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F1 LIVE: Lewis Hamilton starts third for Singapore GP with Charles Leclerc on pole


“I don’t look at it as a dry spell”- Lewis Hamilton dismisses recent struggles

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc took pole position for the Singapore Grand Prix and starts today’s race at the front with a fuming Max Verstappen only eighth.

In drying conditions Verstappen, who has his first shot of securing back-to-back titles, appeared to be on course to take pole with his final throw of the dice.

But the Red Bull driver was under instruction from his team to abort his final lap due to a fuel issue, and he will start Sunday’s race way down the order. Sergio Perez took second in the other Red Bull, with Lewis Hamilton third – less than a tenth of a second off pole.

Verstappen, who has a 116-point lead, will be crowned champion in Singapore if he wins and sets the fastest lap, and team-mate Perez and Ferrari’s Leclerc finish lower than fourth and eighth respectively.

Hamilton missed out on pole by just 0.054 seconds but the seven-time world champion is set to face further action from the stewards for taking part in qualifying with his nose stud in. Hamilton wore the offending item of jewellery during practice and was summoned to see the stewards ahead of qualifying.

Follow all the action live with The Independent – the race starts at 1pm (BST).

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George Russell to start Singapore Grand Prix from pit lane after engine penalty

More on that George Russell decision:

The Mercedes man will start Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix from the pit lane after exceeding his number of allocated engine parts.

Russell qualified 11th at the Marina Bay Circuit but he will be demoted to the back after Mercedes changed his power unit.

The British driver has enjoyed an impressive opening season as Lewis Hamilton’s team-mate, finishing in the top five at every race he has completed.

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What Max Verstappen needs to clinch the Formula One world title this weekend

Max Verstappen has his first chance this weekend to seal one of the most dominant Formula One world title wins of all time.

The Red Bull driver could wrap up the championship in Singapore on Sunday if he wins and his nearest rivals fail to pick up enough points to stay in touch.

Here, we look at exactly what is required and how it would compare to some of the sport’s greats.

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Max Verstappen’s coronation could be overshadowed if Red Bull have breached cost-cap rules

On a weekend where Max Verstappen has his first opportunity to claim an inevitable second World Championship in the searing sauna of Singapore, perhaps it is time for his 2021 nemesis to join the winners’ circle in a year of otherwise unbridled frustration. What’s more, last year’s thrilling title race could take another twist yet.

To matters on-track first and while Lewis Hamilton had previously not topped a session – whether it be practice, qualifying or a Grand Prix – this year, he went fastest in first practice on Friday. He was also within range in fifth in FP2, later on, to give massive cause for optimism for Mercedes, around a Marina Bay circuit which the seven-time world champion described as “epic” on Thursday.

F1 is back in Singapore for the first time since 2019 – the start of an east Asia double-header which is followed by Japan’s return next week too – and with memories of his stupendous 2018 pole-sitting qualifying lap in his mind, Hamilton looked clean and assured on the 23-turn street circuit.

Verstappen, who celebrated his 25th birthday on Friday, was less than a tenth down on Hamilton in first practice but a front suspension issue later in the day meant he only went fourth-fastest in FP2, with Carlos Sainz leading the way in a Ferrari one-two, with Charles Leclerc two-tenths off.

Yet while all the focus will return to matters on-track come the weekend, speculation in the paddock on Friday concerned Red Bull and a potential breach of F1’s cost-cap measures which could, at its most severe, have an impact on Verstappen’s contentious maiden title last year.

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Horner threatens legal action over ‘fictitious claims’ from Wolff on budget cap

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has accused rival boss Toto Wolff of “hugely defamatory, fictitious claims” and threatened legal action against Mercedes amid the cheat row overshadowing this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.

In a fiery, and tense press conference on Saturday, Horner insisted he is “absolutely confident” Red Bull did not overspend as Max Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton to last year’s controversial championship.

Horner also suggested the accusations that Red Bull broke F1’s budget cap have been planted to take the spotlight away from Verstappen, who could claim his second title in as many seasons on Sunday.

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Toto Wolff urges FIA to enforce F1 regulations over reported Red Bull budget breach

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has demanded Formula One’s governing body the FIA take robust action over reports Red Bull broke the rules when Max Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton to last year’s world championship.

On the eve of the Singapore Grand Prix – a race which could see Verstappen secure his second title in as many seasons – his controversial maiden triumph is under the microscope amid allegations his Red Bull team overspent.

F1 introduced a budget cap of $145million (£114m) last year. But Verstappen’s Red Bull are facing accusations – reported in Auto Motor und Sport and Gazzetta Dello Sport – that they went beyond that figure, potentially by up to five per cent, which would equate to £7m.

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George Russell latest update

And another update – it’ll be a pit lane start, rather from the back.

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F1 latest news: George Russell starts from the back in Singapore

A change on the grid for Mercedes as Chris Medland reports that George Russell will take a new power unit – and he’s off to the back of the pack as a result.

Given he was down in 11th, he had little to use and now has his new engine for the year.

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Lewis Hamilton escapes fine for wearing nose stud but Mercedes pay penalty

Lewis Hamilton escaped a fine for wearing his nose stud in qualifying for Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix – but Mercedes were charged 25,000 euros (£22,000) for wrongly declaring the British driver would adhere to Formula One’s jewellery ban.

F1’s governing body, the FIA, has enforced a clampdown on piercings this season, and following a number of medical exemptions, Hamilton, 37, removed his nose stud for the 10th round at Silverstone in July.

But Hamilton was seen wearing it in practice and qualifying here and was summoned to see the stewards.

Hamilton provided a doctor’s note, and explained he had been advised to wear the nose stud to stop an infection which came about when he removed it.

In the moments after he qualified third for Sunday’s round at the Marina Bay Circuit, the British driver said: “I am not trying to make a statement. I have had my jewellery and my nose stud for years.”

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F1 grid today: Starting positions for Singapore Grand Prix

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc took pole position for the Singapore Grand Prix with a fuming Max Verstappen only eighth.

In drying conditions Verstappen, who has his first shot of securing back-to-back titles, appeared to be on course to take pole with his final throw of the dice.

But the Red Bull driver was under instruction from his team to abort his final lap due to a fuel issue, and he will start Sunday’s race way down the order. Sergio Perez took second in the other Red Bull, with Lewis Hamilton third – less than a tenth of a second off pole.

Verstappen, who has a 116-point lead, will be crowned champion in Singapore if he wins and sets the fastest lap, and team-mate Perez and Ferrari’s Leclerc finish lower than fourth and eighth respectively.

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Max Verstappen furious with ‘incredibly frustrating’ fuel blunder in Singapore

Max Verstappen said it is unacceptable that a fuel blunder has harmed his chances of taking the world championship at Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix.

Against the backdrop of accusations that Red Bull has broken Formula One’s salary cap – claims, if proven correct, that will bring into question the legitimacy of Verstappen’s title triumph over Lewis Hamilton 10 months ago – the Dutch driver qualified only eighth.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc took pole position ahead of Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Perez. Hamilton finished third, missing out on his first pole of the season by just 0.054 seconds in some thrilling wet-dry qualifying at the Marina Bay Circuit.

Verstappen appeared on course to topple Leclerc with his final throw of the dice, only to be told to abort his lap by Red Bull because he would have been short of the required one litre of fuel.

Verstappen, in the dark over Red Bull’s costly error, turned the airwaves blue.


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