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The Australian, who was released from isolation on Thursday, qualified only 18th in the session at the Sakhir circuit and ahead of Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll and Williams’ Nicholas Latifi.

“I think we just saw the result of everything that happened in the last seven, eight days,” team boss Andreas Seidl told Sky Sports television.

“I think he was on the back foot from the beginning going into this weekend with missing out on the test last week, then he lost additional laps yesterday with the water leak that we had and therefore it was always a difficult challenge for him today.

“In addition, we just struggled really all weekend so far here with the pace of the car. I think also that’s a result from all the fire-fighting we’ve had to do in the seven or eight days.

“We simply have to accept it and move on.”

Ricciardo’s team mate Lando Norris, who suffered brake problems in testing last week, made it through to the second phase of qualifying.

Seidl said the competition, in Formula One’s new era with a major rules revamp, was unbelievably tight but hoped McLaren could still score points on Sunday.

The Woking-based team finished fourth last season, with Ricciardo leading a one-team at the Italian Grand Prix for McLaren’s first win since 2012.

Hertha Berlin cruised past Hoffenheim 3-0 on Saturday to end a nine-game winless run in the Bundesliga and revive their hopes of surviving a relegation battle, but new coach Felix Magath was absent with a Covid-19 infection.

Coached by new assistant coach Mark Fotheringham on his Bundesliga debut, Hertha were dominant throughout and went in front with a Niklas Stark header from a Marvin Plattenhardt free kick.

Two more Plattenhardt set pieces led to goals through Ishak Belfodil in the 63rd and Lucas Tousart 11 minutes later to seal their first win in 2022 – and Hoffenheim’s first loss in six league matches.

Victory lifted Hertha, who brought in veteran coach Magath in this week until the end of the season, off the bottom spots and into the relegation playoff place in 16th on 26 points.

Hoffenheim stayed in sixth place on 44 in a blow to their Champions League hopes.

Fifa has sent medical supplies to the Ukrainian Football Association (UAF) and allocated $1 million to the Fifa Foundation for humanitarian aid in Ukraine, soccer’s world governing body said on Saturday.

More than 3.3 million refugees have already fled Ukraine through its western border, with around 2 more million displaced inside the country following Russia’s February 24 invasion.

The World Health Organisation said on Thursday it had verified 43 attacks on healthcare facilities in Ukraine that had killed 12 people and injured dozens including health workers.

“Following a request from the UAF, an initial shipment of first-aid medical kits has already been transported by road to Ukraine to meet the most urgent needs,” Fifa said in a statement.

“In total, $1 million has been made available to the Fifa Foundation so that it can respond to the growing humanitarian situation in Ukraine and the region. This work is being carried out in collaboration with the football community.”

Earlier this week, Fifa amended its Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (RSTP) to allow Ukrainian soccer players to be registered outside of a transfer window. Read full story

Fifa also said it would open a special transfer window for foreign players stranded in Russia. It has suspended Russia’s national teams and clubs from international football.

Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez wants his team to make a statement at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on Sunday, when they will face LaLiga leaders and bitter rivals Real Madrid in a much-anticipated Clasico.

The former Spain midfielder thinks the game is the perfect situation to show what Barca can do, after recovering from a difficult start to the season.

“It’s a litmus test to show how far we’ve come,” Xavi told a news conference on Saturday, adding that there was no need for any extra motivation when facing their fierce rivals.

“It is a spectacular setting to play a great game and show that we are in great form. We have grown as a team. We have to show personality and try to impose our game model.”

Both Real and Barca are on four-game winning streaks and are playing with a lot of confidence. But Real, with 66 points from 28 games, have a 10-point advantage over second-placed Sevilla and are 15 ahead of Barca in third.

With 11 matches to play, Xavi thinks making a late run for the title looks “remote, complicated and difficult”. But Sunday’s encounter will give him a chance to see how much his team have progressed since his arrival in mid-November.

“If we have to label a team as a favourite, it is Real Madrid, they are the leaders and in a great moment, but we are also going through a great momentum,” Xavi said.

“It is a great opportunity to change history and a win would greatly support what we are working on. We have to be brave, try to impose our style, and be calm.”

Barca had fallen to ninth in the table when Ronald Koeman was fired, but Xavi has revitalised them and they are unbeaten since their extra-time defeat by Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey on January 20, having scored 20 goals in their last six league games.

They will face a Real team that will be missing their star striker and LaLiga’s top scorer, Karim Benzema, who is recovering from a calf injury.

“Benzema has been playing for two or three years as one of the best forwards in the world. He is a very important loss for them but for us it doesn’t change anything,” Xavi said.

 

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