Charles Leclerc on Saturday caused some concern when he reported a “cut” while leading the Formula One sprint race in Baku, but the Ferrari driver later clarified he was referring to a cat.
Asked whether there had been any recurrence of what had sounded like an engine cutout, Leclerc told reporters: “Absolutely not. I said a cat — which is different.”
“There was a cat in the middle of the road and the safety car had to stop, but I think I was probably the only one who saw that,” he said. “In the exit of Turn One there was a cat and the safety car braked.”
Leclerc, who started on pole position, finished second. Mexican Sergio Perez, the winner for Red Bull who was following Leclerc at the time, said he had not been aware of the cat.
The Baku street circuit snakes through the old town, with the track ringed with metal fences designed more for safety than to keep out resident felines determined to overcome any obstacle.
Cats, feral or otherwise, have been a problem in the past at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix with one caught on the television feed darting across the track in front of Lewis Hamilton in 2016.
F1’s race in Turkey, now no longer on the calendar, had more of a problem with stray dogs on track. In 2008, one was hit by Brazilian Bruno Senna’s car in a GP2 support race at Istanbul Park.
Viewers of the Canadian Grand Prix are also used to seeing groundhogs making a dash for safety at Montreal’s island Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
Chinese pair Liang Wenbo and Li Hang on Tuesday received lifetime bans from snooker for match-fixing after a “heart-breaking” corruption scandal rocked the sport. In total, 10 Chinese players were handed bans of varying lengths by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA). Lu Ning, Zhao Xintong, Yan Bingtao, Chen Zifan, Zhang Jiankang, Bai Langning, Zhao Jianbo and Chang Bingyu were the other players suspended. Yan, the 2021 Masters champion, has been banned until December 2027 after his initial seven-and-a-half-year suspension was reduced following his early admissions and guilty plea. Former UK Championship winner Zhao Xintong is to serve a 20-month suspension, reduced
Iga Swiatek on Saturday said it would be “disrespectful” to her vanquished opponents to talk about her propensity for winning bagel sets after thrashing Wang Xinyu without losing a game at the French Open. The world No. 1 won 6-0, 6-0 in just 51 minutes on Court Philippe Chatrier to reach the last 16. Across 57 matches in 17 Grand Slam appearances in her young career, Swiatek has already won 19 sets to love. Yet she knows how it feels to be on the wrong end of a bagel, having lost three sets at majors 6-0 herself, although all of those came across
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