Singapore GP 2017

SEPTEMBER 16, 2017

Practice 3 Report - Worrying times

Max Verstappen, Singapore GP 2017
© RV Press


By Dan Knutson in Singapore

Max Verstappen may have set the fastest lap time in Free Practice 3 for the Singapore Grand Prix, but there were worrying times for the Red Bull team as Verstappen had a gearbox glitch while Daniel Ricciardo clipped the wall.

The lineup for the weekend was: Mercedes “ Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas; Red Bull TAG Heuer “ Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen; Ferrari “ Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen; Force India Mercedes “ Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon; Williams Mercedes “ Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll; McLaren Honda “ Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne; Renault “ Nico Hulkenberg and Jolyon Palmer; Toro Rosso Renault “ Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz; Haas Ferrari “ Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen; Sauber Ferrari “ Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein.

Ricciardo's best lap time on Friday was a 1:40.852 on the ultra soft Pirelli slicks.

"I am not really surprised with our performance," he said Friday. "I knew we would come here with a good car. We made some progress from the morning and even though we were the quickest in FP1, I still wanted to get more out of the car and the set up in the afternoon. We took another step forward throughout the day, which was good and we now hope there is still more room to improve for tomorrow."

The ambient temperature at the start of the 60-minute FP3 was 84 degrees Fahrenheit (29 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Centigrade). The humidity was 59 percent.

The Ferrari teammates were the first out on the track for the evening session, but only half the field did intall laps in the early going. In fact, only about half the drivers even clocked a lap time in the first third of the session.

Vettel set the early pace with lap of 1:43.237. Then just before the halfway mark, Verstappen posted a 1:42.249 on the ultra soft tires. And Ricciardo posted a 1:42.517.

Lap times would start to come in as the teams got the cars dialed in for the qualifying runs later in the session.

But first came the red flags 32 minutes into the session after Ericsson got sideways and backed into the wall at Turn 19. He got the damaged Sauber back to the pits, and the marshals cleaned up the debris.

Nineteen minutes remained when the session restarted.

Vettel went straight out and turned a 1:41.919. Hamilton and Bottas were also on track but could not get close to that time. Nor could Raikkonen.

The Red Bull boys stayed put in the pits for the time being, but then ventured out with about 10 minutes to go. The order at the times was Vettel, Verstappen, Hamilton (who had improved), Ricciardo, Hulkenberg, Bottas, Alonso and Raikkonen.

Verstappen went to the front with a 1:41.829. Ricciardo clipped the barrier and drove slowly back to the pits.

Then things went wrong for Verstappen as well. "The car is shifting by itself," he radioed. After a quick pit stop he headed back out. Ricciardo also got back on track. But time was running out.

The top 10 at the end of the session were: Verstappen, Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso, Vandoorne, Ricciardo, Hulkenberg, Bottas, Raikkonen and Perez.