Max Verstappen said he can forget about extending his record winning streak after qualifying only 11th for Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix.

On a wild night under the 1600 bulbs that light up the Marina Bay Circuit, Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll also walked away from a staggering 110mph shunt, while Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz pipped the Mercedes of George Russell to land his second pole position in as many races. Charles Leclerc will start third ahead of Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton.

But it was the demise of Red Bull – the unbeaten tour de force of this most one-sided of seasons – that left those here in shock and awe. Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Perez also failed to reach Q3. He will line up in 13th for Sunday’s 62-lap race.

Verstappen warned earlier this week that the Red Bull machinery which has carried him to a record 10 consecutive victories would not be suited to this unique 3.07-mile high-downforce circuit.

Yet, nobody could have foreseen him being sent for an early bath along with Perez in the other car. Verstappen was straight on the radio to express his dismay.

“I don’t know if you saw that, but that was just f***** shocking,” he said. “Absolutely shocking experience.”

Verstappen’s Red Bull team, without a defeat in the 14 rounds so far, now face an improbable task of making history by becoming Formula One’s first ‘Invincibles’.

“You can forget about that (a victory),” said Verstappen. “I don’t want it to sound too dramatic but it has been a tough weekend, and it is a long, long time since it has been like this in qualifying.”

Verstappen last started this far back in Saudi Arabia when a driveshaft failure consigned him to 15th at the second round in March. He finished runner-up to Perez.

But the streets of Singapore, unlike those in Jeddah, are strenuous to overtake on. Indeed, eight of the last 13 races here have been won from pole.

“You cannot pass here,” added Verstappen. “You need to be one and a half, to two or three seconds faster than the car in front which we are not. It will be a very tough and long afternoon.

“On other tracks you can start last and win, but not in Singapore. I want to win, but when it is not possible you have to accept that.

“I knew there would be a day that I wouldn’t win. I had a really good run up until now.

“And I would always take a season where we are winning as much as we have, and have one really bad weekend, over the other way round when you are not fighting for the championship. I am confident the car will be fast again in Suzuka next weekend.”

Red Bull’s sudden malaise cleared the way for Sainz to capture another pole, a fortnight after he secured top spot in qualifying in Monza.

However, Russell ran the Spaniard close, finishing just 0.072 seconds back, and the Englishman believes he has a strong chance of landing Mercedes’ first win of the campaign and the second of his career.

The Silver Arrows have also followed a unqiue strategy this weekend that leaves Russell with an extra set of medium tyres which could provide him with the tactical edge over Sainz.

“George has a really good shot at winning and I really hope he does,” said team-mate Hamilton, who qualified half-a-second back on disappointing evening for the seven-time world champion.

“I hope he gets a good start and gets ahead of the Ferraris. That would be amazing for him and for the team.

“For me, I will see what I can do. If I get further up then great. I changed the car last night and I don’t know what is going on with it. It is the hardest car I have ever driven to get right.”

Max Verstappen will start Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix from a shock 11th place after Lance Stroll crashed out at 110mph and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz took pole position.

On a wild night at the Marina Bay Circuit, both Red Bull drivers were eliminated in Q2 leaving the world champions facing an enormous task to retain their unbeaten record this season.

George Russell qualified second, missing out on pole by just 0.072 seconds with Charles Leclerc third for Ferrari, one place ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris. Lewis Hamilton finished fifth, half-a-second back.

Verstappen was eliminated in Q2 after he bemoaned the handling of the Red Bull machine which has carried him to a record 10 consecutive wins, but has struggled under the bulbs that light up this unique 3.07-mile high-downforce track.

Verstappen missed out on Q3 by 0.007 sec, and then took aim at his team over the radio.

“I don’t know if you saw that, but it was an absolutely shocking experience,” he said amid of flurry of expletives.

Verstappen is also facing three stewards’ investigations for separate incidents of impeding during qualifying.

His team-mate Sergio Perez, who spun, also failed to progress to Q3. He will start 13th following a miserable night for the team from Milton Keynes in the city-state.

Red Bull’s demise allowed Sainz to capture his second consecutive pole with Russell narrowly missing out.

Earlier, Stroll survived a staggering crash. The Canadian driver lost control of his Aston Martin through the final left-hander before he slammed into the barrier.

