Verstappen quickest as Leclerc struggles and Bottas crashes out

by Craig Edwards
Singapore Free Practice 1

Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing set the early pace in Singapore ahead of this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.

The Red Bull was a tenth and a half quicker than Sebastian Vettel in Free Practice 1 while the second Scuderia Ferrari of Charles Leclerc was down in nineteenth following a suspected gearbox issue.

The two Mercedes AMG Motorsport of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas were third and fourth but the Finn ended his session after crashing into the wall on the exit of turn 19.

Alexander Albon was fifth ahead of the man without a drive currently for next year, Nico Hülkenberg in the Renault F1 Team with the two McLaren F1 Team cars just behind him.

Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly rounded out the top ten for Scuderia Toro Rosso.

Gasly was the first driver out onto the track, shortly followed by Kevin Magnussen among others but it was Leclerc who set the first flying lap of the weekend.

Verstappen and then Bottas went to the top of the timing sheets in the first half hour of the session and the Finn was the first driver to give the wall a little tap but survived to go on and set the fastest lap of the session so far before his team-mate went six tenths quicker and the first driver into the one minutes 42s.

Ferrari swapped the new floor to Vettel’s car after Leclerc ran with it earlier in the session and the German went quickest but was quickly knocked off top spot by Verstappen

Leclerc was the first driver of the weekend to suffer an issue as he seemed to get stuck in fourth gear and he had to coast back to the pitlane where he was picked up by the Ferrari mechanics and pushed back to the pits.

The red flag was brought out with 26 minutes to go when Bottas crashed into the wall at turn 19 as the rear of his Mercedes decided it didn’t want to turn right after going under the bridge and found its way to the wall.

Norris had to turn around in the run off area as he went straight on at turn five while the other McLaren of Sainz was on the radio complaining about Hamilton not getting out of his way when on a flying lap.

It’s Red Bull and Verstappen who set the early pace in Singapore while Ferrari and Mercedes have repair jobs to do before Free Practice 2 later.

Pos.No.DriverNat.TeamTime
133Max VerstappenNEDAston Martin Red Bull Racing1.40.259
25Sebastian VettelGERScuderia Ferrari+0.167
344Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport+0.666
477Valtteri BottasFINMercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport+1.077
523Alexander AlbonTHAAston Martin Red Bull Racing+1.208
627Nico HülkenbergGERRenault F1 Team+1.553
755Carlos Sainz Jr.ESPMcLaren F1 Team+1.707
84Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team+1.921
926Daniil KvyatRUSRed Bull Toro Rosso Honda+2.046
1010Pierre GaslyFRARed Bull Toro Rosso Honda+2.118
113Daniel RicciardoAUSRenault F1 Team+2.268
128Romain GrosjeanFRAHaas F1 Team+2.371
1399Antonio GiovinazziITAAlfa Romeo Racing+2.418
147Kimi RäikkönenFINAlfa Romeo Racing+2.527
1518Lance StrollCANSportPesa Racing Point F1 Team+2.532
1620Kevin MagnussenDENHaas F1 Team+2.891
1788Robert KubicaPOLROKiT Williams Racing+3.077
1811Sergio PérezMEXSportPesa Racing Point F1 Team+3.110
1916Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari+3.359
2063George RussellGBRROKiT Williams Racing+3.734

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