2017 British Grand Prix track preview | 2017 British Grand Prix

The super-fast Silverstone circuit should provide one of the most thrilling settings for this year?s new breed of Formula One cars.

As the Circuit de Catalunya and Red Bull Ring showed, the 2017 machines are at their best on tracks with plenty of medium-to-high-speed corners. And the Northamptonshire tracks has plenty of those.

The demanding stretch through Copse, the Maggotts/Becketts sequence and on through Stowe should give the most dramatic impressions of what these cars are capable of.

Lewis Hamilton trimmed the track record to 1?29.243 last year. Expect the new cars to carve a few more seconds out of that, particularly as Pirelli has brought its super-soft tyres this weekend.

It?s now 30 years since Silverstone became the exclusive host of the British Grand Prix. During this time the track has seen periodic changes including the construction of an entirely new start/finish complex and pit building in 2011.

But for the most part it has retained its high-speed character. The drivers will be relishing the opportunity to see what this year?s cars can do at Silverstone.

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A lap of Silverstone

When the world championship began Silverstone?s start/finish line was on a straight approaching Woodcote (now turn eight). It was later moved to the approach to Copse (turn nine) and since 2011 has been at the exit of Club (turn 18).

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Silverstone, 2016Silverstone has some of F1?s quickest corners?You start off on the new main pit straight before taking the first turn flat-out,? explains Romain Grosjean. ?Then you come into two hairpins. The first one is more open than the second one, and the second you really want to go for as early as you can.?

A good run through Village and The Loop can open up overtaking opportunities heading into Brooklands (turn six). ?Then you go through the old last couple of corners ? very tricky braking here ? before going along the old pit straight. It?s very tricky here on power, as well.?

From here the drivers enjoy one of the quickest series of corners on the entire calendar. Come qualifying, they will tackle the next six corners with at most the merest hint of a lift.

?It?s a great sensation in the car here,? says Grosjean. ?You stay flat-out as much as you can into Maggotts and Becketts, and then downshifting every corner a gear, and then you?re onto the Hangar Straight to Stowe corner.?

Staying close enough through these quick corners to make a passing move on the straight won?t be easy, especially as the next corner also has a high entry speed.

Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, Silverstone, 2016Stowe exit can catch drivers out?This is another tricky one where you enter very quickly,? says Grosjean. ?You want to go on the power as quick as you can, but the corner is closing down more than you think.? Several drivers have been caught out at the exit in recent years, particularly during Silverstone?s not-infrequent showers.

?Then you go to the last chicane ? heavy braking and it?s very bumpy. Then you?ve got your final throttle application with a lot of g-force on the right-hand side and you cross the finish line.?

As at the exit of Copse, the run-off on the outside of Club is rather generous and it?s not unusual to see drivers having lap times deleted for getting too greedy with the exit kerb.

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Netflix’s Castlevania Reactions: 5 Things You Need To Know

Most video game adaptions tend to end disastrously for all involved. Just last year, the Assassin’s Creed movie joined the likes of Uwe Boll’s House Of The Dead, and the Super Mario Bros. movie adaptions in the large pile of critical bombs that result from turning a video game into a movie.

Be it not understanding why the gaming franchise was successful, or simply not caring and trying to make a quick buck, there always seems to be an issue whenever an attempt at a video game adaptation occurs.

After almost ten years of development, including the possibility of a movie version that never took off, the new Castlevania series was released on Netflix last week. Shedding the live-action style that most video games inherit when they make the transfer to the silver screen, Netflix have gone down a completely different route.

The series is set in the style of an anime, spiky hair and all. However, it makes its R-rating clear, with frequent gory action scenes, and a smattering of swearing. If nothing else, it’s a refreshing take on a video game, and one that has garnered critical success.

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Tekken 7: Ranking Every Character From Worst To Best

Tekken 7 Namco

As the war wages on for between Injustice 2 and Tekken 7 for the Best Fighting Game of 2017, it’s worth taking a look at their respective rosters.

Whilst Injustice boasts a healthy 28 characters (minus DLC), all tweaked, balanced and perfected through environmental interactions, loot grinds and unlockable movesets, Tekken sees Namco build on a gameplay foundation that’s over 20 years old.

