Red Bull have wings

A one-two in free prac­tice as Ric­cia­rdo sets a new Sin­ga­pore lap record

Sport360 - - Motorsport | Singapore Grand Prix - By Staff Re­porter @Sport360 ed­i­to­rial@sport360.com

Red Bull’s Daniel Ric­cia­rdo and Max Ver­stap­pen topped free prac­tice for the Sin­ga­pore Grand Prix yes­ter­day, as McLaren’s move to dump en­gine sup­plier Honda trig­gered a wave of up­heaval off the track.

Ric­cia­rdo clocked a record 1min 40.852sec in the sec­ond ses­sion at the flood­lit street cir­cuit, while Ver­stap­pen was half-a-sec­ond back – with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamil­ton and Valt­teri Bot­tas third and fourth.

All four were sig­nif­i­cantly quicker than the Fer­raris, in­di­cat­ing pos­si­ble prob­lems for the Ital­ian team. Kimi Raikko­nen was ninth quick­est, two sec­onds off the pace, and Se­bas­tian Vet­tel was down in 11th.

“I’m after a dom­i­nant weekend and so far this has been a good start,” said a con­fi­dent Ric­cia­rdo.

“It’s im­por­tant that we keep that for to­mor­row but I have faith that we can per­form on this level all weekend. I know the chal­lenge in qual­i­fy­ing will be a po­ten­tially stronger Ferrari and Mercedes but I’m con­fi­dent we can stay up there and fight with them at the top.”

Vet­tel is a four-time win­ner at the Sin­ga­pore night race, which started in 2008 and will now run un­til at least 2021 after or­gan­is­ers an­nounced a four-year con­tract ex­ten­sion. He ar­rived in South­east Asia just three points be­hind Hamil­ton, who has been in ram­pant form, win­ning three of the last four grands prix.

“We were close with the field and we have still got some im­prove­ments to make with the car,” said Hamil­ton. “Red Bull seem very strong but noth­ing is out of reach.”

Re­nault’s Nico Hulkenberg was fifth while it was a pos­i­tive ses­sion for McLaren’s Stof­fel Van­doorne and Fer­nando Alonso, who were sixth and sev­enth.

Big city lights: The stun­ning Sin­ga­pore Grand Prix, held at night, cel­e­brates 10 years this weekend.

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