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Raging Max Verstappen slams ‘disrespectful and unsportsmanlike’

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Max Verstappen took a swipe at title rival Lewis Hamilton from hospital, describing his celebrations after winning the British Grand Prix as ‘disrespectful’ and ‘unsportsmanlike’.

Verstappen, who went into Sunday’s race at Silverstone 33 points ahead in the title race, started pole but by Turn 9 on the opening lap here he was out of the race, clipped by Hamilton on his rear right tyre and sent into the tyre wall at 180mph.

Checks by on-site medics resulted in Verstappen being referred to a nearby hospital where he watched a feed of the race in which Hamilton claimed victory from Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc two laps before the chequered flag.

Lewis Hamilton was pictured on board a helicopter in London after a tumultuous day at the British Grand Prix, which he won at Silverstone after a crash with his rival Max Verstappen +13
Lewis Hamilton was pictured on board a helicopter in London after a tumultuous day at the British Grand Prix, which he won at Silverstone after a crash with his rival Max Verstappen

Glad I¿m ok. Very disappointed with being taken out like this. The penalty given does not help us and doesn¿t do justice to the dangerous move Lewis made on track. Watching the celebrations while still in hospital is disrespectful and unsportsmanlike behavior but we move

‘Watching the celebrations while still in hospital is disrespectful and unsportsmanlike behaviour but we move on.’

Later on Sunday, Verstappen posted a second tweet, saying: ‘Cleared from the hospital after all the checks were OK. Thank you to everyone for all the nice messages and best wishes.’

The two drivers have history and have come together twice already this season, in the opening race at Bahrain when Verstappen went off track before being asked to give the position he gained back and in Imola when Hamilton’s front wing was damaged by Verstappen and he was sent into the gravel.

This time round there was a great deal of concern for the heavy impact Verstappen took. It was investigated thoroughly by stewards with the session red flagged to repair the tyre wall.

In the end Hamilton was given a 10-second time penalty as stewards determined he was primarily to blame for the incident as he came down the inside line at Copse corner but, in their opinion, didn’t have the necessary position on the Apex.

The Mercedes star, who cut the championship points gap to eight with victory, was labelled ‘amateur’ and ‘desperate’ by Red Bull boss Christian Horner.

‘Every driver that has driven at this circuit knows you do not stick a wheel up the inside of Copse,’ Horner fumed to the race director.

‘That’s an enormous accident and it was Max’s corner. As far as I’m concerned, full blame is on Hamilton for that incident, he should never have been in that position. Thank god Max has walked away unscathed.’

He later went on to suggest Hamilton’s win will have felt ‘hollow’, which was dismissed out of hand by the Brit.

Asked whether he felt guilty for Verstappen’s plight, Hamilton was irritated of the blame landing solely at his door.

‘That isn’t the way I ever want to win a race or to race but these things happen,’ he said. ‘As Charles (Leclerc) said, this is a racing incident.

Hamilton vs Leclerc@karunchandhok compares the two overtaking moves at Copse Corner.
‘Everyone will have a different opinion but I don’t really care what people think.

‘Rarely an incident is 100 per cent someone’s fault, usually it’s a mixture. There are things we can both learn.

‘Max is probably the most aggressive driver here, just my personal opinion. He does a great job, of course, but I think we have to really try and find the best balance with space and respect between one another. Then we can continue racing without colliding.’

He added: ‘It’s been such a hard year. One I thoroughly enjoyed, but an emotional rollercoaster as it always is with a title race.

‘The first four races were close then we saw them take that step ahead. We made some mistakes as a team but also lose performance. I was inspired by what the team brought.

‘Did I ever feel we would be back in the title fight? I don’t know. I prayed and hoped for it because I thought it would be a real slog. But the race is on.’

Mercedes has hinted that police should investigate some of the vile slurs aimed at their star driver and called on social media companies to do more to stop racist posts before they go online – and close the accounts of the culprits.

