Shakedown runs for new Mercedes, Toro Rosso cars

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The official start of Formula One testing in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain isn’t until Tuesday, but Mercedes and Scuderia Toro Rosso have taken their respective 2014 cars out for short shakedown runs.

According to a tweet from Mercedes, their new W05 machine ran 40 kilometers today at the Silverstone circuit in England. At the controls was Nico Rosberg (pictured), who said on Twitter: “Such a great feeling. Just drove my new silver arrow for the first time. It looks quick, but I don’t know if it is quick yet!”

Per Mercedes, Rosberg and teammate Lewis Hamilton will alternate each day of testing in Jerez, with Hamilton testing the W05 on Days 1 and 3 and Rosberg in for Days 2 and 4.

Meanwhile, Toro Rosso confirmed that they got in a filming day with both of their drivers, Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniil Kvyat, driving the new Renault-powered STR9 at the Misano circuit in Italy.

Both squads are set to officially launch their new challengers in Jerez – Toro Rosso going on Monday, Mercedes following on Tuesday.

Lest anyone think the two sides have somehow committed a violation of the F1 rule book by running early laps with their 2014 cars, this year’s Sporting Regulations state that each team can complete two promotional events outside of official testing during the year; those particular events cannot go over 100 kilometers in length and only Pirelli demo tires can be used in them.

Sergio Perez wins rain-delayed race in Singapore over Leclerc; Verstappen seventh

Sergio Perez Singapore
Clive Rose/Getty Images,
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SINGAPORE — Max Verstappen’s Formula One title celebrations were put on hold after the Red Bull driver placed seventh at a chaotic Singapore Grand Prix, won by his teammate Sergio Perez on Sunday.

Perez’s second win of the season saw him finish 7.6 seconds ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, with Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. in third place.

Perez was investigated for a potential safety car infringement but still kept the win after a 5-second time penalty for dropping too far back after being warned.

Verstappen had won the past five races but needed to win here and finish 22 points ahead of Leclerc to be crowned champion for a second straight season. That could happen next weekend at the Japanese GP.

Verstappen made a mistake after the second safety car restart, following AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda’s crash on Lap 36. When Verstappen tried to overtake Lando Norris’ McLaren, he locked his tires and needed to pit again.

Leclerc started from pole position with Verstappen going from eighth after a team blunder in qualifying.

The race start was delayed by more than an hour to clear water off the Marina Bay Circuit track following heavy rainfall. Drivers had to finish the 61-lap race within a two-hour window; 59 laps were completed.

Tricky conditions saw the virtual safety car deployed three times and DRS was allowed with about 30 minutes remaining.

Perez made a good start and jumped past Leclerc while Verstappen dropped several places. The first safety car was on Lap 8 when Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo was cut off by Nicholas Latifi’s Williams.

Perez got away cleanly at the restart, while Verstappen climbed into seventh behind Fernando Alonso – whose 350th F1 race ended disappointingly when his engine failed on Lap 21, bringing out the first VSC.

With the track still damp, drivers decided against changing to quicker tires – apart from Mercedes’ George Russell, who struggled for grip.

Hamilton made a rare mistake on Lap 33 and thudded into the crash barrier. Soon after, the leading drivers changed tires in a flurry of stops. They did so just before the safety car was deployed again following Tsunoda’s error.

Verstappen overtook Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin right at the end for seventh place.