MARINA BAY, Singapore — Red Bull has given Ferrari something to think about in Singapore with Daniel Ricciardo leading home a one-two in opening practice at the Marina Bay circuit.
The Australian, who has finished runner-up in Singapore in each of the last three races, clocked a time of 1:39.711 on the hyper-soft tyre, 0.201s faster than teammate Max Verstappen. Both Red Bulls also looked pacey on the soft compound which they ran in the early stages of FP1 and look to be a genuine threat to the Scuderia this weekend.
Sebastian Vettel finished third quickest in the afternoon session for Ferrari, 0.286s off Ricciardo’s time. The German is looking to become a five-time winner in Singapore and needs maximum points in order to put the pressure back on championship leader Lewis Hamilton. Teammate Kimi Raikkonen was a further 0.489s behind in fourth.
As expected, Mercedes struggled to match the pace of Red Bull and Ferrari with early signs suggesting they will be in for another tough weekend in Singapore. Hamilton finished P6 but was 1.5s off the benchmark time while Valtteri Bottas was eighth quickest and a further 0.2s behind.
Upstaging the Silver Arrows was Renault who took an impressive P5 through Nico Hulkenberg while Carlos Sainz slotted into P7. While it is still early days, Renault looks to be the clear leader of Formula One’s midfield teams in Singapore.
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Charles Leclerc, who earlier in the week was announced as Raikkonen’s Ferrari replacement for 2019, finished ninth fastest but encountered drama late on when he tagged 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.
Romain Grosjean rounded out the top 10 for Haas, narrowly edging out Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber, the Force India of Sergio Perez and teammate Kevin Magnussen. Fernando Alonso was next in line ahead of Esteban Ocon in the second Force India.
At the back of the field the Toro Rossos finished ahead of the Williams cars while Stoffel Vandoorne was last of all after only completing 11 laps in his McLaren.
FP2 in Singapore gets underway at 8:30pm local time and unlike the opening session will be run completely under lights.