Seven-time world champion Hamilton, 36, was involved in a crash that saw championship leader and rival Max Verstappen plough his Red Bull into a wall and out of the race at Silverstone.

Hamilton, who is a vocal supporter of the BLM movement is leading a campaign for more racing drivers from black and ethnic minority groups, was hit by a 10 second penalty but went on to win the race and close the gap in the title race to just eight points.

Following the race, Sir Lewis received a slew of racist abuse including monkey and gorilla emojis on Instagram – the platform of choice for racists who abused Bukayo Saka, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford after their penalty misses in the Euro 2020 final this month.

Today Mercedes, Hamilton’s team, released a joint statement with Formula One and the sport’s governing body, the FIA, condemning the abuse, and piled more pressure on social media giants to take steps to filter comments, ban racists and help police punish them if necessary.

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‘Formula 1, The FIA and Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team condemn this behaviour in the strongest possible terms’, they said.

‘These people have no place in our sport and we urge that those responsible should be held accountable for their actions. Formula 1, the FIA, the drivers and the teams are working to build a more diverse and inclusive sport, and such unacceptable instances of online abuse must be highlighted and eliminated.’

A spokesman said: ‘In addition to our work to remove comments and accounts that repeatedly break our rules, there are safety features available, including Comment Filters and Message Controls, which can mean no one has to see this type of abuse. No single thing will fix this challenge overnight but we’re committed to the work to keep our community safe from abuse.’

Hamilton is yet to comment on the abuse but last week issued a post after Marcus Rashford, Jordan Sancho and Bukayo Saka were racially abused following England’s Euro 2020 final defeat against Italy at Wembley.

He wrote: ‘The racial abuse on social media towards our players after yesterday’s game is unacceptable. This sort of ignorance has to be stopped.

‘Tolerance and respect for players of colour should not be conditional. Our humanity should not be conditional.’

The 36-year-old has frequently spoken about fighting racism and has pushed for increased diversity in Formula One.

Last year Hamilton hit out at the Formula One community over a lack of racial diversity amid the George Floyd protests.

The seven-time world champion – – the only black driver to ever race in the competition – said he felt isolated in trying to combat racial discrimination in a sporting discipline he described as ‘white dominated’.

In a post on Instagram, he said: ‘I see those of you staying silent, some of you the biggest stars yet you stay in the midst of injustice.

‘Not a sign from anybody in my industry which of course is a white dominated sport. I’m one of the only people of colour there yet I stand alone. I would have thought by now you would see why this happens and say something about it but you can’t stand alongside us.

‘Just know I know who you are and I see you.’

Last year, Hamilton established the Hamilton Commission with the Royal Academy of Engineering, which is attempting to help more young people from black backgrounds to be employed in motorsport or in other engineering sectors.

Alongside his anti-racism campaigns, Hamilton is a well known social activist, championing fashionable causes including veganism.

But he has also in the past taken criticism from lecturing the world on green issues, while making millions from a gas-guzzling sport which sees teams clock up more than 100,000 air miles each season as they jet to tracks across the world.

In 2019 he sold his £25million candy red private jet to help reduce his carbon emissions.

Hamilton is now worth some £250million with a home in the millionaires’ enclave of Monaco, where his collection of shoes alone spans two rooms.

He grew up in a small end of terrace home in Stevenage, and began his venture into motorsport at the tender age of just five, when his father bought him a remote controlled car.

Hamilton has frequently spoken about fighting racism and has pushed for more diversity in F1, taking the knee before races and urging other drivers to do so too

Hamilton began karting in 1993 and quickly began winning races and cadet class championships – becoming the youngest driver to win the British cadet karting championship at the age of ten.

He got his break in Formula One in 2007, partnering two-time and defending World Champion Fernando Alonso at McLaren – becoming the first and so far only black driver to race in the competition.

He finished runner-up of the championships in his debut season, losing by a point. The following year he won by the same margin. He has since scooped six championships – and is battling it out with Verstappen for a seventh.

