Rosberg quickest in final Singapore practice as Hamilton falters

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Nico Rosberg closed out practice for the Singapore Grand Prix at the top of the timesheets as Mercedes teammate and Formula 1 title rival Lewis Hamilton faltered.

Rosberg turned up the wick behind the wheel of his Mercedes W07 Hybrid to post a fastest lap time of 1:44.352, finishing 0.059 seconds clear of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen at the checkered flag.

Mercedes once again came under pressure from Red Bull, as had been expected by the team on Friday, but Rosberg did enough to put himself in control ahead of qualifying.

Final practice was red flagged after 10 minutes following a shunt for Pascal Wehrlein, who damaged the rear-end of his Manor in a spin. The German littered debris across the track, prompting officials to halt the session while the clean-up took place.

During the stoppage, a giant lizard was spotted making its way across the circuit, narrowly avoiding being hit by Verstappen. It was able to scamper to safety soon after, ensuring the session could resume.

Rosberg managed to complete his qualifying simulation on the ultra-soft tire with ease go 1.4 seconds clear of the pack at one stage, only for Verstappen to close to within six-hundredths of a second.

Kimi Raikkonen finished third for Ferrari, half a second off Rosberg’s time, while Daniel Ricciardo was P4 in the second Red Bull.

It proved to be a difficult session for Sebastian Vettel continued to struggle with the setup on his Ferrari SF16-H car. Vettel told his team he felt “like a passenger”, citing a lack of confidence in the rear of his car.

Another man who struggled was Hamilton. The defending world champion entered FP3 looking to make up for the time lost on Friday when he suffered a hydraulic failure, only to suffer a lock-up late in the session that ruined his qualifying simulation. The Briton finished the session down in eighth place with just nine laps under his belt.

Nico Hulkenberg impressed for Force India, finishing sixth ahead of Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat in P7. Carlos Sainz Jr. followed in the second Toro Rosso in P9, while Valtteri Bottas rounded out the top 10 for Williams.

Qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix is live on CNBC and the NBC Sports app from 9am ET on Saturday.

IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024

An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”