Sebastian Vettel confirmed he has held talks with Racing Point but the Ferrari driver says his future is still up in the air.

Ferrari announced in May that Vettel will not keep his seat when his contract expires at the end of this season.

Racing Point, who will be rebranded to become Aston Martin for the 2021 Formula One season, are the latest team to be linked with the four-time world champion despite Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll being under contract.

Vettel on Thursday stated that he has held discussions with the Silverstone-based squad, but is unsure whether he will be on the grid next season.

"At this stage, I think it's talks. I said last week I have been in talks with Renault for example, it's also talks," the German said ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix.

"At a later stage with anyone I think it would become a bit more concrete. The truth is that there is nothing to announce and nothing more concrete than loose talks."

Vettel added: "Rumours are called rumours for a reason. Anyway, now only a couple of days after Austria, there's not much that has changed. The fact is there is no news.

"If you ask about Racing Point, everyone is talking about Racing Point, the first two races have been impressive, the performance on track.

"When it comes to myself, no news, nothing has changed in a week. I said last time it will probably take some time, most importantly for myself to make the decision, the right decision for myself. Once there is something to say, I think that will be the right time in future to do so.

"Anything at this stage is still open - driving next year, not driving next year and maybe coming back or not driving and doing something different. I'm not pressured to make my decision too quickly.

"I have been around for a long time and you never know, things can always change. Irrespective of that, I have to make the decision myself, and see if there is something suitable in that direction."

Vettel also said he did not feel aggrieved to see his former employers Red Bull rule out re-signing him. 

"As far as I can see, they have two drivers there," the 33-year-old said. "So it's not a surprise. All I said was my honest and open opinion.

"Coming back again [to my future], it would depend what options there are, what I want to do, and find the best solution for myself."

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott hit back at his critics in a series of Twitter posts on Thursday, calling for his naysayers to "put some RESPECT on my name".

The 24-year-old's standing in the NFL's running back hierarchy has been a topic of discussion this week, with the Tennessee Titans agreeing to a long-term deal with Derrick Henry, and the Madden video game releasing their latest rankings.

Elliott is joint-third on that list - behind Carolina Panthers star Christian McCaffrey and Henry, and level with the Cleveland Browns' Nick Chubb - after amassing 5,405 rushing yards in his four years in the NFL, over 1,000 more than any other back in that timeframe.

His detractors may counter that Elliott has benefitted from playing behind perhaps the best offensive line in the league in that time, though he has clearly been riled by suggestions his impressive numbers should come with any caveat.

"There are a lot of great backs in this league but I don't understand why the media has to talk down on my game just to uplift other backs," he wrote on Twitter.

"We all are talented football players and can ball.

"Check the stats. Since I entered this league I have dominated year in, year out. Put some RESPECT on my name.

"Women lie. Men lie. The stats don't. Go do your homework."

Elliott, a three-time Pro Bowler, had 1,777 yards from scrimmage last season - second behind only McCaffrey's astonishing 2,392.

He produced those numbers having held out of training camp to try and get a new deal, a request the Cowboys granted they when they agreed terms of a six-year, $90million contract less than a week before their regular season began.

"Almost 1800 scrimmage yards and 14 TDs with no training camp and now I'm not the same back," Elliott added.

"I do appreciate the standard you guys hold me to though lol. But I promise you no one holds me to a higher standard than myself."

Ajax have beaten off reported competition from several Premier League clubs to sign highly rated Ghanaian teenager Mohammed Kudus from Nordsjaelland.

The 19-year-old attacking midfielder is thought to have cost Ajax roughly €9million and has signed a five-year contract.

Kudus came through the Right To Dream academy in Ghana, an organisation set up by former Manchester United scout Tom Vernon in the late 1990s.

Vernon and a group of investors acquired Danish Superliga side Nordsjaelland in 2016, with the view to eventually developing a team made up entirely of academy graduates, and Kudus is one of the early success stories.

Kudus made the move to Nordsjaelland two years after the initial link was established and he proved a big hit, playing 51 league matches across two seasons with the senior side, scoring 14 times.

