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'Only technical problems' can stop Verstappen - Marko

'Only technical problems' can stop Verstappen - Marko
© Reuters
Max Verstappen is on course to beat Lewis Hamilton to his first world championship in 2021, according to the international media.

Max Verstappen is on course to beat Lewis Hamilton to his first world championship in 2021, according to the international media.

After a thrilling race at Paul Ricard, the Austrian newspaper Kronen Zeitung said Red Bull's Verstappen "conquered another piece of Mercedes' territory".

Spain's AS concluded: "Hamilton is no longer the boss."

Another Spanish daily, Diario Sport, said the French GP was a "moral blow" to Hamilton and Mercedes.

"Is this the turning point for this world championship?" wonders La Gazzetta dello Sport. "Verstappen's victory is an alarm for Mercedes."

Italian correspondent Luigi Perna said: "The pressure created by Red Bull highlights Mercedes' weaknesses."

Corriere dello Sport, another Italian newspaper, described 23-year-old Verstappen - who now leads the standings by 12 points - as "the new Hamilton".

"He has extraordinary confidence in his and his team's abilities. He maintains control of the situation even in the most difficult of situations.

"The boredom of a Formula 1 tailor-made for Mercedes is over," the report added.

Corriere della Sera observed: "Formula Max scares Hamilton. Hamilton is the heroic image of a driver who is not used to fighting so hard to stay on top.

"With this form, Verstappen cannot be stopped."

Red Bull's top F1 official Dr Helmut Marko stridently agrees with the media's conclusions.

"Who or what can stop us?" the 78-year-old declared. "Only technical problems can stop Max. Or if Mercedes conjures up a magic trick."

The Finnish newspaper Ilta Sanomat surmised: "What has happened to Mercedes? Their championships were built not only on the best car but also the best team.

"Red Bull has overtaken them," correspondent Tommi Koivunen concluded.

Racing driver Tom Coronel told Algemeen Dagblad newspaper: "I only see Mercedes doing one thing - panic. Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas, Toto Wolff.

"They point to Red Bull's wings - all sorts of the wrong things. They are under very intense pressure - just look at the swearing from Bottas and the doubts of Hamilton."

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Valtteri Bottas pictured at Imola on October 31, 2020
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States19201352
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia11151238
Great BritainGreat Britain9101231
Today's Olympic highlights header

Sunday's key events

· The men's golf reaches its conclusion, with plenty of players still in medal contention. Home favourite Hideki Matsuyama is one shot off Xander Schauffele's lead, while Great Britain's Paul Casey is another shot further back and Tommy Fleetwood is also in the mix (11.30pm-8am)

· Great Britain have already made history in the BMX events in Tokyo, something Charlotte Worthington and Declan Brooks will be looking to add to in the women's (2.10am) and men's (3.10am) freestyle finals

· The final day of swimming action begins with the men's 50m freestyle final. Ben Proud could add to a medal-laden Games in the pool for Team GB so far, although he is up against USA's Caeleb Dressel, who is going for his fourth gold in Tokyo (2.30am)
· From sprint to endurance, Great Britain's second medal hope of the day comes through Daniel Jervis in the men's 1500m freestyle final (2.44am)
· Team GB will again be among the heavy favourites for gold in the last swimming event of the Games - the men's 4x100m medley relay final - having won the mixed event in a world record time on Saturday (3.36am)

· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Pat McCormack takes part in the men's welterweight semi-final against Ireland's Aidan Walsh with a spot in the gold medal final at stake (4.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also in the semi-finals of the men's light heavyweight and will be looking to continue Team GB's success in the ring (4.51am)

· There will be a surprise on the top of the men's tennis podium after Novak Djokovic missed out on a medal altogether. Alexander Zverev takes on Karen Khachanov in the second match on Centre Court at the Ariake Tennis Park (7am-2pm)

· Alison Young will be going for gold in the women's laser radial medal race (7.33am)

· Team GB's Max Whitlock will look to defend his 2016 Olympic title in the men's pommel horse final (10.41am)

· The men's high jump final includes GB's Tom Gale, although his chances of a medal look bleak (11.10am)
· So often the blue-riband event of the Olympics, the men's 100m final takes place as the world's fastest bid to be crowned Usain Bolt's successor. Three Brits have made it into the semi-finals (11.15am-11.32am), and the final looks wide open after an underwhelming display by favourite Trayvon Bromell on Saturday (1.50pm)

· Great Britain face India in the men's quarter-final (1pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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