Red Bull and Mercedes took a practice session each in Friday practice sessions for the Singapore Grand Prix. Max Verstappen was fastest in the afternoon session while Nico Rosberg topped the evening session.
Day v night
Normally we see there is a difference in both the afternoon and evening sessions because we know air temperatures are different but there both demanding physically for the drivers. Singapore is humidity during the evening which makes the session more important.
Average humidity in both the morning and afternoon is in the seventies which makes it tough for the drivers. The heat of being in the car for two hours is demanding and staying alert as the race goes on.
Red Bull v Ferrari
The teams have been nip and tuck over the past few races this weekend looks to be leaning to be evenly matched. Red Bull looks to be within a few tenths in the evening session which I see as the important one. We may have a good fight her between the two will be interesting.
Sebastian Vettel said “”Overall we had two decent sessions. In the second one I was not entirely happy, I was struggling a little bit with the car balance, and therefore not really finding the rhythm but in general it has been a good day.”
Max Verstappen said “It was a positive day for us and we can be happy with the balance of the car. For FP2 we weren’t fully there but we know what areas we need to work on and improve. But the car felt good, we are more or less there and we had a good start to the weekend.”
After practice last year we believed that Mercedes would be looking good on race pace but they lost out after struggling to get the tyres to work in the race. Rosberg looked good OK but they didn’t have their normal gap in FP2 but we expected it.
Also there were other problems for both Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. In FP1 Rosberg locked up going into turn eighteen and just couldn’t slowdown in time to make the corner. Every year we see someone make a mistake there as it’s a blind corner.
For Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso it was a difficult start with Button stopping on track in FP1 early on with a fuel system fault and Alonso struggling with poor grip, understeer and slow gear shifts. This weekend there car suits this type of start-stop circuit.
They were well behind where we all believed they would be best of the rest the rest but they were behind the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg and Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz. Alonso said “Our expectations were quite high before coming here – although, to be fair, I’d said beforehand that there are circuits coming up that should suit us better than Singapore.”
“We’ll have to fight to get into Q3 tomorrow because I think Force India and Toro Rosso both look pretty strong around here. Hopefully we can find a couple of tenths”
Hamilton Halo test
Lewis Hamilton was the latest driver to test the halo which he had previously labelled “the worst-looking modification in F1 history”. The test was the first time it has been tested in floodlit conditions.
He told the team “Running the Halo was no real issue”. He told Sky Sports “I barely noticed it, to be honest – just in my mirrors, where it blocked the view slightly.”
Hamilton admits he is not a fan of the design, the Mercedes driver was won over by the governing body’s evidence which suggested there would be clear safety benefits for drivers in accidents from the Halo’s introduction.
Based on FP2 I expect the same battle between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg for pole with Red Bull having the edge on Ferrari. But the gap will be close between the two teams.