In one of the biggest changeups the franchise has ever seen, we not only got a story mode cribbed from Mortal Kombat 9, but also the advent of ‚Rage Arts‘ – Street Fighter-esque screen-filling specials, designed to help you level the playing field when on low health. Also added are ‚Power Crushes‘; the ability for certain moves to play out regardless of incoming damage, letting you steamroll right through an opponent’s attack for the win.

Couple all this with a new slow-motion camera that zooms in when the final hit of a bout goes down to the wire, and you have a fantastic balance between technicality, showmanship, and the balls-out characterful bluster we’ve grown accustomed to.

By all accounts, Tekken 7 is one of the best instalments in the franchise, but how does its roster fare?

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Little Mix ?Salute? England Women?s football #ad

Little Mix on BritMumsIn a video featuring their hit-single Salute, pop superstars Little Mix call for women, girls and football fans across the nation to unite and show their support for England?s Lionesses by submitting a salute on social media using #Lionesses.

The singers and football fans Perrie, Jesy, Jade and Leigh-Anne are looking for recruits to drive support for the England Women?s team ahead of this summer?s UEFA Women?s Euro in the Netherlands.

Check out their video and add to the roar for England?s Lionesses by sharing it on social media #Lionesses! (Cut and paste this link: http://bit.ly/2tDecF7)

Launched by the band on Instagram, Salute was chosen for its empowering and inspirational message and reflects The FA?s ongoing objective to grow women and girls? football domestically. Alongside Little Mix, the video features a number of football cameos including Lionesses captain Steph Houghton, world number two freestyle footballer Liv Cooke and amateur female footballers.

The Lionesses hope to build on their third-place finish in the 2015 FIFA Women?s World Cup and, after a string of victories in 2017 including over the world number one ranked USA, the team is targeting victory in the Netherlands with the help of Little Mix to help engage fans around the country.

The 23-strong England Women?s team fly to the Netherlands on Thursday 13th July, facing Scotland in their first group game on Wednesday 19th July followed by Spain and Portugal.

The Lionesses are calling on fans around the country to show their support for the team by capturing an image or video of their salute and sharing it alongside a message of support on social media using #Lionesses. For more information, visit www.TheFA.com/ForGirls and follow @Lionesses on Twitter and @Lionesses on Instagram.

On working with the Lionesses, Little Mix said: ?When we wrote Salute we wanted to convey a message of all women being united, something we know all fans are when supporting England. Being England fans ourselves, we jumped at the chance for Salute to help unify support for the Lionesses. The World Cup a few years ago was massive for the Lionesses and they have smashed it since so hopefully the support will help them go all the way this summer.?

England Women?s captain, Steph Houghton added: ?The support of our fans is vital to everything that we do ? we always play for our country and our fans. Since the World Cup in 2015, we?ve all experienced an increase in the interest in women?s football which has led to more and more fans supporting the team. It?s amazing that we are now able to work with the world?s biggest girl band, Little Mix, to help grow our fan base even more at such a key time and hopefully this will help us bring home the trophy in August.?

Tweet, Instagram or Facebook now, sharing the video and tagging in #Lionesses to support women and girls in football!

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About Jennifer Howze

Jennifer Howze is the Creative Director and co-founder of BritMums. She blogs about family travel at Jenography.net, tweets at @JHowze and Instagrams at @JHowze. Previously, she wrote the Alpha Mummy blog at The Times and as a journalist has contributed to The Times, The Guardian, The Independent, The Wall Street Journal, Travel & Leisure, Budget Travel, CNN.com, Allure, SELF and Premiere, among others. She won The Maggie Award from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America for a health article in Seventeen magazine.

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Gardening Round-up: Is your garden summer ready?

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Photo credit: Pinkyone, Shutterstock

We have had a fair bit of warm weather over the past month, I can tell because the garden has gone crazy!

