LCH handed the victory at the Singapore Grand Prix, after a dramatic start in which three of his rivals took one another out. It was a victory which was unexpected but that the Mercedes driver grasped energetically and in doing so has established a commanding lead of 28 points over Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.

On a wet track, Vettel clashed with his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen and the Red Bull of Max Verstappen off the start line and all three were eliminated from the race. Hamilton, who had started from fifth, avoided the crash and, having taken the lead, held it until the finish. He was followed home by the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo in second and the sister Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas in third.

“What a turnaround today,” Hamilton said. “Fantastic job on the strategy, what a great day.”



Sebastian Vettel, who trails LCH by three points in the title race, fended off the challenge from the rampant Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo to take the front spot by one-third of a second.

Vettel set a time quick enough for pole position on his first run in Q3, during which all drivers used ultra-soft rubber, with a 1m39.669s.

He then survived a light brush of the wall at the right-hander coming out from under the grandstand on his second run to improve to a 1m39.491s to take pole from Red Bull driver Max Verstappen by 0.323 seconds.

Verstappen had set the pace in Q2, but after going second fastest on his first run in Q3 he was unable to improve on his second.

VETTEL:  The car was amazing,” said an elated and clearly emotional Vettel, a four-time Singapore GP winner. “It’s an amazing track when you feel the car was coming together. I knew we had it in us but we had to get there.”

“That was one of those mega pole positions you see from a great champion,” added Sky F1’s Damon Hill.

But it was a nightmare session for Mercedes with Hamilton more than half a second off the pace, with Valtteri Bottas even further back in sixth.




First Practice Session: 1:42.489 Position: 1, Laps: 21
Second Practice Session: 1:40.852, Position: 1, Laps: 33
“It was a good day out there today, but I expected this, to be honest, and am not really surprised with our performance. I knew we would come here with a good car. We made some progress from the morning and even though we were the quickest in FP1, I still wanted to get more out of the car and the set up in the afternoon. We took another step forward throughout the day, which was good and we now hope there is still more room to improve for tomorrow. I’m after a dominant weekend and so far this has been a good start. It’s important that we obviously keep that for tomorrow but I have faith that we can perform on this level all weekend. I know the challenge in Qualifying will be a potentially stronger Ferrari and Mercedes but I’m confident we can stay up there and fight with them at the top.”
First Practice session: 1:42.610, Position: 3, Laps: 23
Second Practice Session: 1:41.408, Position: 2, Laps: 28
“Finishing first and second in the last session means it has been a positive Friday. The car in general performed well so we are happy with that side, the balance can always be improved and we are a bit down on top speed but nothing major to work on. After such a good day we have to believe that a very good result in Qualifying is possible, so we will go for it. Compared to our competitors we look very strong, we didn’t expect to be this competitive so of course this is very pleasing for us. We still have to be cautious and work on all aspects because we know that in Q3 tomorrow they will have improved and be closer; for now we look in a good position. Qualifying will be tight but I’m confident that our race pace offers us the chance of a good result. We know this should be one of our best tracks so we will do our best to capitalise on that.”

F1Weekly podcast # 735


Carlos Sainz Jr. has signed a deal to join Renault as Toro Rosso prepares to part ways with Renault in favor of using Honda power in Formula 1 for 2018.

Reports surfaced over the weekend that Renault will announce Sainz as the replacement driver for the struggling Jolyon Palmer for 2018 at this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix. Sainz has been angling for a move for the majority of the season since Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo are locked in at the senior Red Bull team, limiting his opportunities to get into a potentially race-winning outfit.

The deal is basically the first of a domino effect. Toro Rosso will run with Honda power in 2018 in a move that would allow McLaren to pick up Renault engines. Honda would then power Toro Rosso in exchange for McLaren gearboxes to accelerate the learning curve.

Sainz could make his Renault debut sooner than the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. Dissatisfied by the lack of improvement from Palmer, Renault is rumored to be considering introducing Sainz for the Malaysian Grand Prix toward the end of September.

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Event: 08 Nürburgring
Session: Race 2
Track: Nürburgring sprint circuit / DEU
Pole position: Jake Hughes (Hitech Grand Prix)
Race winner: Jake Hughes (Hitech Grand Prix)
Weather: overcast, 11.7 °C

At the 3.629 kilometres long Nürburgring sprint circuit, Jake Hughes (Hitech Grand Prix) won from Lando Norris (Carlin) and Callum Ilott (Prema Powerteam). Hughes, who had already scored five podium finishes this season, led from the start and not only collected his maiden FIA Formula 3 European Championship victory, but also scored the first win of the season for his team Hitech Grand Prix. With his 17th podium finish of the year, Lando Norris extended his lead in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship drivers’ standings. Now, he has a total of 356 points and an advantage of 54 points over his main rival Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam).

