Verstappen misses chance to become F1’s first teenager on pole

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Formula 1’s wait for its first teenager to start on pole position will continue after Max Verstappen lost out to Sebastian Vettel in the final stage of qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix on Saturday night.

After making his debut aged 17, Verstappen became F1’s youngest race winner last year and is the youngest driver to start on the front row of the grid, lining up P2 at Spa last year.

While the Red Bull driver still has over a year to break Vettel’s record for being the youngest pole-sitter, his chance to do so while still a teenager passed by in Singapore, as he will celebrate his 20th birthday on the Saturday of the Malaysian Grand Prix in two weeks’ time.

After leading FP3, Q1 and Q2, Verstappen looked in good shape for pole, but ultimately could not match Vettel’s stunning final effort in Q3.

“All weekend has been a good build up, getting faster and faster and finding a smooth rhythm so to come away with second is a really good result,” Verstappen said.

“I took a little bit of risk to put down a good lap as we had predicted the others would improve from yesterday and this morning’s sessions. Perhaps there was a bit of time in the last sector to find but in general I am very pleased with how the car and I performed.

“That was the best balance in terms of set-up I have had with the car in qualifying all year and that is a big positive. My quickest time was more or less the maximum I could do, Sebastian just had an even better lap.

“Race pace is good so we have a chance tomorrow but it looks like Ferrari have found quite a lot.

“The start will be important and maybe if there are a couple of safety cars that could impact the result too.”

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

Supercross: Talon Hawkins to debut in Houston in relief of Jalek Swoll

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Talon Hawkins, 19, will make his Monster Energy Supercross debut on a 250 this week in Houston, Texas as a fill-in rider for Jalek Swoll.

During the Anaheim 2 weekend, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team announced Swoll underwent successful surgery to repair a broken arm suffered in a practice crash.

That same weekend, Hawkins made some noise. He took the lead from teammate Casey Cohran on Lap 2 of the 250 SX Futures Main and led for three laps before he was overtaken by eventual winner Daxton Bennick. Cochran also got around him to push Hawkins to third.

This will not be Hawkins SuperMotocross professional debut, however; he made three Lucas Oil Pro Motocross starts last year with results of 19th at Spring Creek in Millville, Minnesota, 27th at Ironman in Crawfordsville, Indiana and a best finish of 17th in the season finale at Fox Raceway in Pala, California.

Hawkins also has a top-10 finish in the 125 All-Star division at Pala in 2019 riding a Husqvarna.

Speaking with RacerXOnline.com before the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals, Hawkins predicted his future with Husqvarna would come down to how he performed in that race.

“It all just comes down to how I perform at Loretta’s,” Hawkins said. “Say I do really well, I get a top three in both classes and do a pretty solid job, I would like to go pro and just kind of finish out the rest of the series. But there’s also the option of waiting a little bit longer, going back out to [Aldon] Baker’s [Factory] or going anywhere and training, and just being prepared. I’m also open to that too. Honestly, it’s whatever the team wants. Whatever we think is the best option is what we’re going to go with. So, I don’t really have a plan right now, just looking into the future.”

Hawkins finished third overall in the 125 B/C and Schoolboy divisions at the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals.