Max Verstappen set the pace in the opening free practice session of the Singapore Grand Prix weekend on Friday, leading a Red Bull Racing 1-2 ahead of team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.
Just 0.049 seconds separated the team-mates, with Red Bull expected to have a strong weekend around the Marina Bay Street Circuit, a track that is not that dependant on power.
Behind Verstappen and Ricciardo was the leading Scuderia Ferrari of Singapore specialist Sebastian Vettel, who ended 0.464 seconds behind, while the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were only fourth and fifth, though running the Soft Pirelli compound of tyre rather than the Ultrasoft the trio ahead of them used.
Unfortunately for Rosberg, his session would come to an end early when he hit the barriers at turn eighteen, breaking his front wing. The German, who sits second in the standings, just two points behind team-mate Hamilton, was able to recover to the pits but did not return to the track.
A late flying lap put the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen sixth, with Carlos Sainz Jr and Daniil Kvyat seventh and eighth for Scuderia Toro Rosso despite both running different set-ups as the team tested old and new developments.
Felipe Massa was the only Williams Martini Racing entry inside the top ten, claiming ninth, while Esteban Gutierrez rounded out the top ten for the Haas F1 Team, who saw team-mate Romain Grosjean fail to set a time with a technical issue.
Fernando Alonso joined the session late and put in the eleventh fastest time for McLaren-Honda, ahead of the two Sahara Force India’s of Sergio Perez and Nico Hülkenberg, while Valtteri Bottas was fourteenth in the second Williams.
Felipe Nasr ended sixteenth for the Sauber F1 Team ahead of Jenson Button in the second McLaren, with the Briton having ground to a halt early in the session only for the marshals to push him back into the pits. After a few repairs, he returned to the track but was 3.792 seconds behind Verstappen.
Jolyon Palmer got the better of Renault Sport F1 team-mate Kevin Magnussen, but the Enstone-based team will be disappointed again to be down in seventeenth and eighteenth, with Pascal Wehrlein and Esteban Ocon nineteenth and twenty-first respectively for Manor Racing, either side of the second Sauber of Marcus Ericsson.
Marina Bay Free Practice 1 Result
|1||33||Max Verstappen||NED||Red Bull-Tag Heuer||1:45.823|
|2||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||Red Bull-Tag Heuer||1:45.872|
|7||55||Carlos Sainz Jr||ESP||Toro Rosso-Renault||1:46.936|
|8||26||Daniil Kvyat||RUS||Toro Rosso-Renault||1:47.683|
|12||11||Sergio Perez||MEX||Force India-Mercedes||1:48.214|
|13||27||Nico Hulkenberg||GER||Force India-Mercedes||1:48.359|
|22||8||Romain Grosjean||FRA||Haas-Ferrari||No Time|