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Formula 1 Singapore GP

F1 Singapore GP Live Commentary and Updates - FP1 & FP2

Friday's action from the 15th round of the 2023 Formula 1 season

Formula 1 heads away from Europe for an Asian double-header which starts at the Singapore GP, fresh from Max Verstappen’s historic 10th consecutive F1 win last time out in Italy.

But Singapore’s Marina Bay Street circuit remains one of the few venues the Dutch driver is yet to taste victory at, and it hosted arguably his worst performance of the season last year, when he went off and could only recover to seventh.

Verstappen currently leads the standings by a huge 145 points over Sergio Perez, making his charge to a third consecutive world crown a relative formality with eight races to go.

Singapore GP first practice starts at 10:30am BST followed by second practice at 2:00pm BST.

By: Haydn Cobb, Lewis Duncan, James Newbold

Summary
  • Sainz tops Singapore GP second practice after Leclerc headed early running
  • Low-key showing by Red Bull with Perez seventh and Verstappen eighth
  • Albon restricted to just five laps in FP2 due to engine problem
  • Leclerc led Ferrari 1-2 in first practice that was disrupted by lizards
  • Marina Bay Street circuit using a revised layout due to construction work in the city
Leaderboard
  1. Sainz, Ferrari
  2. Leclerc, Ferrari
  3. Russell, Mercedes
  4. Alonso, Aston Martin
  5. Hamilton, Mercedes
  6. Norris, McLaren
  7. Perez, Red Bull
  8. Verstappen, Red Bull
  9. Magnussen, Haas
  10. Bottas, Alfa Romeo
Status: Stopped
Thank you as ever for joining us on the live text today. We hope to have your company again tomorrow where we'll have the biggest indicator yet of whether Red Bull truly can be beaten in F1 2023. Until then, goodbye!
Lots to discuss ahead of qualifying tomorrow then, with simulator drivers for the respective teams now set to begin some extensive work to assist their colleagues on the other side of the world. Could we see any major changes in the order as a result tomorrow? We'll find out when we reconvene a little before 10:30 BST for FP3.
Further down the order, Lawson ended the day as the best AlphaTauri driver in 12th. The midpack looks set to be tightly bunched as ever, with Magnussen and Bottas putting their Haas and Alfa equipment into the top 10, while Ocon was only 13th in the best Alpine.
Red Bull was also behind McLaren in the FP2 order, with Norris in sixth trailing the second Mercedes of Hamilton. When was the last time we ended a Friday with Red Bull having only the fifth fastest car?
Mercedes is the best of the rest on Friday with Russell 0.235s in arrears of Sainz, while Aston Martin ends the day third in the pecking order with Alonso fourth-fastest (+0.358s).
The big story of Friday arguably is the struggles for Red Bull, with Perez seventh and Verstappen eighth. On short runs with neither the mediums, nor the softs, could the RB19s put in a true challenge to the Ferraris - Perez ended up 0.692s adrift, Verstappen 0.732s back.
There's the checkered flag to bring FP2 to a close. And as in FP1, once again it's a Ferrari 1-2 with Sainz heading Leclerc. A good day at the office for the scarlet cars.
We're closing in on the end of FP2, with most teams using the mediums. But there are a few outliers, which include Magnussen on softs and Ocon on hards - the Alpine driver concerned about a wall touch.
The Red Bulls are currently lapping quicker than the Ferraris on medium tyres, but it's difficult to know what fuel they're running and how old their respective tyre sets are to make for a true comparison.
Currently nobody is looking like improving as teams seek to log laps in conditions comparable to those they'll face in the grand prix on Sunday. FP3 tomorrow will be much earlier than the GP start time, meaning these few minutes are important to get a feel for how the cars will handle with fuller tanks.
No sign of Albon's Williams emerging from the pits. It seems likely that the power unit problem he reported earlier will put him out of the remainder of the session.
Meanwhile, in another nugget from the team principal's press conference earlier, Toto Wolff said that Mercedes is keeping a watching brief over developments in Felipe Massa's legal case over the 2008 Formula 1 championship. That's because he believes there is scope for legal precedent to be set, amid hints it could trigger a review of the 2021 Abu Dhabi outcome: https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/mercedes-massa-f1-case-could-set-precedent-amid-abu-dhabi-2021-questions/10520589/
All of the top five have now switched back to medium running to get some race simulation in. Will anybody else try to mount an assault on softs to move up the FP2 order?
Perez sets personal bests through sectors two and three to usurp Verstappen and move up into seventh, but he had already given up three tenths to Sainz in the first sector that largely comprises a left-right left complex and the right-hander onto the back straight.
Stroll doesn't run quite as wide as Hamilton did into Turn 7, but grinds along the top of the kerb with his floor section to give him a heart-in-mouth moment.
Meanwhile Sainz is unhappy with a Red Bull driver right in the middle of the road at Turn 13. "I nearly crashed into this guy," he says with his arms aloft.
Russell now moves ahead of Alonso to third, and in doing so narrows the gap to the Ferraris which stands at 0.235s. But he has a huge snap of oversteer over the Turn 19 kerb which he does well to hold. Hamilton's efforts at emulating him are ruined by a big understeer moment over the Turn 7 kerb, causing him to abort his lap.
The first soft run from Perez puts him only eighth fastest, 0.841s. "It's just not coming mate," complains the Mexican from the cockpit, as he stresses he feels like he could crash at every braking point. "The rear is stepping out massively."
Alonso now improves to third, usurping Hamilton. But he's still 0.358s behind Sainz at the head of the field.
With the caveat that Perez has yet to set a time on softs, Ferrari currently has the edge by 0.4s over the next best car. How true a picture that is, we'll have to see, but for now it's certainly encouraging for the Maranello team.
But Russell remains ahead of Verstappen, who can only log the sixth quickest time 0.732s behind Sainz. It's still early doors yet, but Red Bull looks like it has work to do here.
Russell is two tenths slower than Hamilton and slots into fifth, with Alonso between them.
With 0.018s between the Ferraris, what can Russell produce? He's next to try out a soft lap.
Hamilton's first effort on the softs puts him third, 0.465s behind Sainz. Meanwhile Sargeant has a bucketful of oversteer at Turn 18 which takes him wide at the final corner.
Alonso is third ahead of Norris, Bottas and Lawson in a strong P6 for the time being.
There's almost nothing in it between the Ferraris on their first soft-shod laps, but it's Sainz who comes out on top with a 1m32.120s nipping ahead of Leclerc on a 1m32.138s.
Work on Albon's Williams looks like it's ongoing too, the Thai driver having managed just five laps so far after reporting power problems.
Drivers are taking to the circuit on softs now, as we begin quali preparation. Verstappen remains in the garage however, as Red Bull continues to work on set-up changes.