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What the teams said – Friday in Singapore

Special Contributor

Becky Hart
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SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE - SEPTEMBER 30: Sparks fly behind Fernando Alonso of Spain driving the (14)

Ferrari

It was a solid Friday for Sainz, with plenty of laps in both sessions and the leading time in the representative FP2 to boot. That was despite coming close to disaster on a couple of occasions as he slid wide on the dirty track and only just avoided the barriers. Leclerc had a tougher day though, with a brake issue limiting his running in FP1. He was then late to join the party in FP2, but did at least look competitive when he was lapping on both the medium and soft rubber.

READ MORE: Leclerc targeting pole position in Singapore despite ‘very, very difficult’ day

Charles Leclerc - FP1: 1:43.435, P3; FP2: 1:42.795, P2

"Our performance was good, but unfortunately, we had limited running today. It isn’t ideal, so we have to make sure we have a clean FP3 so as to also work on our race pace.

"Our qualifying pace looks strong and we will target pole."

Carlos Sainz - FP1: 1:44.138, P6; FP2: 1:42.587, P1

"It's been a busy first day here in Singapore. We managed to complete the full run plan but we also faced some challenges, particularly with the setup and car balance. We didn’t find the right window for FP1, but we managed to improve the feeling with the car for FP2.

"We still need to do some work and find some lap time, especially for the long runs. It seems we are up for a tight battle at the top so we need to try to maximise every aspect of the weekend."

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SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE - SEPTEMBER 30: Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari prepares to drive in the garage during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Singapore at Marina Bay Street Circuit on September 30, 2022 in Singapore, Singapore. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images,)

Mercedes

Hamilton topped a session for the first time this season with his P1 in FP1, the former world champion looking fairly happy from the off. The same couldn’t be said in FP2 as he encountered traffic on his first flying run, and then was unable to keep the tyres going for a second fast lap. As for Russell, he gently slid into the barriers in FP1 but fortunately didn’t suffer any damage, and then came close to repeating the feat in FP2.

READ MORE: Hamilton says there’s ‘definitely more time’ for Mercedes to find after compromised FP2 session

Lewis Hamilton – FP1: 1:43.033, P1; FP2: 1:43.182, P5

"Today started off well with FP1, but wasn't as great in the second session. The car is what it is and we're bouncing around a lot, but it doesn't feel like we're massively off this weekend. There's not too much we can do about the stiffness of the car with the tools we have, but set-up wise we can find more time. With the set-up that I had today, there was a lot of locking, which we will fix it tonight so we can come back and give it a better go tomorrow. Conditions here are tricky, I definitely feel dehydrated after the sessions, a bit heavy and very hot. But biggest problem is not the physical challenge so much as getting the car in the window for qualifying tomorrow."

George Russell - FP1: 1:44.066, P5; FP2: 1:42.911, P3

"On paper it's been a promising day for us, but paper doesn't mean anything. Overall, today went okay, but there's definitely a lot of work to do for us. This circuit is very unique and conditions here are tricky. It's just so hot and you always feel a bit light-headed jumping out of the car. The track surface is very bumpy out there and I think to a degree everybody is struggling with that. We know that that's a weak point with our car plus the tires here are quite sensitive. I was surprised about the grip levels on the new track surface and I'm sure track improvements will continue to evolve during the weekend. I'm sure in qualifying there will be a big improvement from Q1 to Q3. If we manage to absolutely nail it tomorrow, there will be a huge amount of lap time we can find in qualifying and we all know how important qualifying performance is at this track. We feel optimistic and work hard overnight."

Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director

"Today started off well with FP1, but wasn't as great in the second session. The car is what it is and we're bouncing around a lot, but it doesn't feel like we're massively off this weekend. There's not too much we can do about the stiffness of the car with the tools we have, but set-up wise we can find more time. With the set-up that I had today, there was a lot of locking, which we will fix it tonight so we can come back and give it a better go tomorrow. Conditions here are tricky, I definitely feel dehydrated after the sessions, a bit heavy and very hot. But biggest problem is not the physical challenge so much as getting the car in the window for qualifying tomorrow."

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SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE - SEPTEMBER 30: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team W13 on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Singapore at Marina Bay Street Circuit on September 30, 2022 in Singapore, Singapore. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images,)

Red Bull

It was a mixed opening day for Red Bull in Singapore. Verstappen looked quick from the off in FP1, before being pipped late on. But he spent much of the second session in the garage, only managing three laps on the hard tyres and one late flying lap on the softs to leave him short of track time. As for Perez, he suffered power unit issues towards the end of FP1 before catching the wall on his flying run in FP2. The resultant checks of his car limited him to just a handful of laps as well.