The force of the high-speed impact sent Stroll’s head rocking from side-to-side. He catapulted back across the track with Norris forced to take evasive action – dodging a flying wheel and Stroll’s out-of-control machine.

“Is the driver alright?” asked Norris on the radio. “That must have been quite a big one.”

Stroll pirouetted to a standstill in the middle of the track before his race engineer Ben Michell came on the radio.

“Lance, car is safe,” said Michell. “Are you OK?” Stroll, 24, replied: “Yeah, I am OK.”

The Aston Martin driver emerged from his wrecked car unaided before being taken off to the medical centre.

Aston Martin confirmed Stroll had been given the all-clear by the on-site medical team and was allowed to return to the paddock.

Stroll’s accident brought a premature end to a frenetic conclusion to Q1 and left the marshals with a significant barrier repair job at the final corner, with fluid from his car also on the track.

The session was delayed for 34 minutes before Q2 started at 9.53pm local time.

Lance Stroll survived a staggering 110mph crash in qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix.

The Canadian driver lost control of his Aston Martin through the final left-hander at the Marina Bay Circuit before he slammed into the barrier.

The force of the high-speed impact sent Stroll’s head rocking from side-to-side. He catapulted back across the track with British driver Lando Norris forced to take evasive action – dodging a flying wheel and Stroll’s out-of-control machine.

“Is the driver alright?” asked Norris on the radio. “That must have been quite a big one.”

Stroll pirouetted to a standstill in the middle of the track before his race engineer Ben Michell came on the radio.

“Lance, car is safe,” said Michell. “Are you okay?” Stroll, 24, replied: “Yeah, I am OK.”

The Aston Martin driver emerged from his wrecked car unaided before being taken off to the medical centre.

Stroll’s accident brought a premature end to a frenetic conclusion to Q1 with drivers improving as the city-state track evolved.

AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda led the way, with Lewis Hamilton 14th of the 20 runners with the bottom five set to be eliminated.

Stroll’s impact left the marshals with a significant barrier repair job at the final corner, with fluid from his car also on the track.

The session was delayed for 34 minutes before Q2 started at 9:53pm local time.

Max Verstappen faces a fight to take pole position at the Singapore Grand Prix after calling his Red Bull “unacceptable” in final practice.

As Carlos Sainz raced to the top of the time charts at the Marina Bay Circuit, Verstappen finished fourth.

The Dutchman is on an unprecedented 10-race winning streak with his Red Bull team unbeaten at the 14 rounds of the season so far.

But Verstappen bemoaned the handling of his car in the city-state, describing the upshifts in his Red Bull machinery as “unacceptable”.

He added: “These upshifts, what the f***. I am just struggling for rear grip. If I competed in drifting, I might win the race.”

Verstappen returned to the track in the closing moments of the one-hour running, ringing the neck of his Red Bull to move from sixth to fourth, 0.313 sec slower than Sainz.

But his struggles will give the chasing pack hope of finally stopping Verstappen and Red Bull with Ferrari holding the upper hand heading into qualifying later on Saturday.

Sainz and team-mate Charles Leclerc traded top spot in the two practice sessions here on Friday, with the former again fastest in the concluding running before the fight for pole.

Leclerc looked set to eclipse Sainz only to make a mistake in the second sector before backing out of his speediest lap, finishing fifth.

George Russell took an encouraging second for Mercedes, just 0.069 sec slower than Sainz, with Lando Norris third in his McLaren. Lewis Hamilton was sixth for Mercedes, within half-a-second of Sainz.

Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Perez, who won here last year, finished eighth, 0.719 sec back.

Qualifying for the 15th round of 22 takes place at 2100 local time (1400 BST).

Barbadian teenage sensation Zane Maloney welcomed an almost three-month break to reflect ahead of the final Formula 2 race for the year on November 25 in Abu Dhabi.

Formula 2 is the second tier to Formula 1 racing organised by the FIA, motor sport’s world governing body, and held on select circuits on the F1 schedule.

It is the ultimate training ground for prospective F1 drivers, providing them with the opportunity to showcase their talents in front of F1 teams on some of the most challenging and renowned racing circuits in the world.

