Rosberg hoping to take advantage of new start rules at Spa

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Nico Rosberg hopes that he can take advantage of the new start rules in Formula 1 after failing to put up much of a fight to Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Hamilton stormed to his tenth pole position of the 2015 season by almost half a second as Rosberg struggled to contend with the pace of his championship rival.

The German driver will start tomorrow’s Belgian Grand Prix from second place on the grid, and made no secret of his disappointment in the post-qualifying press conference.

“Yeah, for sure, [I’m] disappointed,” Rosberg said. “I lost a bit this morning in free practice, we went the wrong way, but then came back really nicely though.

“I had a good balance in qualifying so I was happy with that, good team effort, thanks for that [I] got my balance back so I could push well.

“And yeah, Lewis was too quick at the end. Just found quite a lot extra that I didn’t have in my pocket, so that’s it. So of course, disappointing.”

Rosberg believes that he can take advantage of the new start rules in F1 that have come into force for this weekend’s race at Spa-Francorchamps.

Drivers will be unable to get feedback on their practice starts from engineers, nor will they be able to change the bite point on their clutch before the beginning of the race.

After seeing Hamilton make a poor getaway in both of the last two races, Rosberg hopes that this new rule could give him the opportunity to jump his teammate off the line.

“With the new start situation where we’re having to do everything ourselves now, there’s a lot more opportunity tomorrow,” Rosberg said.

“At the start and the run down to turn five, here it’s possible to overtake. We’ve seen that many, many times, so my hopes are for sure still high.”

The Belgian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 7:30am ET on Sunday.

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.