Max Verstappen was fastest in the first practice session for this weekends Singapore Grand Prix. The Dutch teenager was fractionally faster than his Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo who was almost half a second ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
Red Bull was expecting they could have a strong weekend at the circuit around the Marina Bay area of the city. Vettel was half a second down on the same ultra-soft tyre. It was a tough afternoon for Nico Rosberg after he ripped the front wing off his Mercedes and finishing the session fifth behind Lewis Hamilton.
Mercedes say the crash to driver error and expect Rosberg’s car to be fixed in time for Practice Two this evening. However, Hamilton and Rosberg as normal chose not to set a fast lap on the fastest tyre so they may have hidden there real pace.
Singapore’s first session isn’t the moss reprehensive session as it takes place in the late afternoon and the race takes place in the night when conditions are cooler. Meaning there is a difference in performance of the cars and tyres.
But Mercedes seemed to show they have learned the lessons from last years race when Rosberg put in a good lap in on the softs with a 46.5 which Hamilton bettered doing a 46.4. The difference between the soft and ultra is around at least a second in lap time.
The top three were well clear of the rest headed by the Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz in seventh. Sainz proved that power isn’t important in Singapore as the team runs a 2015 Ferrari power unit.
For Jenson Button it wasn’t a perfect start after his McLaren stopped on track with a fuel system fault stopping at the entry to the pits. However he soon returned to the track but was five places behind Fernando Alonso. Alonso complained of poor grip, understeer and slow gear shifts – although he ran on the soft tyre while Alonso was on the super-softs.
Romain Grosjean sat out most of the session playing cards after his Haas was hit with a suspected ERS problem.