Daniel Ricciardo sets the opening pace at the Singapore Grand Prix.
The evening sun may still have been beaming down over the Singapore streets, but the Red Bull was shining as Daniel Ricciardo posted the fastest time in First Free Practice for the Singapore Grand Prix. Setting a new absolute lap record for the Marina Bay Street Circuit, with times only set to continue to fall as night creeps in.
Daniel posted his fastest time of the session an hour into the session, as he demoted his team-mate from the top spot by a tenth of a second.
Ricciardo’s 1:42.489 saw the 2016 pole lap time bettered, and a new track record set, despite first practices noncomparative nature given the evening slot the session sits in.
Nonetheless, Ricciardo edged Ferrari’s best offering via Vettel by a tenth of a second, too. With the German splitting the Red Bull’s by a matter of hundredths as he showed Ferrari’s first attacking offer.
Mercedes’ best offering came courtesy of Lewis Hamilton as the Briton, and Bottas, took to the track on ultrasoft tyres ahead of the field. Running in the gap between first sets of tyres are handed back to Pirelli and second runs engaged.
Lewis’ best lap saw the new championship leader take the then top spot by four-tenths of a second, despite failing to post the fastest final sector time.
As for Valtteri, Bottas posted the first time of the day with a 1:48.770. Hitting the track with an early run that saw the Finn improve to a 1:46.873 and 1:45.307. Bottas, though, had a tricky session as he reported the rear of his Mercedes was “undrivable” due to excessive movement.
Valtteri also claimed that after just seven laps, his ultrasoft tyres were finished. With the Mercedes laying down thick black lines under traction, suggesting heavy use of the rear tyres.
Problems also loomed at Renault with Hulkenberg asked early on to turn “fail B2 on”, noting “it’s urgent”.
As for Palmer, Jolyon also reported: “understeer on entry, bit of understeer at the last corner, and oversteer on traction, especially turn 10”. Swiftly following his complaints with an unplanned stopped at Turn 13 as he lost braking.
Ahead of the expected divorce between McLaren and Honda, Fernando dropped his usual complaint at the Japanese power unit provider during FP1 with “oh my god, really?” when suggested by the team that he harvested energy in an alternative way amidst traffic.
McLaren pitwall: “Looks like the pack’s coming up. Ok so we can do a flying lap in G3 and we’ll save the G1 lap for later.”
At first, Alonso replied: “Oh my god, really?” before adding: “It’s OK we do whatever. We need to do more important test than the G3 lap, so it’s OK.”
When Alonso was later told he was sat in P7, Fernando chirped back “we could by P1”. Leaving suggestions of the Renault power deal and the Renault powered Red Bull sat atop the leaderboard.
Finally, first practice saw Lance Stroll forced into an early end having reported a loss of power. But, while it was a heavily used practice power unit, the team were only left changing the gearbox ahead of FP2.
|1||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||TAG||21||1’42.489|
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||TAG||23||1’42.610||0.121|
|5||Sergio Perez||Force India||Mercedes||25||1’43.423||0.934|
|10||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||Renault||25||1’44.220||1.731|
|13||Esteban Ocon||Force India||Mercedes||25||1’45.053||2.564|
|18||Sean Gelael||Toro Rosso||Renault||26||1’47.570||5.081|