World champion Max Verstappen drew level with Alain Prost on 51 Formula One victories on Sunday when he claimed his record 16th triumph of the season at the Mexican Grand Prix.
Starting from third on the grid, the Red Bull driver stole the lead at the start and then dominated the race, which was punctuated by a lengthy red flag stoppage when Kevin Magnussen crashed heavily in his Haas.
The 26-year-old Dutchman came home 13.875 seconds ahead of a revitalised Lewis Hamilton, who started sixth, with pole-sitter Charles Leclerc taking third place ahead of his Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz.
Lando Norris finished a glorious fifth for McLaren after an enthralling drive through the field from 17th on the grid, ahead of George Russell in the second Mercedes.
It was Verstappen’s fifth win in Mexico and his record-equalling 18th podium finish this year while the luckless Leclerc, who collided with Sergio Perez’s Red Bull at the first corner, endured his 11th successive failure to convert pole into a victory.
Perez spun off, recovered and retired, much to the disappointment of his home Mexican fans in a big crowd at the high-altitude Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
“It is just incredible,” said Verstappen. “To win from P3, is just amazing. I started P3 and the car was really great. It was a very strong race and now I don’t know – more wins, maybe 17 or 18!”
Hamilton, who was disqualified after finishing second in the United States a week earlier, said: “I feel fresh. I was pushing, but not crazy hard. It is a great result, considering we started sixth. This is a great result for us in a difficult few weeks.”
Leclerc noticed “a lot of booing” from the crowd and explained his part in Perez’s exit.
“I had nowhere to go. I was between the two Red Bulls. Checo damaged my car and it ended his race. It was not on purpose.”
Daniel Ricciardo finished a creditable seventh for Alpha Tauri ahead of Oscar Piastri in the second McLaren, Williams’ Alex Albon and Esteban Ocon of Alpine.
Verstappen made a sensational start, powering between the Ferraris to take the inside line after the 800-metre rush from Turn One.
Sensing a chance, Perez went three abreast with Verstappen and Leclerc, but clipped the Ferrari’s front wing and bounced off.
To loud groans, he rejoined, limped to the pits and retired, beating his steering wheel in frustration while Leclerc continued with a flapping front wing which soon fell off.
The stewards noted he was driving in an “unsafe condition” and decided to investigate after the race.
“I went for it,” said Perez, accepting the blame. “There wasn’t room for three cars. In hindsight, I should have backed off, but it’s my home race.”
By lap 20, Verstappen led by 4.6 seconds before pitting for hards, handing the lead to Leclerc.
He rejoined seventh behind Russell and swiftly rose to fifth as his rivals pitted before Kevin Magnussen crashed heavily at Turn Nine to prompt a safety car.
The Dane escaped, apparently unhurt, but his blazing Haas was wrecked, as Verstappen led a charge for cheap pit-stops and retained his lead before the race was red-flagged.
After a 20-minute interlude to clear the debris, the race resumed with a standing start, which Verstappen, on hards, nailed ahead of Leclerc as Hamilton on mediums looked for a gap.
It appeared on lap 40, when he dived inside the Monegasque at Turn One in vintage style to take second.
“It’s going to be a tough stint,” said Hamilton, assessing his chances as Verstappen pulled four seconds clear and built a luxurious cushion.
Behind them, several entertaining scraps and a dazzling drive by Norris thrilled the crowd, the McLaren driver charging through the field.
British Gymnastics bans weighing young athletes
British Gymnastics has introduced new safeguarding rules that will prevent coaches from weighing athletes to stamp out methods it said are “on the fringe of abuse”.
The rules are part of a series of policies that the governing body is introducing following the 2022 Whyte Review, which found there was “systemic” physical and emotional abuse within the sport.
British Gymnastics has said it intends to go beyond the recommendations of that report to stamp out “harmful practices”.
Under the new rules, no gymnasts aged 10 or under can be weighed. Those above that age can only be weighed with the consent of both the gymnast and if they are under the age of 18, a parent or guardian.
If athletes are weighed, it must be done by a sports science or medical practitioner, with a “scientifically valid rationale” for it, including measuring growth or designing strength and conditioning exercises.
