SINGAPORE: Carlos Sainz led a Ferrari one-two in the second free practice session (FP2) for the Singapore Grand Prix. The Marina Bay street circuit, known for its challenging turns and tight corners, witnessed the Scuderia’s unexpected surge in performance.
Sainz narrowly edged out his teammate Charles Leclerc to claim the top spot in Friday’s practice, leaving the Red Bull duo struggling to match their typically high standards this season.
Mercedes’ George Russell secured the third position, followed by the veteran Fernando Alonso in fourth, and Lewis Hamilton rounding out the top five.
Surprisingly, Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen found themselves in seventh and eighth positions, trailing behind the likes of Lando Norris, in what seemed to align with their pre-weekend predictions of a challenging Singapore Grand Prix.
However, it’s important to note that the weekend is far from over, leaving room for adjustments and surprises.
The session, which began under the dazzling floodlights, provided the drivers with conditions more representative of the actual race. Adjusting to artificial light after earlier practices in natural daylight proved crucial.
Fernando Alonso set the initial pace for the Aston Martin but was swiftly outperformed by Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, who clocked a remarkable 1:33.303.
As the session progressed, the Ferrari duo continued to impress, securing the top two spots, with Sainz posting an impressive 1:32.120, just a fraction ahead of Leclerc. Even when Red Bull made their move, Verstappen found himself 0.732s behind Sainz due to traffic on his flying lap.
Sergio Perez faced challenges of his own, struggling with rear grip and braking stability. “It’s just not coming. Every braking zone, I feel like I’m going to crash. The rear is just stepping out massively,” Perez conveyed over the team radio.
As the session transitioned from qualifying simulations to race stint simulations, lap times saw no significant improvements, but crucial data was collected for the teams.
With race preparations now in full swing, both Ferrari and Red Bull will be working tirelessly into the night to fine-tune their strategies for the Singapore Grand Prix showdown.