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Singapore GP 2016

SEPTEMBER 16, 2016

Practice 1 Report - Sunset Red

Max Verstappen
© The Cahier Archive


By Dan Knutson in Singapore

The Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo were the quickest in Free Practice 1 as the sun set on the Singapore street circuit. Sebastian Vettel claimed third place in his Ferrari, leaving Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg fourth and fifth.

The ambient temperature at the start of the 90-minute session was 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Centigrade.)

The line-up for the weekend was: Mercedes - Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Ferrari - Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen. Williams Mercedes - Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas. Red Bull TAG Heuer - Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen. Force India Mercedes - Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez. Renault - Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer. Toro Rosso Ferrari - Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz. Sauber Ferrari - Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr. McLaren Honda - Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button. Manor Mercedes - Pascal Wehrlein and Esteban Ocon. Haas Ferrari - Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez.

Grosjean was the first out on the 3.147-mile (5.065 km) 23-turn track. Button did a lap but was unable to complete a second one as his McLaren coasted to a halt. The marshals pushed the car back into the pits.

Alonso and Hamilton tried out the halo, and Hamilton still had it on his Mercedes when he clocked a 1:47.436, cutting exactly half a second of teammate Rosberg's time of 1:47.936.

Pirelli's ultra soft compound slicks with the purple sidewalls were available to the drivers in FP1 along with the super soft (red sidewalls) and soft compound (yellow sidewalls) tires.

Vettel slid into second place with a lap of 1:47.731 on the ultra softs, ahead of Rosberg who had lowered his time to a 1:47.743.

Red Bull was a big favorite to do well on the Singapore streets based on its performance in recent years, and 30 minutes into FP1 Verstappen went into third with a 1:47.467.

Vettel got in touch with the walls. He radioed in that he had brushed the wall at Turn 20, but there was only cosmetic damage.

Then, 36 minutes into the session, Verstappen topped the times with a 1:47.335 on the ultra softs. After getting the fuel system on his car repaired, Button was back on track.

At the 40 minute break, during which each team must return one set of tires from each driver to Pirelli, the top 10 were: Verstappen, Hamilton, Vettel, Rosberg, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Sainz, Gutierrez, Button and Hulkenberg.

Grosjean had done just three laps and would do no more because of a low intake pressure problem on the Haas.

Rosberg was the first to head back out, and he had the soft compound tires on his Mercedes. He turned a 1:46.513 to go to the top of the times. Then, with 35 minutes to go, Vettel set a 1:46.287 on the ultras. Verstappen, also on the ultras, beat that with a 1:46.229. Next Ricciardo used the ultras to clock a 1:45.872.

Hamilton, on the soft compound Pirellis, did a 1:46.426 to claim fourth place.

With just under half an hour to go, the top 10 were: Ricciardo, Verstappen, Vettel, Hamilton, Rosberg, Sainz, Kvyat, Raikkonen, Hulkenberg and Alonso.

Then Verstappen moved into first place with a time of 1:45.823.

With 13 minutes remaining, Rosberg locked up and went into the barrier at Turn 18 nose first, breaking off the front wing of his Mercedes. He was able to return to the pits.

The sun set at 7:03 p.m. local time - 27 minutes before the FP1 session ended with the top 10 being: Verstappen, Ricciardo, Vettel, Hamilton, Rosberg, Sainz, Raikkonen, Kvyat, Massa and Gutierrez.