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