Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen set the early practice pace as the Singapore Grand Prix got underway, with the Hungarian Grand Prix winner narrowly shading Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.

The FP1 session producing mixed fortunes for the Mercedes and Ferrari runners, with Vettel’s teammate Charles Leclerc limping back to the pits with a gearbox failure, while Valtteri Bottas crashed out at Turn 19.

Verstappen’s fastest lap of the session, a 1:40.259, saw him shade Vettel by less than two-tenths of a second as both drivers posted their quickest times on the Soft compound Pirelli tyres. Third-fastest was championship leader Lewis Hamilton, who split his running between the Soft and Hard rubber and could not get within half a second of the ultimate pace.

Leclerc’s session was halted when his Ferrari became stuck in fourth gear, forcing the winner of the last two Grands Prix to limp back to the pits with just over half an hour remaining. The Monégasque driver finished the session 19th-fastest, having yet to set a flying lap on the Soft rubber before his gearbox dramas intervened.

A sudden snap of oversteer brought Bottas’ session to a close shortly after Leclerc’s dramas. The Finn’s car drifted into the barriers at Turn 19, causing heavy damage to the front left corner of his Mercedes. His accident triggered a red flag interruption so his car could be recovered to safety.

Despite this, he still managed to finish the session fourth-fastest and will hope that his car can be repaired in time ahead of tonight’s all-important FP2 session which will better represent the conditions the field will experience in qualifying and the race.

Verstappen’s teammate Alexander Albon was fifth-fastest, albeit a full 1.2 seconds down on the Dutch driver. He finished ahead of Renault’s Nico Hülkenberg, who was a promising P6 on the timesheets.

The McLaren pairing of Carlos Sainz Jr. – who had a near coming-together with Hamilton early in the session – and Lando Norris were seventh and eighth on the timesheets respectively, with Toro Rosso duo Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly completing the top ten.


FORMULA 1 SINGAPORE AIRLINES SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX 2019 – FREE PRACTICE SESSION 1
Driver Team / Entry Time Gap Laps
1. Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing RB15 1:40.259 22
2. Sebastian Vettel Scuderia Ferrari SF90 1:40.426 + 0.167 23
3. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes-AMG Motorsport W10 1:40.925 + 0.666 26
4. Valtteri Bottas Mercedes-AMG Motorsport W10 1:41.336 + 1.077 14
5. Alexander Albon Red Bull Racing RB15 1:41.467 + 1.208 24
6. Nico Hülkenberg Renault F1 Team RS19 1:41.812 + 1.553 26
7. Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren F1 Team MCL34 1:41.966 + 1.707 20
8. Lando Norris McLaren F1 Team MCL34 1:42.180 + 1.921 19
9. Daniil Kvyat Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda STR14 1:42.305 + 2.046 26
10. Pierre Gasly Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda STR14 1:42.377 + 2.118 24
11. Daniel Ricciardo Renault F1 Team RS19 1:42.527 + 2.268 20
12. Romain Grosjean Haas F1 Team VF-19 1:42.630 + 2.371 23
13. Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing C38 1:42.677 + 2.418 15
14. Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Racing C38 1:42.786 + 2.527 13
15. Lance Stroll Racing Point F1 Team RP19 1:42.791 + 2.532 28
16. Kevin Magnussen Haas F1 Team VF-19 1:43.150 + 2.891 22
17. Robert Kubica ROKiT Williams Racing FW42 1:43.336 + 3.077 28
18. Sergio Pérez Racing Point F1 Team RP19 1:43.369 + 3.110 23
19. Charles Leclerc Scuderia Ferrari SF90 1:43.618 + 3.359 12
20. George Russell ROKiT Williams Racing FW42 1:43.993 + 3.734 29

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.
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