It was a night to forget for Manchester City at Anfield, where Liverpool ran riot in the Champions League.

The Orlando Magic also came crashing back to earth after their home winning streak was ended by the Boston Celtics.

Sebastian Vettel topped the podium in Malaysia, and he had a team-mate alongside him back in 2010.

We take a look back at April 4 in sporting history.

 

2018 - Liverpool paint Merseyside red

City were greeted to a hostile reception on Merseyside and it was a sign of things to come in the opening leg of the Champions League quarter-final.

Liverpool fans attacked and damaged the City team coach on its way into the stadium, prompting an "unreserved" apology from manager Jurgen Klopp.

On the field, Liverpool blitzed Pep Guardiola's City 3-0 – scoring three goals in the first 31 minutes to take control of the blockbuster tie.

Goals from Mohamed Salah, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sadio Mane heaped misery on City, who were brushed aside 5-1 on aggregate as the Reds went on to reach the final.

 

1996 - Celtics burst Magic's bubble

Up until this day, the Magic had gone 51 consecutive games without defeat at home to Eastern Conference opponents.

It was an NBA-record run dating back to April 1994.

However, Orlando's streak was halted by Boston following a 100-98 defeat.

 

 

2010 - Vettel leads Red Bull in Malaysia

It was the Red Bull show as Vettel crossed the finish line ahead of team-mate Mark Webber to win the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Reliability issues had cost German star Vettel potential Formula One victories in Bahrain and Australia.

But Vettel overtook pole-setter Webber at the start and held on to secure a one-two for Red Bull, with Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg third.

Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes broke down on day two of Formula One pre-season testing in Barcelona.

The six-time F1 world champion's W11 ground to a halt during the afternoon session at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Thursday.

Hamilton had to wait at the side of the track as the red flags were waved before his car was taken back to the garage.

Mercedes tweeted: "W11 is back in the garage. The team will now take a look to identify the issue which caused Lewis to stop on track."

The team later revealed Hamilton's car was troubled by "an oil pressure anomaly".

"@LewisHamilton stopped on track due to an oil pressure anomaly, which made the engine shut down as a precautionary measure," Mercedes said on Twitter.

"We will keep investigating further but unfortunately that concludes our running for the day."

The malfunction occurred just a fortnight before Hamilton starts the defence of his title at the Australian Grand Prix.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel topped the leaderboard in the morning session after spinning into the gravel, while Red Bull driver Max Verstappen spun twice.

Hamilton was seventh-fastest on day one of testing after clocking up 89 laps.

Charles Leclerc's rise at Ferrari has put Sebastian Vettel in a challenging and difficult situation for the 2020 season, according to Nico Rosberg.

Rosberg, the only man apart from Lewis Hamilton to win a Formula One world championship since the last of Vettel's four titles in 2013, believes his fellow German's struggles pre-date the 2019 campaign.

But the sensational debut Ferrari season from Leclerc has brought the future of Vettel into the spotlight, with his contract having only a year left to run.

Leclerc earned seven pole positions and two race wins last year to finish ahead of his more experienced team-mate, who has just one victory in his last 29 attempts, in the drivers' standings.

Rosberg feels if anyone can bounce back from such a predicament it is a driver of Vettel's calibre, but he acknowledged how tough the situation is for the 32-year-old.

"We must not forget that he also had a very tricky 2018, so it is not just last year, it has been a string of years now," Rosberg, Heineken's 'When You Drive, Never Drink' ambassador, told Stats Perform.

"It's not an easy situation for him because he is such a great driver.

"He is also one of the best of all time, but now he is finding himself in a very challenging situation with an unbelievably fast young team-mate, who is also getting more and more support internally from his team.

"So it is really a difficult one for Sebastian, but if one guy can do it and bounce back from that, then it is him, because he has all the confidence, all the experience, he has the speed."

Rosberg feels one of the most significant storylines to watch this season will be how Ferrari manage the rivalry between their two drivers.

