Tag Archives: safety

Paul Cox hoping for FA Cup honeymoon against Liverpool after training-ground wedding

Now this really is the magic of the FA Cup! Mansfield boss to get married at TRAINING GROUND ahead of giantkilling bid against Liverpool

By
Ian Ladyman

PUBLISHED:

11:07 GMT, 3 January 2013

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UPDATED:

18:14 GMT, 3 January 2013

Mansfield Town manager Paul Cox will begin the biggest weekend of his life on Friday by marrying his girlfriend at the club’s training ground.

Cox’s team from the Blue Square Premier host giants Liverpool at the One Call Stadium on Sunday in one of the ties of the FA Cup third round.

But Cox will begin the weekend by marrying his girlfriend Natasha Bertin on the training ground next to the stadium after honouring a promise he made to her ahead of the club’s replay with Lincoln in the previous round.

Happy couple: Paul Cox with his bride-to-be Natasha Bertin

Happy couple: Paul Cox with his bride-to-be Natasha Bertin

Countdown: Paul Cox poses at Mansfield's training ground - in front of the marquee in which he will marry

Countdown: Paul Cox poses at Mansfield's training ground – in front of the marquee in which he will marry

Countdown: Paul Cox poses at Mansfield's training ground - in front of the marquee in which he will marry

Having drawn 3-3 at Sincil Bank in the first game, Cox told his partner he would marry her if Mansfield went through and, after a 2-1 win clinched a meeting with Brendan Rodgers’ team, he will keep his word tomorrow when the couple tie the knot in a specially erected marquee.

A Mansfield source said: 'It’s going to be a big three days for Paul.

'He gets married on Friday and then it’s Liverpool on the day of his 41st birthday on Sunday.'

Busy week: Cox is facing a 48 hours at Mansfield

Busy week: Cox is facing a 48 hours at Mansfield

Hope the weather improves... the view at Mansfield's training ground

Hope the weather improves… the view at Mansfield's training ground

Mansfield are currently ninth in the Blue Square after losing out in the promotion play-offs last season.

The club applied for permission to use their full capacity to 10,000 for Sunday’s game but their request was rejected on safety grounds. There will be only 7,500 fans in the stadium, meaning that club will lose in the region of 50,000 in possible takings.

Emmanuel Adebayor says quitting Togo squad has nothing to do with money

Money has nothing to do with it! Adebayor lashes out at critics after pulling out of Togo squad

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UPDATED:

12:52 GMT, 23 December 2012

Emmanuel Adebayor has defended his position on staying away from the African Cup of Nations despite criticism from his countrymen.

The Tottenham striker has withdrawn from Togo's squad for the tournament which begins in January in South Africa.

Adebayor, 28, was on the Togo team bus when it was attacked by gunmen when the tournament was held in Angola in 2010.

Issue: Emmanuel Adebayor says money has nothing to do with refusing to play for Togo

Issue: Emmanuel Adebayor says money has nothing to do with refusing to play for Togo

He is still worried about the organisation and unprofessionalism of his country's football association.

Adebayor refuted claims from detractors that the reason he is missing the tournament is because of unpaid bonus payments.

'I am hearing people saying I do not want to go to the African Nations Cup because of unpaid bonuses,' he told The Sun Sunday.

'I do not need a bonus from Togo — it is 1,000 per game.

'I would not refuse to play for my country over money. It is all about the organisation — or lack of it.

'I was on the bus in Angola when people died in front of me. I held them as they died.

'Even the government do not want to pay for the treatment for the people who survived. It is not right.

'It is a terrible situation. After we qualified for South Africa I told them we had to sort things out.

'I said we needed a good organisation otherwise I was not going. Now we are going to South Africa and nothing has changed.

Clash: Adebayor is unimpressed with Togo's organisation and safety standards

Clash: Adebayor is unimpressed with Togo's organisation and safety standards

'South Africa is a good place but you never know what will happen so we need to be organised — but Togo will not be. That is why I am not going.'

He continued: 'When I go back to play for Togo, most of the time they never even pay me back for the air fare.

'That does not matter. This is not about money as I am lucky to earn a good living. This is about the safety.

'I have paid for other players as well as they often go to an airport in another country to fly home but there is no ticket waiting for them.

