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Bold F1 predictions for 2022: Hamilton’s last stand paves way for rise of Russell

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Looking back at how the 2021 Formula One season unfolded, it’s like someone’s bold predictions came true.

Two drivers tied atop of the standings heading into the season finale? That hadn’t happened since 1974. Esteban Ocon earning his first Grand Prix victory? Not without chaos, of course. George Russell putting a Williams car back on the podium when a Grand Prix gets called off after just one lap? Yep, that was a thing that happened. Lewis Hamilton losing out to Max Verstappen for the world championship on the last lap after a late safety car sets up a controversial head-to-head finish? Let’s not kick that hornets’ nest again.

As crazy as this year was, F1 is introducing new regulations for 2022 — with the intention to create closer racing and potentially increase overtaking — meaning we could be in for an even wilder season ahead. At least that’s the theory, we’ll have to wait until the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix in March to see how it actually plays out.

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Before “it’s lights out and away we go” with my bold F1 predictions for 2022, just remember: This is all an exercise in good fun, so no need to flip out if some of these are too bold. Besides, we need something to lighten the mood after such a dramatic and divisive ending this year.

Sportsnet’s Bold Predictions for 2022
With the new year on the horizon, we’re putting our boldest predictions for 2022 on the record. Find the latest as they’re published right here.

Hamilton will win his record eighth world championship … and then contemplate his future

Hamilton is going to come back with a vengeance after having the world championship snatched from his grasp in the season finale.

Already the all-time leader in Grand Prix victories with 103, Hamilton will continue to add to his total en route to an unprecedented eighth world championship to surpass all-time great Michael Schumacher.

At the risk of receiving hate mail from Verstappen fans and everyone in the Netherlands, these are supposed to be bold predictions. A successful title defence for Verstappen doesn’t cut it, but neither does another championship victory from Hamilton.

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Let’s turn it up a notch: Feeling drained after giving it his all in 2022, Hamilton will opt to take a break from the sport. Considering 11 drivers are reportedly without contracts after the season, the dominoes shall fall for the silliest of silly seasons beginning with Hamilton’s replacement.

Mercedes test driver Nyck de Vries or even Ocon (who’s managed by Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff) are the most likely candidates. Here’s a bold consideration: Mercedes poaches Pierre Gasly from AlphaTauri and really drives the knife into Red Bull Racing.

Gasly tasted bitterness following his demotion to Red Bull’s B-team and since then has seemingly done everything to prove he’s worthy of being Verstappen’s teammate again on the main squad. Perhaps it’s time to look elsewhere and what better place than the No. 1 team and Red Bull’s rival?

Russell, not Verstappen, will finish second in the championship

Mercedes will also dominate the constructors’ championship once more to claim a record-extending ninth title. Who’s ready for more fired-up Wolff memes?

With Honda still supporting Red Bull Racing but no longer supplying power units and everything now being done in-house, it’s understandable if unforeseen issues crop up and spoil Verstappen’s title defence.

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Challenging Hamilton for the world championship instead will be his new Mercedes teammate. We’ve already seen what Russell is capable of doing in a Mercedes when he subbed for Hamilton at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix by finishing ninth and earning the fastest lap bonus point. That was in a car he wasn’t even fitted for and if not for a routine pit stop that went haywire who knows how well Russell would have done.

Russell will pick up his first Grand Prix victory, maybe even a few, and will be a fixture on the podium.

This will also factor into Hamilton’s decision to step back from the sport with the writing on the wall that this is now Russell’s team going forward.

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As 2021 reaches its end, we’re reflecting on the stories that shaped our year. Here are some of our favourite Big Reads from the last 12 months.

Ferrari will continue to climb but create a rift between Leclerc and Sainz

Russell isn’t the only driver who will pick up his first Grand Prix victory in 2022. If the new regulations work out as planned, we should see a couple other drivers stand at the top of the podium for the first time as well.

Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris earning their first wins is an evergreen prediction. Both certainly have the talent and the wheels driving for Ferrari and McLaren, respectively, that it should happen eventually.

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While the bro-mance between Norris and Daniel Ricciardo on McLaren will remain intact, Sainz snapping Ferrari’s nearly three-year Grand Prix victory drought will drive a wedge between him and Charles Leclerc.

Sainz already edged Leclerc in the points last season, however, Leclerc has had greater peaks securing pole position twice and has two Grand Prix victories with Ferrari under his belt — albeit both wins came in 2019.

Tension will also rise as one of them has to be in the hot seat with Mick Schumacher waiting in the wings. (More on that in our final bold prediction.)

Ferrari sprinted away from McLaren during the back half of last season to take third in the constructors’ championship. That momentum should continue but it’ll come at a cost.

