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MWANGI: Mercedes’ triple one-two underlines team pedigree

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By ALEX MWANGI
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You would have to go back close to three decades to find a time when a Formula One team did the one-two in the first three races of the season.

1992 it was when Williams swept the top two spots of the first three races.

What was meant to be a circuit where Ferrari would correct their mistakes it made in Bahrain turned out to be a dominant outing for Mercedes in Shanghai, China, with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas doing everything necessary to build a healthy lead both in the drivers’ and constructors’ standings.

Bottas had managed to deny Hamilton pole by the slimmest of margins, just 0.023 seconds. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was third on the grid and his cool yet steely teammate Charles Leclerc was to start fourth.

Hamilton got the better start and going into Turn One, had already taken the lead from his teammate.

Leclerc stuck to the inside lane going into Turn One and he, too, got the better of his more experienced teammate. The best start, however, belonged to SportPesa Racing Point’s Sergio Perez whose brilliant overtaking saw him gain four positions from 12th in the first lap.

The Mexican’s decision to brave it out by sweeping the outside of Turn One paid handsome dividends whose benefits he maintained till the end of the race.

Sometimes it takes things going extremely bad to get the motivation to ‘seal all the cracks’ in execution and that is what Toro Rosso’s Alexander Albon did on Sunday.

The Thai driver had a heavy crash on Saturday during the last practice session. Come race day and having started from the pit lane, he got into the stats by setting the fastest lap on the second lap.

After losing position to his teammate at the start, Vettel was yet again on the backfoot but was determined to prove his experience.

Although he was close to Leclerc, it did not seem like he had the extra power needed or deft drive to pass the Monegasque.

This left the team with a difficult situation on their hands. Eventually, on the 11th lap, Leclerc was told to “let Sebastian by”, the reasoning behind this being that Vettel was thought to be faster and was in a better position to hunt the disappearing Mercedes pair.

Leclerc obeyed. But Ferrari’s plan did not seem to pan out as hoped as Vettel clearly struggled to build space between himself and Leclerc. To make matters worse for the Ferraris, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was lurking. It’s when Verstappen came in for fresh tyres on the 17th lap that Ferrari firmed up its strategy, calling Vettel in in the subsequent lap.

It was almost too late as Verstappen caught Vettel soon after and attempted a ‘Ricciardo dive’ on the German but could not make it stick. On this occasion, Vettel was saved by a whisker.

Bottas came in to put on the hard compound on the 21st lap, his teammate doing the same a lap later in the company of Leclerc in the pit lane.

On the 34th lap, Verstappen made his second stop. To prevent the undercut, Vettel was called in shortly thereafter but this time around, there was a significant gap between the two.

To cover the possibility of having worn out tyres to compete with rivals on fresher tyres in the case of a Safety Car, Mercedes took the gamble of double-stacking Hamilton and Bottas in the pits.

It worked. Hamilton managed to rejoin without losing his position. Bottas came out behind Leclerc, who was on a lengthier middle stint but the flying Finn made light work of the Ferrari.

Vettel caught up with Leclerc and had the benefit of using DRS on his teammate, but it was too little too late as far as any prospects of catching Bottas were concerned.

In clean air for much of the race, Hamilton cruised to victory on the 1,000th Grand Prix for his 75th career win. SportPesa Racing Point’s Perez finished an impressive eighth, well within the points.

Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly did a late pit stop, which he could afford because no one was that close behind him, and as a result of the team’s craftiness, managed to set the fastest lap and snatch the extra point from Vettel who was on course to bag it.

Toro Rosso’s Alexander Albon proved that he should be considered for graduation to the senior Red Bull team by managing to finish tenth despite starting from behind the grid, especially given the fact that after three races, Gasly, Verstappen’s teammate in the senior team, has three times less points than the Dutchman.

Heading to Baku, it’s Ferrari that is left with the headache of how to handle Leclerc without diminishing his potential, seeing that Vettel is struggling to prove himself a class above the precocious Monegasque.



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Democrats pressure Trump on Russia report

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Democrats are keeping up pressure on President Donald Trump following the long-awaited release of a report into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

They want Robert Mueller, the man who collated the report, to publicly testify before congress about the work he has done.

The redacted report, which was released on Thursday, reveals the president tried to get Mr Mueller fired.

Mr Trump’s legal team has described its release as a “total victory”.

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The 448-page redacted document is the result of a 22-month investigation by Mr Mueller, who was appointed to investigate alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

What’s in the report?

Mr Mueller’s report says he found no criminal conspiracy between Mr Trump’s campaign and Russia, but could not reach a concrete legal conclusion on whether Mr Trump tried to obstruct the investigation.

