Saturday evening in Singapore started with Fernando Alonso on the top of the time sheet. Alonso edged out the Red Bull of Ricciardo to take the top spot for the second time this weekend, as the drivers prepared for qualifying.
Throughout Friday, the battle in free practice for the top time was between Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso. In the opening practice session, it was Fernando who took the advantage in his Ferrari to pip the Mercedes. But come FP2 Hamilton moved on top, pushing Alonso behind whilst Rosberg lingered down the time sheet.
Maldonado hit the wall at Turn 10 midway through the second free practice session and brought out the only red flag of the day. During the race a safety car is highly probable but as it was a practice session, the session was stopped. Unfortunately for some drivers, this came during their flying laps. With one of those drivers caught out being Rosberg.
But that was all yesterday and any overnight changes can see a heap of changes on track as drivers and their teams look to perfect their set up ahead of qualifying. One team who went into Saturday needing serious improvements following poor results in the first two practice session were Williams.
Come the green light to mark the start of the session, the evening sky remained bright as the sun set in Singapore.
The first driver of the day to venture onto the streets of the Marina Bay circuit was Max Chilton. A handful of other drivers soon joined him on track but it was Esteban Gutierrez with the first timed lap of the day, a 1:53:971. Before the times slowly began to fall via Magnussen, Button and then Ricciardo as the marker fell towards 1 minute 50.
Over the early stages of the session, drivers appeared to be struggling with the grip levels at hand, with some having an occasional lock up. During the gap between the Formula One practice sessions, a lot of dust has gathered on the track. Which is the most likely reason why drivers were struggling. But for Button, his early lock up appeared to be down to simply leaving it too late to break.
A radio message between the Force India pit wall and their driver was broadcasted on TV around 20 minutes into the session. The team personnel had begun to describe information to their driver, however soon realised it would contravene the new regulations for radio messages and swiftly stopped.
Shortly after this was broadcasted and whilst the drivers began to feel more acclimatised to the conditions, the overall best times slowly improved. Although for Nico Rosberg, he leapt to the top spot with a lap time over a second faster than Ricciardo’s previous table topping time.
As for Rosberg’s team-mate, Lewis Hamilton had a moment through turn 5 as he rode the kerb under breaking before his Mercedes snapped sideways. In general, a car snapping sideways is nothing special, they do it all the time if they do not have sufficient grip. However this time, Lewis was soon on the team radio to tell the them that his engine had briefly stalled.
Hamilton was able to carry on going after his brief engine stall but after returning to the garage, his mechanics gave his car the once over to ensure it was 100% fine to continue. But out on track, Kvyat was suffering multiple lock ups in his Toro Rosso.
Kvyat claimed over the radio that he almost crashed at turn 5 due to his tyre locking. But as for the locking when at turn 13, it was “so annoying”.
With quarter of an hour remaining in the session, the first driver of the day to use the supersoft tyres hit the track in the form of Rosberg & his Mercedes. When he crossed the finish line to set his first time on the fresh rubber, he was able to find slightly over a second compared to his earlier time.
Other drivers were also finding vast gains on the option tyres, with Hulkenberg temporarily moving up to P2. Fernando Alonso, after topping FP1, then gained the top spot in FP3 on his flying lap.
Hulkenberg’s time was soon pushed further down the order as Ricciardo went P2 despite closing in on a Williams in the final corners. Hamilton however was struggling to get towards the front as he carried out a messy lap to move up to P4, and 4 tenths of Alonso.
Hamilton was pushed further down the order before the chequered flag fell as Vettel made his way to P5 and Vergne moved into the top 4. But as the chequered flag waved away to mark the end of the session, Fernando Alonso was still on top. Behind the Ferrari came Daniel Ricciardo, who was just 5 hundredths back. Then Rosberg, a further tenth back.
|2||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:47.350||0.051|
|5||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:47.711||0.412|
|11||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:48.450||1.151|
|15||11||Sergio Perez||Force India-Mercedes||1:49.078||1.779|