Eleven of those came in 2019-20, with his form attracting the interest of several of Europe's leading clubs.

But it is Ajax who have taken the plunge, with Kudus potentially seen as a long-term replacement for Hakim Ziyech, who has joined Chelsea.

Kudus, a nominee for the 2020 Golden Boy award, made his senior international debut for Ghana last year and is predicted to have a bright future.

Zion Williamson has left the NBA bubble at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida to attend to an urgent family matter, the New Orleans Pelicans announced on Thursday.

The Pelicans said in a statement that star rookie Williamson, the Pelicans' second-leading scorer at 23.6 points per game, plans to rejoin the team for the restart of the NBA season at a later date but did not offer any specifics. 

'We fully support Zion's decision to leave the NBA campus to be with his family," the Pelicans' vice president of basketball operations David Griffin said. 

"Out of respect for the Williamson family, we will have no further comment at this time."

Whether Williamson will miss any games remains to be determined. Per NBA protocols, he will be required to quarantine between two to four days once he returns to Orlando provided he is tested daily for coronavirus during his time away. Failure to undergo daily testing would require a quarantine period of at least seven days. 

New Orleans are scheduled to return to play July 30 against the Utah Jazz.

The number one overall pick of the 2019 draft missed New Orleans' first 44 games while recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, but has made a significant impact upon returning from the injury. 

The Pelicans were 17-27 and in 12th place in the Western Conference when Williamson made his delayed debut on January 22 and the team has gone 10-9 with the former Duke standout in the line-up.

New Orleans enter the restart in 10th place in the West, three and a half games behind eighth-place Memphis.

Kimi Raikkonen reiterated he is "not in a hurry" to decide his future in Formula One beyond the 2020 season.

The veteran Finn's contract expires with Alfa Romeo at the end of the delayed campaign, which is in Hungary for round three this weekend.

Raikkonen, racing in his 18th season in F1, stated prior to the start of the season that new rule changes in the series – which are now delayed until 2022 – would have no bearing on his decision.

And the 40-year-old said that he is often in discussions with the team but talks over next season are not at the forefront of his mind.

"Obviously we talk always we're not in a hurry to decide anything so," Raikkonen said in quotes from a video on F1's official website.

Raikkonen and team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi have yet to score a point following the opening two rounds in Austria and the 2007 world champion said qualifying will be crucial to getting off the market in Hungary.

"Obviously it's nice, a nice place to come, nice track, it's slightly different obviously than Austria, you have to qualify well here," he added. 

"It's more difficult to overtake, we have to see what we get and hopefully we can be a bit stronger here.

"It depends on so many things, it doesn't matter if there are no straights if your car doesn't handle at the right times. Qualifying is more important here, let's hope we're in a better grid position here."

Racing Point driver Sergio Perez knows there are no guarantees he will be kept on for 2021, but reiterated he is under contract amid reports linking Sebastian Vettel with his seat.

Bild reported that Vettel has had talks over a potential move to a team that will be rebranded to become Aston Martin in the next Formula One season.

There has been almost non-stop speculation over Vettel's future since it was announced he will not be kept on by Ferrari in May.

Racing Point team principal Otmar Szafnauer last week stated that it was flattering for Vettel to be talked of as a potential driver for the Silverstone-based squad, but both Perez and Lance Stroll have long-term deals.

Perez is not worried that he may be deemed surplus to requirements.

"As far as I know, I have a contract," the Mexican said ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix this weekend.

"The answers to these questions will only be a matter of time. Let's see what happens in the coming weeks.

"But from my point of view, I have a contract with the team and I fully believe in the future of the team."

Perez revealed he has been contacted by a rival team following the speculation over Vettel being targeted by his current employers.

"I know that during the week the rumours came out and we actually got contacted by a team in the paddock. I won't say names," said the 30-year-old.

"Also other teams in other categories, which was quite a surprise because we have a contract for the next few years here but at the moment they are just rumours around.

"It's part of the game. The team has taken a good step forward so it's now. It's good to have big names related to the team because that means we are making a good job, we are making progress, and I think the team should be proud of it. And the rest, I've been in F1 for 10 years so I'm used to this stuff."