Horror: Adebayor is still fearful for his safety when travelling with Togo

Horror: Adebayor is still fearful for his safety when travelling with Togo

'Or we go to a hotel for a game and no one has booked the rooms. Sometimes there are only 10 rooms booked for the entire travelling squad.

'There should be 20 rooms booked, not 10, so we have to pay the extra. We could be in a hotel where the toilets do not work.'

The FA accused of showing "total apathy" towards fan safety at time of Hillsborough disaster

Hillsborough latest: FA were more 'interested in lunch' than fan safety in 1980s, claims former Wembley chief

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UPDATED:

09:57 GMT, 21 December 2012

The Football Association have been accused of showing ‘total apathy’ towards fans and their safety in the 1980s at the time of Hillsborough disaster.

David Griffiths, who was chief executive of Wembley stadium in the 1970s and 80s, made the accusation and claims there was a 'culture of complacency' in the FA’s safety inspection regime.

In an interview with the Liverpool Echo, he said: ‘This culture of complacency existed all the way through the 70s and 80s. My belief is that it was prevalent at the time of Hillsborough.

Horror scenes: Fans spill onto the pitch during the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest

Horror scenes: Fans spill onto the pitch during the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest

'They would turn up and basically ask ‘what’s for lunch’

The FA have declined to comment on Mr Griffiths’ specific claims, but a spokesman said: 'The FA and English football has changed immeasurably and has learnt many lessons in the last 23 years.

'Through advancements in safety and investment in facilities English football is now a much safer, more welcoming environment for supporters.'

Mr Griffith’s comments comes as the FA prepare to be investigated by a new police probe for its role in the disaster.

Justice: The families of the 96 outside the High Court after the original accidental death verdicts were quashed and an order for fresh inquests

Justice: The families of the 96 outside the High Court after the original accidental death verdicts were quashed and an order for fresh inquests

The Hillsborough Independent Panel report said there was no meeting between FA officials and the police ahead of the 1989 semi-final that claimed the lives of 96 Liverpool fans at Sheffield Wednesday’s stadium.

Instead the arrangements that had been used in 1988 were confirmed for 1989 by telephone.

The panel also revealed that according to Sheffield Wednesday club secretary Graham Mackrell that there was no inter-agency pre-match briefing.

'Somebody should have been at that meeting. Had I been the chairman of the FA’s match and ground committee I would have wanted to see the people who managed Hillsborough.'

One Udinese fan made 600-mile round trip to Sampdoria Serie A clash

Loneliness of the (ONE) long distance fan: Solitary Udinese supporter makes 600-mile round trip to Sampdoria for Serie A clash

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UPDATED:

19:02 GMT, 11 December 2012

When Udinese travelled to Genoa for their Serie A game against Sampdoria on Monday, just one man showed up to support them in an otherwise empty away section.

The prospect of a 600-mile round trip from Udine in the North East of Italy to Genoa appeared too much for most Udinese fans, leaving this curly-haired fellow to plough a lone furrow in the away end of Sampdoria’s Stadio Luigi Ferraris.

Even though Serie A attendances have
been dwindling in recent years, with fans believing that the atmosphere
in stadiums has been killed off by stricter safety regulation and
hard-to-obtain supporter identity cards, just one man turning up to support an
away team is unprecedented.


Going it alone: Udinese's solitary fan for their Serie A match against Sampdoria

Going it alone: Udinese's solitary fan for their Serie A match against Sampdoria

Three points: It was a successful trip for this loyal follower as Udinese won 2-0

Three points: It was a successful trip for this loyal follower as Udinese won 2-0

Italy map

Serie
A attendances this season are amongst the weakest of the leading
divisions on the continent.

With an average attendance of 21,876, the Italian top division averages over
20,000 less than the German Bundesliga, which leads the way with an
average crowd of 42,299 people.

The
English Premier League comes in with an average attendance of 35,629
while Spain’s La Liga is lagging behind with an average of 29,665.

Udinese
fans have become further disillusioned with their own football club due
to a perceived lack of ambition from the club’s owners, with leading
players including Mauricio Isla, Kwadwo Asamoah and Alexis Sanchez all
sold in recent seasons.

