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Horner regrets not signing Piastri

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LONDON:

Red Bull boss Christian Horner has spoken of his regret at missing the chance to sign Oscar Piastri when the Australian was working his way up to Formula One.

The highly-rated 21-year-old has signed to race for McLaren from next season after a contract tussle with Renault-owned Alpine.

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The 2020 Formula Three and 2021 Formula Two champion raced for the Arden team, founded by Horner and his father, in Formula Four and Formula Renault.

“There was an opportunity for Red Bull to look at him at the time and we didn’t take up that option, which is something that I regret,” Horner told Formula One’s Beyond the Grid podcast released on Wednesday.

Piastri will have Britain’s Lando Norris as his McLaren team mate next year, another driver Horner said he rated very highly.

“The only problem he (Piastri) now has to deal with is (that) the expectation on him will be immense,” said Horner.

“He’s going to have to get in and deliver against Lando, which is no mean feat. But you either sink or swim in this business. He’s a very, very capable driver, I’m sure he’s going to do very well.”

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Red Bull have won 12 of 16 races this season but Horner doubted his team were starting a new era of domination like the one they enjoyed from 2010-13.

Red Bull are set to take both championships with Max Verstappen heading for his second successive drivers’ crown – possibly as soon as Singapore next week.

“If we manage to pull off these back-to-back championships, which hopefully we can do with Max, and if we are able to for the first time in eight years be the only team to beat Mercedes to the constructors’ championship, that’s an enormous feat,” said Horner.

“Now, the quality of our competitors is such that I cannot see a period of domination like we’ve just endured… I’m sure the others are going to come back fighting very, very hard next year but only time will tell.”

Red Bull are 139 points clear of Ferrari in the standings with six races remaining while Verstappen is 116 ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

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Narrow wins bring lift for Americans at Presidents Cup

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CHARLOTTE:

The United States needed three nail-biter triumphs to seize a 4-1 lead over the Internationals on Thursday at the Presidents Cup but the Americans were happy with the results.

The US squad, winners of the past eight editions of the team golf showdown, held off three of four late rallies by their global rivals in foursomes matches at Quail Hollow.

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“We’re very pleased with the start,” US captain Davis Love said. “We’ve just got to stay on our plan and keep trying to just win every match and every session and let the outcome take care of itself.”

US rookie Cameron Young sank a 26-foot birdie putt at the 17th hole to give himself and Collin Morikawa a 2&1 triumph over South Koreans Lee Kyoung-hoon and Kim Joo-hyung.

“I was thrilled it went in,” Young said. “It wasn’t a putt that I feel like you could really try to make. Anything of that distance out here is tricky just to get close.

“I definitely hit a little bit too hard. It is a really fast one… trying to make Collin’s life easy on the second one. And every once in a while, those go in.”

On a day of roller-coaster emotions, Young’s ended on a high note.

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“That moment there is about all I can ask for,” Young said. “That’s a feeling I’ve been waiting to have for a long time.”

The other emotional putt by the US squad came from Justin Thomas, who saved par from 27 feet to win the 15th hole in a 2&1 victory for him and Jordan Spieth over Im Sung-jae and Corey Conners.

It was the only hole either side won on the back nine and what could have been a level match was instead a 2-up US lead.

“Was fortunate enough, just really tried to use that moment,” Thomas said. “Those switches are so big in match play.”

Max Homa, whose first PGA title came at Quail Hollow, and Tony Finau edged Taylor Pendrith and Mito Pereira 1-up when Pendrith missed a 10-foot par putt at 18.

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“It means a lot,” Homa said. “We’re playing great, put in a lot of work. It’s cool to end the day 4-1.

“This is what makes us feel alive. I felt very alive today.”

Finau made it clear the Americans, with an 11-1-1 edge in the all-time rivalry and 10 of the world’s 16 top-ranked players, aren’t at all overconfident.

“This thing is far from over,” he said. “It’s a great start, but you know how these things can go. We’re happy with this start, but not complacent. We’re ready to get back after it.”

The biggest US win came when Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay beat Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama 6&5 in the opening match — a statement triumph for the Americans over the most experienced Internationals duo.

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“There’s a real advantage to trying to get (points) up on the board as early as possible,” Cantlay said. “It just gets everyone a little more comfortable and inspires them to just follow suit.”

Cantlay and Schauffele won this year’s PGA pairs event in New Orleans and improved to 5-0 in foursomes play in Ryder and Presidents Cups.

“We’re very motivated,” Schauffele said. “We enjoy playing together. We’ve done well in the format and we attribute it to our friendship and playing a lot and competing a lot against each other on normal weeks. There’s sort of a level of comfort we have when we compete together.”



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Raducanu surges into Korea Open semi-finals

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SEOUL:

Emma Raducanu surged into the Seoul semi-finals on Friday as she won three matches in a row at a tournament for the first time since her US Open triumph.

The 19-year-old Briton blew away third seed Magda Linette 6-2, 6-2 at the Korea Open and faces fellow former major champion Jelena Ostapenko in the last four.

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Raducanu stunned the tennis world when she emerged from qualifying to win the US Open last year, but she has struggled to build on that and her Grand Slam defence ended in the first round last month.

Raducanu, who reached a career-high 10th in the world in July but is now 77th, showed flashes of her Flushing Meadows brilliance of 2021 in demolishing Poland’s Linette in 77 minutes.

Sixth-seeded Raducanu got off to a fast start, quickly winning the first four games and taking the first set 6-2.

She continued to dominate in the second set and her race to the finish line was only temporarily held up when her opponent required a lengthy medical timeout.

The resurgent Raducanu is yet to drop a set in Seoul.

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But she faces a tough test in the form of top seed Ostapenko, the 2017 French Open champion from Latvia.

She thrashed 186th-ranked Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva 6-2, 6-1 in their quarter-final.

The other semi-final is between Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova and Germany’s Tatjana Maria.



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Formula One team Williams part with Latifi

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PARIS:

Canadian Formula One driver Nicholas Latifi is to leave the Williams team at the end of the 2022 season, the British outfit announced on Friday.

Williams confirmed the arrival of Thai-British racing driver Alexander Albon for next season but did not reveal the replacement for Latifi who joined the team in the 2020 season.

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Latifi has raced 55 Grands Prix with William gaining a grand total of seven points.

The 27-year-old was 21st in the world championships last season and 17th the previous season.

Latifi, son of the owner of Williams’ sponsor Sofina, said he had fond memories of his time with the racing outfit.

“Although we have not achieved the results together we hoped we would, it’s still been a fantastic journey,” he said.

“Getting those first points in Hungary last year was a moment I’ll never forget, and I will move onto the next chapter of my career with special memories.”

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Team principal Jost Capito wished his driver well for the future.

“He’s a great team player who has a great attitude. We wish him all the very best of luck for his future, both in and out of the cockpit.”



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