'Utter lunacy': Drunk man takes a walk on F1 track, during race
Trespasser spotted by Singapore GP winner Sebastian Vettel, seen on TV
He was the talk of the town last night.
With his victory in the Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix - his fourth at the Marina Bay street circuit, Sebastian Vettel notched up his third debut-season win for Ferrari, equalling what his idol Michael Schumacher managed for the Italian outfit in 1996.
But the German's victory was overshadowed by a heart-stopping track invasion by an unidentified fan, raising concerns over the security of the night race, which was into its eighth edition.
How did it happen? The worry in Vettel's voice over the radio last night said it all.
"There is a man on the track! A man on the track!" the German Ferrari driver exclaimed over the team radio as he rounded the corner at Turn 13 on the 38th lap.
The man, clad in a dark-coloured T-shirt, bermudas and shoes, appeared relaxed on television screens as he walked along the barriers along Esplanade Drive.
F1 cars zoomed past him at speeds of near 290kmh, in the incident at about 9.20pm last night.
The trespasser then exited the track through a gap in the barrier.
The New Paper understands that the man in question is a UK national who was drunk. He has since been arrested.
"It's utter lunacy - I can't believe what I am seeing," said Sky F1 commentator David Croft.
After winning the race last night, Vettel, 28, was light-hearted when asked about the incident.
The four-time world champion said: "I had to look again because I wasn't sure if there was a problem with my eyesight.
"He was crossing the road from right to left... I think I saw him taking a picture. I hope it was a good picture and we were in focus.
"Fortunately, nothing happened to us, I was the first to come around the corner and he was a quick runner.
"It was pretty odd, and not what you'd expect when you come around a corner."
The incident resulted in the deployment of the safety car on the circuit for four laps - the second time last night, after the collision between Felipe Massa and Nico Hulkenberg earlier in the race - which Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo said put paid to his hopes of winning the race last night.
The second appearance of the safety car had forced the teams to re-strategise their final pit-stops, with most driving back into their garages during that period.
Though smiling, the 26-year-old Australian sarcastically said in the post-race media conference: "Thanks to the guy on the track. Really appreciated it."
The temporary street circuit at Marina Bay is lined with metal and concrete barriers to protect spectators from the high-speed machines, with gaps of various sizes at strategic places to allow recovery machines and race officials to get onto the track if necessary.
These entry points are usually manned by security or race personnel, and it was unclear how the intruder managed to get onto the track.
While it was a serious security and safety breach in the eighth edition of the Singapore race, but not the first of its kind in the sport.
A man ran onto the track during the 2003 British Grand Prix at the Silverstone circuit, while another man dashed across the track during the second practice session of the Chinese Grand Prix in April this year.
For now, we can only wait for the result of a full investigation into know how such a potentially disastrous incident could happen.
There is a man on the track! A man on the track!
- Singapore GP winner Sebastian Vettel over the team radio
27-YEAR-OLD MAN ARRESTED BY POLICE
A Formula 1 spokesman said the intruder had been arrested by the police.
In a statement late last night, head of F1 communications and media delegate Matteo Bonciani said: "The Singapore Police Force have confirmed that a 27-year-old man has been arrested and is assisting police with investigations.
"This follows an incident in which an unidentified man gained unauthorised entry to the Marina Bay Street Circuit during tonight's race.
"The man went onto the track near Turn 13, triggering the deployment of the safety car.
"We are awaiting a full report from the clerk of the course in order to determine the circumstances surrounding this incident."
“I had to look again because I wasn’t sure if there was a problem with my eyesight. He was crossing the road from right to left... I think I saw him taking a picture. I hope it was a good picture and we were in focus. Fortunately, nothing happened to us, I was the first to come around the corner and he was a quick runner. It was pretty odd, and not what you’d expect when you come around a corner.”
— Singapore Grand Prix winner Sebastian Vettel
"Must've been a disgruntled Hamilton fan."
"Hahaha that man enjoyed his daily stroll... Still faster than a McLaren"
"Second safety car caused by a man wandering on track. No one told him track walk is on Thursday"
"What the hell! Is he out for a Sunday stroll! Man on the track... get off you lunatic!"
"Wish 'random man taking a post dinner stroll on track' was also classified in the race results"
The #SingaporeGP pedestrian has affected strategy: all drivers now in for their final stop. Now a fight to the finish #F1