READ MORE: Verstappen explains why Red Bull’s pace was ‘unrepresentative’ in Singapore Friday practice

Max Verstappen - FP1: 1:43.117, P2; FP2: 1:42.926, P4

"I think we started out quite well in FP1 and then in FP2 we wanted to try a few things out but they just took a bit longer to change, and then we wanted to try something else and that also took quite a long time to change. We couldn’t run a lot so it wasn’t very representative of what we can do. Of course, there is still a lot of room for improvement and we still need to analyse whether the changes we made worked or not. I think where it matters most is tomorrow and how quick we can be over one lap."

Sergio Perez - FP1: 1:43.839, P4; FP2: 1:43.906, P9

"We lost a bit of track time in FP2 and had some issues with the engine reliability and then we made some set-up changes. So, we have a lot of information to get through tonight and we’ll pick out the best bits for tomorrow to try and do the best we can. I felt more comfortable in FP1and I was quicker in that session, so I think there is some good data for us to look to there. We knew Mercedes and Ferrari were both going to be strong and we will see what we are able to do tomorrow come qualifying, it should be interesting."

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SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE - SEPTEMBER 30: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB18 on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Singapore at Marina Bay Street Circuit on September 30, 2022 in Singapore, Singapore. (Photo by Bryn Lennon - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Alpine

It was a solid day for Alpine, bar one issue on Alonso’s car which required some precautionary checks and limited the Spaniard’s running in FP1. Ocon was ‘best of the rest’ in both sessions and Alonso was competitive too, which bodes well heading into qualifying.

Esteban Ocon - FP1: 1:44.736, P7; FP2: 1:43.412, P6

“There’s really nothing quite like driving in Singapore and it’s great to be back here after a few years. After both practice sessions today, it’s again quite clear how much of a challenge this track is physically with the heat and humidity so I think most drivers will have been pleased with having those extra few days of preparation ahead of the race weekend. On track, we had a strong day testing the new upgrades and are relatively happy with how our programme went today. It’s good to see that the track was not as bumpy as we perhaps thought it was going to be, especially with these cars. We look forward to coming back tomorrow and having another solid day to be in the best position for Sunday’s race."

Fernando Alonso - FP1: 1:45.336, P10; FP2: 1:43.520, P8

“It was not an ideal day for us with some limited running in the first practice, after the issue with the gearbox. Generally, Free Practice 2 was good and even though we are a little behind schedule with the limited track time, I think we are in a good place and I’m quite confident for tomorrow. Our car upgrade seems to be working well so far, but we will continue to analyse all of the data tonight and tomorrow.”

Matt Harman, Technical Director

“It’s fantastic to be back here in Singapore even if it’s extremely hot and humid! It’s been an interesting day of Practice where we encountered an issue with Fernando’s gearbox with a small oil leak identified. As a precaution we decided not to run again in the first session, and we’ll investigate the root cause of the issue over the coming days as this is an unusual occurrence. His car was fitted with a replacement gearbox to ensure he could run in the second session. For Free Practice 2, both cars used the new, upgraded floor, which worked in line with our expectations. We have some work to do overnight and I look forward to seeing how tomorrow pans out. Overall, we’re pleased with our performance level and we’re in for a competitive weekend with both cars.”

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SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE - SEPTEMBER 30: Esteban Ocon of France driving the (31) Alpine F1 A522 Renault on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Singapore at Marina Bay Street Circuit on September 30, 2022 in Singapore, Singapore. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images,)

McLaren

Norris was running the upgraded parts and spent much of the opening session data gathering, with plenty of flow-vis paint in situ down one side of his car. He did run a more standardised programme in FP2 which saw him climb up the leaderboard. Ricciardo though went the other way, although McLaren rarely show their full hand on a Friday so it remains to be seen where he will end up in the pecking order.

