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Volume 7 No. 149
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Names In The News: Verstappen Jokes About Missing FIA Gala

Red Bull Formula 1 driver MAX VERSTAPPEN "jokingly suggested he could serve part of a community service punishment" by attending FIA's prize-giving gala in Russia next month. Verstappen would have beaten Ferrari's KIMI RÄIKKÖNEN to third overall had he finished second in Sunday's race rather than third. Asked by Mercedes' race winner LEWIS HAMILTON whether he had secured third place, Verstappen grinned and said, "Two points behind (Räikkönen) -- but at least I don't have to go to the Gala." Hamilton replied, "Lucky you" (REUTERS, 11/26). ... Former Japan PM YOSHIRO MORI on Sunday received the Vernon Pugh Award for Distinguished Service from World Rugby "for his contributions to the sport and role in Japan's successful bid to host next year's World Cup." Mori serves as the honorary chair of the Japan Rugby Football Union (KYODO, 11/26). ... ALEXANDER ALBON is expected to be announced as a '19 Toro Rosso F1 driver "in the coming days," having "completed extracting himself" from his Nissan Formula E deal (AUTOSPORT, 11/26). ... Irish rugby int'l JOHNNY SEXTON capped off a "memorable 12 months" by being named World Rugby Player of the Year. Sexton beat All Black BEAUDEN BARRETT to the top prize in Monte Carlo (London DAILY MAIL, 11/25). ... YANNICK NOAH launched an "impassioned attack" on the imminent Davis Cup revamp after his third spell as France captain ended in a loss to Croatia on Sunday. He said that he was "quitting the Davis Cup" and that the competition was "disappearing in all but name" (REUTERS, 11/25).