Daniel Ricciardo led Red Bull Racing teammate Max Verstappen to a 1-2 finish at the top of the timesheets as Friday’s practice action got underway at the Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix.

Following Ricciardo’s superb drive to victory earlier this year at the Monaco Grand Prix, many pundits are tipping the Australian as a potential challenger for victory this weekend. The early signs proved positive as he led teammate Verstappen on the stopwatch, edging the Dutch youngster by just two-tenths of a second during their quickest Hypersoft tyre runs.

The Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen were the session’s early pace-setters until they were outpaced by the Red Bulls. Vettel – who trails Hamilton by 30 points in the Drivers’ Championship standings – finished the session third-fastest, just 0.085 seconds slower than Verstappen. Räikkönen was four-tenths of a second back in the sister Ferrari, securing fourth on the timesheets.

The championship leading factory Mercedes’ were, aligned to their pre-event expectations, comparatively off the pace on a circuit not well-suited to the F1 W09 chassis’ characteristics. Lewis Hamilton was sixth-fastest and teammate Valtteri Bottas was only eighth-quickest, although notably, neither driver ran on the Hypersoft compound during the session.

Additionally, with this session taking place in the later afternoon and not reflecting the kind of weather and track conditions likely to be seen in qualifying and the race, Friday evening’s second practice session will serve as a more useful barometer of form.

Conversely, the surprise performers of the session were the two Renaults of Nico Hülkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr., who finished fifth and seventh fastest respectively in an impressive showing for the Enstone pairing and the team’s strong RS.18 chassis.

Charles Leclerc may have found himself suffering any after-effects of celebrating the news that he will become a Ferrari driver next year. The Monégasque driver finished an excellent ninth-fastest in his Sauber but blotted his form book by clipping the wall as he drove over the Anderson Bridge. The contact destroyed his right-front suspension, forcing him to park his hobbled car up one of the run-off areas and bringing an early end to his session.

While the session was largely error- and drama-free, that was not the case for a handful of other runners. Bottas and Williams’ Lance Stroll both spun their cars at the exit of Turn 2, while Sergio Pérez performed a neat pirouhette in his Force India at Turn 20. All were able to continue without damage.

Friday’s second practice session gets underway at 20:30 local time (GMT +8).

Driver Team / Entry Time Gap Laps
1. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer RB14 1:39.711 27
2. Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer RB14 1:39.912 + 0.201 27
3. Sebastian Vettel Scuderia Ferrari SF71H 1:39.997 + 0.286 23
4. Kimi Räikkönen Scuderia Ferrari SF71H 1:40.486 + 0.775 21
5. Nico Hülkenberg Renault Sport F1 Team RS18 1:41.105 + 1.394 26
6. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport F1W09 1:41.232 + 1.521 28
7. Carlos Sainz Jr Renault Sport F1 Team RS18 1:41.329 + 1.618 23
8. Valtteri Bottas Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport F1W09 1:41.429 + 1.718 28
9. Charles Leclerc Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C37 1:42.035 + 2.324 24
10. Romain Grosjean Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-18 1:42.108 + 2.397 21
11. Marcus Ericsson Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C37 1:42.408 + 2.697 23
12. Sergio Pérez Force India F1 Team Mercedes VJM11 1:42.412 + 2.701 25
13. Kevin Magnussen Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-18 1:42.452 + 2.741 20
14. Fernando Alonso McLaren F1 Team Renault MCL33 1:42.630 + 2.919 23
15. Esteban Ocon Force India F1 Team Mercedes VJM11 1:43.177 + 3.466 25
16. Pierre Gasly Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda STR13 1:43.240 + 3.529 25
17. Brendon Hartley Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda STR13 1:43.483 + 3.774 30
18. Lance Stroll Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW41 1:43.849 + 4.138 30
19. Sergey Sirotkin Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW41 1:44.036 + 4.325 29
20. Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren F1 Team Renault MCL33 1:45.160 + 5.449 11

Image via Aston Martin Red Bull Racing

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.