READ MORE: Norris says McLaren are a 'long, long way off' Alpine after opening Singapore practice

Daniel Ricciardo - FP1: 1:45.724, P12; FP2: 1:45.447, P18

"Singapore, it’s nice to be back. It’s hot of course but it didn’t feel too brutal today, and I felt like I got through the day OK. It’s been a while since we were here and we’ve got a bit of work to do tonight. We’re obviously quite slow and struggling quite a lot, especially tonight. So, we’ve got some work ahead of us. We’ll try to make the best of what we’ve got, but certainly it was a tricky afternoon session. We’ll see what happens tomorrow, it’s hard to know now but I think we’ll definitely make changes on the car, try to find a bit more comfort and speed in it and go from there.”

Lando Norris - FP1: 1:46.680, P19; FP2: 1:44.013, P11

"Tough day, just because of the temperature and the challenges of Singapore, but I think good that we’ve got a good understanding of the new bits on the car. They’re performing as expected, which is in some ways similar to the way the car felt before the update, with just some small tweaks in the way that it works, and acts, which is what we want. The pace is not looking like it’s there at the minute, we’ve got a lot to find if we want to get into Q3 tomorrow, more than normal, but we’ll give it a good shot, work hard overnight and see what we can unlock.”

Andrea Stella, Executive Director, Racing

“Singapore is a tough, demanding venue for a variety of reasons, and it’s good to be back here to pick up this challenge. The sessions this evening went according to plan, both drivers worked through their programmes with no major problems. It’s been good to introduce the new parts on Lando’s side, we’ve collected a lot of data that will help us optimise this new package. A big thanks to the team back at the factory for enabling us to deliver this package this weekend. We have some work to do from a performance point of view, and overnight we’ll be analysing all of the information we gathered on track today, to get us into as good a place as possible for qualifying tomorrow and Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix."

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SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE - SEPTEMBER 29: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and McLaren and Lando Norris of Great Britain and McLaren look on in the Paddock during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Singapore at Marina Bay Street Circuit on September 29, 2022 in Singapore, Singapore. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images,)

AlphaTauri

AlphaTauri had a mad five minutes late on in FP2. Tsunoda had already been consigned to the garage with a fuel systems issue when Gasly was forced to jump out of his car in the pit lane after the airbox caught on fire. Luckily, mechanics were on hand to extinguish the flames and the damage was minimal enough that he was able to head back out, but it was a breathtaking moment that the team will be keen to get to the bottom of.

WATCH: Fire forces Gasly to jump out of his AlphaTauri in FP2

Pierre Gasly - FP1: 1:45.258, P9; FP2: 1:44.469, P14

“I’m loving this track, it’s a really special place and very technical. It obviously wasn’t ideal to have the small fire when we connected the fuel breather, as we lost some running, but it was easily put out, ultimately it just burnt some paint, and we could get back out on track fairly soon after. Overall, on the performance side we’re not that happy right now, we were quite far back in FP2, and we didn’t have the pace to make it into the top 10 this evening, so we need to find something more for tomorrow. We brought some small upgrades here this weekend, which we’ll need to now go away and analyse some more, so we can get the most out of them moving forward.”

Yuki Tsunoda - FP1: 1:46.081, P15; FP2: 1:45.211, P17

“It’s a shame we had to finish FP2 early, as I’m still getting to know this track and obviously wanted as much time to learn as possible, but we had a fuel system issue, so we had to come in to start fixing that ahead of tomorrow. I’ve really enjoyed my first time driving here, it’s a bit of a mixture between Monaco and Baku, it’s really tricky, the conditions are tough and it’s obviously quite bumpy, but it’s fun. It looks like it’s going to start getting a bit cooler and maybe we’ll have some rain on Sunday, but for now my focus is to maximise FP3, so I ensure I’m as prepared as possible heading into Qualifying.”

Jonathan Eddolls, Chief Race Engineer

“It’s great to be back in Singapore having missed two years racing here – it’s a fantastic event and a track which is demanding on not only the car, but also the driver and the team with the extreme conditions. FP1 was focused on learning how this new era of car behaves over the bumps of this street circuit – which is notorious for being the bumpiest of the season. We also spent time completing some aero work to characterise a new front wing, which we have brought to continue the development of the AT03. We built it up step by step during the session and had a clear view of the main limitations heading into FP2. The second session was more of a challenge, with a reliability issue on the fuel system on Yuki’s car. This meant he didn't get to complete his low fuel running on the Softs, nor the long run, so he will have some work to do tomorrow. Pierre also lost a bit of time with a small fire after connecting the fuel breather, which looked worse than it was, and we were able to quickly get the car back out. Qualifying is key at this track and we haven’t seen the performance we expected, so we have some work to do tonight to analyse everything and modify the setup accordingly.”