Maloney, 19, has been enjoying fairly good form this season with second-place finishes at the British Grand Prix in July at Silverstone, and the Dutch Grand Prix in August at Zandvoort, complemented by third-places at the Bahrain Grand Prix at the start of the season in March at Sakhir, and the Monaco Grand Prix in May at Monte Carlo.

He heads into the break occupying 10th position in the 22-driver standings on 96 points, after 13 of the 14 races on the schedule for this year, with the final race of the season at the Yas Marina circuit.

 “I’d love to have a race next weekend to be honest, but I’ll just be focusing on life in general, have some time at home, train hard, and be back for Abu Dhabi,” the Rodin Carlin driver told website.

“We’re nowhere near where we want to be in the Championship, but we are there on pace. Hopefully, we’ll have a very good race, and I’ll put myself in a good position for what’s to come next year.

“It’s a nice circuit (Yas Marina). In terms of targets, it’s always to get on the podium and win races. We’ll see. I’m going to go home first, relax with family. The team are doing a great job, so we’ll be back in Abu Dhabi strong,” he added during the recent interview.

On that note, Maloney reflected on his recent setback when he crashed out of contention at the Italian Grand Prix in Monza.

“It was a really good race actually. I was P14 after the first lap. When the crash happened, I was probably net P10, and we would have already made up 10 places, which is a good day at the office. Pace was good, I was just driving down the straight and then one second later I’m heading to the wall,” Maloney shared.

“To be honest, I didn’t really take much away from the race. We knew that we had good pace all weekend, but I qualified bad, which put us in a difficult situation. Everything became difficult after that. We had good pace, but that wasn’t a surprise,” he noted.

Jamaican Formula Woman Driver Sara Misir will be in action on September 16 and 17 in the United Kingdom.

Misir and teammate Alana Carter will take to the grid on Saturday and Sunday at the Donnington Race Track in round eight of the GT Cup Championships.

Misir and Carter will race in the Lotus Emira GT4, making their 2023 debut on the European circuit.

"I'm back in the GT4 seat, and the Lotus is new to the GT Cup circuit, but it has been amazing so far in testing, so I can't wait to get on the track this weekend. There's a bit of rust as it's my first race in the UK for 2023, but I'm looking forward to a good showing, in my Jamaica colours," said Misir.

The GT Cup series then heads to Snetterton for October 6 and 7.

Action from the GT Cup is live on YouTube.


Jamaican rallycross sensation Fraser McConnell is gearing up for an exhilarating weekend of racing in Europe. On September 17 and 18, McConnell will take on rounds seven and eight of the Extreme E Championships, set to unfold in the picturesque landscape of Sardinia, Italy.

Competing under the banner of the X44 Vida Carbon Racing Team, formed by the legendary seven-time Formula 1 World Champion, Lewis Hamilton, McConnell and his teammate Cristina Gutiérrez are currently holding their own in the series, securing a fifth-place position in the standings after six rounds of intense competition.

One of the standout moments for McConnell and Gutiérrez came during the third round in May, when they displayed remarkable consistency and skill, maintaining their top qualifying form to seize victory at the Hydro X Prix in Scotland. This significant triumph not only marked McConnell's first win in Extreme E but also served as a pivotal milestone in their 2023 campaign.

The Extreme E 2023 season has been nothing short of electrifying, witnessing four different winners across six rounds of fierce competition. With a grid featuring 10 teams and 20 talented drivers, the stage is set for another thrilling showdown in Sardinia this weekend.

Speaking in anticipation of the upcoming races, the 25-year-old McConnell expressed his excitement, stating, "I'm really looking forward to this weekend. The team's spirits are high, and I'm eager to represent Jamaica proudly in a new country, as always."

As the competition intensifies, fans can follow the action live on C Sport, SportsMax, and YouTube. The excitement will continue to build as the Extreme E series heads towards its climactic conclusion in Antofagasta, Chile, scheduled for December 2 and 3.

Max Verstappen’s unprecedented winning streak in Formula One could be under threat after the Red Bull driver finished only eighth in practice for the Singapore Grand Prix.

Verstappen romped to victory in Italy a fortnight ago to become the first driver in the sport’s 73-year history to win 10 consecutive races as he closes in on a hat-trick of world championships.