The grass is needing mowing much more frequently, and the weeds grow before my very eyes, our tomato and chilli plants are growing nicely, although the beans and peas are struggling with the slugs and snails. In this weather I struggle to know exactly how much water to give the garden and the plants, not wanting to drown them, but also not leaving them too thirsty, so if you are like me, then check out Growing Family?s post on effective summer garden watering.

With the summer holidays nearly upon us, you may think that you won?t have enough time to keep up with the garden, so check out these 7 quick gardening jobs, that will take less than 10 minutes, so we can all find that amount of time to keep the garden looking it?s best, even better, involve the children, check out Inspire, Create Educate?s post on Easy gardening activities for children.

If you are looking for inspiration for your garden, then check out Renovation Bay-Bee for a garden transformation, you may find further ideas, from the blog hop, or Frugal Family?s garden makeover ideas

If, like me , you have a problem with garden pests and things that destroy your plants (other than chickens, which are not great for keeping flowers healthy!!) then this post on tips for controlling plant disease may help you out.

As we head into July, you might want to check out this post from Growing Family, that tells you all of the things you should have completed in June, so if there is anything on the list, that you haven?t done, now?s the time to do it. If you only have a small garden, do not worry as Emma Reed tells you how to make the most of your small garden.

Before the school holidays begin, we are looking to purchase some new garden furniture as we have had ours so long, its falling apart, so this post on Garden Furniture from A Few Favourite things may come in handy.

Last month a mummy robin had decided to nest in Asa?s shed, so it was off limits for a couple of weeks, I am happy to report the new baby robins have now left the nest meaning we can use the tools that are stored in the shed once again! This week, as we were cutting back the very overgrown bushes, we noticed that a pigeon had nested on the very end, right next to the patio steps, so every time we go up the steps we are stared at by some very fluffy (but very large) baby pigeons, if you have birds nesting in your garden, then, like me, you will probably feel compelled to provide them with food, if so, then check out Me and B Makes Tea post on Bird Feeding.

If you have a gardening post, you would like including in next month?s round-up, tweet me at @hexmumplus1 or email [email protected]

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About Mandi Morrison

Mandi is mum to seven children , three girls and four boys, aged 3 to 18, she is a joint partner in a Leisure & Tourism Consultancy and PR company with her husband Asa, they live just on the edge of the Norfolk Broads with lots of chickens! You can read about all their adventures over at Big Family Little Adventures, specialising in travel and days out for the larger family and Hex Mum Plus 1 a parenting blog detailing day to day life with seven children, fun and chaos guaranteed!

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The best missions for free Thief tribute The Dark Mod

I have this clear memory of playing the first Thief, crouching against the wall in a dark stairwell as a guard walked closer. I held my breath until he passed, hidden in a shadow inches away. The games in the original Thief trilogy were all about light and darkness, with a ?light gem? at the bottom of the screen to indicate whether you were really in the dark, reducing the guesswork created by the oddities of first-person bodies and your own screen settings. It?s an obvious idea more stealth games should borrow.

A a lot of things from the original Thief games didn?t become standard in the genre, and even the 2014 reboot/sequel didn?t pick up on some of them. For that we have The Dark Mod [official site].

Modders had been making fan missions for the first two Thief games for years before organizing themselves into Broken Glass Studios (in homage to Thief creators Looking Glass) and making The Dark Mod. The catalyst was Doom 3, another game all about light and darkness. Its engine, with real-time shadow propagation and solid physics interactions, was perfect for a stealth game. The first version of The Dark Mod required Doom 3 installed on your system, but with the release of its source code in 2011 The Dark Mod became a standalone game with a growing library of missions to download from its in-game client ? over 100 of them so far, with new ones still being made.

To prevent legal trouble The Dark Mod has its own steampunk-ish setting that modders agree to use, one that resembles the original Thief games closely ? even more so than the remake, to be honest ? but uses different names. The religious zealots are Builders rather than Hammerites, the skeletal undead are Revenants not Haunts, and the backdrop for all this is called Bridgeport rather than The City and is part of an alternate history Europe instead of a fantasy setting. In play it still feels like Thief in spite of these changes.

Here are some of the missions that demonstrate that best.

