Verstappen shines in the floodlights of Singapore while Albon struggles

by Ellie Jane

Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, had a mixed opening day of the Singapore Grand Prix as Alex Albon hit the barrier in the second free practice session at Marina Bay. Teammate Max Verstappen fared better as he managed to show the pace of the car to take first place in Free Practice 1 and second in Free Practice 2.

Verstappen expressed he was happy as the car seemed “competitive” as he beat Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Driver Lewis Hamilton in the first practice session, with a time of 1:40.259.

It was a good day. We are competitive and the car was working really well in both practice sessions,” said Verstappen.

“I had traffic in the last sector on my qualifying simulation and I only improved by two tenths compared to the hard tyre run, which means we have more to come.

The Dutchman, who finished in second last year, continued as he admitted he felt the team and the car “looked strong” but understood that the Mercedes team, who beat Red Bull to the surprise victory last year, were the ones to beat, as they have been all season.

I think we look strong on long and short runs but of course, Lewis also looks very fast. It’s not an easy track to understand and it is very bumpy out there but with a competitive car it’s really enjoyable to drive. There are always things that can be improved which we will look at now and this race is 95 percent about qualifying and I’m feeling positive so far.” 

Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

Albon’s day was the opposite of his more experienced teammate, as he explained it was “not the easiest day”, as he headed around 3.416 mile street circuit for the first time in his career. In the second practice he hit the barrier, causing his front wing from his Red Bull to come off of the car.

This was not the easiest day. The tyres were a little difficult, especially on the long runs. But I’m focused on my performance and getting used to the car and it is feeling good.

The most crucial thing for me now is to get into a rhythm as this is not an easy track. I did have an off which was not so great. I was pushing and had a lock up. I hit the barrier which took the front wing off.

It did affect my confidence a little, but I was happy that even after that, my lap time was ok.

Albon, looked to his lack of experience around the track, as he talked of his woeful day. Confirming he found the track challenging and the heat was a factor which played its part with the performance of his car.

I haven’t been on this circuit before but the sim correlates quite well. This track is so technical with a lot of corners so if I make one mistake it’s over. I need to go for clean driving while also pushing the limit.

Also, everything over heats, not just me but the tyres and brakes, so that’s going to be an additional challenge. My hope for tomorrow is that I qualify in the second row but we shall see.”

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