British Gymnastics said the policy had been introduced “to prevent inappropriate practices and prevent potential areas of concern around weighing, due to some of the related psychological distress and risks of the development of mental health problems such as eating disorders/disordered eating, anxiety, and depression”.
“Inappropriate or excessive weighing of gymnasts is an example of poor practice which may be on the fringe of abuse, and if/or repeated could amount to abuse,” it added.
The Whyte Review focused on 2008 to 2020 and received more than 400 submissions of those, more than 40 percent described physically abusive behavior towards gymnasts from coaches.
In a statement, British Gymnastics chief executive Sarah Powell said: “Above all else, we care about gymnasts as people, and these new policies make clear that what matters most in gymnastics is the welfare of those involved.
“While practices have moved on a long way, we know there has been poor practice in these areas and so by providing clarity for gymnasts, parents and carers, coaches, clubs, volunteers, and officials through the statements set out in these policies it will ensure everyone understands what is OK and what is not OK and help prevent that happening in the future.”
Iftikhar Ahmed joins Multan Sultans, Rossouw returns to Quetta Gladiators
Pakistan all-rounder Iftikhar Ahmed will don the Multan Sultans’ jersey in the ninth edition of Pakistan Super League (PSL).
In a trade, Iftikhar has moved to Multan Sultans, whereas Rilee Rossouw has returned to his previous franchise, Quetta Gladiators.
🔥🚨 Box-office Trade Alert 🚨🔥
🔁Iftikhar Ahmed joins Multan Sultans
— PakistanSuperLeague (@thePSLt20) November 30, 2023
The trade deal with Quetta Gladiators also sees Multan Sultans get the first pick in the platinum round one in exchange for Rilee Rossouw and the first Silver category pick.
Iftikhar has evolved into a formidable all-rounder for his power-hitting and foxy off-spin. He brings an experience of 229 T20 matches in which he has scored 4,476 runs. He also has a century in the format to go with 30 half-centuries. Since the start of his career in October 2010, the muscular batter has been smashing a boundary every 6.75 balls. He recently reached the 50-wicket landmark and his economy stands at 7.31.
Iftikhar Ahmed: “I am delighted to become a Sultan. It is an honour for me to represent the people of Multan as their passion for this game is second to none. Multan Sultans have evolved into a strong team and their record in the last three seasons speak for itself. Now, it is my ambition to help them bag the prestigious HBL PSL trophy,” Iftikhar said.
Captain Muhammad Rizwan: “I am very excited to welcome Iftikhar Ahmed. He brings outstanding all-round skills, which we need to be a champion team.
“It was not only his on-field skills that made us finalise this trade, but he is also a brilliant team player who uplifts dressing rooms with his presence. We are eager to put together a set of players whose skills are in sync with our positive, bold and aggressive brand of cricket.”
Leicester slip-up allows Ipswich to close on Championship lead
Leicester’s lead at the top of the Championship was cut to a single point after they conceded a stoppage-time equaliser to draw 1-1 at Sheffield Wednesday, while Ipswich beat Millwall 3-1.
Top was taking on bottom at Hillsborough, but there was an unexpected sting in the tale as Jeff Hendrick’s 93rd-minute goal secured Wednesday just their seventh point in 18 games.
Abdul Fatawu had put Leicester in front midway through the first half.
But the Foxes have now won just one of their last four games as Hendrick fired home from Callum Paterson’s header.
Ipswich had no such trouble as goals from Conor Chaplin, Massimo Luongo and Nathan Broadhead put them 3-0 up before half-time at Portman Road.
Leeds climbed back up to third and within seven points of the top two despite conceding inside the first minute against Swansea.
Joel Piroe quickly levelled against his former club before goals from Georginio Rutter and Dan James sealed a 3-1 win for Daniel Farke’s men.
Kyle Walker-Peters scored the only goal as a 1-0 win over Bristol City was enough to move Southampton up to fourth.
Blackburn are just two points outside the playoffs after beating Wayne Rooney’s Birmingham 4-2.
Former Manchester United and England captain Rooney has just one win in seven games in charge of the Blues.
Huddersfield moved six points clear of the relegation zone thanks to a 2-1 win at Sunderland.
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