“If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state,” the report says. “Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgement.

“Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

The report also reveals:

  • Mr Trump instructed a White House lawyer to try to get Mr Mueller removed over alleged “conflicts of interest”, but the lawyer resigned because “he did not plan” to follow the directive
  • Mr Trump reportedly used an expletive when the investigation was announced, adding: “Oh my god. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency”
  • Mr Mueller examined 10 actions by the president in regards to obstruction of justice, which he said largely “took place in public view”
  • The report says that potential obstruction of justice by the president only failed because members of his administration refused to “carry out orders”
  • Investigators viewed the president’s written responses to their questions as “inadequate” but chose not to pursue a potentially lengthy legal battle to interview him

What do Democrats say?

Democrat congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer in a joint statement said the report painted a “disturbing picture of a president who has been weaving a web of deceit, lies and improper behaviour”.

The party has begun moves to try to obtain the full, unredacted document and to have Mr Mueller testify before Congress.

Congresswoman Jackie Speier told the BBC that Mr Mueller had “basically tossed the ball to Congress and said, ‘you need to pursue obstruction of justice here’.”

Democrats have also attacked US Attorney-General William Barr, accusing him of “misleading” them with an earlier summary of the report’s findings regarding whether Mr Trump obstructed justice.

Mr Barr held a news conference before the report was made public in which he backed the president.

The report has long been viewed as a potential tool to impeach the president but the House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said this would not be “worthwhile at this point”.

“Very frankly, there is an election in 18 months and the American people will make a judgement,” he told CNN.

How has Mr Trump responded?

Speaking at an event for veterans, Mr Trump said he was having a “good day” – adding that there was “no collusion” and “no obstruction”.

Representatives for the president have also reiterated his view that the investigation was a “hoax” and called for reprisal inquiries.

“President Trump has been fully and completely exonerated yet again,” Mr Trump’s 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale said in a statement.

“Now the tables have turned, and it’s time to investigate the liars who instigated this sham investigation into President Trump, motivated by political retribution and based on no evidence whatsoever.”

His comments followed a stream of social media posts by the president on Thursday regarding the report’s release.

In one tweet, he said he had the right to “end the whole witch hunt” and fire Mr Mueller had he wanted to.





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AK boss Jack Tuwei elected Africa Athletics vice president ▷ Kenya News

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Athletics Kenya (AK) President Jack Tuwei has been elected the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) senior vice president.

The retired General was elected unopposed and will now serve under Cameroon national Hamad Kalkaba Malboum, who was re-elected to the position for the next four years.

READ ALSO: Arsenal star Mesut Ozil sends more goodies to young Kenyan herdsboy Lawrence Masira

The retired General was elected unopposed and will now serve under Hamad Kalkaba Malboum, who was re-elected to the position for the next four years.
Source: Depositphotos

READ ALSO: Champions League: Wanyama makes history, becomes 2nd Kenyan to make it to semi-final

The AK boss was elected during the CAA Congress attended by International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) president Sebastian Coe on Tuesday, April 16, in Abidjan, Cote D’Ívoire.

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Tuwei has his work cut out; he must ensure that African athletes are protected against unfavorable treatment.

READ ALSO: Sintofahamu yazuka baada ya babake DPP Noordin Haji kunaswa akifyatua risasi hewani

Recently, the man who took over from the late Isaiah Kiplagat as AK boss, met Coe to seek assurances on the changes to the Diamond League, approved by the IAAF in March.

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The IAAF announced a decrease in the maximum track event distance from 5,000 metres to 3,000m, prompting a backlash from athletes and officials in African countries.

The two African countries most affected by the decision would be Kenya and Ethiopia who are traditional long distance giants.

AK also expressed Kenya’s concern at the IAAF decision to reduce the number of meetings held each season from 14 to 13.

However, Coe and IAAF chief executive Jon Ridgeon insisted the changes would not affect African athletes alone.

Story by Sasha Amor, TUKO Correspondent.

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Fake it till you make it- here’s what socialite Huddah Monroe had to say about Americans

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Socialite cum business woman Huddah Monroe now says Americans are the biggest lifestyle fakers ever.

The socialite through her Instagram page said, Americans in Los Angeles just like hanging out with those who have money or are famous.

“LA is the city of clout chasers and the fakest people alive. They want to hang around you if you have money or you are a celebrity,” she revealed.

The petite lass went on to narrate how the first thing locals ask when you land in L.A is if one has a social media account so that they can check out if you’re worth their time.

“The first thing people ask you when you get here is “Do you have an Instagram?” So they can see if your posts are worth hanging out with,” she added

Huddah is currently on holiday l.A no wonder she had something to say about the locals.