By Julian Linden
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - American rookie Alexander Rossi made an inauspicious start to his Formula One career when he crashed during Friday's opening practice for this weekend's Singapore Grand Prix.
The 23-year-old Californian, poised to become the first American to start a Formula One race since 2007, lost control of his Marussia Manor near the end of the 90-minute session and slammed into a wall.
His right front wheel was knocked sideways but Rossi was uninjured by the impact. The stewards called a red flag, signaling the end of the session, which only had a few minutes to run.
Rossi had completed 18 laps during the session but had the slowest time overall, lapping the Marina Bay street circuit almost six seconds behind the early pacesetter, Germany's Nico Rosberg.
Marussia are currently last in the standings, without a point this season, so Rossi does not have any high expectations for Singapore.
Speaking to reporters shortly after his arrival in Southeast Asia, he said his main was to beat his teammate, Britain's Will Stevens.
Rossi was a fraction faster than Stevens for most of the session but the Englishmen edged ahead after the sun went down and the lights were turned on for the twilight session.
Rossi has endured a frustrating wait for his first race. He nearly raced for Marussia in Belgium last year when the team threatened to drop Britain's Max Chilton in a contractual dispute.
He was behind the wheel for first practice but didn't get to race after the team resolved their row with Chilton.
The last American to drive in Formula One was Scott Speed, who competed for Toro Rosso in 2006 and 2007.
Rossi has chosen number 53 for his debut, the same number carried by Disney's 'Herbie the Love Bug'.
(Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)