Tension over team strategy developed between them over the course of 2019, culminating in a Brazil collision that caused a double retirement. 

"It is so exciting to see how that is going to play out internally," added Rosberg.

"It is going to be hugely challenging for Ferrari to manage that because last year it was much easier. It was very clear - Sebastian was the number one and Charles was the number-two driver. 

"As soon as that started to be debated internally, that is when the problems started, around Monza. Both will be equal number-ones in the team going into the season and that is going to be super interesting to watch."

Looking ahead to this year's title race, Rosberg - the 2016 world champion - tipped Leclerc and Max Verstappen to challenge strongly, adding: "The biggest threat [to Hamilton] really depends on the cars.

"I believe that Red Bull and Ferrari really might step it up this year and go on level playing terms with Mercedes. That would be amazing, we would be glued to the TV, it would be so cool – and it is possible.

"If that's the case, then the biggest threats - looking at last year - will be Verstappen and Leclerc, but you definitely cannot count out [Valtteri] Bottas and Vettel either."

Rosberg was speaking following the launch of Heineken's 'When You Drive, Never Drink' campaign, for which he has starred in a TV commercial alongside his father, fellow F1 world champion Keke Rosberg.

"It was such a huge pleasure to do the filming with my dad," said Nico Rosberg, who has been a road safety ambassador for several years.

"And then integrated into that we have the total abstinence message to help save lives, because total abstinence is the only way to do it. One drink is already one drink too much [if you are driving].

"The latest campaign conveys a really powerful message that, regardless of whether you’re a professional driver or not, abstinence behind the wheel is the only option."

Sebastian Vettel must rise to the challenge in 2020 to ensure he can prolong his Formula One career, according to David Coulthard.

The Ferrari driver is under pressure going into the new season after being outshone by new team-mate Charles Leclerc last year.

Four-time world champion Vettel last claimed the drivers' championship in 2013, with his Ferrari seat more vulnerable than that of Leclerc, who has signed a new long-term deal.

Coulthard believes the 32-year-old's quality is beyond doubt but fears for his career if he underperforms in 2020.

"He's a class driver, you don't win those championships without being so," Coulthard said to Omnisport about Vettel.

"We have seen in previous years, his last year at Red Bull, he lost a bit of consistency and performance, but he was able to bounce back at Ferrari alongside Kimi Raikkonen. 

"Let's see if he can bounce back this year. It's in his hands. We know Charles is fast, we know he's able to get those qualifying results and race results, but Seb is a four-time world champion. 

"This year is a very important year for him to establish if we will see more of him."

Coulthard is concerned Vettel would not have another realistic option if the Italian team opt not to retain him.

"I just don't see where he could go logically at the level of expectation in terms of salary and what-have-you," added Coulthard.

"Red Bull seem quite set in their programme. McLaren have two young drivers. Mercedes, they don't need him. So, I think it's a little bit like Fernando Alonso, even if they want to race there isn't the opportunity for them." 

Coulthard ended his F1 career at Red Bull and is hoping to see Max Verstappen challenge defending champion Lewis Hamilton for title glory this season, even if the Briton remains the favourite.

On the title race, he said: "Easy money is to say Hamilton at Mercedes but I think it's absolutely possible on paper for the world champion to come from Red Bull, Ferrari or Mercedes. 

"I would love to see Max really challenge for the championship. He's got speed, he's got commitment, he's got a young, devil-may-care attitude. 

"He's a breath of fresh air because he's also very open, very honest, and not kind of aloof and standing off. So I think he would be a great champion.

"Mercedes have done an exceptional job, but we can see that Ferrari have come up over the last couple of years to being real contenders and Red Bull in their new partnership with Honda are getting a few victories.

"Those three teams can be challenging for, certainly race victories, and possibly the championships."

Sebastian Vettel is still Ferrari's first choice despite rumours linking Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton with a Formula One switch, according to team boss Mattia Binotto.

Vettel – who is out of contract at the end of 2020 – was outperformed by Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc as Hamilton claimed a sixth F1 world championship last year.

