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FP1 - Verstappen top as Red Bull set Singapore standard

16 Sep 2016

Friday evening’s opening practice for the 2016 Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix saw Max Verstappen lead the way, just 0.049s up on Red Bull team mate Daniel Ricciardo. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg - who crashed late in the session - were the only others to get within a second of the Dutchman.


Pos. No. Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 33 Max Verstappen VER Red Bull Racing 1:45.823 25
2 3 Daniel Ricciardo RIC Red Bull Racing 1:45.872 +0.049s 27
3 5 Sebastian Vettel VET Ferrari 1:46.287 +0.464s 22
4 44 Lewis Hamilton HAM Mercedes 1:46.426 +0.603s 24
5 6 Nico Rosberg ROS Mercedes 1:46.513 +0.690s 22
6 7 Kimi Räikkönen RAI Ferrari 1:46.890 +1.067s 20
7 55 Carlos Sainz SAI Toro Rosso 1:46.936 +1.113s 28
8 26 Daniil Kvyat KVY Toro Rosso 1:47.683 +1.860s 29
9 19 Felipe Massa MAS Williams 1:48.044 +2.221s 27
10 21 Esteban Gutierrez GUT Haas 1:48.109 +2.286s 23

Red Bull’s pace suggested that predictions of Mercedes struggling once again here seemed accurate, though it should be noted that unlike the top three, neither Silver Arrows driver used Pirelli’s quickest ultrasoft tyre compound to set their best time.

All the big guns went out to play straight away on the purple-marked ultrasoft rubber, and Rosberg set the pace with 1m 47.936s before Hamilton trimmed that with 1m 47.436s. Each them improved, to 1m 47.743s and 1m 47.369s respectively. So far so good for the world champions, but of course it was early days.

When Vettel did 1m 47.731s to split the Mercedes, eyebrows were raised, and as the hour approached we’d seen Verstappen (1m 47.335s on ultras), Rosberg (1m 46.513s on softs), Vettel (1m 46.287s on ultras, despite earlier scraping a wall and describing it to his crew as “just cosmetics”) and Ricciardo (1m 45.872s on ultras) and then Verstappen again (1m 45.823s on ultras) all take turns at the head of the timesheets before dusk fell. Interestingly, on softs Hamilton stayed ahead of Rosberg with 1m 46.426s as they were fourth and fifth.

With 12 minutes remaining, and everyone preparing for final runs, Rosberg got it wrong going into Turn 18. He locked up the front wheels and ran head on into the tyre wall, taking off his front wing before limping pitward with a front-left puncture.

Behind the sixth place Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen on 1m 47.185s, Carlos Sainz was an impressive seventh for Toro Rosso on 1m 46.936s, immediately ahead of team mate Daniil Kvyat, who lapped in 1m 47.683s. Felipe Massa’s Williams and Esteban Gutierrez’s Haas completed the Top 10.

Elsewhere, Jenson Button’s McLaren ground to a halt early on but was revived after being pushed back to the pits, but Romain Grosjean sat out most of the session playing cards after his Haas was hit with a suspected ERS problem.

It was a mixed session for McLaren, with Fernando Alonso clouting a wall partway through but taking 11th spot, and Button recovering for 16th.

WATCH: Rosberg crashes into the Marina Bay barriers