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Friday analysis - Red Bull and Ferrari scent an upset

18 Sep 2015

After their crushing performance in Italy, few were betting against Mercedes as the Formula One fraternity arrived in Singapore. As night fell on the opening day, however, it wasn't the Silver Arrows that headed the field - instead, Ferrari and Red Bull took turns lighting up the Marina Bay Street Circuit...

Red Bull

Daniil Kvyat, 1m 51.188s, P18/1m 46.142s, P1
Daniel Ricciardo, 1m 48.331s, P3/1m 46.256s, P3

Kvyat lost a lot of time in FP1 with a fuel system problem, but it didn't spoil his evening run - even he was surprised by his own pace as he topped a Grand Prix session for the first time in his career. Ricciardo was very happy with his car's balance, but lost time passing Vettel and Massa in sector two on his best lap. Both believe Mercedes and Ferrari will turn up the wick on Saturday, but are hell-bent on getting strong results. Right now, Red Bull can smell potential victory...

Ferrari

Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 48.785s, P5/1m 46.181s, P2
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 48.494s, P4/1m 46.487s, P5

Both drivers fell back on the usual Ferrari adage that you can never really tell about Fridays, but there was a happy air in the camp and they can also scent the chance of beating Mercedes.

Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton, 1m 48.314s, P2/1m 46.479s, P4
Nico Rosberg, 1m 47.995s, P1/1m 46.781s, P7

Neither driver was critical of their car, but they were clearly lacking performance, especially in sector two where they were losing half a second to their rivals. Toto Wolff, however, pulled no punches and said there will be a major investigation into why neither F1 W06 Hybrid used its tyres well on either one-lap rushes or on long runs. Their pace in both was down on Red Bull and Ferrari, which was a major surprise. Hamilton used his upgraded Monza-winning engine; Rosberg had another new version, not the one that went wrong a fortnight ago.

Force India

Sergio Perez, 1m 50.125s, P12/1m 46.659s, P6
Nico Hulkenberg, 1m 49.854s, P8/1m 47.294s, P9

Both drivers had solid days on which they did a lot of laps - 109 in total - and gathered plenty of data. Perez said he felt good about his car, Hulkenberg that the balance of his needed more work for long runs.

McLaren

Fernando Alonso, 1m 50.123s, P11/1m 46.959s, P8
Jenson Button, 1m 50.455s, P15/1m 47.888s, P14

Alonso was just outside the top 10 in FP1, and then a stunning eighth in FP2, within 0.817s of the overall pace - McLaren's most promising showing of the season so far. He had some charging problems towards the end of the first session, but was happy in the second. Button however struggled in both.

Toro Rosso

Max Verstappen, 1m 49.466s, P7/1m 47.427s, P10
Carlos Sainz, 1m 50.019s, P9/1m 48.012s, P15

Both drivers spent FP1 learning the track and taking it 'easy' - but even so were seventh and ninth fastest. Verstappen was quick in FP2, but Sainz kissed the Turn 5 wall and got a puncture. That damaged the floor and required a change, costing him plenty of track time. The STR10s were heavily updated for this race, and both men felt the hard work was worthwhile.

Williams

Felipe Massa, 1m 51.035s, P17/1m 47.684s, P11
Valtteri Bottas, 1m 49.380s, P6/1m 48.118s, P17

Both drivers had differing views on which tyre suited them better, and Williams had, as usual, brought along plenty of new parts to assess. They thus didn't really feature much, aside from Bottas's sixth place in FP1. But they have gathered a lot of data and they'll be sifting through in preparation for FP3 and qualifying, where habitually the team are at their best.

Sauber

Felipe Nasr, 1m 50.158s, P13/1m 47.755s, P12
Marcus Ericsson, 1m 50.883s, P16/1m 47.795s, P13

Today was always going to be about data gathering so that the team can get a direction in which to head for FP3 and qualifying with their new aero package.

Lotus

Romain Grosjean, 1m 50.341s, P14/1m 48.096s, P16
Pastor Maldonado, 1m 50.068s, P10/1m 50.094s, P18

Lotus had a troubled day on a track that doesn't suit the E23. They struggled for set-up most of the time and after Maldonado had been 10th in FP1, they were underwhelmed by the ways the cars ran in FP2. Grosjean tried a new front wing in the morning.

Marussia

Alexander Rossi, 1m 53.918s, P20/1m 56.739s, P19
Will Stevens, 1m 53.903s, P19/1m 59.932s, P20

It was a mixed day for Marussia. Rossi stepped into Merhi's car and drove it immediately with verve and confidence even when the track was at its most slippery. Later he shrugged off the small error which saw him park the car in the Turn 18 wall minutes before the end of FP1. In FP2 he did a couple of laps with the car in race trim, just to check out the repairs. Stevens learned the track in FP1 and just pipped Rossi by 0.015s, but had a small accident of his own at the start of FP2 when the car got away from him and tapped the tyre wall in Turn 11.

Watch: The fastest lap from Friday in Singapore

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