The seven-time world champion, who has just six races remaining in 2022 to save his F1 record of winning at least one grand prix in every season he has contested, left it late to edge out Verstappen to the fastest time in FP1 by just 0.084s. 

Hamilton had complained of poor drivability earlier in the session but posted his headline-grabbing time during the soft tyre runs in the closing stages. 

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Ahead of F1’s first return to Singapore in three years, Hamilton spoke of hoping to replicate his stunning pole lap he set around the Marina Bay Street Circuit in 2018.

FP1 is not particularly representative of the conditions across the remainder of the weekend as it takes place earlier in the day.  

Champion-elect Verstappen looked set to make a perfect start to a weekend he can seal his second successive world title and dominated the opening hour of running prior to Hamilton’s late effort.

The Dutchman leads Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc by 116 points and will wrap up the 2022 F1 championship with five races to go if he wins on Sunday and his nearest rivals score lowly. 

Leclerc ended up third-fastest, four-tenths adrift of Hamilton, ahead of Sergio Perez and George Russell, who finished a second down on his Mercedes teammate. 

There were early problems for Leclerc who lost nearly half of the session while his team investigated a brake issue before he was able to return to the track. 

Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz was sixth, while Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll, AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly and Fernando Alonso completed the rest of the top-10. 

Stroll brought out a brief red flag when he clonked the wall at Turn 5 and stopped on the track with a damaged car.