Hamilton has often talked about his background and experience in F1 – including the racial abuse he suffered even in karting as a young boy.

Hamilton’s father, who had to remortgage his house and spend all his and his second wife’s savings just to get his son into karting for a year, was also the victim of abuse.

While Hamilton has won plenty of praise for sharing his experience, his comments have not always provoked a positive reaction.

He upset residents in his hometown of Stevenage by saying it had been his dream to ‘get out of the slums’ while collecting a BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award in 2018.

The leader of Stevenage Borough Council at the time said it was ‘disappointing’ and people felt ‘very offended’.

He later apologised, saying: ‘I wanted to take a second to send a message to people back in the UK, but also to people in Stevenage where I grew up.

‘It’s somewhere I’m incredibly proud of coming from and still love to this day.’

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Return to the Ring: Mike Tyson and the big money fight against Jake Paul

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For some time now, Mike Tyson has been planning another return to the ring after taking on Roy Jones Jr in 2020. Until now, though, he hasn’t been able to nail down another opponent, even though several names have been mentioned, such as Evander Holyfield.

Now, Tyson could be in line to face Jake Paul in Las Vegas. From the moment the YouTuber brothers Jake and Logan Paul emerged into the boxing world, Tyson refrained from criticising them and now he could be rewarded with a mega money bout against the younger brother.

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According to The Sun, the agents of both men are working on details for a Las Vegas fight that would take place at the end of 2022.

It is estimated that the prize money could reach 45 million dollars, just through PPV and ticket sales.

Tyson said on Monday that this fight “is news to me”, but The Sun insist that the details are being finalised and that we could see Jake Paul vs Mike Tyson before the end of the year.

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Serious Conversation: Novak Djokovic controversy draws stern response from Victoria Azarenka at Australian Open

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NOVAK DJOKOVIC’S deportation from the Australian Open has sparked conversation about compulsory vaccinations in sport with Victoria Azarenka the latest to weigh in.

Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka has stated it is a “social responsibility” to get vaccinated and it should be compulsory. But the former world No.1 and WTA council member claimed there are legal reasons why the women’s professional tour cannot mandate every player to get jabbed. Novak Djokovic’s deportation after seeking to get a medical exemption has led to calls for all tournaments to insist every player is vaccinated.

Tennis fans back Australia decision to deport Novak Djokovic
But the Belarussian, who won the Australian Open title in 2012 and 2013, said: “From my standpoint it’s been very clear. I believe in science. I believe in getting vaccinated. That’s what I did for myself.

“However, we are playing a global sport, we still have to respect countries, different countries, different mandates, different legalities of the country.

“Some countries will not allow mandates. I think to impose something legally on the WTA Tour can be a challenge. I think that’s something that we are facing.

“I believe that spending a lot of extra money over this last almost two years now on all the testing, that is a big budget. I don’t necessarily will say that getting vaccinated, then nobody will be sick, but I think it is a step to hopefully battle against this coronavirus, hopefully bring it down globally. But to make it as a mandate, there is much more to it.

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Victoria Azarenka has stated it is a “social responsibility” to get vaccinated
“In our case I think this is what has been recommended, and that’s what I believe is the right thing to do.

“I think from a social standpoint it’s been very clear that the WTA is supporting the vaccines and recommending it. Again, it goes beyond mandating for a legal part. Encouragement has always been from the WTA side, from tennis side I think in general.”

The world No.25, who reached the third round of the Australian Open with a 6-1 6-2 victory over Jil Teichmann, added: “On a social aspect, personally for me it’s not necessarily maybe about myself, it’s about other people. Like my parents for example, are at high risk for Covid.

“I had Covid in November of this year. Unfortunately my parents also got it. It was tough for my dad. Thankfully he was vaccinated because I honestly don’t know what could have happened otherwise. For me there is a social responsibility for other people who are much more vulnerable than us. I definitely look at it from that point, as well.”