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SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE - SEPTEMBER 30: Pierre Gasly of France driving the (10) Scuderia AlphaTauri AT03 on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Singapore at Marina Bay Street Circuit on September 30, 2022 in Singapore, Singapore. (Photo by Bryn Lennon - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Alfa Romeo

Neither Alfa driver ran the soft tyres in FP1, so it was a pleasant surprise that, when they bolted them on in the evening session, Bottas was so competitive. His time held on for second for a fair while, and although he was bumped to seventh, that was still only 0.019s off Ocon’s 'best of the rest' slot. After a run of torrid luck reliability wise, Bottas must be hoping for a smooth weekend with what seems to be a competitive car underneath him.

Valtteri Bottas - FP1: 1:45.725, P13; FP2: 1:43.431, P7

“It’s been quite a positive Friday, a clean day in which we could go through all our programme nicely and do lots of laps. Our pace looks quite decent and it’s nice to see we are in a condition to fight for Q3 tomorrow. It was interesting to have our first outing with the new cars here: the track felt a bit bumpy, but I was expecting more. I was still able to enjoy the track and had some good fun. Of course, there’s more pace to find tonight: analysing the gaps between the tyre compounds will be crucial, but we had a good start and we can build on that.”

Zhou Guanyu - FP1: 1:46.408, P17; FP2: 1:44.524, P15

“In general, our day has been smooth, a good start: we need to do another step forward tomorrow and we’ll be in a position to have a good qualifying. It was interesting to have my first taste of Singapore, and the conditions were quite extreme. This track is really hard, you hardly have any time to catch your breath as you have corner after corner and they’re all complex: it’s hard, but also really enjoyable. The humidity and the heat you feel in the cockpit are an added challenge: I was prepared for this, but it’s something you really feel. We can have a similar climate in China, but it’s been a while since I was in these conditions! It’s not only the physical side that is interesting here: the mental side is equally important on such a technical track, a bit like in Miami. I am looking forward to qualifying tomorrow: it will be special for me to race in front of my family and all the Chinese fans who are here.”

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SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE - SEPTEMBER 30: Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Alfa Romeo F1 walks in the Paddock prior to practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Singapore at Marina Bay Street Circuit on September 30, 2022 in Singapore, Singapore. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images,)

Aston Martin

Stroll was the first to fall foul of the looming walls here, getting onto the dirty parts of the track and sliding into the barriers. Although he got off relatively lightly, he wasn’t able to limp the car home and brought out the red flags. The team repaired the damage and got him out for FP2 though so it didn’t ruin his entire day. Vettel had a steadier time of it, although he did need the run off area at one point after locking up.

MUST-SEE: Singapore's walls claim their first victim as Stroll crashes in FP1

Sebastian Vettel – FP1: 1:45.354, P11; FP2: 1:44.249, P12

“It is nice to be back here driving on a circuit that I really enjoy. You have to take some time to get into the rhythm, but it will be Saturday and Sunday that are the days that count. I struggled a little bit to put everything together today, but if I can put it all together tomorrow then we should be in the mix for a good result this weekend.”

Lance Stroll - FP1: 1:45.221, P8; FP2: 1:43.982, P10

“Driving in Singapore is always good fun, but it is also really demanding in very hot conditions. I brushed the wall in FP1 today, but fortunately we did not damage the car too much. We did some important homework, especially in the second session, and I think this is going to be a race of opportunity. We will go through the data tonight and see where we can make some progress before qualifying tomorrow.”

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SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE - SEPTEMBER 30: Sebastian Vettel of Germany driving the (5) Aston Martin AMR22 Mercedes on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Singapore at Marina Bay Street Circuit on September 30, 2022 in Singapore, Singapore. (Photo by Bryn Lennon - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Haas

Haas had a relatively quite day with no real incidents to speak of. Magnussen ran wide on occasion but seemed comfortable, while Schumacher needed to learn the track having not yet raced here in his F1 career. Whether the track suits the VF-22 remains to be seen, but it should prove better for the team than Monza was last time out.

