April
Azerbaijan GP Baku, 28 April
Spanish GP Barcelona, 12 May
Monaco GP Monte Carlo, 26 May
Canadian GP Montreal, 9 June
French GP Le Castellet, 23 June
Austrian GP Spielberg, 30 June
British GP Silverstone, 14 July
German GP Hockenheim, 28 July
Hungarian GP Budapest, 4 August

Belgian GP Spa-Francorchamps, 1 September
Italian GP Monza 8 September
Singapore GP Marina Bay 22 September
Russian GP Sochi 29 September
Japanese GP Suzuka 13 October
Mexican GP Mexico City 27 October
US GP, Austin, 3 November
Brazilian GP, São Paulo, 17 November
Abu Dhabi GP, Yas Marina, 1 December

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Source: Formula 1

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