Rosberg lifts Mercedes to P1 in second Spanish GP practice

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Nico Rosberg lifted Mercedes back to the top of the timesheets in second practice for the Spanish Grand Prix on Friday afternoon after Ferrari set the pace earlier in the day.

Rosberg and teammate Lewis Hamilton opted against running on the soft tire in FP1, allowing Sebastian Vettel to head up a one-two finish for Ferrari.

However, Mercedes once again proved its dominance in the second practice session as Rosberg resumed normal service by finishing the session at the head of the field.

A fastest lap of 1:23.922 saw Rosberg finish two-tenths of a second clear of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen at the end of the session, giving the championship leader a boost heading into Saturday’s qualifying session.

Raikkonen lost a chunk of running in his session due to a fuel system issue, but still managed to edge out Hamilton in the second Mercedes after the Briton hit traffic on his flying lap.

Vettel rounded out the top four for Ferrari, albeit a second down in Rosberg, while Carlos Sainz Jr. continued his impressive start to the weekend by finishing the session fifth-fastest.

Daniel Ricciardo finished sixth for Red Bull, edging out new teammate Max Verstappen by less than two-tenths of a second as the Dutchman slotted into P8 at the end of the session. The pair was split by Fernando Alonso in the McLaren.

Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg rounded out the top 10 for Force India, edging out Valtteri Bottas who led a subdued charge from Williams in 11th.

Jenson Button and Romain Grosjean both recovered from problems to finish 12th and 13th respectively. Button suffered a loss of power on his McLaren when entering the pits, while Grosjean reported that his Haas car was “very, very hard to drive”.

Jolyon Palmer was worst off, though. After sitting out FP1 for Renault reserve driver Esteban Ocon, Palmer suffered a puncture early on in the session that left debris on the track and warranted a red flag stoppage. The Briton got out again before the end of the session, but could only finish 17th-fastest.

On-track action in Barcelona continues on Saturday with FP3 (Live Extra, 5am ET) and qualifying (NBCSN, 8am ET).

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

Sergio Perez Singapore
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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.