Hairy moment as marshal scrambles off track during race
Marshal scrambles out of the way as race resumes after safety car is withdrawn
For the second successive year, a man was on the Marina Bay street circuit during the Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix last night.
While a spectator had climbed over the barriers last year to enter the track during the race, it was a race marshal who had to scramble off the track during the opening laps last night.
The marshal had been sent onto the track to clear debris, with the safety car immediately deployed after Force India's Nico Hulkenberg clipped Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz and crashed out of the race on the first lap.
Television screens showed the marshal rushing off the track during the third lap, as Mercedes' Nico Rosberg led the trail of speeding F1 cars back into the race, after the safety car was withdrawn.
Asked to recount the moment, Singapore Grand Prix champion Rosberg said: "It was pretty hairy for sure; just as we didn't expect the race to restart, he didn't either, I think.
"The restart was pretty abrupt. He got out of the way just about in time, but we had to drive a bit carefully through there."
BBC Radio 5 F1 analyst Mark Gallagher wrote: "The safety car period seemed to end very suddenly considering the amount of debris on the track.
"They clearly didn't communicate that to all the Singapore marshals because that marshal was still working on the track."
The FIA did not comment on the issue, although The New Paper understood that the sector was declared clear at least twice before the safety car was withdrawn.
On Saturday evening, Red Bull's Max Verstappen also encountered a monitor lizard crossing the track. Fortunately, it did not result in an accident.
The man-on-track saga last night did not stop Rosberg from winning his first Singapore Grand Prix and take over the overall leadership of the drivers' championship from teammate Lewis Hamilton, who finished third.
While the Mercedes team bounced back this year, after being shut out of the podium last year by Ferrari and Red Bull, Ferrari had a race to forget this year, with Kimi Raikkonen finishing fourth and Sebastian Vettel taking fifth spot.
Raikkonen briefly overtook Hamilton, but a bad call on the 47th lap to call the Finn back to the pit for a tyre change allowed the Briton to regain third place, which the latter held on to the finish.
Four-time world champion Vettel drove a masterful race, though, to get himself in the points.
He had started the race dead-last following a suspension problem in qualifying.
The 29-year-old German said: "I enjoyed it a lot. Obviously overtaking here is rare, but I was able to get a couple of guys especially after Turn 7 and then it was quite interesting, the fight I had with Esteban (Gutierrez, Haas) and Carlos (Sainz, Toro Rosso).
"It didn't last too long, but it was very close at some point, three cars turning together into Turn 9.
"But, in the end, I came out of it with a big smile."