Saturday, July 21, 2007

Two Quick Predictions For Sunday

Since that 10th District prediction worked out so well...

European Grand Prix: Ferrari has practically owned the "new" Nurburgring for about the last decade. Since almost half of the circuit is taken at less than full throttle, this race always comes down to reliability. That's where it gets interesting. Ferrari's Kimi Raikonnen, on the pole for tomorrow's race, is a driver known for being rough on a gearbox and prone to mechanical retirements. Defending world champion Fernando Alonso, driving for McLaren, has seemingly blinked under the pressure from his young teammate and current F1 driver points leader Lewis Hamilton and is making uncharacteristic mistakes on race day. This one should be a real grinder and here's how I see the podium shaping up:

First: Kimi Raikonnen (Ferrari)
Second: Felipe Massa (Ferrari)
Third: Fernando Alonso (McLaren)

Keep an eye out for Hamilton, though. Since he crashed out of final qualifying, he'll be starting tenth. Look for him make up several positions in the first two laps, before the field is spread out. At any rate, he should end up somewhere in the points and still atop the driver standings heading into the next Grand Prix (The Hungaroring, Budapest, August 5).

The Open Championship (or as we here across the pond call it, The British Open): Phil Mickelson may have a reputation as a Sunday choker, but at least he keeps it interesting...often not chucking it up until the final holes. Sergio Garcia, heading into tomorrow's final round at Carnoustie with a three-shot lead, is every bit the gagger without nearly as much entertainment value. Garcia's style is to be in the hunt going into Sunday and then hang a 77 on the board. I don't see him hoisting the Claret Jug. If Garcia and his playing partner Steve Stricker falter, they've got a veritable Who's Who of golf lurking behind them in the 5-8 shots back range. And one of those guys just happens to be Tiger Woods.

But Stricker won't falter. Instead, he'll continue the streak of "Who?" winners in this year's majors.

The Open Champion: Steve Stricker

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