Lewis Hamilton feels he can continue in Formula One for another five years, according to Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, who is certain the 37-year-old will renew his contract with the team.

Hamilton has won six of his joint-record seven F1 world championships while representing Mercedes, also helping the Silver Arrows to eight consecutive constructors' titles since joining in 2013.

That run is set to end this season, with Mercedes in third and Hamilton winless and struggling in sixth in the drivers' standings.

But Wolff insists his superstar's appetite for the sport remains undiminished.

He believes Hamilton – who he described as "the greatest personality" in F1 history – is sure to extend his Mercedes stay beyond the expiration of his contract in 2023.

"The advantage is we speak a lot together," Wolff told Channel 4. "Just last week we sat down, and he says 'look, I have another five years in me, how do you see that?'

"He's the shining star on and off track. I think we would lose the greatest personality that Formula One ever had.

"Over time we have just grown together. We are totally transparent with each other. 

"Lewis will be the first one to say 'I can't do this anymore, because I feel I haven't got the reactions anymore' or 'I've just lost fun doing it, and there is another generation growing up that is just very strong'.

"I have no doubt that whatever we agree on a contract extension – which is going to happen – that we both are always going to discuss, very openly, what the future holds."

Hamilton indicated earlier this year he has "plenty of fuel left in the tank", and Wolff believes he can replicate the longevity of rival Fernando Alonso and NFL legend Tom Brady by competing after his 40th birthday.

"I don't know if 40 is that age where you say that is not adequate anymore for a racing driver," Wolff said.

"If you look at where Fernando is with 41 years, he's still very much there. Now, is he the same Fernando that he was at 25? I don't know, but he's very competitive still.

"You look at Tom Brady, who is somebody I really admire for having the discipline in how he manages his life and his sport, he's 45 – and he's on the pitch.

"So Lewis, with the way he leads his life, with the full, ultra-narrow focus on his Formula One racing – all the other things are just hobbies – I think he can take it quite far."

Hamilton was joined by George Russell at Mercedes ahead of this season, and the former Williams driver sits fourth in the drivers' standings after recording seven podium finishes in 2022 – one more than Hamilton.

Wolff believes Russell will have the opportunity to compete for titles in the future, adding: "George has been great joining the team.

"He's a good personality, he acts with integrity, he's very transparent working with Lewis – these two really have added to the team's development slope this year.

"He was obviously hoping to be in a Mercedes and winning races and championships, which he got that timing wrong, but at least he has progressed to the midfield now.

"That time is going to come – he will win races, he will race for championships, and I think he absolutely has it in him. I feel very good to have him in the team over the long term."

Fernando Alonso says he has lost "about 60" points due to mechanical issues across the Formula One season, describing Alpine's problems as "unacceptable" after retiring from the Singapore Grand Prix.

Alpine suffered their first double retirement of the 2022 campaign on Sunday, as suspected power unit issues ended the races of Alonso and team-mate Esteban Ocon.

Alonso was defending sixth place against the advances of Max Verstappen when the problem first struck, forcing him out of the race after 21 laps. Ocon, meanwhile, followed six laps later.

The issue overshadowed a landmark day for Alonso, who made a record 351st grand prix start, and the Spaniard made his frustration known after the race.

"Again eight or 10 points are gone and there were already about 50 points lost this year," Alonso said. "So there are already about 60, which is unacceptable.

"I am very upset because there had been a good performance in this race on my part throughout the weekend.

"Yes, it was the two [Alpine] cars, but one was behind and out of the points, and it was not as serious as in my case for the points.

"This year, this changes everything. If you gave me 60 more points in the standings and reduced those of the rest – because they are points that the others would not have added – my championship would seem much better, even compared to Mercedes."

Alonso has retired from four of his 17 races in 2022, including back-to-back outings at Monza and Singapore. 

The two-time world champion, who is set to replace the retiring Sebastian Vettel at Aston Martin next year, sits ninth in the drivers' championship standings, seven points behind team-mate Ocon.

Sergio Perez's Singapore Grand Prix victory was confirmed after an FIA investigation into an infringement involving safety cars only resulted in a five-second time penalty for the Mexican.

Perez overtook Charles Leclerc on the first corner of Sunday's race at the wet Marina Bay Street Circuit, protecting his lead throughout to claim a second win of the season and fourth of his career.

Numerous safety cars were deployed throughout the eventful race in slippery conditions, with an investigation opened by the stewards into a misdemeanour by Perez when racing under a yellow flag.

