We're gearing up for a regal extravaganza of sport this coronation weekend, as the kings of F1 race into Miami, tennis royalty compete for the Madrid Open crown, golf's noble contenders battle for the Wells Fargo Championship and horse racing's thoroughbred aristocracy gallop into the spotlight at Newmarket. Here's a preview of what lies in store...
F1: Miami Grand Prix
Last weekend's Azerbaijan Grand Prix proved to be another commanding performance for Red Bull, as Sergio Perez claimed the chequered flag ahead of teammate and world championship leader Max Verstappen. Together, they've triumphed in all four races in 2023 (two each), with a mere six points separating the two drivers in the season's rankings. Trailing behind them is Fernando Alonso, who sits third, 27 points adrift of Perez.
Indeed, the duo's 2023 track domination has left rival teams scratching their heads, pondering how to close the gap. As Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff candidly expressed earlier this week: "We see a pattern. There are two Red Bulls, then six cars, and a long way off is the third division. That has been the pattern for the first four races, and we need to shake that up somehow."
It remains to be seen whether Wolff's team—or any of the others—can narrow the gap with the Red Bulls in Miami. Last year, Verstappen finished a solid 3.7 seconds ahead of Charles Leclerc in the Magic City. The Ferrari driver, having secured third place on the streets of Baku last week, may once again be best positioned to challenge the Red Bull stronghold.
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Tennis: Madrid Open
As the Madrid Open finals approach this weekend— a pivotal moment in the clay court season—top seeds Carlos Alcaraz and Iga Swiatek appear to be the ones to beat. Alcaraz, the defending men's champion, mounted an impressive comeback against Karen Khachanov in Wednesday's quarter-final and is set to face Croatia's Borna Coric in first of Friday's semis. The Spaniard is vying for back-to-back titles after clinching the Barcelona Open just two weeks ago. Meanwhile, world No 1 Swiatek sailed past Petra Martic in the women's quarter-final and is slated to face Russia's Veronika Kudermetova in Thursday night's semi. Should she win, the Pole will face Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka in Saturday's final.
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Golf: Wells Fargo Championship
Even without World No. 1 Jon Rahm and No. 2 Scottie Scheffler, this weekend's Wells Fargo Championship promises an enthralling contest, featuring a star-studded lineup with 40 of the world's top 50 golfers. Rory McIlroy, eager to redeem himself after missing the cut at last month's Masters, is among the frontrunners. Jordan Spieth, who finished tied for fourth at Augusta, and Viktor Hovland, who secured a joint seventh place, are two other big names likely to make a strong impression on the leaderboard.
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Horse racing: Guineas Festival at Newmarket
The Guineas Festival at Newmarket takes centre stage this weekend, with legendary jockey Frankie Dettori seeking his fourth victory in the 2,000 Guineas aboard Chaldean. It will be Dettori's final Guineas appearance before his planned retirement in October. Trainer Aidan O'Brien's Auguste Rodin, winner of the Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster, headlines the competition as O'Brien aims for a record-extending 11th victory in the event.
In the 1,000 Guineas on Sunday, Dermot Weld's Tahiyra leads the confirmations for the opening fillies' Classic of the season. She is set to face Aidan O'Brien's Meditate, whom she defeated in the Moyglare Stud Stakes before Meditate's win at the Breeders' Cup meeting. Among the British-trained hopefuls, Mammas Girl from Amo Racing and trained by Richard Hannon, stands out as a strong contender.
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