Mick Schumacher - FP1: 1:46.601, P18; FP2: 1:45.623, P19

“It was quite warm, especially in FP1, but it was great fun. I’m still learning the track and it’s very unique so it’s just a matter of getting used to it. On top of that, this year’s cars are a lot stiffer, so you really need to get to learn the bumps and how to approach them. It really is about driving and getting those laps in and knowing where to position the car, and if you get everything right, then you can get to work on the set-up. That’s what we’re planning on doing tonight, working on it until we feel we’re in a position where we feel comfortable and we’re able to extract the maximum.”

Kevin Magnussen – FP1: 1:46.028, P14; FP2: 1:44.422, P13

“I think it was a good day. It seemed like we were a little more competitive than we have been recently so that’s good. There’s still stuff that isn’t optimal yet which we’re working on but despite that, it seems to be alright. I think mostly because of the cars you have to relearn the track a bit, but it hasn’t changed, the bumps are still in the same places and it’s remarkably similar to what it was three years ago. It’s good to be back and it’s a fun track to drive.”

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal

“Here it is very important for the drivers to get laps in and that’s what we achieved because Mick’s never driven here, and Kevin, like the majority of the rest of the field, hasn’t been here for two seasons. We achieved that and we drove a lot because the most time you can gain here is by giving the driver opportunity to drive. We’ve had a flawless two sessions and we’re at a good point, so tomorrow we will continue.”

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SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE - SEPTEMBER 30: Kevin Magnussen of Denmark driving the (20) Haas F1 VF-22 Ferrari on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Singapore at Marina Bay Street Circuit on September 30, 2022 in Singapore, Singapore. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images,)

Williams

Albon had declared his intention of racing all weekend after his post-surgery scare from Monza, and certainly looked fit in FP1 when he completed a full programme. With no issues reported he took part in FP2 and certainly looks to be in impressive form all things considered. Latifi had a strange moment when he couldn’t work out if his seat belts were done up correctly, and also struggled with traffic on one of his long runs as he propped up the field in both sessions.

READ MORE: Albon says ‘no big issues’ during first day in Singapore as he returns to cockpit after recovery from respiratory failure

Nicholas Latifi – FP1: 1:47.092, P20; FP2: 1:46.553, P20

“It’s definitely a challenge out there tonight with a lot of corners and no straights, whilst being pretty bumpy. I don’t have any reference points to this track before today but I think it’s going to be a challenge on Sunday, especially with the heat.

“We had a bit of a messy day starting with a telemetry issue in FP1, which cost a bit of lap time and offset our run, followed by a seatbelt issue in FP2, requiring me to come back in. There are some things we tried which didn’t work so well but know there are some improvements to be made from my side before the weekend.”

Alex Albon - FP1: 1:46.119, P16; FP2: 1:45.144, P16

“I’m feeling okay out there today despite everything that’s gone on and think I’m coping better than I expected. We had a good amount of long runs but know it’s a quarter of what we’ll be doing come Sunday, so I’ll take advantage of the rest tomorrow.

“We know where we’re struggling with the car but think it has more potential in it, despite coming here knowing we’re a little more behind what we had in Monza. This is a downforce sensitive circuit which doesn’t tend to go in our favour, with 23 corners there’s not a lot of time to get that lap time back. “We’ve got some research and homework to do tonight and think Q2 would be a big success tomorrow.”

Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance

“It has been good fun getting back into the rhythm of a Singapore race weekend. The track hasn’t changed too much but getting the most out of these cars is a little different. We’ve made a reasonable start but there is a long way to go and a few more avenues to consider tonight.

“There is potentially some weather around over the next few days that might also affect our plans. Even if the sessions remain dry, then we will need to ensure that we evolve the setup and the tyre management to match the track evolution.”

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SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE - SEPTEMBER 30: Alexander Albon of Thailand driving the (23) Williams FW44 Mercedes on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Singapore at Marina Bay Street Circuit on September 30, 2022 in Singapore, Singapore. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images,)

Pirelli

Simone Berra, Chief Engineer

"In FP1 particularly, we saw a high degree of track evolution. In FP2, even though the grip was already good from the start of the session, the times improved notably thanks to better grip. The teams chose to focus mainly on the two harder compounds nominated today, putting the softs on at the end in order to simulate qualifying laps. The performance gaps ended up pretty much as we expected. Degradation on the medium and soft compounds seems quite high over the long runs at the moment. Today the teams concentrated less on race pace than usual, as grid position on the Singapore street circuit is very important to maximise chances of success on Sunday. So qualifying tomorrow will be crucial."

HIGHLIGHTS: Watch the action from the second practice session at the Singapore Grand Prix

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