Red Bull have wings
A one-two in free practice as Ricciardo sets a new Singapore lap record
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.