Hamilton is also entering the final year of his deal with Mercedes amid ongoing speculation but Binotto talked up Vettel.

"Seb is our first choice at the moment," said Binotto on Tuesday as Ferrari unveiled their car for the 2020 season.

"Obviously it is something we are discussing with him and we will continue discussing, but he is certainly our first option, our preference."

Vettel – a four-time world champion – could only manage fifth position in last season's championship, behind winner Hamilton and adrift of fourth-placed team-mate Leclerc.

Asked if Hamilton could be a fall-back option if Vettel moves on, Binotto added: "We are focused on our drivers - and we are considering Seb as our option at the moment."

Sebastian Vettel believes Ferrari have taken a "step forward" after he joined team-mate Charles Leclerc to unveil the team's new car for the 2020 season.

The SF1000 - named to mark the Italian manufacturer competing in their 1,000th Formula One world championship race this year - was revealed at the Romolo Valli Theatre in Reggio Emilia on Tuesday.

Both drivers were present at the event ahead of a season where they aim to end Mercedes' dominance; Ferrari has won the constructors' title a record 16 times but their last success was back in 2008.

"We are all very conscious of the huge responsibilities that lie on our shoulders and we clearly are very focused on the ultimate goal, which is victory," said chief executive Louis Camilleri in an opening statement.

"I believe we have the talent and determination to meet those ambitions."

Four-time world champion Vettel is impressed by the modifications made, saying: "I like it [the car] a lot. You can really spot the differences, especially when it comes to packaging at the back of the car. Everything sits a lot tighter."

Asked about his hopes for the campaign ahead, the German replied: "It's impossible to predict, but as we see there is a lot of hours that have gone into the car. I think it is a step forward, I hope it will feel like that when I drive the car."

Leclerc impressed in his debut season with the team in 2019, recording two race wins to finish fourth in the drivers' standings, one place ahead of the more experienced Vettel.

He said: "The approach is a little bit different, now I know the team, I know more or less the car, obviously this year it is a new car but it is an improvement on last year's car, we’ve been working together to make it better and make it more ready for this year.

"It's a big challenge and I can’t wait to drive the car."

The Ferrari pair will soon get a chance to get behind the wheel too, as pre-season testing begins in Barcelona next Wednesday.

Charles Leclerc has vowed there will be no repeat of the incident that saw him crash with Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel in Brazil.

The pair collided in the penultimate grand prix of the 2019 Formula One season as their long-running rivalry came to a head in an embarrassing incident for the Scuderia, with both drivers forced to retire.

Team principal Mattia Binotto insisted the air had been cleared and Leclerc ​– who in December signed fresh terms until 2024 – is confident the pair can use their competitive nature to positive effect this season.

"We are extremely competitive and sometimes on track we might have some frictions," Leclerc told Autosport.

"But in the end we are mature enough to know that what happened on track is on track and off it we are different.

"The most important thing is we work together well off track to develop the car in the best way possible and of course not exceed the limits when we are on track like we have seen in Brazil.

"But I think it was a good lesson for both of us and it won't happen again."

Leclerc, 10 years Vettel's junior, finished 24 points ahead of his team-mate in the standings last season.

Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto believes the challenge of Charles Leclerc has been a positive for Sebastian Vettel this year.

Leclerc enjoyed a superb breakthrough season in Formula One in his second campaign, claiming two wins, seven pole positions and 10 podiums.

The youngster also outperformed his fellow Ferrari driver Vettel, finishing 24 points and one place ahead of the four-time world champion in the standings.

However, Binotto – who also said it was right for the team to allow Vettel to push for a win in the Singapore Grand Prix rather than Leclerc, who held pole position – thinks the German has benefitted from his team-mate's form.

"I think the challenge [of Leclerc] for him has been a good benchmark because having such a fast team-mate gave him some headaches," Binotto told Autosport.

"In order to improve himself, he's always very analytic. He approaches the exercise, he's not emotional in that respect, he's looking at the data, to compare the sectors, looking where he's eventually slower or faster.