But under the thousands of bulbs that light up the Marina Bay Street Circuit, Verstappen ended the day more than seven tenths behind Ferrari pace-setter Carlos Sainz, the Spaniard who took pole position in Monza.

Charles Leclerc finished second for Ferrari as the Italian team completed a practice one-two, with George Russell third for Mercedes, 0.235 sec adrift.

Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso was fourth, with Lewis Hamilton fifth in his Mercedes, one place ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris.

Red Bull are unbeaten this season, but they did not have a car inside the top six on Friday, with Sergio Perez, who triumphed here last year, seventh.

Verstappen, who has won 12 of the 14 rounds so far, has not lost a race since the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on April 30.

But the Dutch driver has never triumphed in Singapore and he suggested ahead of Friday’s running that the high-downforce, low-speed nature of the city-state track could play into the hands of Red Bull’s rivals.

Although times in practice must be treated with caution as teams trial varying fuel loads and tyre strategies, it is Ferrari who hold the upper hand heading into qualifying on Saturday at a track where overtaking is notoriously difficult.

Indeed, eight of the 13 races here have been won from pole. Although the removal of turns 16 to 19 in favour of one long straight could improve the action for Sunday’s 62-lap race.

While the second running passed off without major drama, the opening session was disrupted on three occasions when a lizard invaded the three-mile circuit.

Verstappen was the first to report the reptile at turn nine midway through the running.

“There is a lizard on track again,” said the Red Bull driver, who had a similar encounter here back in 2016. “It is a smaller one this time.”

Verstappen’s race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase replied: “Maybe Godzilla has had a kid.” There was a second interruption, and then a third, as yellow flags were deployed.

“Another lizard, but a different one this time,” said Russell.

Charles Leclerc led a Ferrari one-two in an opening practice session for the Singapore Grand Prix disrupted by three lizards.

Leclerc ended the one-hour running at the Marina Bay circuit just 0.078 seconds clear of team-mate Carlos Sainz, with championship leader Max Verstappen third.

Lando Norris finished fourth for McLaren, 0.172 sec back, while Lewis Hamilton and George Russell took fifth and sixth respectively for Mercedes.

But the session was disturbed on several occasions when a lizard walked across the three-mile street venue.

Verstappen was the first to report the reptile at Turn 9 midway through the running.

“There is a lizard on track again,” said the Red Bull driver, who had a similar encounter here back in 2016. “It is a smaller one this time.”

Verstappen’s race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase replied: “Maybe Godzilla has had a kid.”

There was a second interruption, and then a third, as yellow flags were deployed.

“Another lizard, but a different one this time,” said Russell.

Verstappen, who is chasing an 11th straight victory on his waltz to a third world championship, warned on Thursday that Red Bull could be vulnerable at this unique street venue.

And the chasing pack, led by Ferrari, will be encouraged that Red Bull did not have it all their own way in the opening running of the weekend.

Sergio Perez, who won here last year, finished seventh, ahead of Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso.

The second running gets under way at 2100 local time (1400 BST).

Lewis Hamilton has called Red Bull chief Helmut Marko’s comments about Sergio Perez “completely unacceptable”.

Marko, 80, referred to Mexican Perez’s background when discussing his driver’s inconsistent form this season.

Speaking after the Italian Grand Prix earlier this month, Marko, Red Bull’s motorsport adviser and an ally of the team’s late co-owner Dietrich Mateschitz, said: “Let’s remember that he (Perez) is South American and so he is not as focused as Max Verstappen or Sebastian Vettel was.”

Addressing Marko’s comments ahead of this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix, Mercedes’ Hamilton, 38, said: “It is completely unacceptable. This is not something you just apologise for and it is all OK.

“Whilst we say there is no room for any type of discrimination in this sport – and there should be no room for it – to have leaders and people in his position making comments like this is not good for us moving forward.

“There are a lot of people in the background that really are combating these kind of things, but it is hard to manoeuvre if people at the top have mindsets which stop us from progressing.

“But it is not my team and not how we move as a team. We still have a lot of work to do to make this a more inclusive environment.”

Perez and team-mate Verstappen shared two victories from the opening four races, but the latter is unbeaten since the fifth round in Miami.

Perez, 145 points behind Verstappen in the standings, said: “I had a private conversation with Helmut and he did apologise. To me, that was the main thing.