All-time great Valentino Rossi is closing in on a new ride for 2021, while Andrea Dovizioso offered a positive fitness update as build-up to the delayed MotoGP season cranked up a gear ahead of Sunday's opener.

MotoGP's 2020 campaign has yet to start due to the coronavirus pandemic but a revised schedule begins in Spain this weekend.

Marc Marquez is once again the man to beat, though the likes of Fabio Quartararo and Maverick Vinales will hope to challenge the Spaniard's dominance.

Ahead of Sunday's action, these are the big newslines from the paddock.


ROSSI SET FOR PETRONAS 2021 RIDE?

The Doctor's future in MotoGP was up in the air after it was announced he would lose his factory Yamaha seat to Quartararo from 2021.

Initially, Rossi wanted to make a decision midway through the 2020 campaign, only for the global health crisis to deny him track time.

Rumours circulated that Rossi has agreed a two-year deal with the Petronas Yamaha squad last week and the man himself told DAZN and Sky Italia such a scenario is close to being completed.

"The news that I signed isn't true, but we're very close to agreeing a contract. I want to continue racing. It's 99 per cent certain that I'll race with the Petronas team in 2021," Rossi said.

"We're still to resolve some details, especially about my team and the people who'll work with me. We're talking about how we'll set up the team, there are a lot of pieces to put into place."


DOVI GOOD TO GO AFTER SHOULDER SURGERY

Dovizioso is a man with title aspirations but there were concerns when the Ducati rider broke his collarbone in a motorcross accident.

He underwent surgery just last month, yet the Italian insists he is feeling good ahead of the season opener.

"My physical condition is really good," Dovizioso said.

"In two weeks, we worked in a perfect way. The people around me did a perfect job. I moved the collarbone already one day after the surgery because I could adapt.

"I don't have any strange pain while riding. I was a bit curious, because MotoGP, the stiffness of the bike, the power we have, you never know until you are on the bike.

"But everything worked well. I'm struggling a bit more about the pain where the cut is, where the leather pushes in that point.

"But not the collarbone. So, pretty happy about that to have that confirmed."


CRUTCHLOW SURPRISED HONDA PLUMPED FOR POL

Cal Crutchlow is, as it stands, without a seat for 2021 as a result of a domino effect that left the Briton a little surprised.

Crutchlow's spot on the LCR Honda seat will be vacated for Alex Marquez, the brother of world champion Marc.

Alex Marquez will ride alongside his sibling on the Repsol Honda team in 2020 but will step aside for Pol Espargaro for next season.

"It didn't come as a surprise, because I knew a while ago and Honda knew that I had requested to speak to other teams," Crutchlow told the Race. 

"It worked both ways, and I wasn't massively surprised at the decision. I was more surprised at who they chose.

"That's not being disrespectful, but if they had chosen someone like Dovi it would be a different scenario or a different feeling for me than if they'd chosen a guy who has had one podium in seven years.

"Moving Alex is a bad situation for him to be moved out of the factory team straight away too."

Harry Kane has warned his Tottenham team-mates that anything less than six points from their remaining two matches will likely result in them missing out on European football next term.

Spurs claimed a 3-1 win at Newcastle United on Wednesday to move them up to seventh, which would be high enough to secure a spot in next season's Europa League, assuming the FA Cup is won by a team already certain of European qualification.

Sheffield United could move back above Spurs when they play their game in hand on Thursday, though their opponents – Leicester City – are also in the mix, meaning at least one European hopeful will drop points.

With the Premier League then heading into its final two rounds of matchdays, Jose Mourinho will hope Spurs are primed to take full advantage of any slip-ups – particularly given Champions League qualification is still a remote possibility.

And Kane has told his colleagues they must assume anything other than two wins against Leicester and Crystal Palace will see them fail.

"[Beating Newcastle] was a massive win," he told the Spurs website. "We said before, 'Three games, it has to be three wins if we want to be in with a shout of reaching the Europa League.'

"Arsenal was a big win for us and that gave us momentum coming into these final three games. Every game is tough, and it's been an up-and-down season for us, especially our away form, so we knew it was important to get the three points and thankfully we did.

