Sports

Mercedes look to extend winning streak to 10 at French Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton will seek to stretch his lead and extend Mercedes' unbeaten run to 10 races with a victory unaided by fortune at this weekend's French Grand Prix.

The defending five-time world champion, a lucky winner in Canada two weeks ago when Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel was controversially penalised, won at the Le Castellet track last year. He is hunting his sixth win this year and the 79th of his career.

If he, or teammate Valtteri Bottas, succeeds, it will mean the Silver Arrows have won all eight contests this year after finishing last season with two triumphs.

But, after a testing weekend in Montreal, where Vettel claimed pole position and finished the race first "on the road", Hamilton and Mercedes are wary of any signs of complacency.

Team chief Toto Wolff admitted: "Canada was something of a wake-up call for us.

"After a run of very good reliability over the first six races, we experienced a number of problems almost all of which were of our own making."

He said the team would learn from their problems and thanked the mechanics for their excellent work.

"We expect another tough fight in France," he added. - AFP

Naomi Osaka ousted, Kristyna Pliskova prevails in battle of twins

World No. 1 Naomi Osaka suffered an embarrassing exit yesterday at the hands of Yulia Putintseva in the second round of the Birmingham Classic.

The 21-year-old Japanese, who won the 2018 US Open and the Australian Open in January, was ousted 6-2, 6-3 by the 43rd-ranked Putintseva.

Osaka's defeat means French Open winner Ashleigh Barty, who defeated American Jennifer Brady 6-3, 6-1, can secure the world No. 1 ranking if she wins the tournament.

Jelena Ostapenko, a former French Open winner herself, dealt Johanna Konta's Wimbledon preparations a blow after she defeated the 28-year-old Briton 6-3, 6-4.

On Wednesday, world No. 3 Karolina Pliskova's loss to her twin sister Kristyna at the same event was the WTA Tour's first-ever clash between twins in a main-draw match.

In the first meeting of the Pliskova twins since 2012, it was the 112nd-ranked Kristyna who edged a three-set thriller 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (9/7).

"We both were nervous," younger twin Karolina, 27, told the WTA website.

"I was not scared about losing or winning - but because we didn't face each other in so many years, so we just didn't know how it was going to be."

Kristyna will take on another Czech in the third round when she faces world No. 51 Barbora Strycova. - AFP

MOTORSPORTS