Max Verstappen has topped the timesheets for the first practice session at the Singapore Grand Prix, just 0.049 seconds ahead of team mate Daniel Ricciardo.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel ended the session in third and was over a tenth of a second ahead of Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes.

The Silver Arrows expressed concern heading into this weekend due to their mediocre performance around Marina Bay last year where they were over a second off the pace. This year the team seem to be struggling again, as Hamilton’s best time was over half a second down off Verstappen’s benchmark.

In the other Mercedes, Nico Rosberg was just under a tenth off his team mate in fifth position, although pushed too hard on a flying lap and out-braked himself heading under the stadium complex at Turn 18.

With just over 10 minutes left to run in the session, the German buried his Mercedes in the tech-pro barriers and lost the front end of his Mercedes. Fortunately, he was able to limp back to the pits for a replacement, although he remained in the pits for the remainder of the session.

Kimi Raikkonen finished a tenth of a second clear of Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz in sixth, while Daniil Kvyat was seven-tenths slower than his team mate in eighth position.

Felipe Massa slotted his Williams into ninth position while Haas’ Esteban Gutierrez rounded out the top ten 2.2 seconds off the pace.

McLaren’s Jenson Button experienced problems when his car rolled to a halt on track, the team diagnosed that is was a fuel system issue that had been the cause and was able to get him back out in the session for the last half.

Many drivers pushed the limits on the streets of Marina Bay and explored how much they could get away with without putting their car into a wall. Vettel and Kvyat both had close calls as they brushed their rear tyres against the wall and were lucky to escape with just cosmetic damage.

Image via Red Bull Content Pool

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Josh Kruse

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