"Now, some of the teams around us have to play each other, so we'd imagine two more wins and we should be in the Europa League places, but we can only take care of ourselves and see what happens. It's a massive game on Sunday [against Leicester] now."

Kane scored twice in the win at Newcastle to reach 201 career goals at club level and, while he insisted it is not something he will dwell on, he did acknowledge it felt good to receive recognition for remaining consistent despite having some injury issues in recent seasons.

"It's a nice milestone to hit but as always when I'm told about these milestones, it's always on to the next 100 or 200," he added. "It's gone quickly – I've been a professional now for eight or nine years and it just flies by.

"In the last couple of years I've had a few injuries as well, and they've kept me out of quite a lot of games. [Scoring 20 goals per season] is a nice, consistent level I'd like to keep at and I'm happy to do it again this season. Two more games to go, let's see how many more we can get."

George Russell and Nicholas Latifi have both confirmed they will be driving again for Williams in the 2021 Formula One season.

While already under contract with the team for next year, Russell is part of Mercedes' young driver stable and could have made the move if a seat became available.

However, with Valtteri Bottas set to stay put alongside world champion Lewis Hamilton, the Englishman revealed on Thursday he will be back for a third campaign with his current team.

"I signed a three-year deal with Williams and I'll be staying there for 2021, to build on last year and hopefully what this year turns out to be," Russell told the media, according to F1's official website.

Russell failed to register a point in his maiden F1 campaign last year, though he did complete all bar two of the 21 races in the calendar.

Asked if he was disappointed not to be heading to Mercedes, Russell replied: "No, I'm not disappointed in Mercedes at all.

"There was nothing more they could do. Claire [Williams, deputy team principal at Williams] was firm with her decision that she was not willing, or not ready to let me go, and ultimately as I have a contract with Williams, I have to respect that decision.

"So I'm here, I'll be giving everything I've got for Williams this year and into next year, and let's see what that holds after that."

Latifi, meanwhile, made his debut at the Austrian Grand Prix this month, having taken the seat at Williams vacated by Robert Kubica.

"I have a multi-year deal with the team, so yes I will be with the team in 2021," the Canadian said 

Toronto Wolfpack have announced they will complete their first Super League season but they will not play on home soil until next year.

It had been reported that the Wolfpack may have to pull out of the rest of the campaign due to visa issues which could make the likes of marquee signing Sonny Bill Williams unavailable for selection.

Toronto were included when the fixtures for the rest of the season, which resumes on August 2 after being halted due to the coronavirus pandemic, were announced on Thursday.

The Wolfpack will not be in action at Lamport Stadium, though, with games played behind closed doors at a small number of venues – including triple-headers at Headingley and Langtree Park.

There will be 15 rounds of matches and a Top Four semi-final play-off before the Grand Final is stage late in November.

Wolfpack chairman and chief executive Bob Hunter says there is no chance the club could have played in Toronto again until 2021.

"These are truly challenging times for our sport and the work carried out means teams are able to return and complete the 2020 season, whilst ensuring the safety and welfare of our players," said Hunter.

"Games in August will start behind closed doors, however there is a chance that fans will be able to watch games in stadiums in the UK and France towards the end of the season.

"Additional games have also been selected for broadcast to allow fans to stay as connected as possible with their teams.

"Regrettably for the Wolfpack the challenges around travel, international border protocols and the hosting of public events in Toronto have proved too significant for the team to be able to host games at Lamport Stadium this season.

"This is not a decision that has been taken lightly, and we vow to return to Toronto bigger and better than ever before in 2021."

Canberra Raiders defied a lengthy injury list to defeat reigning premiers Sydney Roosters 24-20 in a repeat of the 2019 NRL Grand Final.

Jarrod Croker scored a try and was on target with all four of his conversion attempts as the depleted Raiders gained a modicum of revenge for last year's 14-8 loss to the same opponents in the title decider.

Forward duo Dunamis Lui and Josh Papalii both touched down during impressive individual displays for a pack missing English pairing Josh Hodgson and John Bateman.