"In the first part of the season, he has been put under a lot of pressure. I think he reacted very well in the second half.

"The victory in Singapore has been key for him, not only for the victory itself but the trust in the team.

"He knew that he could count on the team for help, if necessary. But I think it was right, it was the right choice and time to let him win."

Leclerc's reward for his fantastic 2019 campaign was a new contract, with Ferrari tying the 22-year-old down until 2024.

Charles Leclerc has expressed his gratitude to Sebastian Vettel for helping him to hit the ground running at Ferrari and is hungry to kick on after signing a new deal on Monday.

Leclerc's reward for an impressive first season with the Scuderia was a contract extension until the end of 2024.

The Monegasque finished in fourth place in the driver standings, 24 points better off than his team-mate Vettel.

Leclerc says he has learned from Vettel's vast experience in his second year in F1 and is determined to repay the faith Ferrari have put in him.

"I'm extremely [happy] about this year. I've learned a huge amount thanks to Seb," said the 22-year-old.

"Yeah, it's been a great year. For me a realisation of a dream since childhood. I've always dreamed to be in Formula One but especially with Ferrari.

"To be now with this team is unbelievable and now it's up to me to work, to get better, and hopefully give them the success they deserve."

The former Sauber driver added: "At the beginning of the season if you had told me I would have had seven poles and 10 podiums, I wouldn't have believed it.

"It's definitely better than what I expected, but looking back there were quite a lot of mistakes, so the target is to understand them.

"But yes, I am satisfied about this first season and it has not been an easy season. In the first part we were struggling but I think we have worked well and improved in the second half of the season.

"I had two incredible wins and Monza was all of my dreams – to be on top of that podium with hundreds and thousands of Ferrari fans below, these experiences, I will never forget them.

"Then again, I still have a lot of work to do to get better as a driver and I will put my head down and get better."

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has highlighted how Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel need carefully managing after admitting early meetings with the pair were "full of embarrassments".

The pair present a driver combination that has looked combustible at times, despite their undoubted individual qualities.

Team newcomer Leclerc pipped four-time world champion Vettel to fourth place in the 2019 drivers' standings, with the team second only to Mercedes for the constructors' title.

As Ferrari bid to close the gap to the dominant Silver Arrows, Binotto has given an insight into how the relationship between team management, experienced German Vettel and Monegasque prospect Leclerc developed after a difficult start.

Having to adhere strictly to dynamic team orders caused apparent consternation at times, with Vettel beginning the 2019 season as the clear senior driver before Leclerc's pace showed he may be a more likely future champion.

The matter came in for scrutiny on several occasions, and a crash between the pair that forced both to retire from the race in Brazil was perhaps the clanger of the season.

Binotto reflected on early discussions with his drivers and explained how "that type of meeting at the very start of the season was full of embarrassments and difficult to manage".

"But we are now getting used to it," Binotto said, quoted in Autosport.com and Motorsport.com.

"By the end of the season, it became comfortable more and more, which means that we are getting used to it as a team. In the race we can still make eventually mistakes but I'm pretty sure that mistakes are part of this process."

Ferrari have insisted the drivers have a stronger relationship than may have been portrayed or implied, and Binotto stressed delivering clear strategy instructions to both is essential for the continuing good of the team.

"We are still very convinced that trying to manage them is the best way in order to score team points when you get to the end of the season," Binotto said.

The 50-year-old team chief, who was heading the Ferrari squadron for the first time this year, said both Vettel and Leclerc "need to be respected as individuals" who set out to win races each time they take to the track.

And with Ferrari aiming to take the fight to Mercedes in 2020, Binotto said: "I believe that we can be stronger next year."

Sebastian Vettel may have just five races to secure his Ferrari future next season as the team plan to assess his "performance and motivation" before making a May decision.

Charles Leclerc finished ahead of the four-time world champion in his first year with Ferrari, the youngster winning two races and claiming seven pole positions the 2019 Formula One season.

