Valtteri Bottas crashed out of first practice for the Singapore Grand Prix.
Bottas, Lewis Hamilton’s closest challenger for this season’s championship, lost control of his Mercedes at Turn 19, slamming into the barriers. Bottas was unscathed in the low-speed accident, but the Finn sustained serious damage to the front of his car.
The opening running at the Marina Bay circuit was suspended to retrieve Bottas’ machine. Hamilton is 63 points clear of his Mercedes team-mate in the standings with seven rounds remaining. It remains to be seen whether the Finn’s team can make the required amendments to the car in time for the start of second practice, due to get underway at 13.30 BST.
Following Bottas’ crash, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen set the pace in the opening running. Verstappen finished 0.167 seconds clear of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel with Hamilton third, six tenths off the pace.
Charles Leclerc arrived in Singapore as the sport’s in-form driver following successive victories in Belgium and Italy. But the Monegasque’s weekend got off to an underwhelming start as a gearbox issue restricted him to just a dozen laps.