But it proved to be a worthy trip for the supporter, as he saw Udinese secure a 2-0 win to take the club into 8th position in Serie A.

His presence was a source of amusement
for the home support, who, rather than subjecting him to any abuse,
instead cheered the man and he reciprocated their affection with an
enthusiastic wave.

Sampdoria midfielder Andrea Poli, left, and Udinese defender Dusan Basta battle for the ball

Sampdoria midfielder Andrea Poli, left, and Udinese defender Dusan Basta battle for the ball

Sampdoria forward Mauro Emanuel Rivero Icardi, right, holds off Udinese Brazilian midfielder Marques Loureiro Allan

Sampdoria forward Mauro Emanuel Rivero Icardi, right, holds off Udinese Brazilian midfielder Marques Loureiro Allan

Gaetano Berardi of Sampdoria, right, executes a sliding tackle on Udinese midfielder Emmanuel Agyemang Badu

Gaetano Berardi of Sampdoria, right, executes a sliding tackle on Udinese midfielder Emmanuel Agyemang Badu


Antonio Di Natale, left, celebrates his goal during the 2-0 win for Udinese

Antonio Di Natale, left, celebrates his goal during the 2-0 win for Udinese

How netting would work to stop coin throwing and pitch invasions in Premier League

Net gains Premier League could follow Germans to sort out meshy business of missiles and pitch invasions

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UPDATED:

13:04 GMT, 10 December 2012

Heralded for possessing some of the finest top-level football stadiums on the planet, the majority constructed or extensively remodelled for the 2006 World Cup, behind-the-goal netting is commonplace in the German Bundesliga.

Sportsmail spoke to Ralf Esser, the owner of Funtec, which supplies the crowd-control measures to grounds such as Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena and Stuttgart’s Mercedes-Benz Arena, to find out what may lie in store for English fans.

Look closely: The net at the home of Bayern Munich is just visible if you stare hard enough

Look closely: The net at the home of Bayern Munich is just visible if you stare hard enough

So how does the system work

We became involved at the request of FIFA for the 2006 World Cup to design a system which would prevent objects being thrown, including pyrotechnics, on to the pitch and to stop people running onto the field.

It is a flame-resistant mesh which you can see through very easily.

We produce a steel rope which is built into the roof of the stadium from which the net is suspended and there are no poles to obscure the view.

So what do the fans think about the nets

Sometimes they notice them if they are very, very close to the net. But we often have a very funny reaction from the fans.

They write letters to the clubs complaining that it is not fair that only the home supporters, and not the away fans, have nets in front of them. That’s because they cannot see them on the other side!

You do not focus on the nets. You focus on the action behind it. We don’t want the fans to notice the net.

Net profit: Again, at first glance the net at Borussia Dortmund's Westfalenstadion is hard to spot

Net profit: Again, at first glance the net at Borussia Dortmund's Westfalenstadion is hard to spot

What about the safety implications about having nets

It is possible to break the net down very quickly. It can be winched away if you only wish to use it for high-risk games.

In fact there was a match a few weeks ago at Hoffenheim where they forgot to take it down, nobody realised it was still up!

We have had lot of discussion with the emergency services. Every stadium is different and everyone has a different emergency concept.

There are provisions in place for spectators to run through the net or to go underneath it.

There are exits which are protected with Velcro which can be opened by the stewards.

There are systems in the steel rope which, if the tension is getting too high, the net will break in individual sections.

The steel rope also has a mechanism at the end that if there is more than two tons of pressure it will break in slow and smooth fashion so it cannot fall into the spectators.

There are lot of emergency break points which are guaranteed to break under a certain pressures and conditions.

Flashpoint: Rio Ferdinand was hit with a coin as Manchester United won the derby at the Etihad Stadium

Flashpoint: Rio Ferdinand was hit with a coin as Manchester United won the derby at the Etihad Stadium

What would it prevent being thrown on to the pitch, coins, and lighters

It depends on the size of the mesh and the speed a coin is thrown. A lighter will be stopped by the mesh.

If a coin is heavy enough it can go through the mesh but it will still slow it down. If you manage to throw a coin the right way it can get through.

If you make the mesh too fine you can see the net so we have to find a compromise.

