Fernando Alonso was fastest for Ferrari in first practice ahead of this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix at Marina Bay, before Lewis Hamilton assumed control for Mercedes in the second session.
Alonso surprised in the morning session, setting a best time of 1:49.056s to pip Hamilton by 0.122s, with Nico Rosberg a further 0.027s back in the second Mercedes. Alonso completed less laps than the Mercedes duo, running only 16 compared to Hamilton’s 27 and Rosberg’s 21.
The Red Bull Racing team, expected to have one of their most competitive weekends of the season in Singapore, placed fourth and fifth, with Sebastian Vettel ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, but they were well adrift of the pace setting time of Alonso.
Jean-Eric Vergne impressed to finish sixth for Toro Rosso, but his session was blighted by problems. A battery issue delayed him initially, before an ERS failure ended his session prematurely.
Kimi Raikkonen was seventh in the second Ferrari, but was 1.727s slower than his team-mate. Jenson Button was the leading McLaren in eighth, ahead of the second Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat, while Sergio Perez was the leading Force India driver in tenth.
In the second session, held under the lights as the race will be on Sunday, Hamilton was fastest ahead of Alonso and Ricciardo, but the Supersoft tyre run for Rosberg was affected by a red flag after Pastor Maldonado crashed his Lotus at turn 10. Rosberg ended the session down in thirteenth.
Raikkonen had a more competitive session to finish fourth ahead of Vettel, who was delayed in the pits for the majority of the session as his Red Bull mechanics changed the engine in his car. The German made it out with about ten minutes remaining, and using the Supersoft tyre immediately, set about making up for lost time.
Kevin Magnussen was sixth for McLaren ahead of team-mate Button, the two of them separated by less than a tenth of a second. Perez and his Force India team-mate Nico Hulkenberg were eighth and ninth, while Kvyat got the better of Vergne by 0.030s to complete the top ten.
It was a terrible day for the Williams team however, with Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas seventeenth and eighteenth in FP2, ahead of only the two Marussia’s and the two Caterham’s. Max Chilton’s session for Marussia was also brought to an early end when he suffered a turbo failure late on.