Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton dedicates Canadian Grand Prix victory to Muhammad Ali

Leave a comment

MONTREAL — Lewis Hamilton had something on his mind before he was ready to ascend to the top step of the Formula One podium for the second week in a row.

So he climbed on top of his car for a little shadow boxing.

Then he jumped down to the ground and did the Ali Shuffle.

“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee,” he radioed to his crew on Sunday after winning the Canadian Grand Prix for the fifth time, and the second in a row. “That was for Muhammad Ali.”

Continuing Mercedes Formula One dominance, Hamilton took advantage of Sebastian Vettel’s two-pit stop strategy to claim his 45th career F1 win.

Vettel took the early lead with an audacious move at the start, but gave it back for good when the Ferrari went to the pits — for the second time — in lap 37. Hamilton made it through the 70 laps on the 2.71-mile (4.363-km) Circuit Gilles Villeneuve with one stop, finishing in 1 hour, 31 minutes, 5.296 seconds, about 5 seconds ahead of Vettel.

Afterward, Hamilton dedicated the victory to Ali, who died last week, and said he couldn’t stop thinking about the former heavyweight champ — even with 15 laps still to go.

“I never really dedicate wins to anyone, but it’s someone that’s really inspired me so much throughout my life,” Hamilton said. “I was driving, and I was just thinking of him, and thinking maybe he would be watching the race, I don’t know. So that’s to him and his family. Rest in peace.”

With the victory, Hamilton cut Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg’s lead in the championship standings from 24 points to nine, 116-107.

Vettel moved into third in the points race, with 78, and said he doesn’t second-guess the team’s calculation that fresher tires would help him catch Hamilton.

“I will always defend our strategies,” said Vettel, who won here in 2013 on his way to a fourth straight Formula One championship. “That’s a decision we do as a team. Kept in hindsight, it’s always easy.”

Williams’ Valtteri Bottas was third — his best finish of the season and his sixth time collecting points in seven races. Red Bull rookie Max Verstappen, the only non-Mercedes driver to pick up a win this year, was fourth.

Growing up in Britain and setting his sights on a sport that had few black role models, Hamilton said Ali was someone he latched onto as a child. “Obviously, in Formula One, there was no one of the same color as us as a family, so it was another athlete for me to look up to,” he said.

“I think he was just a unique, iconic individual who had a character unlike anyone else’s. And everyone aspired to be like him,” Hamilton said. “I wish I could have spoken with the charisma that he would have, or the comedic side that he had, that confidence that he could carry into a fight and outwit and outsmart his opponents.

“I think the things that he stood for, more important: believing in who you are and not letting anyone dictate who you have to be.”

Ali was a three-time world heavyweight champion, but Hamilton could claim his fourth Formula One championship if he keeps going like this.

And if his teammate keeps going in the opposite direction.

Rosberg won the first four events of the year to establish a 43-point lead in the standings. But he and Hamilton crashed out in the first lap in Barcelona, two races ago, and Rosberg came in seventh two weeks ago in Monaco. Hamilton’s victory there trimmed the lead from 43 points to 24.

Hamilton and Rosberg, starting 1-2 in the front row, again touched at the start while Vettel squeezed around them both to take the lead. Hamilton said he engaged the clutch and the car didn’t react; Vettel said he “just went for it.”

“I was very (angry) in the moment, but that’s racing. In the end it’s my job to make sure I’m in front after a battle like that next time,” said Rosberg, who came out of the shuffling in 10th. “It was very costly for me because I lost a lot of places, and from then it was an uphill battle trying to fight back.”

Rosberg worked his way back through the field and was in fifth on the penultimate lap when he tried to squeeze past Verstappen on the outside but couldn’t hold it, spinning off the course.

He managed to straighten himself out and maintain his position.

“In the end, it went completely pear-shaped and I spun, but managed to carry it home still,” he said.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was in the paddock before the start, hanging with the Red Bull team. Actor Michael Douglas was at the track as well, conducting the post-race interview from the podium.

Kimi Raikkonen, in the other Ferrari, finished sixth, and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo finished seventh a week after a pit stop fiasco cost him an almost-certain victory.

Jenson Button, who won here in 2011 with a last lap pass of Vettel in the rain, lost power on Lap 11 and pulled out of the race. His McLaren teammate Fernando Alonso started 10th and finished 11th, holding on at the end in the hope that he would pick up a point if one of the cars ahead found trouble.

“Bluntly, today was a day to forget,” McLaren race director Eric Boullier said.

Joey Chestnut downs a record 74 franks for 11th title

Getty Images
2 Comments

Defending champion Joey “Jaws” Chestnut chomped down a record 74 franks and buns to take home his 11th title at the annual Nathan’s Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest.

The renowned competitive eater from San Jose, California, takes home the coveted Mustard Belt and surpassed the previous mark of 72 dogs and buns he downed last year.

The heat wasn’t a factor; the National Weather Service put the temperature at 83 degrees with a heat index of 91 degrees.

Miki Sudo said after eating 37 dogs and buns that the heat may have slowed her down in winning the women’s competition.

That didn’t stop the Las Vegas eater from easily beating out second-place finisher Mischelle Lesco of Tuscon, Arizona, who chowed down 28 wieners and buns.

Joey Chestnut heavy betting favorite on 2018 Hot Dog contest odds

Leave a comment

It boils down not to “if,” but “how many?” when it comes to Joey Chestnut and the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.

Chestnut, who’s won in 10 of the last 11 years, is an overwhelming -550 favorite against the field to prevail again in the July 4 competitive eating contest that takes place in Coney Island, New York, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The rest of the field is listed at +325 to pull off the upset (stomach), but it seems telling that Matt Stonie, the only competitive eater who has out-gorged Chestnut in the last decade, has had a two-year decline in the total of hot dogs and buns consumed since his triumph in 2015.

The reality that Chestnut might be competing against himself could be a tip on how to handle over/under on his 72.5 total. Chestnut has improved his record in three of his last four wins and has consumed at least 68 hot dogs and buns five times, so getting the over – which pays +160, to the -210 for the under – would seem projectable.

Carmen Cincotti, who will mark his 25th birthday on the day of the contest, has emerged as an up-and-coming challenger. The total on Cincotti’s consumption is 59.5, with the over still holding decent value at -190, to +145 for the under.

The alternate lines for the winner’s total – 68.5 and 66.5 – are very low-risk, but also very low-yield plays.

Four-time women’s champion Miki Sudo is also a -550 favorite on the 2018 hot dog contest odds to win her division, with the field priced at +400. Sudo crushed a record 41 hot dogs and buns in 2017, while runner-up Michelle Lesco finished with 32.5.

The over/under on the total for the women’s winner is a toss-up at 41.5, paying -120 either way, and Sudo is likely the only one in the field with a legitimate shot at it. Sudo has finished at least 38 hot dogs and buns in three consecutive years.

In head-to-head props, Sudo is also offering -500 against +300 challenger Sonya Thomas, who won back in 2014. Thomas finished with 30 hot dogs in 2017.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.