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Novak Djokovic may face five years in prison as Home Affairs investigate Covid test error

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AUSTRALIA’S Home Affairs department is now investigating Novak Djokovic over his breach of Covid isolation rules in Serbia and inconsistencies in his positive Covid test date.

 

 

Novak Djokovic looks to be in a losing battle over his Australian visa, as Australian immigration officials confirmed they would be investigating multiple discrepancies over the world No 1’s Covid test, travel documents and isolation breaches. Djokovic admitted on Wednesday that he had broken isolation rules in Serbia after testing positive last month.

Djokovic had his visa cancelled when arriving in Melbourne for the Australian Open last week after providing border officials with “minimal” proof of a medical exemption he was granted by Tennis Australia.

The nine-time Aussie Open champion appealed the decision and won on the grounds of “procedural fairness” after the federal government conceded they had not given Djokovic enough time to provide more proof or contact Tennis Australia.

While the Serb has been allowed freely into Melbourne, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke is continuing to consider whether to cancel Djokovic’s visa for a second time on the basis that the reason for the No 1’s medical exemption – prior Covid infection in the last six months – is not a valid vaccine exemption for foreign nationals entering Australia.

The Department of Home Affairs is also separately investigating Djokovic, and it has now been confirmed that their probe has been widened to include his breach of Covid isolation rules in Serbia, inconsistencies on the date he claims he received his positive test result, and incorrect statements on his Australian Travel Declaration form, according to The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

During the 20-time Major champion’s appeal hearing, a sworn court affidavit confirmed he was both “tested and diagnosed” on December 16, taking a PCR test earlier in the day and receiving notification of a positive result at around 8pm Serbian time.

It then surfaced that Djokovic had attended a children’s tennis event in Serbia on December 17, presenting awards while not wearing a mask, and took part in an interview with L’Equipe on December 18.

On Wednesday, the Serb released a statement claiming he only received notification of his positive test result after the children’s event on December 17, but admitted to breaking isolation rules by attending the interview on December 18 knowingly having Covid – a breach of Serbian isolation requirements…

Home Affairs will now consider both the contradictions in the date of Djokovic’s positive test result, and his decision to break Serbian Covid isolation rules as part of their probe.

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If he is found to have given false evidence in regards to his Covid test he could face serious consequences, with a prison sentence of five years the maximum penalty giving false evidence under the Crimes Act.

As well as the inconsistencies surrounding the date, the Home Affairs department is probing new questions over whether the positive result was manipulated.

It was also reported on Tuesday that the Australian government were investigating whether the world No 1 lied on his declaration form when entering the country last week, as he claimed he had not travelled in the 14 days prior to arriving in Melbourne when he had gone from his home of Serbia to Spain in this period.

Djokovic was not believed to have filled in the form himself, instead having someone do it on his behalf, and in his statement on Tuesday he confirmed that his support team submitted the form on his behalf, and the incorrect information about his previous travel had been “human error”.

“On the issue of my travel declaration, this was submitted by my support team on my behalf – as I told immigration officials on my arrival – and my agent sincerely apologises for the administrative mistake in ticking the incorrect box about my previous travel before coming to Australia,” he said.

On the form, all travellers are asked whether they have “travelled or will travel in the 14 days prior to your flight to Australia”.

They are also warned that “giving false or misleading information is a serious offence. You may also be liable to a civil penalty for giving false or misleading information”, with a maximum penalty of 12 months imprisonment.

Meanwhile, the Immigration Minister’s decision on whether to revoke Djokovic’s visa for a second time will continue to drag on, after a spokesperson for Mr Hawke confirmed on Wednesday that the world No 1’s lawyers had “recently provided lengthy further submissions and supporting documentation said to be relevant to the possible cancellation of Mr Djokovic’s visa”, and said: “Naturally, this will affect the timeframe for a decision.”

While the Immigration Minister’s decision is independent, he can also consider whether to cancel Djokovic’s visa on the grounds of his character, informed by the ongoing Home Affairs investigation.

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