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Hamilton fastest in red-flagged Singapore first F1 practice

Lewis Hamilton led the time sheets in Singapore, as Lance Stroll brought out a red flag at Marina Bay.

Lewis Hamilton topped the first practice session at the Singapore Grand Prix - the first session he has led in the 2022 Formula 1 season. A late flying lap on the Soft tyres of a 1m:43.033s was enough for the Mercedes driver to pip Max Verstappen by 0.084s in the first session at Marina Bay since 2019. Red Bull driver Verstappen, who needs to outscore nearest challenger Charles Leclerc by 22 points to clinch his second world title, posted a time of 1m:43.117s to go quickest at Marina Bay. With just four minutes remaining in the 60-minute session, Hamilton pumped in his quickest time to leapfrog up the order and top his first F1 session since Abu Dhabi 2021. He beat nearest title rival Charles Leclerc by 0.318s, but it was a troubled session for the Ferrari driver, who suffered with brake issues. Sergio Perez was fourth fastest, with George Russell fifth for Mercedes, as Carlos Sainz Jr rounded out the top six. Lance Stroll brought out a brief red-flag with 25 minutes remaining after clouting the Turn 5 wall, and bringing his Aston Martin to a halt at Turn 7.

Sainz set the initial fastest lap, with a 1m:50.961, but this was quickly bettered on the exploratory laps by Verstappen's 1m:47.329s on Hard tyres. The Dutch driver, who turns 25 on Friday, then lowered this to a 1m:44.236s effort, with Perez slotting in behind, 1.6s behind. Just before the mid-session lull, Fernando Alonso went second as Leclerc was back in the Ferrari garage undergoing checks after reporting brake problems on his first lap of the day. Verstappen whittled his time down to a 1m:43.117s on the Softs, and looked set to take P1, until Hamilton set his first lap on the red-walled tyres to pip his 2021 title rival. The Soft tyre runs were interrupted by Stroll clipping the wall on the exit of Turn 5, breaking the left-rear wheel of the Aston as darkness began to fall over the circuit. Esteban Ocon was seventh, as Stroll took eighth with Pierre Gasly and Alonso rounding out the top 10. The Alpine duo were not running their new floor in FP1, as Alonso's session ended early with a gearbox oil leak.

19 laps for Albon

Sebastian Vettel was 11th for Aston, just ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas. In 16th was Alex Albon, who put in 19 laps after suffering appendicitis and respiratory failure three weeks ago at the Italian Grand Prix. He was narrowly pipped by Kevin Magnussen and Yuki Tsunoda, with Zhou Guanyu 17th. Albon remains committed to racing, but Nyck De Vries is on standby once again in case he is needed. Lando Norris, who was running extensive McLaren upgrades was 19th, a tenth behind Mick Schumacher in the Haas. Nicholas Latifi was 20th and slowest for Williams, so 4.059s slower than Hamilton's benchmark.