The stadium owners don’t want the mesh to be too fine. But with a net that you cannot see, the fans soon find out it is not worth throwing two or three coins until you hit somebody.

Pitch invader: A Manchester City fan was able to get too close to the players during Sunday's derby

Pitch invader: A Manchester City fan was able to get too close to the players during Sunday's derby

Have you had any contact from a Premier League club and how long would it take to install

We have had no discussions as yet but it would take just one week to install. If you don’t have any protection systems it is also cheap.

You do not have to dig foundations or install poles. All our solutions are based on the steel cable which stretches from one side of the stadium to the other.

The system is working very well in Germany. The league supports it but they have not made a rule that you have to install it.

All of the big clubs have it but they do not want to draw attention to it. If they did people would realise it is installed.

Peter Crouch: I thought I"d look like Joe Jordan

It's a good job I'm married… I'd be struggling with these teeth, jokes Crouch

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UPDATED:

09:51 GMT, 8 December 2012

Stoke striker Peter Crouch has joked that he's glad he's married otherwise he'd be struggling to attract girls after having two teeth knocked out.

The 31-year-old suffered the blow, which has left him having to wear a brace and, for matches, a gum shield, in a challenge with Fabricio Coloccini.

'The last week has been pretty horrendous,' he told the Daily Mirror. 'My teeth came out in my hand.

Sore one: Peter Crouch lost two teeth in a collision with Fabricio Coloccini

Sore one: Peter Crouch lost two teeth in a collision with Fabricio Coloccini

'Thankfully there was a dentist in the crowd, a season ticket holder who works for the club, who came down and acted very quickly. He saved them.

'I thought I was going to end up looking like Joe Jordan! I've never had to a wear brace before, not even when I was a teenager..

On the mend: Crouch has endured a painful week

On the mend: Crouch has endured a painful week

'I’ve had a lot of sympathy from her
[wife Abbey Clancy] but I said when I had them knocked out it’s a good
job I’m married, otherwise I’d be struggling!'

Former Scotland forward Jordan lost
his two front teeth early in his career while at Leeds and, though they
were replaced by dentures, he played without them for safety reasons

Rangers v Elgin postponed after too many tickets sold

Rangers match against Elgin postponed after too many tickets sold

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UPDATED:

18:13 GMT, 23 November 2012

Rangers' Irn-Bru Third Division game against Elgin has been postponed because too many tickets were sold.

The Light Blues were set to travel north for Sunday's lunch-time clash at Borough Briggs.

However, the Ibrox club have confirmed the match is off due to 'circumstances completely outwith Rangers Football Club's control'.

Are you sure Rangers boss Ally McCoist trying to sell MORE tickets

Are you sure Rangers boss Ally McCoist trying to sell MORE tickets

A statement from the Scottish
Football League read: 'Following today's pre-ops meeting for the above
match, it has come to light that there has been a substantial oversale
of tickets for this fixture and Elgin City Football Club could not
confirm the exact number of tickets which have been sold for this match.

'Therefore, on the grounds of public safety and in close consultation with all parties, this match has now been postponed.

'Further information regarding tickets which have been sold will be provided as quickly as possible.

Small capacity: The number of tickets sold for the clash here at Borough Briggs was far too high

Small capacity: The number of tickets sold for the clash here at Borough Briggs was far too high

'Elgin City FC would like to apologise sincerely for this disappointing outcome. The SFL will conduct a full investigation into the circumstances.'

Elgin's apology has been accepted by Rangers, however manager Ally McCoist expressed his disappointment at the postponement.

He said: 'We are disappointed the match has been called off at such short notice and I know Elgin are as well.

'This was due to circumstances
outwith our control but we were informed a short time ago that there was
no way the match could go ahead on safety grounds.

'I am sure this is a huge disappointment to our supporters, who have purchased match tickets and arranged travel in good faith.

'Elgin City have apologised to the club and we accept their apology but I feel for our fans.'

Polish sports minister offers to quit over England rain farce

Polish sports minister offers to quit over farce of England's rained-off qualifier

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UPDATED:

15:35 GMT, 24 October 2012

Poland's sports minister has offered to resign over the embarrassing postponement of the country's World Cup qualifier against England last week after torrential rain turned the National Stadium pitch into a swimming pool.