Ferrari called for two five-second time penalties on Perez, who finished seven seconds ahead of Leclerc, for not keeping within 10 car lengths of the safety car.

Both the Red Bull driver and Leclerc were called to the stewards' office for their version of events after the race, with Perez also investigated for pulling alongside the safety car to encourage it to speed up.

Formula One's governing body, the FIA, reprimanded Perez for the first incident and gave him a five-second penalty for the second infringement, leaving the Red Bull racer two seconds ahead of Leclerc.

"Although the track was wet in parts, we do not accept that the conditions were such as to make it impossible or dangerous for Perez to have maintained the required less than 10 car length gap," the stewards said. 

"Nevertheless, we took into account the wet conditions and the difficulties highlighted by Perez as mitigatory circumstances for this incident and, accordingly, determine that a reprimand ought to be imposed.

"As this was the second breach of Article 55.10 by Perez during the race and followed an express warning from the race director, we determined to impose a five-second time penalty on Perez."

That leaves Perez trailing championship leader Max Verstappen by 106 points, with Leclerc in second as he sits 104 points behind the Dutchman.

Max Verstappen bemoaned a "messy" performance at the Singapore Grand Prix, where Lewis Hamilton vowed to "live and learn" to recover from another disappointing showing.

Red Bull driver Verstappen had won five straight races and recorded 12 victories in 2022 to head into Sunday's race with a 116-point championship lead.

But the Dutchman struggled on a soaked Marina Bay Street Circuit, finishing seventh as Charles Leclerc – who came in second behind Sergio Perez – cut Verstappen's advantage to 104 points.

Perez also trails his Red Bull team-mate by 106 points, though Verstappen could still secure the world title at the next race in Japan.

"It's not where we want to be," Verstappen told Sky Sports. "Yesterday, you put yourself in a spot like that and it can either work brilliantly and you can drive back to the front. Or you don't and it's very frustrating like we had [today].

"Seventh is better than eighth but it's not what I'm here for, not with a car like that and what we showed in practice. It's just incredibly messy."

Hamilton was another left frustrated as Formula One returned to Singapore for the first time in three years, slipping down to ninth after starting on the grid in third.

The seven-time world champion was initially edged out by Carlos Sainz on the first corner before crashing into the barriers later in the race when attempting to overtake the Ferrari driver.

"I think we started off with a pretty decent weekend and were just really, really unfortunate at the end," Hamilton added to Sky Sports.

"It was difficult to overtake and that lock-up into Turn 7 – when those things happen your heart sinks a little bit.

"But you get back up again and you try. It wasn't the greatest day, but I'm looking forward to tomorrow.

"It all went out the window when I locked up, so my apologies to the team, but we live and learn, and I'll recover."

Sergio Perez labelled the Singapore Grand Prix victory as his "best performance" after holding off Charles Leclerc on a soaked Marina Bay Street Circuit.

Ferrari driver Leclerc started on pole on Sunday ahead of Perez, who breezed into the lead at the first corner as Formula One racing returned to Singapore for the first time in three years.

The wet conditions that caused the race to be delayed by an hour were a problem throughout, with numerous safety cars deployed as five drivers failed to finish.

Perez held his nerve despite late pressure from Leclerc to claim his second victory of the season and fourth of his career to end Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen's five-race winning streak.

"It was certainly my best performance," Perez told Sky Sports after the conclusion. "I controlled the race.

"The last three laps were so intense – when I got out of the car, I felt it. I gave everything."

While Perez celebrated on the podium, stewards investigated a possible infringement behind the safety car – a misdemeanour that Ferrari deemed worthy of a 10-second time penalty.

"I have no idea what's going on, they just told me I was under investigation and to increase the gap," Perez added after finishing seven seconds ahead of Ferrari's Leclerc.

Leclerc's colleague Carlos Sainz settled for third after battling with Lewis Hamilton on the opening corner, with the Briton finishing in ninth after another frustrating outing.

"It was very tough out there," Sainz said. "I never really got into a rhythm in the wet and then couldn't challenge the top two guys.

"I had to settle for P3, but the good thing is I didn't do any mistakes and could bring the car home and be quick towards the end of the race. 

"It's a good result for the team in the Constructors' Championship."

Sergio Perez secured a fourth Formula One triumph and second of the season as he dominated at the Singapore Grand Prix, ending Max Verstappen's five-race winning streak.

Verstappen headed into Sunday's race with a 116-point lead at the top of the championship, aiming for a sixth straight win and 12th victory of 2022 as he edges towards the title.

