Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was fastest in the first practice session for this weekends Singapore Grand Prix. The Australian set a 39.7 on the hypersofts to put himself two tenths ahead of his teammate Max Verstappen, with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel third.
Ricciardo’s lap was three seconds faster than his best time in the same session last year, and just three tenths off the unofficial lap record set by Vettel in qualifying last year. Ricciardo’s lap was impressive as it was three and a half seconds faster than his best time in last years FP1 session.
His teammate Verstappen, was two tenths off the pace and was narrowly faster than Vettel in third. Vettel’s teammate Kimi Raikkonen was fourth fastest, half a second off Ricciardo’s fastest time. Nico Hulkenberg was fifth, the Renault driver finishing over a second off the pace.
Mercedes expect a difficult weekend, but how difficult remains unknown, both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas didn’t set a time on the hypersofts settling for sixth and eighth. Hamilton, who leads the championship was over a second off the pace.
The Mercedes duo were spilt by the Renault Nico Hulkenberg, with his teammate Carlos Sainz seventh. Renault are expected to lead the midfield this weekend and there was around half a second between Sainz and Saubers Charles Leclerc.
It wasn’t a clean session for the newly confirmed Ferrari driver, Leclerc the barriers on the Anderson Bridge. The contact saw significant damage on the front right of his Sauber and brought an early end to the session.
Haas’s Romain Grosjean narrowly edged out the second Sauber of Marcus Ericsson. Just outside the top ten where Sergio Perez, Kevin Magnussen and Fernando Alonso.
Alonso a two time Singapore winner, had a brief scare when he reported a loss of power late in the session before the glitch fixed itself. But his teammates miserable 2018 season continued, Stoffel Vandoorne was slowest of all over a second off the pace.
However, Vandoorne had missed most of the session with a loss of hydraulic pressure.
FP2 should give a better understanding of nighttime performance as qualifying and the race takes place under the floodlights.