Thief?s Den is a small map. There?s a street, some rooms accessible via rooftops, and a building belonging to a rival thief who has stolen a scepter that you stole from somebody else. Thief?s Den is tight, both in the sense of feeling enclosed and lacking extraneous clutter. I wish there were more fan missions like it. There are several follow-ups, all much bigger. Thief?s Den 3: The Heart of Lone Salvation is a strong one, tasking you with stealing a lucky gem from a corrupt lord. You can choose from three different amounts of guards in the level, which is a more interesting way of setting difficulty than just choosing how high the loot quota is.

At the other end of the scale, Requiem is a multi-stage mission with changing objectives. It begins as a break-in at a Builder cathedral during a memorial service, but expands in different directions before it?s done. Requiem is one of several missions to build on The Dark Mod?s cosmology, differentiating the Builders from their Hammerite inspirations ? that means there are a lot of books and scrolls full of history to find, as well as the expected letters where someone records their last words and ends with ellipses.

In The North is another mission that adds to the setting, this one taking place in a town called Braedon, north of Bridgeport (hence the name). You won?t see the town, as the entire map is the inside of a snowbound mansion converted from an old Builder church and still haunted by its past. The current owner?s no saint, with a secret network behind the walls for spying on the women in his employ, just in case you need some motivation for robbing him blind.

Every Thief game needs to abruptly shift into horror halfway through, and The Dark Mod makes frequent use of undead if that?s your thing. Glenham Tower (part of a series starring the same protagonist, but playable in any order) is about descending through a building full of zombies and revenants to steal a grimoire, with the additional complication that the tower?s falling apart. Stairs and even the floor break beneath you, and at one point I wound up stuck down a hole shooting rope arrows up at wooden protrusions that broke off as soon as I hit them while skeletons mocked me from the top. Good times.

Talbot?s another returning protagonist, one from a fan mission for the original Thief called Prowler of the Dark. In Return to the City he has to make it through heavily patrolled streets full of guards wearing helmets, which means they can?t be blackjacked ? a nod to realism that stymies my preferred playstyle of piling everyone in a corner then exploring in safety. The ultimate goal is to steal explosives from a Builder workshop. The Dark Mod?s object manipulation means you can grab things with a right click, then centre-click to spin them round. Return to the City makes clever use of that once you find the explosives and need to squeeze them out of a barred cell.

A couple of missions come pre-installed with The Dark Mod, including a Training Mission that?s both tutorial and a decent set of challenges to play around with. Tears of St. Lucia is a full-fledged story though, depicting another break-in at a Builder temple. There?s some nice world-building, with posters stuck on walls that refer to characters and events from other missions. That?s common to Dark Mod levels ? friendly references to the community?s other work that connects them and contributes toward the sense of a larger world, as well as connections between creators. There are no Keepers or characters like Viktoria, but The Dark Mod?s setting has grown into its own thing, in spite of borrowing a lot from Thief before filing off any incriminating owner?s marks.

I?ve saved my favourite for last. The Creeps is another horror level and another small one, so I won?t say too much to spoil it except to say that it does a clever thing with lights that gave me a start. Another thing I like about The Creeps is that it has a voiced protagonist who mutters a few lines at relevant points. Something I miss from Thief is Garrett?s cynical commentary, musing to himself about whether the books in someone?s fancy library even have words or are just for show. Much as I like The Dark Mod it is missing Garrett and the sense of continuity his story gave those games ? when I finish a mission in The Dark Mod there?s usually just a stats screen waiting at the end, and an unconnected mission in my download queue.

The Dark Mod?s flaws are few though. I?ve encountered a handful of bugs, and I?m not a big fan of the lockpicking minigame ? all about listening to a series of clicks and a clunk, finding the precise moment of silence between them to let go of the mouse. Still, The Dark Mod is a better homage to the Thief trilogy than the official 2014 release and I wouldn?t hesitate to recommend it over that. This is a game that understands the pleasure of waiting in shadows for someone to walk past, that has no boss fights or scripted events that jarringly move you into position for a cutscene.

The Dark Mod?s a living thing too. New missions are still being made, with three new additions already this year. It made it through Steam Greenlight in March, and will come to Steam at some point. There?s no reason to wait though, there?s plenty to be getting on with already and those scepters and gemstones aren?t going to steal themselves.