There was also a try for George Williams as the Raiders – who handed a debut to Semi Valemei off the bench – turned around a 12-6 half-time deficit to triumph at Sydney Cricket Ground, a result that lifts them up to seventh on the ladder.

Brett Morris crossed twice for the Roosters in the opening 40 minutes, while Matt Ikuvalu's try just before the hour mark was converted by Kyle Flanagan from out wide to make it 20-18 to the hosts.

However, Papalii waltzed through a large hole in the Sydney defensive line soon after to give the visitors a lead they managed to retain through to the final hooter.

Eddie Jones has expressed delight at Manu Tuilagi's decision to stay in England and is not concerned that Owen Farrell will be playing in the Championship next season.

Tuilagi this week joined Sale Sharks on a deal until the end of next season after failing to agree terms to remain with Leicester Tigers.

The British and Irish Lion was linked with a move to France or a code swap, options which would have ended his England career.

Jones says the 29-year-old's switch to Sale is great news for the Rugby World Cup runners-up.

The England head coach said: "Manu made up his mind what he was going to do. We had a couple of phone calls, we kept in contact the whole time.

"I gave him a small piece of advice, but he knew what he wanted to do. He's a valuable Test player, his performance in the World Cup and Six Nations indicated there is still more in him and I'm delighted by his decision.

"It's obviously a difficult time for everyone at the moment and we are glad he's made that decision."

Farrell will not be on the move after committing his long-term future to Saracens, who are heading for the second tier due to persistent salary-cap breaches.

It was also revealed that Mako Vunipola, Elliot Daly and Jamie George will stay with Sarries this week and Jones says the European champions’ England contingent will be picked if they are performing well enough.

He said: "I'll be comfortable [picking Saracens players] if they're in good form. Players who have a track record of Test match success, I'll have a pretty good idea of where they are and where they need to be.

"My understanding is most of the younger guys at Saracens are moving to other clubs so they will not have the same issues that the older players have. 

"Without sounding too grandiose, if I look at Owen Farrell it doesn't matter what game he plays I've got a pretty good understanding of where he needs to be."

England have announced a friendly against Wales at Wembley on October 8.

Gareth Southgate's side will take on their cross-border rivals behind closed doors in their first home game of 2020.

The last meeting between the two countries was in a group match at Euro 2016, when England secured a 2-1 victory courtesy of Daniel Sturridge's last-gasp goal.

After taking on Ryan Giggs' side, World Cup semi-finalists England face a Nations League double-header with home matches against Belgium and Denmark on October 11 and 14 respectively.

England will use the Wales fixture to stage a tribute to former internationals who have died in the past 12 months, including 1966 World Cup winners Jack Charlton, Martin Peters, Norman Hunter and Peter Bonetti.

 

Manchester United rising star Aaron Wan-Bissaka says it was an eye-opener when he first faced Wilfried Zaha in training – as the pair prepare to do battle in the Premier League.

Former Crystal Palace team-mates Wan-Bissaka and Zaha are set to be on rival sides on Thursday when United travel to Selhurst Park.

And that means full-back Wan-Bissaka will be charged with stopping the Palace winger's mazy runs, which as he once discovered on the practice pitch is no easy task.

Wan-Bissaka was converted from a striker to a defender while a youngster with Palace, a gradual process that included a spell on the wing.

"Then it started from a training session when someone had to fill in at right-back," Wan-Bissaka told United's official website.

"Training against Wilf, I think he sort of prepared me for what it is like playing in the Premier League.

"I learned a lot from him. He's an unpredictable player and tests like that are ones that made me a better player."

Zaha has terrified defences in Palace colours, but a stint at United did not work out earlier in his career and he soon rejoined the Eagles.

For Wan-Bissaka, the long-term prospects look bright with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's team, but the 22-year-old will always look back fondly on his time with Palace, who stunned United 2-1 at Old Trafford earlier in the season.

He predicted it would feel strange to return to Selhurst Park, particularly given a near-empty stadium awaited, but added: "Palace mean a lot to me.

"They are the team that brought me through the system and, without them, I don't think I'd be here. They've given me chances to show what I am capable of doing."

Page 1 of 929
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.