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Young Sirotkin raises eyebrows in the fast lane

»Sauber's plan to fast-track Russian teenager Sergey Sirotkin into Formula One has raised eyebrows among those drivers who set youth records themselves as well as rivals envious of the cash that seemingly comes with him.

The financially-troubled Swiss team announced last week that they would prepare the youngster, who is 18 in August, for a 2014 race seat as part of a partnership with three Russian entities to secure Sauber's survival.

"I wasn't ready at 18. I was pretty good at 18 so...," commented Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, who was world champion with McLaren in 2008 at the age of 23 and 301 days after making a sensational debut the previous year.

Hamilton was the youngest champion until Germany's Sebastian Vettel came along with Red Bull and won the first of his three titles to date in 2010 at the age of 23 and 134 days after making his debut at 19.

The youngest driver in Formula One to date is Spaniard Jaime Alguersuari, who made his debut in Hungary in 2009 at the age of 19 years and 125 days.

Club suspends Bodin for on-court punch-up

»Thai shuttler Bodin Issara has been suspended by his club Granular until the end of the year for his on-court punch-up with former doubles partner Maneepong Jongjit during the Canada Open final, local media reported.

Trouble broke out in the tie between two Thai pairs after Maneepong and Nipitphon Puangpuapech bagged the first game. At the change of ends Maneepong hit Bodin with his racquet following a heated verbal exchange.

Bodin retaliated by chasing down Maneepong to a neighbouring court and rugby-tackled him to the ground before punching him several times, incurring a disqualification.

In a letter to the Badminton World Federation (BWF), Granular president Jane Piyatat apologised for the incident and said Bodin has been suspended without pay until the end of the year, the Bangkok Post reported.

Metallica take over the pool in Barcelona!

»Russia's Svetlana Romashina secured her fourth gold of the world championships and her 15th major title when she teamed up with Svetlana Kolesnichenko to win the synchronised swimming free duet with an unusual routine.

Opting for an ear-bursting Metallica number, the Russian pair amassed 97.680 points for their routine, easily beating Chinese twins Jiang Tingting and Jiang Wenwen into second on 95.350.

Romashina, who won both solo golds in Barcelona and now owns 12 world championship and three Olympic titles, said the idea to use the Metallica song had come from coach Tatiana Dachenko.

"I was a little bit surprised at the beginning," the 24-year-old told reporters. "But when we started creating the programme I felt it was interesting and very quickly we realised that this programme was going to be good for us," she added.  

Nicklaus showers Mickelson with praise

»Jack Nicklaus has said that not enough credit has been given to the players who have triumphed in golf's big four events.

Nicklaus was hugely impressed by Phil Mickelson's stunning three-shot victory in last week's British Open at Muirfield and has marked the American left-hander out as the favourite for next month's PGA Championship, the last of the season's majors.

"Phil is obviously playing awfully well," golfing great Nicklaus said.  "He would have to be the favourite going into Oak Hill, on record for how he has played. If you look at the history of the guys that are playing today, only Tiger has won more majors as an active player."

Woods won the most recent of his 14 major titles at the 2008 US Open and has only fellow American Nicklaus, who piled up a record 18 victories, ahead of him on the all-time list. “These guys are pretty special,” he added.

Raikkonen's salary not a factor for Red Bull

»Kimi Raikkonen's considerable wages will not be a factor in Red Bull's decision on who partners Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel next season, team principal Christian Horner said.

"Of course, finances are always a factor but...the difference between first and second or second and third and fourth is a significant amount in the constructors' world championship," he told reporters at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

"So the financial element of it, if you don't make the right decision, is going to impact you anyway if you are not scoring constructors' points. So that isn't really an element in our decision making."

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