That compared to two poles and one win for Vettel, who finished fifth in the drivers' championship.

Vettel is under pressure heading into 2020, the last year of his current contract, especially with speculation swirling over whether six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton will choose to join Ferrari.

Max Verstappen, Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo are other top drivers due to be out of contract in 2021, which is when F1's new technical regulations come into force.

And while he may not have intended to, Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto added fuel to the speculation by saying Vettel will be monitored closely with a view to making a swift decision on his 2021 driver line-up.

"By the beginning of May, roughly around the race in Spain, we want to know where the journey will go in 2021," Binotto told reporters.

"I think that with Seb we need to sit down to discuss ways we set to understand his intentions for the future.

"We need to see as well the performance and how he does fit with the car and his motivation for the future.

"So, it's not about his mistakes or not. It's really a matter of how he sees himself as far as his future and how we see our line-up. We need to see our strategy developing next year."

But Binotto also pointed out Vettel, 32, remains an important and respected part of Ferrari's plans.

"Seb is a key driver for us - he is central to our project," added Binotto. "He's part of the team now since many years. He knows the team very well.

"He's got a lot of experience. He has been four times world champion. So, there is no doubt that such a driver is key for our project."

Ferrari CEO Louis Camilleri, meanwhile, felt it was inevitable that the form of Leclerc would cause some strain on Vettel. 

The two drivers hit each other to cause a double Ferrari retirement at the Brazilian Grand Prix last month.

"Charles' performance has obviously had an impact," Camilleri said. "It's inevitable that when you're the world champion, this young kid comes on and has phenomenal season.

"You should know that behind closed doors they actually get on very well. There's great respect between them. They joke together and there's quite a great relationship. 

"Clearly, they're both very competitive and Brazil was a nightmare. However, now the air has been cleared. 

"You sometimes need a crisis to put the goalposts in the appropriate place.

"I actually think, going forward, it gives Mattia a much better way of managing them, but also renders them significantly more receptive because they realise how they screwed up."

Binotto confirmed earlier this month there would be no Ferrari number one next season, with the two drivers starting as "equals".

Charles Leclerc would be delighted if Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton decided to switch from Mercedes to Ferrari after the 2020 season.

Hamilton cruised to a third successive world title in 2019, and his sixth overall, as Valtteri Bottas completed a one-two for Mercedes.

Leclerc, meanwhile, enjoyed a breakthrough season, finishing in fourth place behind Max Verstappen - and 24 points ahead of his Ferrari team-mate and former world champion Sebastian Vettel, who was fifth.

Hamilton's current deal with Mercedes expires at the end of the next season, though the 34-year-old has said he would be happy to extend his stay.

"Well, of course. We are in Formula One and we want to fight against the best," Leclerc said, as reported by Autosport, when asked if he would be happy to see Hamilton join Ferrari in 2021.

"I've had a big opportunity this year to have Seb next to me, who is a four-time world champion, and I've learned a lot from him.

"You can always learn from this type of champion, so yes, of course."

Hamilton may not be the only big name set to become available, with the majority of driver contracts concluding at the end of next year.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, however, does not expect many of the best drivers - including Verstappen from his own team - to be switching manufacturers.

"I think all the top guys are out of contract for the end of next year," said Horner, in quotes reported by Motorsport.com.

"I think Leclerc's under contract at Ferrari. Lewis obviously is pretty happy in his environment. Max is happy in this environment.

"So if they're sitting in competitive cars next year, why would they swap, or why would they move?"

The 2019 Formula One season ended on Sunday with a familiar sight, Lewis Hamilton on a podium's top step.

Hamilton won his sixth world title this year, emerging victorious in 11 of the 21 races, including in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit.

It was also a fine campaign for Mercedes, who took the constructors' championship, with Hamilton's team-mate Valtteri Bottas finishing second in the final drivers' standings.

Here, with the help of Opta, we take a look at the numbers behind the 2019 campaign.