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Assassin’s Creed: Ranking Every Game’s Story From Worst To Best

Back when the original Assassin’s Creed dropped in 2007, few could have predicted that it would become the behemoth of today. Spanning nine main titles, numerous spin-offs and over 100 million copies sold (and counting), AC has, for better or worse, made quite an impact on the video game industry.

However, just as the quality of the games have been up and down over the years, so too have the plots within. For every gripping revenge story, there’s a glorified treasure hunt that fails to fully take advantage of its setting.

With Assassin’s Creed: Origins hoping to give the franchise the breath of life it sorely needs, time will tell where its story will fall in terms of quality.

Will we be gifted a riveting tale, steeped in Egyptian culture? Or will it fall apart faster than Unity’s online servers?

Here I’ll focus on the plots of the main games, not the quality of the games overall, and there won’t be any handheld exclusives or DLC included. Also, because the present-day storyline never truly rose above „merely alright,“ the majority of the focus will be on the tales told from within the Animus.

Note: Beware of spoilers for all Assassin’s Creed games so far.

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A bit of All White ? Lendl Sport by Superga

It honestly isn?t often you are asked to dinner with a genuine sporting legend, I mean a winner .
of 94 tennis tournaments, eight Grand Slam titles and four times ITF world champion, he dominated ATP rankings in the second half of the 80s. At the end of his career he was the player who had been ranked number one the longest, 270 weeks. He was voted second in In the all time top list of players, only bettered by Jimmy Conners and then guided our own Andy Murray to two Wimbledon wins ! Yes Mr Ivan Lendl, of course I?ll come to dinner with you.

The occasion was the launch of his new tennis shoe collaboration with Italian footwear brand Superga to celebrate the reissuing of the shoe he wore to win countless matches during his career.

The Sport Lendl shoe along with their renowned perforated ?swallow?s tail? logo was designed in 1970 for the brand?s sports line, the new Superga Sport Lendl which features all the original characteristics: eco-leather upper, printed rubber sole, Superga Sport logo on the tongue, and the champion?s signature on the back. The shoes comes in four separate colours and launches just in time for the start of Wimbledon.

Second win for Bottas raises prospect of a three-way title fight | 2017 Austrian Grand Prix review

Valtteri Bottas won the Austrian Grand Prix, finishing just six-tenths of a second ahead of Sebastian Vettel.

He may well have started the Austrian Grand Prix six-tenths of a second sooner than his rival as well. After the race Vettel was still in disbelief that the pole sitter had got away so quickly.

But more importantly for the Ferrari driver was that he kept the other Mercedes behind, and extended his championship lead again.

Too good to be true?

Start, Red Bull Ring, 20172017 Austrian Grand Prix in pictures It wasn?t hard to see why Vettel felt his fellow front row occupant?s getaway was too good to be true. The lead Mercedes seemed to pull away at the very instant the red lights went out, as if Bottas had no reaction time at all.

Vettel admitted the distraction of seeing Bottas get away so well affected his own start. Daniel Ricciardo, who started directly behind Vettel, also got on his radio to suggest Bottas had got away a bit too well.

The stewards soon had more to deliberate than a possible jump start. Daniil Kvyat arrived at turn one too quickly, locked his brakes and punted Fernando Alonso?s McLaren into Max Verstappen?s slow-starting Red Bull. As often happens in these situations reverse poetic justice applied, so the two innocent parties ended their races while Kvyat carried on, albeit with a drive-through penalty and more points on his licence.

Behind Bottas and Vettel, Ricciardo took up third place having outfoxed Kimi Raikkonen at the start. Romain Grosjean had also taken advantage of the Ferrari driver, whose seat he openly covets, and no doubt took some pleasure in holding him back for two laps until DRS was enabled and Raikkonen reclaimed the place.

By lap seven Grosjean had lost another place, to Lewis Hamilton. Verstappen?s retirement was the only place Hamilton had gained on the first lap, but after that he picked off Sergio Perez and then took fifth from the Haas.

