Formula One: Five talking points from Singapore

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton celebrates winning the race
PHOTO: Reuters

SINGAPORE - Five talking points from the Singapore Grand Prix night race, which was won by Lewis Hamilton in wet conditions on Sunday:

Not to be sniffed at - A farting competition in the post-race press conference had the three top drivers in fits of giggles. There were puzzled looks when Hamilton, second-placed Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas, who was third, couldn't stop laughing as the televised interview got under way. A translation of Bottas's remarks in Finnish revealed that he was "trying to keep it together now that this guy next to me just farted". Hamilton admitted: "We're all a bit gassy." And Ricciardo said: "I feel our battle here was bigger than the battle on track. We're doing our own version of beatboxing."

Something in the air for Fernando - Fernando Alonso hasn't been the happiest camper during his long struggles with Honda-powered McLaren, but he's been all smiles since the news that the Japanese engine-maker will be replaced by Renault next season. Alonso qualified eighth and despite being the innocent victim of a first-corner collision that ended his race, he remained upbeat. More importantly, the two-time world champion dropped a hint that he would stay with McLaren next year. "The car was amazing, it launched really well but we were in the wrong place at the wrong moment. But arguably we could be leading the race," he said after his retirement. "So a podium place missed today and hopefully better luck (at the next race) in Malaysia... Hopefully we finish with the bad luck this year."

Singapore Grand Prix 2017 kicks off 10th night race

  • The Singapore F1 Grand Prix street circuit lights up ahead of the night race
  • Mercedes' Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas drives during the second practice session
  • Red Bull Racing team driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia in action during the second practice session
  • Spectators look on as Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's British driver Lewis Hamilton approaches Turn 10 during the first practice session
  • OneRepublic performing on the Padang stage
  • Singer Lianne La Havas performing on the Padang stage
  • Lewis Hamilton arriving at the F1 pit stop
  • Ferrari's German driver Sebastian Vettel (C) waves after securing pole position beside Red Bull's Dutch driver Max Verstappen (L) and Red Bull's Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo after the qualifying session of the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix
  • Dutch Formula One driver Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer approaches turn 1 during the qualifying round of the 2017 Formula One Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix at the Marina Bay street circuit
  • Scuderia Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany negotiating Turn 9 during the third practice session of the 2017 Formula One Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix at the Marina Bay street circuit as seen from Swissotel The Stamford
  • American singer Ariana Grande performs at the F1 Padang stage
  • Crowd attending Ariana Grande's concert on the Padang as seen from Swissotel The Stamford
  • DJ Duo The Chainsmokers performs at the F1 Padang Stage
  • The car of Ferrari's Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen (R) is seen after a crash
  • Ferrari's Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen (front) and Red Bull's Dutch driver Max Verstappen get out from their cars after a crash during the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix

Boomshakalaka! - Renault got a foretaste of what they were in for next season when Toro Rosso hotshot Carlos Sainz repeatedly told his engineers to stop talking to him over the radio. "Leave me alone," growled the 23-year-old Spaniard, who is switching to the French team for 2018. Sainz's team-mate Daniil Kvyat also gave the beleaguered Toro Rosso engineers short shrift as he negotiated the challenging circuit - and then had to apologise when he ploughed into a barrier, ending his race. There was no need for an apology from Sainz, who placed a career-best fourth, earning warm congratulations from the pitwall. "Nice one Carlos, fourth! Boomshakalaka!" his engineer said over the radio.

Hair conditioning - Red Bull boss Christian Horner said Ricciardo had been inspired by his new shaved-at-the-sides haircut as he impressed in practice, but it didn't help him get his long-awaited win in Singapore. Ricciardo placed third in 2014 and has now finished second three times in a row, in a frustrating run for the Australian. "I just can't win the bloody thing," he said afterwards. Ricciardo was a little coy about his new look, which mirrors a similar style he sported last year - a fashion faux pas which he blamed on a friend's attempt to cut his hair. But it didn't affect his performance in sultry Singapore, as Horner acknowledged. "I think Daniel's invigorated by his new haircut... and obviously we're using that air conditioning to good effect," he said.

Star rises in the East - Toro Rosso may have unearthed a new star after Indonesia's Sean Gelael turned heads in his first Formula One free practice. The Formula 2 driver beat both Saubers to finish 18th in Friday's opening session, less than three seconds slower than Toro Rosso's seasoned driver Kvyat in 10th. Gelael has already tested twice with Toro Rosso, in Bahrain and Hungary, and he will drive three more free practices this season before doing another test in Abu Dhabi. "At the end of the test in Abu Dhabi we will sit together and we will discuss further steps for the future," said Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost. "He will do Formula 2 next year and then we will see. It depends always on the driver - if he is doing a fantastic job, improving his performance then of course doors will always open. Today he did a fantastic job, we were really happy with him."

 

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