 

10 - Hamilton became the first driver to win world titles with a span of more than 10 years. His first championship came in 2008 when he was driving for McLaren.

11 - With 11 race wins, Hamilton enjoyed his joint-best year having also taken the chequered flag that many times in 2014 and 2018.

19 - The world champion has now led from start to finish in 19 grands prix, the joint most of any driver in F1 along with Ayrton Senna.

17 - Hamilton had a place on the podium in 17 races in 2019.

13 - The Briton has recorded at least one pole position in each of the last 13 seasons (2007 to 2019), the joint-longest run in F1 history after Michael Schumacher's streak between 1994 and 2006.

61 - Hamilton has recorded 61 pole positions for Mercedes, more than any other driver for a single F1 team.

146 - In 146 grands prix, Hamilton has held the lead, more than any other driver in F1 history.

3 - Red Bull's Max Verstappen enjoyed his best year to date, winning three races across the calendar.

22 - It was a more challenging year for Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, who went 22 successive races between the Italian Grand Prix in 2018 and Singapore Grand Prix in 2019 without a victory - the worst run of his F1 career.

6 - Mercedes equalled Ferrari (1999-2004) as the team to have won the most successive constructors' titles.

Sebastian Vettel does not believe Ferrari's 2019 season was as bad as their massive gap to Mercedes made it look.

The Scuderia were widely expected to mount a serious challenge to the continued dominance of the Silver Arrows this season.

However, Charles Leclerc and Vettel finished fourth and fifth in the drivers' championship, again won by Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton.

Mercedes won the constructors' championship by 235 points from Ferrari, who were victorious in only three races as Hamilton prevailed in 11 and Bottas took the chequered flag in four.

Four-time world champion Vettel crossed the line fifth in the season-ending race in Abu Dhabi, which was won comfortably by Hamilton from pole.

Vettel - whose sole triumph came in Singapore - told reporters: "We didn't have the year we were hoping for full stop. The reasons are clear, the lessons are clear and it's up to us to take them on board.

"As a team we must perform stronger, and as a individual I can do better it wasn't a great year from my side.

"I don't think it was as bad it looks as there were many small things...

"But I know that I can do better and that's for sure the target for next year and hopefully we get a stronger package to fight at the front with Mercedes and Red Bull."

Lewis Hamilton is relishing another battle with Max Verstappen as he looks to claim an 11th Formula One victory of a 2019 campaign that concludes with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. 

Sunday's race will see Mercedes bid for a sixth consecutive race win at Yas Marina Circuit, Hamilton having come out on top in three of the last five editions.

The world champion earned the 88th pole position of his illustrious career in qualifying, the first time he has topped the grid in his last 10 attempts.

Hamilton was ecstatic to end that barren run in the 21st and final race of the year and has put himself in prime position to add a win which would equal the personal best season tally he previously recorded in 2014 and 2018.

Valtteri Bottas qualified second but will start at the back after taking a host of engine penalties, meaning Verstappen, who won in Brazil last time out, will renew his combat with Hamilton from Interlagos on the front row.

Asked about continuing their scrap, Hamilton said: "Absolutely, yeah. 

"I think we are in a slightly better position this weekend. Obviously, Max is continuing to drive well, but I'm looking forward to battling with him for sure.

"It's been such a long slog trying to get this pole position. I don't think my qualifying has been terrible but it's just not been at my usual standard perhaps, so of course it's incredibly satisfying. 

"Obviously that's not even half the job done. We've got to battle with the Ferraris and the Red Bulls but I think we put ourselves in the best position possible, so incredibly happy. 

"We just really tried to see what we could pull out of the car this weekend. It's well suited to the track and it's been feeling good."

Verstappen vowed to challenge Hamilton but is aware he faces a tough task due to Mercedes' strength at this track.

"I don't think it's going to be easy, but we are going to give it a good try as a team, try and put them under pressure and see what happens," said the Dutchman, who was 0.360s off Hamilton's track-record pole time.

"We always know that Mercedes are very quick on the long runs. You have to be realistic and I think Mercedes is very quick. But there's still a lot of chances for Sunday.