Aston Martin will struggle again and Sebastian Vettel will leave

The new regulations may help a team pull off an out-of-nowhere 2009 Brawn GP season but Aston Martin already had their opportunity to surprise in 2020 when they were still known as Racing Point. The controversial “Pink Mercedes” design – which helped them finish fourth in the constructors’ — basically set the lofty expectations they’ve been chasing since.

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It’s more likely Aston Martin will continue to languish in the mid-to-back field as they’re still going through a rebuilding phase.

The frustration of not being consistently competitive will be enough for Sebastian Vettel and the four-time world champion will part ways with the team at the end of the year. As for where? We can only picture him shooting for the stars and maybe Vettel will throw his name into the hat as a possible replacement for Hamilton at Mercedes.

In Memoriam
As 2021 reaches its end, Sportsnet is remembering not only the moments that stayed with us, but the people who’ve left us.

Mick Schumacher will score his first point(s)

Perhaps the boldest of bold predictions? Jokes aside, Haas F1 Team will improve in 2022 simply because they’re the only ones who have nowhere else to go but up. It can’t get any worse than their dreadful 2021 campaign finishing last in the constructors’ championship with neither Mick Schumacher nor Nikita Mazepin scoring a single point.

Both were also rookie drivers and there’s reason to believe Haas is focused on the future. Haas strengthened its relationship with engine manufacturer Ferrari by bringing in Simone Resta, formerly Ferrari’s head of chassis engineering, as technical director on a long-term contract prior to last season.

Let’s also not forget Schumacher is more or less on loan to Haas rising up through the Ferrari Driver Academy and also serving as their reserve driver. It’s in Ferrari’s best interest to see Haas, specifically Schumacher, succeed.

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It’s not going to be easy for Schumacher though as his first point(s) will probably come in a Grand Prix with a lot of luck (i.e. multiple retirements). It’s how he ended up with his best result of 2021 finishing P12 in Hungary with seven cars failing to cross the finish line. Hey, if two more drivers had gotten caught up in the opening lap pile-up, Schumacher would have netted his first point then and there.

Cue the rumour mill that the son of Michael Schumacher is ready to follow in his father’s footsteps. What if Ferrari isn’t the only team his father drove for that is interested in the younger Schumacher? No, not the return of the Benetton family, but what about Mercedes?



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Jacoby Brissett shares funny story about Eagles’ Nick Sirianni trying to fight fans when two were with Colts

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Nick Sirianni has showcased himself as a passionate head coach since being hired by the Philadelphia Eagles a year ago. Sirianni demonstrated how passionate he can be toward his team when a bouquet of flowers was thrown at him after a November loss to the Los Angeles Chargers last year, a moment he doesn’t like to reminiscence about. 

Turns out, Sirianni has unleashed his passion towards his team prior to his days in Philadelphia. Cleveland Browns quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who was the signal-caller for the Indianapolis Colts when Sirianni was the offensive coordinator, shared a good story regarding his former coach and his encounters with fans ahead of the Browns-Eagles preseason matchup Saturday night.

“Remember he was trying to fight fans one time they were booing us,” Brissett said with many laughs from the media in attendance. “A lot of good memories. A great friend. A great coach obviously. I am extremely happy for him and the opportunity that he has been presented. I think he did a great job last year. Excited to see where he goes. I am a big fan of him.”

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Sirianni’s second year as the offensive coordinator in Indianapolis was the year Andrew Luck shockingly retired (2019), forcing Brissett into the starting role. Brissett started 15 games for the Colts that season, going 7-8 in his starts while completing 60.2% of his passes for 2,942 yards, 18 touchdowns and six interceptions for an 88.0 passer rating. Brissett didn’t throw a touchdown pass, nor did he throw for more than 200 yards in his last three games played in 2019, finishing with a passer rating lower than 70 on all three occurrences. 

Brissett and Sirianni were together in Indianapolis for three years before the Eagles hired Sirianni and Brissett signed with the Miami Dolphins in 2021. Sirianni was flattered Brissett shared those fan stories, going into detail why he’s ultra passionate toward his players. 

“He’s teasing and making that up a little bit,” Sirianni said with a laugh. “I think one thing that, to a fault, maybe, even with me is — and I’ve been this way since I was a little kid with my brothers, we’re a family. My brothers and my dad and my mom were a family and I’m the youngest. One brother is nine years older than me and one is six years older than me. When they would have a bad game or say something bad about them or talk bad about them, I was quick to be defensive of them because I love them.

