Singapore GP: Carlos Sainz leads Ferrari one-two from Charles Leclerc in Practice Two – Sky Sports

  • October 1, 2022

F1 News
Last Updated: 30/09/22 5:40pm
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Carlos Sainz led a one-two from team-mate Charles Leclerc as Ferrari set the pace in Practice Two at the Singapore Grand Prix on Friday.
The Spaniard produced a 1:42.587 to beat Leclerc by two tenths, with Mercedes’ George Russell edging out world champion in waiting Max Verstappen for third.
Lewis Hamilton, having topped the opening session of the weekend earlier in the day, continued to show good pace but was only fifth after traffic interrupted his first attempt at a flying lap on soft tyres.
With F1 returning to the Marina Bay Street Circuit for the first time since 2019 after the coronavirus pandemic saw the last two editions cancelled, the track produced its usual spectacular views along with several doses of drama.
While there were clashes with the barrier in the first session, it was a bizarre fire in the garage on Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri that caused the most dramatic moment of Practice Two.
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Verstappen, who could win the world championship this weekend if an unlikely set of results go his way, completed just eight laps as he lost time while Red Bull made changes to the setup of his car.
A far from ideal start to the weekend for Red Bull was exacerbated by Sergio Perez managing just 11 laps, as he missed the first half of the session with a drive train issue.
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There was further cause for concern for Red Bull off the track, as team principal Christian Horner denied the team breached the sport’s budget cap for last season, with speculation intensifying that they are one of two teams likely to face punishment from the FIA for failing to comply with regulations.
The session represented an improvement for Ferrari after neither driver had been able to keep pace with Hamilton and Verstappen earlier in the day, but there was a sense the Mercedes and Red Bull had left some time on the table.
Both Hamilton and Russell were unable to complete their first attempts at flying laps on their new soft tyres, with their best times coming after a series of cool-down laps.
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Given the fact that both Silver Arrows enjoyed largely uninterrupted sessions, Mercedes may have also stolen a march on Ferrari and Red Bull in terms of data gathering.
Sainz was the only other front-runner to enjoy two trouble-free sessions, although he appeared uncomfortable with his setup at times, and appeared to brush the barrier on a flying lap at one point, narrowly escaping damage.
“I think it has overall been a decent Friday because we managed to do all of the run plan and we had quite a lot of laps which on a city track is what you need to just get laps under your belt,” Sainz said.
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“We faced some challenges, P1 was a surprise with how bumpy the car was in general in terms of ride and how rough it felt out there but then for P2 we managed to improve a bit but we still have some things to look at because it looks like it is going to be a tight battle of six.
“I expect tomorrow to be a lot quicker and I think the Ferraris, the Red Bulls, the Mercs are all going to step it up and we are going to need to be the ones who step it up the most.”
Leclerc was less fortunate, missing a significant chunk of time in each session due to a brake issue and then setup changes.
The Monegasque may therefore be the Ferrari with more room for improvement on Saturday, as he seeks to delay Verstappen’s coronation as a two-time world champion.
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“In terms of performance it has been a positive day, in terms of running it has been a very, very difficult day,” Leclerc said. “We have had a few problems and very limited running so we need to catch up in P3.
“But it seems like the performance is good so that is a good thing and we need to do a step from today to tomorrow.
“I am not too worried, it has just not been a great day.”
Verstappen is seeking to extend a run of five successive race wins, with only victory being enough to create the opportunity for him to win the championship with five races to spare.
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“I think it started off quite well and the car was working quite well in FP1, and then for FP2 we wanted to try a few things,” Verstappen said.
“They just took a bit longer to change first of all and then we wanted to try something else and that took quite a long time to change again, so we couldn’t really run a lot.
“That’s why it’s not really representative of what we showed in FP2, but there is room for improvement.”
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Further down the field, Alpine appeared to hold the edge over McLaren in the battle for fourth in the constructors’ championship after both teams brought upgrades to Singapore.
Esteban Ocon was sixth with Alpine team-mate Fernando Alonso eighth, while the lead McLaren of Lando Norris was only 11th, with team-mate Daniel Ricciardo down in 18th.
Alex Albon had cause for celebration just for surviving two sessions at a track that provides the sport’s toughest physical challenge, less than three weeks after being on a ventilator after complications suffered during laparoscopic surgery.
The Williams driver was 16th in both sessions, comfortably outperforming team-mate Nicholas Latifi.
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