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Button disappointed as error ends Singapore Q3 hopes

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Jenson Button was left disappointed after an error in Q2 ruined his final flying lap in qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix, ending his hopes of a top-10 grid slot.

McLaren arrived in Singapore hopeful of repeating its impressive display in Monaco earlier this year, the tight and twisting nature of the Marina Bay Street Circuit appearing to suit the MP4-31 car.

While Fernando Alonso was able to make it through to Q3 and eventually qualify ninth, Button was left to settle for 13th on the grid after hitting the wall on his last lap in Q2.

The contact with the wall at the exit of Turn 14 was minimal, but enough to leave Button with a busted rear-left wheel and a puncture, forcing him to park his car up.

“Up until qualifying, our weekend had been really tough,” Button said.

“But we made some changes to the car, and it felt really good this evening. It took a few setup tweaks and I found my confidence, so I was able to get the best out of the car in qualifying.

“Then, on my final run in Q2, I went a touch wide at the exit of Turn 14 and just tapped the wall on the exit.

“The impact broke the left-rear wheel and gave me a puncture – it was my fault.”

Button believes that he could have made it through to the final stage of qualifying had it not been for his error.

“It was definitely possible to get into Q3 today,” he said.

“My final lap in Q2 was looking very similar to Fernando’s before the puncture.

“Our long-run pace means the race could be difficult for us, but there’ll probably be some safety car periods and a bit of action, so anything could happen.”

Alonso was pleased with his charge to Q3 for McLaren, but is wary of the team’s chances of points on Sunday.

“On the face of it, I’m pleased. Getting into Q3 was our first objective, but our next is to be competitive in the race,” Alonso said.

“Our pace wasn’t great today and we struggled a little – in fact, good pace hasn’t come too easily to us this weekend.

“Hopefully we can improve for tomorrow though. Race strategy will be key, and I hope things can turn around for us a bit, especially if we get a good start, attack into the first corner and come out in a good position at the end of lap one.

“It might be a case of damage limitation in the race, but let’s see what we can do.”

The Singapore Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 7am ET on Sunday.

Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

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Extreme E
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The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”