Ultimate heartbreak for Formula 1 star

Ultimate heartbreak for Formula 1 star

Welcome to news.com.au’s live coverage of the Singapore Grand Prix.

Many fans expected it to be yet another Red Bull masterclass with Max Verstappen having won the past 10 races.

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But all of that was thrown out the window during a wild qualifying session that saw Verstappen and Sergio Perez eliminated in Q2.

The two-time world champion will start the race from 11th on the grid with Perez in 13th.

Qualifying was marred by a monster crash in the opening session with Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll totalling his car on the final turn.

Ferrari’s dominance continued and will see Carlos Sainz start from pole with Charles Leclerc third.

Rolling top 5: Carlos Sainz, Lando Norris, Charles Leclerc, George Russell, Lewis Hamilton.

11.20pm – Heartbreak for birthday boy’s race

Esteban Ocon’s birthday has ended in heartbreak. The Alpine driver was delivering a pristine drive around the Singapore circuit, but it all came to a screeching halt on lap 43.

After moving up into seventh place, Ocon lost drive down the main straight before he ultimately pulled off to the side of the track on lap two.

“Noooooo, no,” Ocon shouted over the team radio.

The incident brought about a virtual safety car and saw Mercedes pull the trigger and pit both drivers for new medium tyres while Ferrari elected to keep both drivers out as did McLaren with Lando Norris.

It means the current top three are on old sets of hards while the Mercedes duo hunt them down on new medium rubber.

11.15pm – Perez the first Red Bull driver to pit

After 40 laps Sergio Perez entered the pits for a set of medium tyres after he was swamped and tumbled down to 10th place.

The very next lap Max Verstappen came in and had a new set of tyres thrown in with 21 laps remaining. He entered the track in 15th place.

At the front of the field Russell was keeping within a second of Sainz as the Mercedes driver looked desperate to find a way past and secure his second Formula 1 victory.

11pm – Intriguing battle unfolding at the front

Carlos Sainz still leads the way after 32 laps, but George Russell is nipping at his heels while Lando Norris sits right behind him and Lewis Hamilton is marginally behind him.

The top four are separated by less than three seconds as they refuse to let the driver in front of them get away.

Verstappen and Perez who stayed out under the safety car have been dispatched as the Red Bull duo continue to struggle around the Singapore circuit.

10.40pm – Double stack pit stop disaster for Ferrari

As the safety car came out the front runners all hit the pits, but it proved costly for Ferrari with Charles Leclerc getting dudded and being held up thanks to the traffic.

While he entered the pits sitting second in the race, he left it in sixth position as he fell behind George Russell and Lando Norris.

Red Bull duo Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez remained out on track on their hard tyres and went past Leclerc.

Leclerc was told in the early stages of the race to give his teammate space and back the field up which ultimately forced him to be closer to his rivals.

In the end the strategy decision backfired and could ultimately cost Leclerc a spot on the podium.

10.35pm – First driver into the wall, safety car comes out

Williams driver Logan Sargeant became the first driver to collide with the barrier after he locked up and failed to make the turn.

He came to a brief stop on track before he managed to get going and although his front wing was stuck underneath his car, he made his way around the circuit and into the pits.

As he entered the pits however the first safety car of the race was called and the front runners all made their way into the pits.

10.25pm – Verstappen up three places

The Red Bull superstar has made up three spots in the opening 12 laps and sits in eighth place.

Of the current top 10, Verstappen is the only driver currently on the hard compound tyre with Charles Leclerc on the soft compound. The rest all started on the medium.

Despite moving up the order, the Red Bull crew gave Verstappen a few words of warning for pushing the tyres too hard in the early stages of the race.

It was advice that went in one ear and out the other as he continued to stick right behind Alpine’s Esteban Ocon.

Top 5: Sainz, Leclerc, Russell, Norris, Hamilton

10.05pm – Ferrari pounce at the start

A perfect start for Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc has them sitting at the front of the grid after both nailed their starts.

Leclerc got past Mercedes’ George Russell to nestle in behind his teammate while Lewis Hamilton looked to do the same but was forced off track.

After rejoining in front he eventually gave the position up and allowed Russell to retake third place.

It was disaster for AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda who was forced to retire halfway through the opening lap.

9.45pm – Martin Brundle burns Oscar Piastri mid-interview

Martin Brundle’s pre-race grid walk has delivered once again.

This time on the receiving end was Australian driver Oscar Piastri who copped a brutal mid-interview burn.

Brundle flagged down Piastri as he made his way out onto the grid.

“Oscar bad luck in qualifying, you’ve got some work to do in the race,” Brundle asked.

Piastri began to respond to the F1 icon:” Yeah we’ll try our best and see if we can….”

But it was halfway through his response when Brundle gave up on the interview as he began to shout out for another driver.

“Esteban, Esteban … happy birthday,” Brundle shouted.

As the Sky Sports commentator attempted to get ahold of Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, the brutal snub saw Piastri dart off through the crowd and towards his car.

Fans watching on were quick to call out Brundle for the brutal burn and for disrespecting Piastri midway through his response.

One user wrote: “Brundle just straight disrespected Piastri on the grid walk. Mid conversation and just cut Piastri off to wish ocon a happy birthday.”

8.30pm – Stroll out of race after horror crash

Lance Stroll pulled out of the Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday, hours before the race was due to begin, following a huge crash in qualifying that destroyed his Aston Martin.

Stroll was pushing hard to progress from the first qualifying session on Saturday night when he lost control after running over the kerbs at the final turn and careered into the barriers opposite the pit lane at the Marina Bay street circuit.

The remains of the car, with Stroll in the cockpit, bounced back onto the track to be narrowly avoided by the McLaren of Lando Norris as red flags halted the session.

The Canadian driver got out of the car unaided and later was cleared of injury by the official Formula One medical team.

But hours before the lights were due to go out on Sunday’s night race in Singapore, the Aston Martin team issued a statement saying Stroll was still not 100 per cent and would sit out in order to recover fully for next weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.

“Following Lance’s crash in qualifying during the Singapore Grand Prix, Lance and Aston Martin have jointly agreed that he will not participate in the Singapore Grand Prix this evening,” Aston Martin said.

“The team face a huge job repairing the car today and understandably Lance is still sore following such a high impact. Lance’s focus now shifts to fully recovering ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix.”

8pm – Singapore GP starting grid

1) Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) George Russell (Mercedes)

3) Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) Lando Norris (McLaren)

5) Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) Kevin Magnussen (Haas)

7) Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) Esteban Ocon (Alpine)

9) Nico Hulkenberg (Haas) Liam Lawson (AlphaTauri)

11) Max Verstappen (Red Bull) Pierre Gasly (Alpine)

13) Sergio Perez (Red Bull) Alexander Albon (Williams)

15) Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo)

17) Oscar Piastri (McLaren) Logan Sargeant (Williams)

19) Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo) Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)

Originally published as Singapore Grand Prix live: Charles Leclerc dudded by latest Ferrari disaster

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