Lap 17/62: Sainz has set another new fastest lap to edge his lead over Leclerc up to 2.4sec. But it’s still too tight to pit. Sainz would come out in 17th if he did at the moment.
Lap 16/62: Ferrari’s pace management from the front is making it hard for cars to pit. Leclerc now has the fastest lap. He’s second, 2.2sec or so behind Sainz.
Lap 15/62: Leclerc now feels a challenge from Russell now, revitalised after an iffy start to the race.The front five are unchanged now. Verstappen, meanwhile, despite being cautioned to slow it down a tad, is doing nothing of the sort. He’s still eighth
Lap 14/62: Leclerc drops back a bit on Sainz, but Hamilton is creeping up on McLaren’s Norris. An attack could be imminent. It looks as if the field generally are going to go a long way on their current tyres.
Lap 13/62: Leclerc gains half a second or so on Sainz, heating up the intra-Ferrari battle out front.
Lap 12/62: If Ferrari’s plan is to keep rivals at at least three seconds behind the lead, then it’s currently going swimmingly. Verstappen, mind, is less than 10 seconds off the lead, though his team are warning him not to bust too much of a gut at this stage.
Lap 11/62: How they stand: 1 Sainz 2 Leclerc 3 Russell 4 Norris 5 Hamilton 6 Alonso 7 Ocon 8 Verstappen – they’re all still pretty tightly bunched, which mitigates against early pitting opportunities.
Lap 10/62: The narrowness of the circuit is palpable, particularly when the cameras switch to an overhead view. Sainz now leads by around 1.3 sec. He held his lead for 14 laps in Monza, can he go better now?
He also has the fastest lap
Lap 9/62: Ferrari will be pleased with the growing gap between their pair and George Russell in third. The other two Mercedes are tucked in behind him.
Lap 8/62: RedBull might be heartened by Verstappen’s display so far, but Perez is making no impact in front of him, stuck in 13 and with Haas’s pair of Hulkenburg and Magnussen driving tight races.
Lap 7/62: Leclerc in second is opening a gap on Russell in third and has Sainz within reach, 0.92sec ahead out front.
Lap 6/62: Magnussen v Verstappen looks a feisty battle, Magnussen holding the champion off initially, but then he gets him on the inside by the bridge. He’s not used to this sort of traffic but the Dutch master is cooking.
Lap 5/62: Phew. Time for a how-they-stand: 1 Sainz, by 0.9ish sec 2 Leclerc 3 Russell 4 Norris 5 Hamilton 6 Alonson 7 Ocon 8 Magnussen 9 Verstappen 10 Hulkenburg
Lap 4/62: Verstappen meanwhile has made up a couple of places, as Leclerc cuts the gap on Sainz to a second. What’s the team strategy here for Ferrari? Looking again at the start and Hamilton’s early overhauling of his teammates from an off-track position – it doesn’t look like he had any option, but he should let Norris through, and does. No further investigation
Lap 3/62: No movement from Tsunoda’s car, and his race is confirmed over. We’re down to 18 drivers. In the meantime, Sainz leads from Leclerc, Russell is back in front of Hamilton, while Norris is up to fifth.
Lap 2/62: Hamilton passed Russell off track, is he going to yield it? Tsunoda gets a yellow flag at turn 13 on the first lap. He’s not moving -– we could get a safety car here
Lap 1/62: It’s a Ferrari one-two already as Leclerc overhauls Russell straight away, and Hamilton passes Russell as well
Off we go then
They’re on the formation lap now, Sainz isn’t hanging about …
Tyre watch: Charles Leclerc is on soft, everyone else out front is on mediums, down to Verstappen and Perez who are on hard tyres – they’re looking to go long. A one-stop race is the general forecast.
A minute’s silence is observed for the victims of the Morocco earthquake and the floods in Libya. Impeccably so. (It was also good to see those tragic events observed at yesterday’s football matches)
“It’s so hot here,” says Alex Albon to Martin Brundle on the latter’s grid stroll. “I’m more used to it than some, but it’s still muggy.”
He grabs Verstappen, who admits: “We need a bit of luck throughout the race to pass cars, because you need a big space here. We’ll see, it’s a long race but we’ll see what happens I think we’re lacking a bit.”
Young Liam Lawson is in good spirits: “It was a good session yesterday but today’s the important one. It’s a very long race. I’m as ready as I can be.”
Verstappen was not a happy bunny with his car’s handling after qualifying yesterday: “I don’t know if you saw that, but that was shocking, absolutely shocking experience,” he harrumphed.
Giles Richards’s report on qualifying has more:
Talk among the Sky Sports commentariat about the slowness of the track and a general view that, even with a longer straight added to the circuit, overtaking will remain tricky. A challenge for Max under the street lights, time in Singapore currently being 7.17pm …
Your runners and riders …
1 Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)
2 George Russell (Mercedes)
3 Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
4 Lando Norris (McLaren)
5 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
6 Kevin Magnussen (Haas)
7 Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin)
8 Esteban Ocon (Alpine)
9 Nico Hulkenberg (Haas)
10 Liam Lawson (Alpha Tauri)
11 Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
12 Pierre Gasly (Alpine)
13 Sergio Pérez (Red Bull)
14 Alexander Albon (Williams)
15 Yuki Tsunoda (Alpha Tauri)
16 Valtteri Bottas ((Alfa Romeo)
17 Oscar Piastri (McLaren) MCLAREN MERCEDES1:32.9029182
18 Logan Sargeant (Williams)
19 Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo)
Afternoon everyone, and welcome to what could be a rare collector’s item – a grand prix not won by Max Verstappen or Red Bull. The world champion and his teammate, Sergio Pérez, start way back in 11th and 13th respectively after all manner of engine dissatisfaction yesterday as they failed to put a car into Q3. On a tight street circuit such as Marina Bay, at which the safety car is usually deployed at some point, hauling his way to the front could be a task beyond even Verstappen – though Fernando Alonso won from 15th here in 2008.
But it gives the others a chance, prime among them Carlos Sainz. The Ferrari driver sits in pole for the second race in a row and comes into today’s race on the back of a fine, tenacious drive for third place in Monza a fortnight ago, while George Russell in second leads British podium hopes, with Lando Norris (fourth) and Lewis Hamilton (fifth) in the mix.
Some disappointing news overnight though: Lance Stroll is out of the race following his high-impact crash in qualifying. It was initially hoped the Canadian might be able to compete after he was passed fit at trackside but he continued to suffer some after-effects overnight, so Stroll and Aston Martin have agreed to sit it out.
Lights out: 1pm BST