With that the remaining five ?Class A? cars began to separate themselves from ?Class B?. Grosjean went on to ?win? the sub-division. As he fell back from the rest, a gap opened up in front of him into which the leaders could made their pit stops.

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Hamilton jumps Raikkonen

One by one the front-runners passed up the chance to take advantage of the gap ahead of Grosjean. Bottas was pulling away rapidly and the stewards ruled his start had been legal, by a tiny fraction. Vettel was slowly losing touch and Ricciardo also dropping back, but none were in a hurry to exchange their ultra-softs for anything tougher.

Raikkonen was less happy with his car and was also having to juggle complicated switch changes at the wheel. Behind him Hamilton was drawing closer but clearly not in a position to get ahead.

Leaving Raikkonen out had an obvious upside to Ferrari in that he could protect Vettel from Hamilton and potentially cost Bottas some time as well when the leading Mercedes finally came in. But their options were limited: Bringing Raikkonen in and putting him on the super-soft tyre might not produce the kind of immediate lap-time advantage needed to ensure he would beat Hamilton via the ?undercut?.

As it was, Mercedes took the initiative by bringing Hamilton in, reminding him not to follow the Ferrari down the pit lane if Raikkonen has summoned to the pits. He wasn?t, and Ferrari were left to consider whether to pit Raikkonen.

The team called him in initially, but Hamilton?s pace on his out-lap, even on a circuit as short as the Red Bull Ring, was so superior Ferrari swiftly realised it was hopeless to pit Raikkonen. They left him out.

If Ferrari hoped Raikkonen might now play a spoiler for Bottas when he was brought in, they were swiftly disappointed on that count too. The combination of DRS, fresh tyres on the Mercedes and a slight error by Raikkonen at turn three meant two Finns quickly exchanged positions.

Ricciardo holds on to the podium

Hamilton?s radio messages immediately after his pit stop indicated the Mercedes driver was in trouble. Hamilton complained of poor balance and suggested he?d added too much front wing.

Was this a ruse to dupe Red Bull into telling Ricciardo to ease off? He was told of Hamilton?s lack of pace, but as soon as the Mercedes began putting in serious lap times Ricciardo was alerted and responded. Even so, the contest for the final podium position was close.

Hamilton gave it a proper go on the penultimate lap. Ricciardo?s run out of turn one was not his best, and the Mercedes lined him up nicely at the exit of turn three. Ricciardo covered the inside of the next corner and won the contest, and a tidy final tour thwarted Hamilton?s hopes for good.

Meanwhile it was almost as close in the battle for the lead. Bottas picked up a blister and fell into the clutch of Vettel. In a chase reminiscent of Sochi, Vettel drew the Mercedes in range as the laps ticked down. There was just tenths of a second between them as the chequered flag fell.

Palmer misses the points

Hopes of a double points finish for Haas were scotched when Kevin Magnussen suffered his second technical problem in as many days: A particularly cruel blow on one of the strongest weekends so far for this team.

Williams had struggled dreadfully in qualifying, both cars lining up on the penultimate row. But their race pace was better and, crucially, both made huge gains out of the lap one chaos. They filled the bottom two points places behind the Force India drivers.

Jolyon Palmer had also gone out in Q1 but found his Renault handled well on the soft tyres at the beginning of the race. It wasn?t quite enough for him to break into the points, however. He was followed home by Stoffel Vandoorne, who received a drive-through penalty for a particularly egregious violation of the blue flag rules.

Nico Hulkenberg had a horrible race: He went into anti-stall at the start, fell to the rear of the field, and had no pace on the super-softs. He finished ahead of the Saubers and the delayed Kvyat.

Three-way title fight

With his second victory in his first nine races as a Mercedes driver, Bottas can surely feel very confident about his future at the team. Going into the race weekend Toto Wolff spoke about his work so far in glowing terms while playing down the possibility Alonso might join them next year. This win must enhance his chances of remaining a Mercedes driver for 2018 at least.

While Vettel added another six points to his lead over Hamilton, Bottas has now closed to within 35 points of the championship leader. This is looking ever more like a genuine three-way title fight.

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