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Friday analysis - are Red Bull really streets ahead? 20 Sep 2013

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Singapore Grand Prix, Practice, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Friday, 20 September 2013 Mercedes AMG F1 W04 nose.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Singapore Grand Prix, Practice, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Friday, 20 September 2013 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus E21.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Singapore Grand Prix, Practice, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Friday, 20 September 2013 Ferrari F138 nose and front wing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Singapore Grand Prix, Practice, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Friday, 20 September 2013 Sergio Perez (MEX) McLaren MP4-28.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Singapore Grand Prix, Practice, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Friday, 20 September 2013 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India VJM06.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Singapore Grand Prix, Practice, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Friday, 20 September 2013 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR8.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Singapore Grand Prix, Practice, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Friday, 20 September 2013 Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sauber C32.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Singapore Grand Prix, Practice, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Friday, 20 September 2013 Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams FW35.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Singapore Grand Prix, Practice, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Friday, 20 September 2013 Charles Pic (FRA) Caterham CT03.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Singapore Grand Prix, Practice, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Friday, 20 September 2013 Max Chilton (GBR) Marussia F1 Team MR02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Singapore Grand Prix, Practice, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Friday, 20 September 2013

Perfect conditions led to relatively uncomplicated practice sessions on the opening day of the 2013 Formula 1 Singtel Singapore Grand Prix weekend, enabling everyone to complete their day’s programmes. And the revisions to Turn 10 met with general approval. We take a team-by-team look at the Friday formbook at Marina Bay…

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 47.885s, P3/1m 44.249s, P1
Mark Webber, 1m 47.420s, P2/1m 44.853s, P2

Vettel admitted that his best lap time was a surprise and said that he expects Mercedes to be stronger competition tomorrow, while Webber said he got a reasonable set-up on his car and was satisfied with the way his sessions went.

Mercedes
Nico Rosberg, 1m 48.239s, P4/1m 45.258s, P3
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 47.055s, P1/1m 45.368s, P4

Rosberg and Hamilton said that they had reasonable days, but the latter in particular complained that his W04 was not as well balanced as conditions changed for FP2 as it had been when he was fastest in FP1.

Lotus
Romain Grosjean, 1m 48.355s, P6/1m 45.411s, P5
Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 48.354s, P5/1m 45.778s, P8

Raikkonen’s chance of a more representative lap in FP2 was spoiled by traffic, leaving Lotus optimistic of matching Red Bull tomorrow. Grosjean was pleased with fifth overall, bearing in mind that he lost a lot of track time in FP1 with a steering rack problem. Later he lost further time at the start of FP2 with a suspected leak in the brake master cylinder, and then at the end with a hydraulic leak. Overall, despite all the aggravation, the mood is good here.

Ferrari
Fernando Alonso, 1m 48.362s, P7/1m 45.691s, P6
Felipe Massa, 1m 49.493s, P12/1m 46.870s, P15

There was disappointment in the Ferrari camp as Alonso couldn’t do better than sixth, which meant that Mercedes and Lotus have moved back ahead after the two low-downforce races. Massa, meanwhile, struggled to set up his car the way he wanted, as the direction he and his crew pursued didn’t bring the results that they had hoped for. There’s a lot of work going on here tonight.

McLaren
Jenson Button, 1m 49.608s, P14/1m 45.754s, P7
Sergio Perez, 1m 49.267s, P8/1m 46.025s, P10

Button said he was happy that his MP4-28 was no longer bouncing its rear end around, but was a little perplexed to find a difference of three seconds when he switched from the medium to the supersoft tyre. He also said that the car was less well balanced on the medium. Perez had a couple of off-course moments, but echoed his team mate’s thoughts.

Force India
Adrian Sutil, 1m 50.092s, P16/1m 46.002s, P9
Paul di Resta, 1m 49.887s, P15/1m 46.606s, P13

Both drivers were upbeat about their days. Sutil said his car was good enough on the supersofts to fight for a Q3 position, while Di Resta said his VJM06 felt good, the way its predecessor did in 2012 here.

Toro Rosso
Daniel Ricciardo, 1m 50.757s, P18/1m 46.406s, P11
Jean-Eric Vergne, 1m 49.348s, P9/1m 46.429s, P12

Both drivers spent the sessions getting used to some new components on their STR8s, and said that some more set-up work is needed to get the best out of them and to get into the fight for Q3. Both believed, however, that the revisions offered long-term promise.

Sauber
Nico Hulkenberg, 1m 50.222s, P17/1m 46.808s, P14
Esteban Gutierrez, 1m 49.355s, P10/1m 47.287s, P16

Hulkenberg said that he felt much more confident with his C32 in FP2 than he had in FP1 when the balance was awry. Gutierrez said he had an ‘okay’ day, but no more.

Williams
Valtteri Bottas, 1m 49.510s, P13/1m 47.434s, P17
Pastor Maldonado, 1m 49.481s, P11/1m 47.761s, P18

Williams looked good in FP1, but things faded in the second session. The FW35s lacked grip and balance, and Maldonado damaged his car’s front wing with a head-on slide into the wall at Turn 13.

Caterham
Giedo van der Garde, 1m 52.920s, P21/1m 49.434s, P19
Charles Pic, 1m 53.647s, P22/1m 49.526s, P20

Caterham lost out to Marussia in FP1 as the drivers struggled with understeer on the medium tyres. They managed to massage some better balance into the CT03 in FP2, but the battle with Marussia remained very close.

Marussia
Max Chilton, 1m 52.673s, P20/1m 49.619s, P21
Jules Bianchi, 1m 52.359s, P19/1m 49.731s, P22

Marussia got off to a good start, and both drivers remained in close contact with the Caterhams, their immediate rivals, in FP2. Chilton was relatively happy, but Bianchi’s first outing at the Marina Bay track was hampered by understeer in both sessions.

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