Yet it was Red Bull team-mate Perez who added to his Monaco Grand Prix crown earlier in the year by winning at a soaked Marina Bay Street Circuit, where safety cars were a regular feature.

Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz finished in second and third respectively, with Verstappen's championship lead over the Monegasque driver dropping to 104 points after the Dutchman came in seventh.

After an hour-long delay, Perez raced out the blocks to take the lead from Leclerc, while Lewis Hamilton recovered after being forced off the track in a battle with Sainz.

A plethora of safety cars followed as Zhou Guanyu, Nicholas Latifi, Fernando Alonso, Alex Albon and Esteban Ocon all retired inside the first 28 laps.

Perez continued to clock the fastest laps at the front before Hamilton – frustrated by Sainz in third – slammed into the barriers, with Lando Norris overtaking his fellow Briton.

Yuki Tsunoda's crash saw another safety car deployed before Verstappen swerved off the track to drop down to 12th, though he recovered to overtake Pierre Gasly and Valtteri Bottas.

Perez's domination under the lights continued despite the push of Leclerc as the Red Bull driver claimed victory at the first F1 race in Singapore in three years.

'I TOLD YOU' – HAMILTON BEMOANS MERCEDES TYRE DECISION

Hamilton started the race in third but fell down a place after a first-corner battle with Sainz saw the seven-time world champion edged off the track.

"I told you about these tyres, in future you need to listen to me. No grip," Hamilton declared on the team radio soon after, lamenting Mercedes' late decision to operate on intermediate tyres.

It was not the first time Hamilton – who ended in ninth – has exchanged such words with his team, adding to a frustrating season that could end without a single victory for the first time in his career.

ALONSO DENIED HISTORY

Alpine's Alonso was aiming to surpass Kimi Raikkonen for the most Grand Prix finishes in history as the Spaniard looked to complete his 351st race.

But after stating "engine, engine" on the team radio, Alonso was forced to withdraw before the halfway point in Singapore, leaving him waiting to overtake Raikkonen.

Johann Zarco says he was happy to give Francesco Bagnaia a helping hand in the MotoGP title race rather than push for a Thailand Grand Prix victory on Sunday.

Miguel Oliveira secured his second win of the season on a wet day in Buriram following a delayed start due to heavy rain, with Bagnaia third behind Jack Miller.

Zarco moved up to fourth as he thrived in drier conditions late in the race, but the Pramac Racing rider resisted the temptation to push for victory at the risk of damaging Bagnaia's title hopes.

With Fabio Quartararo only able to finish 17th, Ducati's Bagnaia reduced the defending champion's lead in the standings to only two points with three races to go.

Zarco said: "I was waiting for it to get drier, but it came a bit too late. The amount of water at the beginning of the race was difficult for me.

"The others had a bit more pace and I could not attack too much, I was sliding, so I've lost positions.

"Then it took time to get dry, if it could get dry a bit earlier I would have taken the advantage much earlier and could think about the victory.

"Four laps from the end I was there and two laps from the end almost fighting for the podium, but also hesitating a bit with Pecco as he is doing a great championship.

"I didn't want to make a mistake in the Ducati group. I was really hoping for victory today in these conditions, but I stayed fourth and it's good enough for me."

He added: "It's kind of being clever in the championship. I have lost too many points many races ago.

"I need to race to try to catch a victory, but I have nothing to fight for [in the championship battle], so that's why.

"We are a big group at Ducati, I think if we can sometimes give help in some way, I'm pretty glad the race has been like that."

Aleix Espargaro finished back in 11th and is 20 points adrift of Quartararo, while rookie Marco Bezzecchi crossed the line in 16th after starting on pole for the first time.

Fabio Quartararo endured a Thailand Grand Prix nightmare as Miguel Oliveira secured his second victory of the season on a wet Sunday in Buriram.

Quartararo's lead over Francesco Bagnaia in the battle for the MotoGP title is down to only two points with three races to go after the reigning champion could only finish 17th.

Bagnaia had been 18 points adrift of the championship leader after crashing out on the final lap in Japan last weekend, but reduced the deficit by taking third place at the Chang International Circuit, where Aleix Espargaro finished back in 11th

Oliveira secured a brilliant win after starting back in 11th, with Jack Miller second and Bagnaia holding on for the final podium spot under pressure from Johann Zarco and Marc Marquez.