“Basically, we move on. I have a personal relationship with him. Knowing the person helps a lot, because I know he doesn’t mean it that way.

“Personally, I didn’t get offended.”

Max Verstappen has told Toto Wolff to focus on his own team after he called the Dutchman’s record winning streak “completely irrelevant” and “for Wikipedia”.

Red Bull’s Verstappen became the first driver in Formula One’s 73-year history to win 10 consecutive races following his triumph at the Italian Grand Prix earlier this month.

But moments after Verstappen’s landmark win, Mercedes team principal Wolff said: “For me, these kinds of records are completely irrelevant. Those numbers are for Wikipedia and nobody reads that anyway.”

George Russell and Lewis Hamilton crossed the line a distant fifth and sixth respectively for Mercedes at Monza’s Cathedral of Speed.

And when asked ahead of this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix for his reaction to Wolff’s unflattering appraisal, Verstappen said: “I mean, they (Mercedes) had a pretty s*** race, so he was probably still p***** off with their performance.”

Poking fun at what Verstappen perceives to be an obsession with Red Bull, he continued: “He almost sounds like he’s an employee of our team, but luckily he is not. It’s just important that you focus on your own team. That’s what we do and that’s what we did in the past when we were behind them and when they were dominating. It worked as a kind of inspiration.

“You should be able to appreciate when a team is doing really well. To see someone that dominant – it was very impressive at the time – and we knew that we just had to work harder, try to be better, and try to get to that level. And now that we are there, we are very happy, and we are enjoying the moment.”

Verstappen, now a victor at 12 of the 14 rounds so far, has not lost a race since the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on April 30, while his Red Bull team remain unbeaten this year.

But the Dutch driver has never won in Singapore and last season he finished only seventh. And Verstappen fears the high-downforce, low-speed nature of the Marina Bay Circuit could play into the hands of his rivals.

“We are not as competitive here as other tracks,” said Verstappen. “The streets are a little bit tougher for our car. We can do a good job, but it will be very tight.

“So, I want to try and continue that streak, but I know there will be a day that that stops. Normally, Singapore is a bit more of a risk and more chaos, but we are here to win.

“I never really looked at winning eight or nine, 10 races in a row. I just want to do the best I can. And every weekend is basically the same in terms of the pressure I put on myself to try and get the best result so nothing really changes.”

Though the FIA Karting World Championships victory in the KZ2 (shifter kart) category slipped his grasp, young sensation Alex Powell still had much to celebrate, as he again etched his name in the annals of Jamaica’s sporting history.

Powell, who has been endured a series of mixed results throughout the season, placed second in the coveted championships in Wackersdorf, Germany on Sunday in what was another solid demonstration of his immense potential to rise to the occasion when it matters most.

While the American-born driver would have loved to top the podium and become the first Jamaican or Caribbean driver to win a World Championships title, the runner-up position sufficed for Powell, who knows that in a competitive category of this nature boasting over 125 drivers, the chances of winning fluctuate.

It was his first time finishing on the podium at the illustrious championships, as Germany’s Niels Troger finished tops, while Romania’s Daniel Vasile was third in the 26-lap final.

“The aim is always to ensure the Jamaican flag is displayed during the presentation ceremony and we made that happen. It's something that not many people are able to experience, but I am fortunate enough to have accomplished that and I am very grateful and proud that I am able to represent Jamaica and the Caribbean on this big stage,” Powell said as he reflected on the grueling weekend.

“I am just hoping that it inspires other kids coming up, not only from Jamaica, so they know, they too can do it because at the end of the day you know, I started from where they're starting now and I'm very proud of what I have been able to achieve. Sure, I still have a long way to go still, but I hope that I've been able to open a few doors for the kids coming up behind me,” he told from his base in Italy.

The 15-year-old, who started his driving career in a parking lot in Trinidad and Tobago and his now a Mercedes-Benz AMG F1 protégé, also took into account the fact that this was his first, and possibly, only season competing in the shifter karts category.

As such, he welcomed the lessons as part of his growth process in a budding career that could see him transition to the Formula 4 ranks next year.