"Qualifying was pretty decent. We seem to lack a bit of grip compared to [Mercedes] and they are especially very quick in the last sector. They are always very dominant here on this track but we tried to be as close as we could."


LECLERC WILL TAKE RISKS

In the last 10 races in Abu Dhabi, where overtaking is difficult, only once has a driver starting behind the front row won, when Kimi Raikkonen triumphed from fourth in 2012.

The all-Ferrari second row of Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel therefore have their work cut out after suffering more frustration following their crash in Brazil.

Leclerc, following Vettel, could not cross the line in time to set a final flying lap in Q3. He initially blamed his German team-mate for driving slowly, though the four-time world champion was also hindered by traffic.

The Monegasque, trailing Verstappen by 11 points in the fight to finish third in the drivers' championship, has vowed to take chances, though he also has fifth-placed Vettel just 19 behind him.

Asked if he could win, Leclerc said: "Yes, definitely, and I will take quite a bit of risk at the start. 

"I need to take some risk; I need to finish in front of Max for the championship and in the end I will give it all.

"We'll analyse it [qualifying] and try to understand for it to not happen again, because it's a big shame."

Three-time Abu Dhabi winner Vettel, who will start on soft tyres in contrast to mediums for the two Mercedes, Red Bulls and Leclerc, also had his say on the disappointing qualifying finish.

The German, who arrived to the circuit late this week after the birth of his third child, said: "Alex Albon was backing up because he had a McLaren in front of him. I don't know who was in front of the McLaren or whether the McLaren could be closer.

"It was just a pity because my tyres were very cold to start with and I lost it straight in the first corner and Charles didn't even start the lap."

Team boss Mattia Binotto conceded Ferrari had "screwed up" trying to take a risk by being the last cars out to take advantage of improving track conditions.
 

BOTTAS SETTING NO LIMITS

Bottas, meanwhile, insisted anything was possible after a retirement last time out ended a run of four straight podiums.

"Everything is always possible," said the Finn. "There's no point for me to set any limit really. Take every opportunity there will be and for sure there will be some. 

"We've seen crazy races this year – look back two weeks in Brazil. So anything is possible. Look forward to coming up and taking those opportunities and most importantly having fun in the car.

"We'll find the fighting spirit. I believe. Anything is possible. We do have a good car and normally Sunday is better than Saturday for us so we'll give it all I have for sure.

"We've had many ideas for the strategy and obviously it's going to be a challenge, coming up from there – but I do look forward to it. I'm sure it can be fun trying to come up."
 

LAST HURRAH FOR HULKENBERG?

The performance of Renault's Nico Hulkenberg will also be closely watched.

Replaced by Esteban Ocon for 2020 and with all other drives now taken, the German will start what may ultimately prove his last F1 race in ninth position as Renault look to hold off Toro Rosso for fifth in the constructors' championship.

"When I got in the car, it was business as usual," said the 32-year-old, who aims to return in the future. 

"We still have the job in the constructors, which is very important. I just want to live it, enjoy it, get it done."
 

THE GRID

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
3. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
4. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
5. Alex Albon (Red Bull)
6. Lando Norris (McLaren)
7. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault)
8. Carlos Sainz (McLaren)
9. Nico Hulkenberg (Renault)
10. Sergio Perez (Racing Point)

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2018: Lewis Hamilton
2017: Valtteri Bottas
2016: Lewis Hamilton
2015: Nico Rosberg

DRIVER STANDINGS

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 387
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 314 (-73)
3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 260 (-127)
4. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 249 (-138)
5. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 230 (-157)

CONSTRUCTOR STANDINGS

1. Mercedes 701
2. Ferrari 479 (-222)
3. Red Bull 391 (-310)
4. McLaren 140 (-561)
5. Renault 91 (-610)

WEATHER FORECAST 

Sunday's race is expected to be hot, with temperatures of up to 27 degrees Celcius, with no threat of rain or high winds.

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