Rookie Marco Bezzecchi retained his lead following a delayed start due to heavy rain, but had to drop into second behind Miller as punishment for exceeding track limits at Turn 1.

Quartararo plummeted from fourth to 17th on the opening lap, with title rival Bagnaia briefly in second before Miller passed him.

Espargaro made contact with Brad Binder early in another exhilarating race, with Luca Marini sliding off into the gravel and Oliveira moving into second spot as the track dried out.

Marquez surged into fourth place as Quartararo continued to struggle, while Espargaro's title hopes suffered another blow when he was given a long-lap penalty for his clash with Binder.

Oliveira powered past Miller to take the lead 11 laps from the finish and there was no catching the Red Bull KTM rider, as he won for the first time since the second round of the season in Indonesia.

TOP 10

1. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM) 41:44.503
2. Jack Miller (Ducati) +0.703
3. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) +1.968
4. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) +2.490
5. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) +2.958
6. Enea Bastianini (Gresini) +13.257
7. Maverick Vinales (Aprilia) +14.566
8. Alex Marquez (LCR Honda) +14.861
9. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) +15.365
10. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM) +18.097

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Riders

1. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) 219
2. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) 217
3. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) 199
4. Enea Bastianini (Gresini) 180
5. Jack Miller (Ducati) 179

Teams

1. Ducati 398
2. Aprilia Racing 321
3. Red Bull KTM 285
4. Pramac Racing 278
5. Monster Energy Yamaha 250

Aleix Espargaro is ready to adopt an "all or nothing" approach in Sunday's Thailand Grand Prix, with his MotoGP title hopes hanging by a thread.

A poor qualifying session saw the Aprilia rider miss out on Q2 and he will begin the race from 13th, while he stands 25 points behind championship leader Fabio Quartararo.

With just four races remaining on the schedule, time is running out for Espargaro to launch an assault on the title, and he is hoping for rain to turn the tide in his favour on Sunday.

"The difference is not an abyss, but I have to drive perfectly all the time. It will be a very difficult race for me, but I think it is not as negative as it seems," Espargaro said after qualifying.

"Anything can happen in the race. It can rain, it can be flag to flag, so I don't lose hope, and we have to cut distances as it is.

"The only thing that is clear to me is that tomorrow if it rains it is all or nothing. There have been races where you had to finish and get points, but tomorrow, if God gives us an opportunity with a flag to flag, or with rain, we have to go to the top because it is one of the few options we have."

Lewis Hamilton hopes he can belatedly celebrate his first win of 2022 at the Singapore Grand Prix, believing such a result would pay back Mercedes and his fans for their support in a difficult year.

Hamilton is facing the first winless season of his Formula One career after falling out of title contention.

The seven-time world champion has made six podiums this year but is still waiting to return to the top step with only six races remaining in the season.

Hamilton at least appears to have the pace in Singapore, where he qualified third-fastest on Saturday and revealed only "an oversteer moment" at Turn 16 denied him the chance to take pole ahead of Charles Leclerc.

It was still the Briton's best qualifying performance of the season – which came as a surprise to him – and he is looking to improve further on race day.

"It feels incredibly rewarding, I think, for everyone in the team [to get this performance]," Hamilton said in a press conference.

"We've really started with a real handful, a difficult deck of cards that we've created for ourselves, and [it has meant] reshuffling and lots and lots of work.

"Everyone [has been] staying really positive, or as positive as possible, and everyone is just being incredibly diligent and never giving up.

"So, it's been an inspiring year for me, witnessing what my team do and being a part of that, and yeah, I so badly want to [win].

"Naturally the will and desire to get a good result for them, to pay them back for all their great work is part of it.

"Also, my fans have been the most incredible this year, on and off track. And we couldn't have survived the year without them. So, I also want it for them.

"But I think we've got a great turnout here this weekend. And I hope that tomorrow we can give them a good show."

This weekend, in which Max Verstappen can clinch a second straight title, albeit the Dutchman's chances have been reduced by a frustrating qualifying session, has been overshadowed by speculation of a major salary cap breach.

Red Bull, Verstappen's team, have been forced to deny claims they are the guilty party, and Hamilton was not interested in engaging in gossip.

"I'm not really giving it much attention, to be honest," he said. "It's all whispers at the moment.

"I don't know enough about it to be able to make a sensible comment. I'm not thinking particularly anything.

"I'm proud of my team for the diligence that they've done to run to the rules.