“This was my third FIA event in KZ2 this year and I was on the podium twice, so it is great that I was always a contender, challenging for victories in highly competitive category. Because at the end of the day, I'm racing experienced guys that are double my age, so even being around them, you know, I learnt a lot and I'm able to take away so much you know, sort of nibbling at their experience,” Powell shared.

“So, to finish runner-up in the World Championship was nice as you can imagine, it's probably a bit sour as well because you're so close, but then you know start to put it into perspective. So, I'm proud of the way that we were able to progress, not only from the weekend, but also from the beginning of this year, so like I said, hopefully next time, we can go one step higher,” he added.

This performance coupled with his third-place finish overall in the FIA European Championships, has boosted Powell’s confidence significantly, as he heads into the business end of the season in pole position in the five-race Champions of the Future (COTF) series, and still has the World Championships OK category to contest.

On that European Championships standing, Powell 191 points, behind Dutch driver Rene Lammers (278 points) and Italy’s Gabriel Gomez (213 points).

Meanwhile, he heads the COTF standings on 196 points heading into the final round in France. Great Britain’s Kean Nakamura-Berta (184 points) and Gomez (155 points) are his closest pursuers.

“I think that for the upcoming two races, we're in much better shape than we were before, so I'm quite confident, I have proven to myself that I can deal with the pressure and also produce strong results. So, to be honest, I think mentally, I'm in a strong place going into these last two events. So hopefully everything goes as well as it did this past weekend, but I'll be I'll be fighting hard,” Powell declared.

“Especially given the fact that this might be the last season in go-karts for me, so I would like to finish on the high and I'll be giving it my all. After so many years of trying and failing, to finally get on the podium of a FIA World Championship has taken off a lot of pressure and shows that we're moving in the right direction,” the cousin to former 100m World record holder and sub-10 sprint king Asafa Powell, ended.

Max Verstappen can cement his place in the Formula One record books by surpassing Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton, so says Jody Scheckter.

Red Bull driver Verstappen broke another record with his victory at the Italian Grand Prix, tallying up a tenth straight race victory, overtaking Sebastian Vettel's previous best of nine.

Verstappen extended his lead in the drivers' championship standings to 145 points and looks on course to win his third title in a row - having triumphed in 2021 and 2022 - and Scheckter sees no reason why the Dutchman's run will end here.

"It really depends on the cars, to a large extent. There's no question he's good enough but has he always got the winning car," he told Stats Perform. 

"To think Lewis [Hamilton] had a dominant car for a long period of time, not to take anything away from him. I also think he's brilliant and smart. You can get in a bad car now and then, doesn't matter how good you are, you're not going to be winning.

"Right now, he's got the car to win. Granted, you can't put anything against it. If he has this dominance all the time, it could be maybe eight drivers' championships."

Verstappen became the youngest driver in F1 when he made his debut aged 17 at the 2015 Austrian Grand Prix, but Scheckter believes that the 25-year-old has had to refine his technique and tactics on the track to fulfil his championship-winning potential.

"He's obviously quick as anything, but he's aggressive. But he's also smart and comes out on the top in these different very difficult situations. At the beginning, he was too aggressive. But now he seems to get it all together and real championship material," Scheckter added.

"I think at the beginning, when you get into Formula One, you just want to prove that you're faster than everybody and so that's what you do. And then you realise you don't win championships like that.

"You tune yourself and he's a smart guy. So he's got it together now and obviously got the car at the moment to do it."

With Verstappen closing in on his third successive title, it has reignited debate surrounding the competitiveness of F1.

Prior to Verstappen's win in 2021, Hamilton had won six titles in the space of seven years, with Vettel also winning four in a row between 2010 and 2013.

According to Scheckter, who won the drivers' championship in 1979 during a nine-year career in which no F1 rival successfully defended their title, changes should be made to try and level the playing field during this era of Red Bull dominance.

He said: "One thing that frustrates me about are these penalties that they mean they have to go back on the grid, and if the gearbox goes, it just doesn't make any sense to me at all.

"It spoils the spectacle of the racing, you want to see people racing on the track. If he breaks down in practice or qualifying he can't get back up to race. Why?

"Everybody wants to see them racing side by side. Just doesn't make any sense from a spectator's point of view that I can see."

Jody Scheckter does not believe Lewis Hamilton's recent struggles will impact his Formula 1 legacy, insisting he will be remembered alongside Michael Schumacher as an all-time great.

