Ferrari ahead, Red Bulls struggle in second Singapore GP practice

Ferrari completed a Friday clean sweep, with Carlos Sainz besting Charles Leclerc to top spot in second practice for the Singapore Grand Prix.

Championship leader Max Verstappen struggled, with he and Red Bull Racing teammate Sergio Perez languishing in eighth and seventh and more than half a second off the pace.

Ferrari expected a difficult weekend at the slow-speed Marina Bay track, but the scarlet cars were uncatchable on the soft tire during the first night session of the weekend. FP2 is the most important practice session of the weekend, being the only one run under lights and at roughly the same time as qualifying and the race.


Sainz was 0.018s ahead of Leclerc, but George Russell, the next-best driver in the order, was 0.235s off the pace. Ferrari’s advantage over Mercedes was at its largest in the first and third sectors, but the margin shrank to less than 0.1s in the middle split.

Russell headed Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton, the trio each split by around 0.1s — Hamilton lost his best lap to a moment of understeer over the Turn 7 curb — while Lando Norris in his heavily revised McLaren was half a second off the pace.

Perez, winner last year in Singapore, led Red Bull’s difficult afternoon. The Mexican was 0.692s off the pace, although that was enough to beat Verstappen by 0.04s.

Both drivers complained of oversteer under the lights. Verstappen saved a slide through Turn 13 that put him perilously close to ending the first stint of the evening embedded in the barrier. Perez, having been unable to get within striking distance of top spot, complained that the car was too unstable on the brakes.

“It’s just not coming,” he said. “Every braking zone I feel like I’m going to crash. The rear is stepping out massively.”

Both drivers looked more competitive during their long-run simulations, but Red Bull Racing’s pre-weekend predictions for a challenging time around one of the sport’s most extreme circuits appear accurate.

Kevin Magnussen was a surprise inclusion into the top half of the order for Haas in ninth, with Valtteri Bottas completing the top 10 as the last driver within a second of leader Sainz.

Nico Hulkenberg was 11th ahead of an impressive Liam Lawson, who led the way for AlphaTauri at 1.165s adrift, the Kiwi rookie making the most of his upgraded car in his third substitute round for the injured Daniel Ricciardo.

Esteban Ocon headed Lance Stroll and Pierre Gasly from 13th, while Yuki Tsunoda was 16th in the second AlphaTauri and 0.192s down on stand-in teammate Lawson.

Zhou Guanyu was 17th ahead of Pierre Gasly, while Williams propped up the order with Logan Sargeant and Alex Albon in 19th and 20th respectively.

Sargeant, who has never raced in Singapore before, was 2.2s off the pace and more than 0.5s off the back of the field, while Albon set just five unrepresentative laps before being boxed with a suspected power unit issue around 20 minutes into the session.

Story originally appeared on Racer