FIFA ordered the match to be played a day later after the game, originally set for October 16, was called off when officials failed to close a retractable roof over the venue that cost 312million for Euro 2012.

The debacle sparked a wave of criticism from fans and pundits and prompted Prime Minister Donald Tusk to vow to punish those responsible. He will present his findings later on Wednesday.

Wet, wet, wet: England's clash in Poland last week was put back a day after torrential rain ruined the pitch, as demonstrated by Roy Hodgson (below)

Wet, wet, wet: England's clash in Poland last week was put back a day after torrential rain ruined the pitch, as demonstrated by Roy Hodgson (below)

Wet, wet, wet: England's clash in Poland last week was put back a day after torrential rain ruined the pitch, as demonstrated by Roy Hodgson

'I feel politically responsible for the situation,' Sports Minister Anna Mucha told reporters. 'The responsibility of the minister is not only to make sure that all procedures are followed. It's wider.'

The Sports Ministry oversees the National Sports Centre, owners of the stadium, and are blamed by some for failing to anticipate trouble with the playing surface.

Local media reported the pitch was much thinner than the one used for Euro 2012 matches, making it less able to absorb the heavy precipitation.

Organisers said the roof over the 58,000-capacity arena could not be closed during rainfall due to safety concerns and neither of the teams nor FIFA wanted to close it when there was still time.

Poland managed a 1-1 draw in the delayed World Cup qualifier but both managers lamented the effects the delay had on their players.

Thousands of angry fans also complained that they did not attend the match because they could not afford to stay longer in Warsaw and reschedule their tickets home.

Wednesday's game was played under the roof despite sunny weather and mostly clear skies.

Singapore Grand Prix 2012: Live coverage

LIVE: Singapore Grand Prix – follow all the action from the Marina Bay Circuit

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UPDATED:

12:52 GMT, 23 September 2012

Phil Duncan F1 blog

The Formula One circus has parked up in the glamorous surroundings of Singapore for round 14 of the 2012 world championship.

After making its debut in 2008, the Singapore Grand Prix, which is staged completely under floodlights, has become a social highlight in the F1 calendar.

Make sure you don't miss any of today's action by following our dedicated coverage. And you can join in on Twitter, or by sending an email to [email protected]

Click here to follow our dedicated Formula One service on TwitterSingapore Grand Prix: Lap 25 of 61
Sebastian Vettel leads from Jenson Button
Lewis Hamilton retired on lap 23 with a hydraulic issue
Fernando Alonso is fourth

Lap 24: 'We did everything we could,' is the message to Hamilton who appeared to be nursing a problem going into today's race. Should they have taken a gearbox change and sacrificed a five-place grid drop

Lap 23: LEWIS HAMILTON IS OUT. Head in hands down at McLaren as the 2008 world champion pulls over seemingly with a box full of neutrals. What a blow for Hamilton in his quest for the championship. Vettel leads.

Lap 22: Alonso is turning in some decent times. The Ferrari driver is almost one second quicker than Hamilton as he hunts down Pastor Maldonado. His team-mate Massa has set the fastest lap of the race after stopping for a second time.

Lap 21: Bruno Senna is enjoying a handy race. He's up to 12th after starting way down the order. Meanwhile, Hulkenberg who has finally pitted, is now the quickest man on the track. He's in 14th.

Lap 20: Twenty laps in, and we haven't seen a safety car yet. Back in the battle for 10th and Schumacher is still keeping Raikkonen at bay. The Finn really doesn't need this, but he is failing to make much of an impression on the seven-times champion.

Lap 19: Hamilton is 1.7 seconds ahead of Vettel with Button keeping the pair of them honest. The 2009 world champion is three seconds down on Vettel.

Lap 18: Di Resta sweeps past his team-mate Hulkenberg to re-take sixth position.

Lap 17: Hamilton doesn't look as comfortable during this phase of the race. Vettel has taken almost one second out of the British driver over the last three laps, with Button chipping away at the pair of them in third place.

Lap 16: Alonso is now on the gearbox of Nico Hulkenberg – the Force India man is yet to pit after 16 laps – in the battle for P5. Hamilton leads from Vettel, Button and Maldonado.

