The fastest time in free practice today was set by Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg with a benchmark of 1m44.152s in FP2 on the ultrasoft tyre. It has been far from the anomaly of a performance that Mercedes suffered last season here but both driver suffered incidents in Free Practice. Rosberg crashed in FP1 and a hydraulic issue sidelined Hamilton in FP2.
While Rosberg finished FP2 fastest the Mercedes pair were split by both Ferrari and Red Bull after the latter topped FP1, with Max Verstappen fastest in that session. It might not be the nightmare that struck in 2015 but it has been far from comfortable so far, giving both Red Bull and Ferrari hope of challenging this weekend.
This is Nico Rosberg’s 200th GP weekend and the German will be looking to extend he recent run to 3 race wins as the title showdown between the two Mercedes drivers comes to a head.
In the more representative and slightly cooler conditions of FP2, which started off with 33 degrees of track temperature, drivers were able to concentrate on qualifying simulations and race rehearsals, seeing how their cars reacted with different fuel loads and tyres on the constantly evolving surface.
The performance gap between the ultrasoft and supersoft is currently around 0.9s, whereas the gap between supersoft and soft is around 1.3s – meaning that for now, more than two seconds cover the three choices available.
With traction being a characteristic of the Marina Bay circuit, drivers had to take particular care to avoid overheating the softest compounds in particular. With the ultrasoft never having run in Singapore before, and likely to play a prominent role in qualifying, gaining sufficient information about it was a priority throughout free practice.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “We saw a lot of teams experimenting different technical solutions in FP1, whereas the work was more specifically focussed on qualifying and the race in FP2. On this type of track strategy can make a very big difference, so this is sure to be a big focus of tonight’s data analysis as teams consider the best tactics for what’s set to be a multi-stop race. The way that the track evolves in Singapore is considerably different from a daytime race, and the teams had a good opportunity tonight to assess the pattern of wear and degradation as the night went on: vital information for the rest of the weekend.”
|FP1 – TIMES||FP2 – TIMES|
|1. Verstappen||1m45.823s||Ultrasoft New||1. Rosberg||1m44.152s||Ultrasoft New|
|2. Ricciardo||1m45.872s||Ultrasoft New||2. Raikkonen||1m44.427s||Ultrasoft New|
|3. Vettel||1m46.287s||Ultrasoft New||3. Verstappen||1m44.532s||Ultrasoft New|
FP1 – BEST TIME PER COMPOUND
FP2 – BEST TIME PER COMPOUND
LONGEST STINTS OF THE DAY
Tyre statistics of the day:
|kms driven *||1110||2226||2561|
|sets used overall **||14||30||44|
|highest number of laps **||21||23||23|
* The above number gives the total amount of kilometres driven in FP1 and FP2 today, all drivers combined.
** Per compound, all drivers combined.
Minimum prescribed tyre pressures: 20psi (front) and 17.5psi (rear)
Pirelli fact of the day: The lighting generated over the track is around four times more powerful than that seen at a football stadium. Such are the forces exerted by the cars on the road surface that the many manholes on the street circuit are actually welded shut before the start of the weekend. These same forces, plus the high humidity, means that a driver can lose up to four kilograms in weight during the arduous two hours that normally make up the Singapore Grand Prix.