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The Straits Times
Sept 16, 2023
Friday’s Formula One practice session had some surprise guests as several monitor lizards wandered onto the race track, to the bemusement of drivers and watching fans.
About half an hour into the Singapore Grand Prix’s opening practice, one reptilian interloper was seen shuffling across the track at Turn 9.
Videos posted to the official Formula One Youtube channel show drivers weaving around the lizard as marshals waved yellow flags - the signal to slow down in case of hazards on the track.
It took about 10 minutes to clear the track but just five minutes later, another lizard entered the fray.
Unruffled by the roaring engines, it lingered in the middle of the road, staking its claim to the Turn 8 hairpin.
“Ah! There’s a lizard again on the track, a smaller one this time,” world champion Max Verstappen exclaimed over team radio.
“Maybe Godzilla had a kid,” a race engineer quipped in reply.
Another lizard met a grisly end when it appeared to have been run over by Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso.
Mercedes’ George Russell and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz also shouted out the lizards on team radio.
Animal appearances on F1 circuits are not uncommon, nor was Friday’s incident Verstappen’s first encounter with a lizard. In 2016, the Red Bull driver also met a monitor lizard on the Singapore Grand Prix track.
“There’s a giant lizard on the track,” he had said then, “I am not joking.”
A cat also interrupted a sprint race at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku in April. Then, the animal was spotted by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
The Singapore Grand Prix will kick off on Sunday at 8pm.