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.

Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series triples to 34 races in 2023

Xtreme Outlaw Midget 2023
Xtreme Outlaw Series
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After hosting 10 rounds in 2022, the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series 2023 schedule will more than triple to 34 races. The 2022 season featured seven different winners in the first seven races, a female racer in Jade Avedisian as the only repeat winner and Zach Daum as the champion.

“Dirt Midget racing is a growing entity in American motorsports, and the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota is proud to drive further into the growth of the division with both a diverse and lucrative schedule for 2023,” newly appointed Series Director Tyler Bachman said in a press release. “From the kickoff at our first indoor event, to each of the new tracks we’re set to visit next year, it’s a lineup we know both our teams and fans will enjoy.”

The championship purse fund has also more than double with an increase of $42,000 to $80,000 in 2023. The champion will win $25,000. Last year, Daum pocketed $10,000.

In addition, the series will offer tow money to the top 12 in points. Six drivers attempted to qualify for all 10 races in 2022 with 89 drivers attending.

The series will begin on March 10 at Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin, Ill. and end the same place it did in 2022 at I-44 Riverside Speedway in Oklahoma City on October 15.

During the season, they will visit 21 tracks in 10 states.

Some highlights of the season include the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series pairing up with the World of Outlaws Sprint Cars in 2023 at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 in Pevely, Mo. in April for the Outlaw Showdown and again in August for the Ironman 55 weekend, as well as the creation of a five-day Midget Speedweek.

The Midget Speedweek will immediately follow the Ironman 55 with a swing through Pennsylvania and New York.

Xtreme Outlaw Midget 2023 Schedule

Friday, March 10 | Southern Illinois Center | Du Quoin, Ill.
Saturday, March 11 | Southern Illinois Center | Du Quoin, Ill.
Friday, March 31 | Farmer City Raceway | Farmer City, Ill.

Saturday, April 1 | Farmer City Raceway | Farmer City, Ill.
Friday, April 14 | Federated AP Raceway at I-55 | Pevely, Mo.
Saturday, April 15 | Federated AP Raceway at I-55 | Pevely, Mo.

Friday, May 5 | Humboldt Speedway | Humboldt, Kan.
Saturday, May 6 | 81 Speedway | Park City, Kan.
Tuesday, May 23 | Millbridge Speedway | Salisbury, N.C.
Wednesday, May 24 | Millbridge Speedway | Salisbury, N.C.

Thursday, June 1 | Tri-City Speedway | Pontoon Beach, Ill.
Friday, June 2 | Wayne County Speedway | Wayne City, Ill.
Saturday, June 3 | Wayne County Speedway | Wayne City, Ill.

Friday, July 21 | TBA
Saturday, July 22 | Southern Illinois Raceway | Marion, Ill.
Friday, July 28 | TBA
Saturday, July 29 | Atomic Speedway | Chillicothe, Ohio
Sunday, July 30 | Brushcreek Motorsports Complex | Peebles, Ohio

Friday, August 4 | Federated AP Raceway at I-55 | Pevely, Mo.
Sat, August 5 | Federated AP Raceway at I-55 | Pevely, Mo.
Tuesday, August 8 | Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway | Newmanstown, Pa.
Wednesday, August 9 | Action Track USA | Kutztown, Pa.
Thursday, August 10 | Linda’s Speedway | Jonestown, Pa.
Friday, August 11 | TBA
Saturday, August 12 | Bridgeport Motorsports Park | Swedesboro, N.J.
Friday, August 25 | Davenport Speedway | Davenport, Iowa
Saturday, August 26 | Davenport Speedway | Davenport, Iowa

Friday, September 1 | Paragon Speedway | Paragon, Ind.
Saturday, September 2 | Paragon Speedway | Paragon, Ind.
Friday, September 15 | Jacksonville Speedway | Jacksonville, Ill.
Saturday, September 16 | Red Hill Raceway | Sumner, Ill.

Friday, October 13 | Port City Raceway | Tulsa, Okla.
Saturday, October 14 | I-44 Riverside Speedway | Oklahoma City, Okla.
Sunday, October 15 | I-44 Riverside Speedway | Oklahoma City, Okla.

* Co-sanctioned with POWRi