Lap 15: Alonso makes his way past Sergio Perez, who is yet to pit, for sixth. Up front, and Hamilton is 1.5 seconds clear of Vettel with Button a further four seconds down the road.

Leading the way: Hamilton is ahead of Vettel as the McLaren man goes in search of back-to-back wins

Leading the way: Hamilton is ahead of Vettel as the McLaren man goes in search of back-to-back wins

Lap 14: Jenson Button is the last of the leaders to pit as Lewis Hamilton re-takes the lead of the race. A slowish stop for JB, but he exits the pit-lane to find a clear track and he's behind both Hamilton and Vettel.

Lap 13: Button currently leads the Singapore Grand Prix as Hamilton sets the fastest middle sector of the race on his new set of boots. And that's Vettel past Raikkonen as Maldonado pits.

Lap 12: Vettel on fresh tyres is all over the back of Raikkonen who is yet to pit. And in comes Hamilton after reporting a problem with his right-rear tyre. A sub-3 second stop for Hamilton and he exits the pits ahead of the battle between Raikkonen and Vettel.

Lap 11: Vettel exits the pits in 12th and he quickly dispatches of Sergio Perez for 11th. Surely, he'll lose a whole host of time in this traffic though. The world champion has got Raikkonen and Schumacher for company.
In comes Fernando Alonso from fourth.

Lap 10: Button's looking very handy here. He took almost two seconds out of Vettel on the last lap as Bruno Senna is told he has a problem with first gear. It doesn't appear to be affecting the Brazilian. He's looking racy in P15 after starting 22nd. And in comes Vettel for his first stop of the day. It's a McLaren one-two at present.

Under the lights: Hamilton makes the perfect start

Under the lights: Hamilton makes the perfect start

Lap 9: Button has turned in a decent couple of laps here. The 2009 world champion is now less than six seconds behind Hamilton as Timo Glock has a brush with the wall. A wee error for Vettel at the chicane and he's now 2.3 seconds down on the race leader.

Lap 8: Massa is on the soft compound tyre after his stop at the end of lap one. His pace will be used as a handy barometer for team-mate Alonso as Webber comes in for his first stop of the day. The Aussie changes to the soft-compound tyre.

Lap 7: Button was quicker than both Vettel and Hamilton on that lap. Who will blink first Those on three-stoppers will be thinking of pitting in the near future. 'You are by far the quickest person', Felipe Massa is told. Indeed, the Ferrari man is almost one second quicker than the leaders.

Lap 6: Raikkonen is now just two tenths behind Schumacher in the battle for 10th. Being a street circuit, it's nigh on impossible to pass around here. Paul Di Resta, linked with a move away from Force India for next term, is enjoying a reasonable afternoon. The Scot is in P6 with the Red Bull of Mark Webber for company.

Lap 5: Hamilton is now a mighty 6.7 seconds ahead of team-mate Button. Today's race win will surely be a straight fight between Hamilton and Vettel. Meanwhile, Massa who is plum last sets the fastest lap of the race.

Lap 4: Hamilton is 1.7 seconds ahead of Vettel. Further down the pack and Kimi Raikkonen, who lest us not forget is third in the championship race, is looking racy on the gearbox of Michael Schumacher who sits in 10th.

Lap 3: Alonso suffered a poor start of the line and he was fortunate to maintain his fifth position. The Spaniard however, is already seven seconds down on Hamilton. Surely it will be a damage limitation job for Alonso today.

Lap 2: The 2012 misery goes on for Felipe Massa as the Ferrari driver pulls into the pits with a left-rear puncture. Back on track and Hamilton and Vettel, who have been the class acts this weekend, have already pulled out a decent gap on Button in third. Hamilton is 2.1 seconds ahead of Vettel.

Lap 1: Perfect start for Lewis Hamilton who beats Pastor Maldonado in the drag race down to Turn 1, but the Williams man out-breaks himself and loses second to Sebastian Vettel before Jenson Button makes his way past and move into P3. Maldonado is fourth with Fernando Alonso in fifth and Paul Di Resta P6. Further down the grid the Caterhams have come together with Vitaly Petrov limping back to the pit-lane with a damaged front wing.

