Red Bull’s Ric­cia­rdo shines in Sin­ga­pore prac­tice

The Daily Star (Lebanon) - - SPORTS -

SIN­GA­PORE: Daniel Ric­cia­rdo put on a daz­zling dis­play un­der the flood­lights to go fastest ahead of team­mate Max Ver­stap­pen, as Red Bull laid down a marker on the open­ing day of Sin­ga­pore Grand Prix prac­tice Fri­day.

The Aus­tralian, who had also gone fastest dur­ing Fri­day’s open­ing 90minute ses­sion with a record lap time, ended the day with an even quicker one minute 40.852 sec­ond lap in the evening. That was over 0.556 sec­onds faster than Ver­stap­pen’s best.

“I’m sure it will tighten up to­mor­row but I still ex­pect we will be able to stay where we are,” said Ric­cia­rdo, who has fin­ished sec­ond in Sin­ga­pore for the past two years with the fastest race lap on both oc­ca­sions.

For­mula One cham­pi­onship leader Lewis Hamil­ton, who is seek­ing his third suc­ces­sive vic­tory, was third quick­est ahead of Mercedes team­mate Valt­teri Bot­tas. The pair were fourth and sixth, re­spec­tively, in the evening.

The Bri­ton, who seized the over­all lead from Se­bas­tian Vet­tel after lead­ing Bot­tas to a one-two fin­ish in Monza, is ex­pect­ing a less straight­for­ward weekend in Sin­ga­pore.

The venue’s tight twists are ex­pected to play to Ferrari and Red Bull’s strengths but while the Mil­ton Keynes-based squad shone Fri­day, their Ital­ian ri­vals were less prom­i­nent. Kimi Raikko­nen, sev­enth in the evening, ended they day as the fastest Ferrari in ninth.

Se­bas­tian Vet­tel, sec­ond in the open­ing ses­sion, was only 11th.

“I said the Ferrari could be a prob­lem, and now it’s Red Bull,” Mercedes nonex­ec­u­tive chair­man Niki Lauda told Sky Sports tele­vi­sion.

“Here, what I’ve seen today, Red Bull is out­stand­ing, in the long runs they are one sec­ond quicker so they are re­ally do­ing an in­cred­i­ble per­for­mance at the mo­ment. For some rea­son Ferrari are slower, I don’t know why.”

Vet­tel hinted at the Ferrari’s po­ten­tial speed when he briefly lit up the tim­ing screens with the fastest first sec­tor, but he aborted that lap after run­ning into traf­fic and later nudg­ing the wall.

He then de­cided to fo­cus on lon­grun race sim­u­la­tions.

Nico Hulkenberg went an im­pres­sive fifth fastest for Re­nault ahead of McLaren pair Stof­fel Van­doorne and Fer­nando Alonso.

Ser­gio Perez was eighth quick­est for Force In­dia with team­mate Este­ban Ocon round­ing out the top 10.

Sev­eral cars skimmed the bar­ri­ers as they be­gan push­ing the lim­its of the track. But, other than a brief vir­tual safety car de­ployed to clear away an ad­ver­tis­ing hoard­ing that had fallen onto the track, the ses­sion was un­event­ful.

Red Bull's Daniel Ric­cia­rdo dur­ing prac­tice.

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