Having started from pole position, Jake Hughes led the field into the first corner and immediately pulled a gap. Behind him, Callum Ilott had to defend his position against Lando Norris until the McLaren protégé overtook his compatriot on lap three. However, it was only in the closing stages of the race that Norris was able to reduce the gap to race leader Hughes in such a way that he was able to put the latter under pressure. However, the Hitech driver didn’t let himself get forced into an error and collected his maiden FIA Formula 3 European Championship victory as a result. Behind a buoyant Hughes, Lando Norris took the chequered flag in second place. Callum Ilott rounded out the podium with a clean sweep of the top three for British drivers.

Fourth across the line was Tadasuke Makino (Hitech Grand Prix), the best FIA Formula 3 European Championship result to date for the Honda protégé. His team-mate Ralf Aron (Hitech Grand Prix) finished fifth after Chinese Guanyu Zhou (Prema Powerteam), who was in fourth place in the opening stages of the race, had spun and dropped out of the top ten. Ferdinand Habsburg (Carlin), Joey Mawson (Van Amersfoort Racing), Harrison Newey (Van Amersfoort Racing), Joel Eriksson (Motopark) and Jehan Daruvala (Carlin) rounded out the top ten.

Jake Hughes (Hitech Grand Prix): “This race was mega and my car was really good, too. I already started from the front row the first time I competed in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship during the season finale at Hockenheim last year, but I didn’t think that it would take so long for me to score that first win. At the start, I was able to take the lead and then I was able to keep my advantage for a long time. When Lando got closer and closer towards the end, I thought: ‘That black and yellow car better leave me alone’, but eventually, he didn’t have a chance to attack me.”

Lando Norris (Carlin): “My start was good and I managed to overtake Callum after a few laps. I reckon that the quick overtaking move was the key to second place. At the end, I was able to reduce my gap to Jake from over three to less than one second, which wasn’t too bad. Second place is a good result as it allows me to extend my points’ lead.”



Event: 08 Nürburgring
Session: Race 1
Track: Nürburgring sprint circuit / DEU
Pole position: Lando Norris (Carlin)
Race winner: Lando Norris (Carlin)
Weather: first rain, later sunshine, 11.7 °C

Lando Norris (Carlin) remained unfazed by the rainy Eifel weather in the opening stages of the race at the 3.629 kilometres long Nürburgring sprint circuit and dominantly won the 22nd race of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship season from Jake Hughes (Hitech Grand Prix) and Joey Mawson (Van Amersfoort Racing). For McLaren junior driver Norris, it was his eighth win in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship season while Australian Mawson scored his maiden podium finish in the junior single-seater series. Norris extended his lead in the drivers’ standings to 338 points and thus is 36 points clear of second-placed Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam). The German, who is backed by Mercedes-AMG, had to make do with 13th place after an early pit stop following a collision with Ralf Aron (Hitech Grand Prix).

The race went underway in the rain. British driver Lando Norris was unaffected by the precipitation and he took the lead at the start. Behind him, his compatriots Callum Ilott (Prema Powerteam) and Jake Hughes followed in second and third place, but Hughes overtook Ilott in the opening stages of the race. On lap three, newcomer Sacha Fenestraz (Carlin) missed his braking point and ran into the rear of Nikita Mazepin’s car (Hitech Grand Prix). The Russian, who was fourth at the time, retired and the Frenchman incurred a drive-through penalty. Race control called for a Full Course Yellow (FCY) to allow for Mazepin’s car to be recovered from the run-off area. FCY means no overtaking and reduced speed for all competitors.

After four laps, the order in front was Norris from Hughes, Ilott, Mawson and Tadasuke Makino (Hitech Grand Prix). While Norris out in front had already built up an advantage, Ilott lost out in the battle for third place to rookie driver Mawson. Meanwhile, it wasn’t plain sailing for the front runner either: on lap eight, he briefly came off the track, but his lead was never in jeopardy. Eventually, he scored an undisputed eighth FIA Formula 3 European Championship season victory from Jake Hughes, who brought his equally undisputed second place home.

The battle for third became considerably more exciting in the closing stages of the race. Callum Ilott put Joey Mawson under pressure and Tadasuke Makino was lurking behind the duo. The three youngsters staged a thrilling battle, in which Ilott initially attacked Mawson, but the latter successfully defended his position. Makino used this chance to get past Ilott for fourth. With Mawson ahead of Makino and Ilott, the trio crossed the finish line. After the race, the Japanese was penalised with a 5 second time penalty, as he was too fast under FCY. Thus, ended up in seventh position.

Position four was inherited by Callum Ilott, from Ferdinand Habsburg (Carlin) and Jehan Daruvala (Carlin). Behind Makino, Mick Schumacher (Prema Powerteam), Guanyu Zhou (Prema Powerteam) and Joel Eriksson (Motopark) competed the top ten.

Lando Norris (Carlin): “There isn’t too much to say about my race. My start was good, I managed to keep Jake and Callum at bay. After that, I was able to pull clear from the rest of the field and build up an advantage. On lap eight, I had a hairy moment when I briefly went off the track and lost a few seconds. Otherwise, everything went well and my car was great, so I can’t complain.”

The Premiere Motorsport Podcast