12.57pm: We're just moment away from the start of the Singapore Grand Prix. Can anyone stop Hamilton Will Maldonado score his first points since winning the Spanish Grand Prix in May And will we see the safety car for the fifth constructive year Stay tuned to find out.

12.52pm: 'Praise the lord for air conditioning,' writes Sportsmail's motor racing correspondent Simon Cass. 'How these drivers race for two hours around the sweltering streets of Singapore I will never know.

A new deal is signed and we will be coming back here for the next five years. At Monaco the champagne is drunk but the deals are done at Singapore. That might just apply to a certain Lewis Hamilton. Should he stay or should he go Only he can decide but he looks to have a cracking chance of a third win in four if he can stay out of trouble…mentioning no names, Maldonado. Great opportunity to take a chunk out of Alonso’s 37-point lead.'

Driver's parade: Vettel will start from third for today's race

Driver's parade: Vettel will start from third for today's race

12.48pm: The Marina Bay Circuit pauses for a moment of reflection for Professor Sid Watkins – the former head of the on-track medical team – who passed away last week this month. Watkins, known simply as The Prof, helped saved the lives of many drivers over the years, and for that the sport will be eternally grateful. The one-minute silence is observed impeccably.

12.43pm: Jenson Button could have a big role today in supporting his team-mate. He starts in fourth: 'All is okay,' Button said. 'It is always a very special race because it is at night time.'

12.40pm: Down to the grid and we'll start with the two Nicos. Here's Force India's Hulkenberg who starts in 11th: 'Yesterday didn't go to plan and that's why were here in 11th. If we survive the first lap I think we can have a good result today. I don't expect carnage just because Maldonado is there. There is always potential for a crash but you take nothing for granted.'

And Rosberg, who starts in P8: 'I can tell you it is very hot (inside the cockpit). This is one of the toughest races of the year because there are no long straights to relax. It's also one of the longest races of the year.'

12.30pm: Today's grand prix is arguably the toughest on the calender. The intense heat coupled with the tight, demanding track ensures there is no room for error. Indeed, there we've seen a safety car at every occasion since its 2008 debut.

Championship lead: Fernando Alonso has a 37-point advantage over Lewis Hamilton heading into today's race

Championship lead: Fernando Alonso has a 37-point advantage over Lewis Hamilton heading into today's race

Grid girls

12.25pm: Hamilton's future remains a hot topic in Singapore, but just as in Monza a fortnight ago, it doesn't appear to have affected the 2008 world champion. His lap in qualifying was nothing short of outstanding, and the Brit knows another 25 points today will see his chances of claiming a second world crown improve ten-fold.

12.15pm: Good afternoon one and all, and welcome to today's coverage of the Singapore Grand Prix. And what a race we have in store.

Lewis Hamilton will start as the favourite to claim a third race win in four races after blitzing the field on Saturday. The unsettled McLaren star was almost half-a-second quicker than his closest rival in yesterday's qualifying session. He'll have the accident-prone Pastor Maldonao alongside him, with Sebastian Vettel in third, Jenson Button starting fourth and championship leader Fernando Alonso in P5.

Tribute: Hamilton signs the book of condolences for Professor Sid Watkins before the Singapore Grand Prix

Tribute: Hamilton signs the book of condolences for Professor Sid Watkins before the Singapore Grand Prix

Charles Pic and Marussia engineer get community service penalty for overtaking under red flags

Pic first to be hit with F1 community service rap for overtaking under red flags

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UPDATED:

13:49 GMT, 22 September 2012

Marussia's Charles Pic has become the first driver in Formula One history to be handed a 'community service' penalty.

Pic overtook under red flags in the closing stages of final practice for the Singapore Grand Prix after Vitaly Petrov ran into a barrier in his Caterham.

After reviewing video evidence it was noted 22-year-old Frenchman Pic passed four sets of red lights or flags before making his pass.

Penalty: Pic

Penalty: Pic

Pic will have 20 seconds added to his race time at the conclusion of the night event at the Marina Bay Street Circuit.

But in a unique step, the stewards have also ordered him and his race engineer to perform a day of community service for the FIA's Action for Road Safety campaign at the instruction of president Jean Todt.