"And honestly, I have full confidence in Mohammed [bin Sulayem, FIA president] in the way that he's conducted himself to this point and in terms of being strict and being clear with the rules.

"The rules are rules, and for those sort of things, which can lead to real alterations in terms of car performance, those sorts of things, we definitely have to take it seriously.

"But as I said, I don't know if it's true or not, so we'll see."

Max Verstappen was forced to abandon his final lap in qualifying after his Red Bull ran out of fuel in Singapore, he confirmed after the session.

The reigning Formula One world champion was pushing to leapfrog Ferrari's Charles Leclerc for pole position in a wet session under the lights but was called into the pits as he approached the line.

Verstappen immediately expressed his fury over team radio and subsequently confirmed in the media pen that he was called in because there was not enough fuel left in the car.

"They told me to abort so I thought okay I'll do that but then on the final lap, they told me to box and then I realised what was going to happen and we ran out of fuel," he told Sky Sports.

"That's just incredibly frustrating and shouldn't happen. And even when you under-fuel it, you track that throughout the session, you're not going to make it and we should've seen that clearly.

"Not happy at the moment. It's a team effort. I can make mistakes and the team can make mistakes but it's never acceptable. Of course, you learn from it but this is really bad and  shouldn't happen."

F1 regulations state that each team must have enough fuel remaining after qualifying for scrutineering, with punishments issued if the required amount cannot be met.

Verstappen will start eighth on the grid for Sunday's race in south east Asia, where he can mathematically win the title but would require a massive shake-up across the grid.

Charles Leclerc clinched a ninth pole position of the season in Singapore, with Max Verstappen struggling in the wet conditions.

Intermediate tyres were used across the grid in the first two rounds of qualifying, with the deck only being shuffled in Q3 as eight of the 10 runners made the jump to slicks – though there were initial difficulties to find pace.

Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso were the first to hit their stride while others tiptoed around the wet sections of the track, with each claiming provisional pole twice before a resurgence from others on the grid.

Leclerc, who held pole the last time F1 visited Singapore in 2019, punched home a blistering lap to initially open a lead of a second and a half before others responded, Sergio Perez joining him on the front row as Hamilton lines up third – just five hundredths of a second away from his first pole of the 2022 season.

It was an entirely different story for a furious Verstappen, who will start eighth on the grid after being forced to abandon his final lap, unleashing his anger over the team radio.

Verstappen could seal the championship under the lights in Singapore if results go his way, though it now seems even more unlikely given his lowly start.

Leclerc admitted the conditions made for a tricky challenge for the drivers, with his call to move away from the intermediate compound coming just before the start of the final session

"It's been a very tricky qualifying, Q1 and Q2 with the intermediates, then in Q3 we didn't really know what to do," he said. "We went for the soft at the very last minute, and it paid off.

"It was really tricky, I made a mistake in my last lap, so I thought we wouldn't get through, but it was just enough, so I'm really happy."

Perez, starting second, will have a big role to play in Verstappen's charge up the grid and intends to immediately put Leclerc under pressure.

"It's an opportunity tomorrow to attack Charles from the start and go for the win," he said.

"It's disappointing to miss out on pole by two hundredths, but at the end of the day, it's a great result."

Hamilton was also disappointed to narrowly miss out on pole, saying: "I was pushing so hard, it was so close. These guys are always so quick, but I just thought that maybe with a perfect lap we could be pushing for first place.

"We just didn't have the grip in the last lap, but I'm grateful to be on the second row. I'm grateful for the team to keep pushing, and we'll keep our head down. Hopefully tomorrow is a better day."

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 1:49:412
2. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) +0.022
3. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +0.054
4. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) +0.171
5. Fernando Alonso (Alpine) +0.554
6. Lando Norris (McLaren) +1.172
7. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) +1.799
8. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +1.983
9. Kevin Magnussen (Haas) +2.161
10. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) +2.571

Red Bull chief Christian Horner has described claims of the team breaking Formula One's $145million (£114m) budget cap as "speculation", though Ferrari and Mercedes state the situation is an "open secret".

Two teams have reportedly breached F1's spending regulations, one of which is by a "significant amount", and Red Bull have swiftly been attributed with guilt – although there is no proof.

Horner told BBC Sport that it was "purely speculation" and added to Sky Sports he was "not aware" of any breach.

"We are certainly not aware of any [breaches]. The accounts were all submitted way back in March, so it's been a long process with the FIA going through, and we are in that process as we speak," he said.

