Singapore GP: Leclerc outpaces Hamilton in FP3
Charles Leclerc headed Lewis Hamilton in final practice for Formula 1's Singapore Grand Prix, as Red Bull failed to show its true pace ahead of Saturday night’s qualifying session.
Ferrari was not expected to challenge for honours in Singapore and its lead car was 0.8s off the pace in Friday practice, but Leclerc improved his own fastest time on the opening day by almost two seconds in FP3.
A 1m38.192s launched the Belgian and Italian Grands Prix winner to top spot, two tenths clear of Mercedes driver Hamilton.
Leclerc spent most of FP3 on top, setting the pace in the early runs as Mercedes’ drivers used medium tyres instead of softs.
A red flag around the halfway mark, caused by Sergio Perez clouting the wall exiting the final chicane with his right rear and leaving debris on the track, interrupted the next round of qualifying simulations.
After that stoppage, Valtteri Bottas briefly went fastest for Mercedes on a 1m39.166s, but as that was slower than the fastest time from Friday it was never likely to remain the benchmark.
Leclerc swiftly reclaimed top spot with his low-1m38s, a time only Hamilton came close to matching – after the championship leader recovered from a spin at Turn 3.
Sebastian Vettel, who led Ferrari’s effort on Friday, was third-fastest and 0.619s slower than Leclerc.
Bottas improved on his brief table-topping lap to end up fourth on a 1m38.885s, just behind Vettel.
Alex Albon was surprisingly Red Bull’s best-placed driver in fifth, after Max Verstappen failed to improve late on.
Verstappen was third quickest, 0.2s slower than Bottas, on the penultimate runs but a messy lap and then traffic prevented him from improving. That allowed Albon to nip in ahead with a 1m39.258s.
Behind the big three teams, McLaren duo Carlos Sainz Jr and Lando Norris led the midfield runners.
Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo completed the two-by-two formation behind the top four.
Perez’s smack against the wall was the only contact-related incident of note in the session.
Daniil Kvyat failed to set a time after aborting a lap early on with smoke starting to appear from the back of his Honda-powered Toro Rosso.
Kvyat suffered an oil leak and will switch to a different engine for qualifying, but will not incur a grid penalty as it is a previously-used power unit.
|5||23||Alex Albon||Red Bull||14||1'39.258||1.066|
|6||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||9||1'39.366||1.174|
|7||55||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren||14||1'39.507||1.315|
|11||18||Lance Stroll||Racing Point||11||1'40.209||2.017|
|12||10||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso||15||1'40.339||2.147|
|13||7||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||16||1'40.953||2.761|
|14||11||Sergio Perez||Racing Point||4||1'40.985||2.793|
|16||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||14||1'41.169||2.977|
|20||26||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||3|
|View full results|
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