Lewis Hamilton set the early pace during first practice for this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.
The Mercedes driver, who started on pole at this race for McLaren last year, went straight to the top of the time sheets soon after emerging onto the track for the first time. Meanwhile, the Red Bulls were the closest challengers to Hamilton, albeit with Webber in second and Vettel third.
Webber ended the session three tenths adrift of Hamilton’s pace, with the championship leader a couple of tenths behind his team mate. Mercedes’ strong form was confirmed with Nico Rosberg ending the session fourth fastest, but was some way off the pace of the top three.
Elsewhere, the two Lotus cars were fifth and six fastest, despite moments for both drivers, while Fernando Alonso was the best of the Ferrari drivers in seventh. Team mate Felipe Massa, now in his last few races as a Ferrari driver, had a troubled session and completed few laps, therefore ending twelfth fastest.
McLaren’s poor form looks set to continue with early pace setter Perez only eighth fastest and Button fourteenth, while Vergne, Gutierrez and Maldonado rounded out the top ten. The Williams driver, who started on the front row here last year, briefly enjoyed a spell at the top of the time sheets.
It was a strong performance from both Gutierrez and Vergne, who were a long way ahead of their respective team mates, Nico Hulkenberg and 2014 Red Bull Racing driver, Daniel Ricciardo. They ended the session seventeenth and eighteenth fastest.
The second practice session commences at 2:30pm UK time.