The FIA will issue certificates of compliance on October 5, or announce any breaches, but both Mercedes and Ferrari suggested there was an understanding on the grid that two teams are at risk of punishment.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff claimed one such party was "fundamentally massively over". 

"There's a team in minor breach, which is more procedural, and another team that is fundamentally massively over and that is still being looked at," he said. "That's an open secret in the paddock."

And there was a similar view from Ferrari, with racing director Laurent Mekies saying: "It's now no secret that two teams broke the 2021 budget cap regulations, one by a significant amount, the other less so."

The situation creates a significant headache for the FIA, with the 2021 season already shrouded in controversy after Max Verstappen pipped Lewis Hamilton to the title in the final race in Abu Dhabi, with race director Michael Masi failing to implement the rules correctly after a late safety car.

Emergence of further controversy will not be welcomed, and questions will be asked as to why the results are so delayed, with F1 now in the back end of the 2022 season and Verstappen waltzing to a second title in a row.

Punishments for budget cap breaches can be severe, with potential points deductions for minor violations, while the heaviest punishment for a larger breach includes banning a team or driver.

A breach last year would also have a knock-on effect into the current campaign as the cap includes development of the car for the following season.

Fernando Alonso will make a record 351st start when he competes in Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix – and his first Formula One boss believes there are many more to come.

Gian Carlo Minardi was managing director of the Minardi team when a young Alonso made his F1 debut in 2001, on the road to becoming a double world champion.

Those titles came in 2005 and 2006 at Renault, whom Alonso joined after only one year with Minardi, and he has missed only two seasons since, sitting out 2019 and 2020 when scratching an itch to compete in other motorsport events.

This weekend he will beat a record previously held by Kimi Raikkonen, who contested 350 grands prix, with Alonso competing for Alpine ahead of an end-of-season switch to Aston Martin.

Minardi told Stats Perform he is confident the 41-year-old Alonso will remain a strong presence on the grid for years to come.

"I recently met him in Monza, and he was very excited," Minardi said. "I would say he doesn't look 41 from an athletic point of view, so I guess he is very fit and keen to prove who he is, and with his new contract he will beat other records not easily reachable for other drivers."

Alonso can also beat the record of the most F1 races finished this weekend, another mark he shares with Raikkonen on 278.

Minardi recalled first getting to know Alonso in 1999, with F1 tests for the youngster soon following in Jerez, where his performance levels were "jaw-dropping".

According to Minardi, Alonso had the ability to win "more than five world titles" and ranks as "one of the drivers who made the difference in the last two generations".

Ahead of another move, as the drive with Aston Martin awaits, Minardi said: "Let's hope that this change – because one of Fernando's weaknesses is that he has always been unlucky when changing the team – is beneficial to him and Aston Martin can equip him with what Aston Martin had at their debut.

"Today, without a reason and despite their Mercedes engine, they struggle to get the results they did some years ago.

"So I wish him the best to watch him entertain us. That is what I told him... I still have fun watching you drive, so keep it up."

India will stage a MotoGP race for the first time in 2023 as top-tier international motorsport returns to the Buddh International Circuit.

It was confirmed on Friday that the venue in Uttar Pradesh that staged three Formula One races from 2011 to 2013 would host the world's fastest riders on two wheels at the Grand Prix of Bharat.

According to organisers, India is a country where there are over 200 million motorcycles on the roads, making it a prime location to stage world-class racing.

India's sports minister Anurag Thakur said: "It's a historical day for sporting industry and tribute to 75th year of India's celebration."

The race weekend is provisionally scheduled for September 22-24 2023.

Dorna, the commercial rights holder for MotoGP, said it was "very proud" to be taking the sport to India, describing the country as "a key market for the motorcycle industry" and "the pinnacle of the two-wheeled world" for motorsport.

Speaking to Stats Perform, Dorna chief sporting officer Carlos Ezpeleta described India as "one of our key targets that we have had for quite some time".

He said the experience of other championships in India had been "quite challenging", with F1 having notably pulled out after its brief dalliance with holding races in the country.

Ezpeleta added: "We're now excited that this opportunity has come and it's a huge market for the motorcycle industry, and also for MotoGP as a sport, as a property with a huge potential to grow the fan base of the sport over there, which is already strong."

Although Formula One did not stay long, Ezpeleta sees MotoGP as having greater potential for sustained success.

He said: "I think that on the championship side, MotoGP is something which is probably a better fit for the Indian market, in terms of how the bigger part of the population can relate to itself and see the motorbike as something which is aspirational to them."

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