“Now as a coach, I feel like I have that. I was like that as a teammate I would like to think. As a coach, I definitely know I have that, like, protective (instinct) — like I know these guys are the biggest, strongest men in the world and they can protect themselves, but I love these guys. 

“That’s just an instinct that you have. That’s how I was raised, and I was like, this is our family, and I just have that protective instinct to defend them, and that’s been like that with every team I’ve ever coached.”

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Packers’ Matt LaFleur says Jordan Love ‘light years ahead’ of last year: ‘The game has slowed down for him’

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Jordan Love certainly showed the progress the Green Bay Packers wanted from the first preseason game to the second, using the deep ball to give Green Bay optimism in a post-Aaron Rodgers world. Love was accurate on his deep passes that didn’t reflect his overall performance in the box score. 

Packers head coach Matt LaFleur liked what he saw from the former first-round pick, saying he’s “light years ahead” of where he was last year.

“I think the game has slowed down for him,” LaFleur said after Friday’s 20-10 win over the New Orleans Saints (via ESPN). “I see a much more decisive player. I think that’s going to lead to a much more effective player.”

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Love finished 12 of 24 for 113 yards with one touchdown and zero interceptions, yet his performance was highlighted by several drops that affected his night. Love threw a deep pass to seventh-round rookie Samori Toure that wasn’t a completion, and fourth-round rookie Romeo Doubs also misread a pass that led to a drop. LaFleur admitted Toure’s ball needed to be caught. 

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The Packers are liking what they’re seeing from Love, throwing accurate deep passes and showcasing his arm strength. The five drops certainly affected Love’s performance — as was the case in his three-interception game last week — yet the Packers have seen enough to be confident in Love if he had to play this year.





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Combate Global picks, live stream, how to watch, fight card: Tena vs. Romero predictions, channel, time

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The Combate Global schedule will continue Friday on Paramount+ with five fights from La Jaula in Miami. Ivan Tena is a 23-year-old featherweight who looks like one of the best prospects in the promotion after earning three knockout victories and one submission win in his first four fights. He’ll take on Mexican fighter Roberto Romero in a USA vs. Mexico showdown in the 145-pound division. You can stream the action live on Paramount+.

The co-main event will feature Chile’s Valentina Escobar (1-0) against Mexico’s Yazmin Najera in a fight at 120 pounds. Another bout on the Combate Global fight card will feature a pair of veteran featherweights as Carlos Rivera (14-6) takes on Landry Ward (5-1). The Combate Global fight card begins at 10:30 p.m. ET and you can catch all the action live on Paramount+.

Paramount+ now has two levels of membership so you can watch Combate and much more. The Premium Plan is $9.99 per month and you can watch your local CBS live stream, including plenty of sports like Champions League, Italian Serie A, college hoops, and the PGA Tour, with no ads, on-demand and the ability to download episodes for offline viewing. Plus, watch the highly-anticipated series Halo, Picard, 1883, and more. Both plans come with a free week to start. Paramount+ will even give you a free week to start, so sign up now here.

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How to watch Combate Global 

  • Date: Friday, August 19
  • Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
  • Streaming: Paramount+

Top Combate Global picks for Aug. 19 fight card

Before tuning in to Friday’s Combate Global fight card, you need to see the picks from SportsLine’s MMA insider Andrew Gombas. With more than 1,400 selections tracked by the third-party monitoring service Bet MMA, he has shown a 6 percent return on investment for his followers. Over the past two years, his followers have netted a profit of more than $10,000. 

For Friday’s card, Gombas is picking Tena to defeat Romero to stay unbeaten and continue his rise up the featherweight ranks. Tena is a recent Arizona State graduate who trains out of MMA Lab and has finished all four of his professional fights in the first or second round. Romero is coming off a draw against Zed Montanez in his last fight.

“This is a fantastic main event for the Combate USA vs. Mexico card. Ivan Tena is one of the prospects in Combate who I hold in high regard. Roberto Romero is known for an exciting fighting style and has a bright future as well. I have to side with Tena. He is a slick finisher who punishes his opponents for making mistakes. I think he gets another finish,” Gombas told SportsLine. Stream the card on Paramount+ now.

How to watch Combate Global in Miami

Now that you know who to pick, get ready to watch Combate Global. Visit Paramount+ now to see the Combate Global, your live local CBS sporting events, some of the world’s top soccer matchups and much more.

August 19 Combate Global fight card

Stream the entire Combate Global fight card here

  • Ivan Tena vs. Roberto Romero
  • Valentina Escobar vs. Yazmin Najera
  • Carlos Rivera vs. Landry Ward
  • Jaret Betancourt vs. Rodrigo Garcia
  • Katie Perez vs. Andrea Meneses Garcia



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