Hamilton equalled Schumacher's record of seven drivers' championship titles in 2020, but he has failed to surpass the German icon's tally due to the dominance of Max Verstappen.

Having captured the title in controversial circumstances in 2021 and defended it last year, Verstappen has now won 10 successive races to close in on a third championship, which he could seal as early as the Japanese Grand Prix later this month.

Hamilton, meanwhile, sits fourth in the drivers' standings amid another difficult campaign, which has been plagued by suggestions he could soon walk away from the sport.

However, Hamilton opted to extend his F1 career until at least 2025 by penning a new contract with Mercedes last week, and Scheckter is pleased to see him still enjoying his time on the grid.

"I retired at 30 years old. He wants to carry on," the 1979 world champion told Stats Perform. "That's such a personal decision. He's got to do what he wants to do, if he's enjoying it.

"He's doing a good job, too. I thought [team-mate George] Russell would be quicker. But you know, Lewis is quick, he's doing a good job.

"If he gets a team-mate that beats him all the time… it's going to come, there's no question about it, it will come sooner or later. But people will still remember.

"You can't win that many world championships and not be recognised as an all-time great. 

"Some people get off at the wrong time, they carry on and want to hold onto it until they lose that, and people forget some of the other stuff that happened before."

Asked how Hamilton's achievements compare to those of Schumacher, the former Ferrari driver added: "I put them all in the same category. You know, there's the car there. 

"I think Lewis was a cleaner driver than Schumacher. In his tactics and stuff, he was more like a gentleman on the track than Schumacher was, so I commend him for that."

Sitting above Hamilton in the 2023 standings is his former McLaren team-mate and long-term rival Fernando Alonso, with the 42-year-old enjoying something of a renaissance with Aston Martin.

Alonso has racked up seven podium finishes in 2023 after finishing ninth in the drivers' championship while representing Alpine last year, and though Scheckter has not always been the Spaniard's biggest fan, he respects his longevity.

Reflecting on his own decision to retire in 1980, just one year after being crowned world champion, Scheckter said: "Some people say they enjoy it. I used to say if I'm enjoying it, I'm not trying hard enough.

"But if you're enjoying it, you're going to carry on longer and longer, you know? Maybe I pushed too hard to try and do it, so it's just a personal thing.

"Fernando's obviously very good. I didn't like some of the stuff he did earlier in his career, I didn't like it very much at all, actually. 

"But he's good, he's aggressive. I don't think he's as good as some of the press think he is, but he's doing a good job. Now, he's doing a really great job."

George Russell was confirmed as Lewis Hamilton’s new team-mate at Mercedes on this day in 2021.

The much-anticipated announcement came after Valtteri Bottas sealed a move to Alfa Romeo for 2022.

English driver Russell, then 23, earned the switch to the Silver Arrows after three impressive campaigns with Williams.

Commenting on his blockbuster transfer, Russell said: “It’s a special day for me personally and professionally.

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t absolutely buzzing. It’s a huge opportunity and one I want to grab with both hands.

“But I’m under no illusions as to the scale of the challenge; it’s going to be a steep learning curve.

“I want to do my new team-mates proud. Of course, one of those new team-mates is in my opinion the greatest driver of all time.

“I’ve looked up to Lewis since I was in go-karts and the opportunity to learn from someone who has become a role model both on and off track can only benefit me as a driver, a professional, and a human being.”

In a message posted on Instagram, seven-time world champion Hamilton said: “I want to take a moment to welcome George Russell to the team.

“I remember meeting him when he was young, dreaming of one day being a Formula One driver. I’d only just reached my own dream of becoming an F1 driver, so I know what this day means and how it will feel for him.

“He is a great example to all the kids out there that dreams do come true when you chase them wholeheartedly.

“Through hard work he has rightly earned his spot on our team. I look forward to seeing him grow as a driver with this great team and working with him to raise Mercedes higher. See you next year.”

In his first season with Mercedes, Russell landed his maiden victory at the penultimate round in Brazil. He also outscored Hamilton.

Ahead of last weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, Mercedes announced Russell, 25, will continue to partner Hamilton, 38, at Mercedes until at least the end of 2025.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.