15 September 2023

Ferrari duo set early Singapore pace as lizards disrupt first practice session

15 September 2023

Charles Leclerc led a Ferrari one-two in an opening practice session for the Singapore Grand Prix disrupted by three lizards.

Leclerc ended the one-hour running at the Marina Bay circuit just 0.078 seconds clear of team-mate Carlos Sainz, with championship leader Max Verstappen third.

Lando Norris finished fourth for McLaren, 0.172 sec back, while Lewis Hamilton and George Russell took fifth and sixth respectively for Mercedes.

But the session was disturbed on several occasions when a lizard walked across the three-mile street venue.

Verstappen was the first to report the reptile at Turn 9 midway through the running.

“There is a lizard on track again,” said the Red Bull driver, who had a similar encounter here back in 2016. “It is a smaller one this time.”

Verstappen’s race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase replied: “Maybe Godzilla has had a kid.”

There was a second interruption, and then a third, as yellow flags were deployed.

“Another lizard, but a different one this time,” said Russell.

Verstappen, who is chasing an 11th straight victory on his waltz to a third world championship, warned on Thursday that Red Bull could be vulnerable at this unique street venue.

And the chasing pack, led by Ferrari, will be encouraged that Red Bull did not have it all their own way in the opening running of the weekend.

Sergio Perez, who won here last year, finished seventh, ahead of Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso.

The second running gets under way at 2100 local time (1400 BST).

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