Singapore FP1: Verstappen tops with Mercedes on the back-foot
Max Verstappen topped the timing screens at the end of the first free practice of the Singapore Grand Prix weekend, as Red Bull dominated the 90 minutes session, while Mercedes started their day on the back-foot with Nico Rosberg ending his run in the wall.
Verstappen’s best lap time of 1:45.823 was five hundredths of a second up on his teammate Daniel Ricciardo who ended the session in second, suggesting that the energy drinks outfit have a handy car for the tricky street circuit.
Last year’s winner Sebastian Vettel was third fastest, albeit nearly a half second down on the top time, with Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen in sixth and a second down on Verstappen’s best.
While their rivals bolted on Pirelli ultra-softs the Mercedes duo stuck to softs with Lewis Hamilton ending fourth on the timing screens ahead of Rosberg in fifth. The pair six tenths off the top pace, despite using the ‘slower’ tyres.
Nevertheless Rosberg’s crash into the wall at the notorious Turn 18 will put the world champions on the back-foot, at least for today, on the only circuit where they under-performed last year.
Both Toro Rosso drivers showed impressive pace and as a result were seventh and eighth respectively, followed by Felipe Massa ninth in the Williams and Esteban Gutierrez rounding out the top ten in his Haas.
The other Haas driver, Romain Grosjean had limited running in the opening session and failed to set a time due to low intake pressure.
The first session at Marina Bay is a notoriously inaccurate predictor of form for this race, as it starts during daylight and ends after dark, whereas qualifying and race both take place under lights.
Singapore Grand Prix, Marina Bay Circuit – Friday, Free Practice 1
|1||33||Max Verstappen||RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER||1:45.823||25|
|2||3||Daniel Ricciardo||RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER||1:45.872||+0.049s||27|
|7||55||Carlos Sainz||TORO ROSSO FERRARI||1:46.936||+1.113s||28|
|8||26||Daniil Kvyat||TORO ROSSO FERRARI||1:47.683||+1.860s||29|
|9||19||Felipe Massa||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||1:48.044||+2.221s||27|
|10||21||Esteban Gutierrez||HAAS FERRARI||1:48.109||+2.286s||23|
|11||14||Fernando Alonso||MCLAREN HONDA||1:48.202||+2.379s||21|
|12||11||Sergio Perez||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||1:48.214||+2.391s||28|
|13||27||Nico Hulkenberg||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||1:48.359||+2.536s||28|
|14||77||Valtteri Bottas||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||1:48.453||+2.630s||26|
|15||12||Felipe Nasr||SAUBER FERRARI||1:49.595||+3.772s||16|
|16||22||Jenson Button||MCLAREN HONDA||1:49.615||+3.792s||20|
|19||94||Pascal Wehrlein||MRT MERCEDES||1:51.112||+5.289s||23|
|20||9||Marcus Ericsson||SAUBER FERRARI||1:51.479||+5.656s||16|
|21||31||Esteban Ocon||MRT MERCEDES||1:52.379||+6.556s||33|
|22||8||Romain Grosjean||HAAS FERRARI||2|