The Singapore Grand Prix looks set to be a battle between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen after the pair finished less than two-tenths of a second apart in Friday night’s floodlit second practice session.
With conditions more representative of what the field will encounter in qualifying and the race, the drivers aimed to clock as many laps of the Marina Bay Street Circuit as possible and maximise their night-time running.
The cooler conditions saw the drivers lap much faster than Friday afternoon’s opening practice session – which was led by Verstappen in the Red Bull Racing Honda – and this time it was four-time Singapore Grand Prix winner Hamilton who was the benchmark driver across various tyre compounds and fuel loads.
His qualifying-style run saw him post a 1:38.773 to narrowly snatch top spot from Verstappen, while the gap to the rest of the field was significant to say the least.
A front wing and floor upgrade to his Ferrari could only get Sebastian Vettel third-fastest, albeit a full eight-tenths of a second off Hamilton’s pace. The German encountered traffic on his faster laps.
With his car rebuilt after his heavy crash in FP1, Valtteri Bottas finished the session fourth-fastest in the second Mercedes. The Finn was not happy with the handling of his repaired car and was a full 1.1 seconds slower than his teammate on a circuit where his best finish is third place.
Fractions off Bottas’ pace was Verstappen’s teammate Alexander Albon, who found that the walls of the Singapore circuit can definitely bite. Early in the session, the Anglo-Thai driver suffered a lock-up over a bump at Turn 10 and speared nose-first into the barriers, breaking his car’s front wing.
With his gearbox issues that disrupted his FP1 running seemingly cured, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc finished the session sixth-fastest and, like Vettel, was hampered by traffic on his quicker runs.
The battle among the midfielders looks to be a tight scrap between McLaren and Renault. The former’s duo of Carlos Sainz Jr. and Lando Norris once again finished inside the top-ten and were split by the Renault of Nico Hülkenberg, while the second Renault of Daniel Ricciardo was twelfth-fastest and half a second further adrift.
Between the two Renaults came the Toro Rosso pairing of Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat, with their fastest laps less than one-tenth of a second apart.
There was a bit of drama between Racing Point’s Sergio Pérez and Haas’ Kevin Magnussen, with the Mexican appearing to squeeze the Dane as they both approached the final corner to start a flying lap. Both drivers were summoned to the FIA Stewards, with Pérez later handed a reprimand.
|FORMULA 1 SINGAPORE AIRLINES SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX 2019 – FREE PRACTICE SESSION 2|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes-AMG Motorsport W10||1:38.773||29|
|2.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing RB15||1:38.957||+ 0.184||29|
|3.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF90||1:39.591||+ 0.818||31|
|4.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes-AMG Motorsport W10||1:39.894||+ 1.121||30|
|5.||Alexander Albon||Red Bull Racing RB15||1:39.943||+ 1.170||30|
|6.||Charles Leclerc||Scuderia Ferrari SF90||1:40.018||+ 1.245||31|
|7.||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren F1 Team MCL34||1:40.145||+ 1.372||33|
|8.||Nico Hülkenberg||Renault F1 Team RS19||1:40.324||+ 1.551||30|
|9.||Lando Norris||McLaren F1 Team MCL34||1:40.361||+ 1.588||35|
|10.||Pierre Gasly||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda STR14||1:40.637||+ 1.864||32|
|11.||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda STR14||1:40.713||+ 1.940||32|
|12.||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault F1 Team RS19||1:40.811||+ 2.038||30|
|13.||Sergio Pérez||Racing Point F1 Team RP19||1:40.875||+ 2.102||29|
|14.||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing C38||1:41.128||+ 2.355||35|
|15.||Lance Stroll||Racing Point F1 Team RP19||1:41.128||+ 2.355||31|
|16.||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing C38||1:41.232||+ 2.459||28|
|17.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team VF-19||1:41.392||+ 2.619||26|
|18.||George Russell||ROKiT Williams Racing FW42||1:41.445||+ 2.672||35|
|19.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team VF-19||1:41.564||+ 2.791||30|
|20.||Robert Kubica||ROKiT Williams Racing FW42||1:42.177||+ 3.404||35|
Image via Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport