Charles Leclerc was the man to beat in a shortened final practice for the Singapore GP, with drivers getting just half an hour to familiarize themselves with a wet circuit ahead of qualifying.
The red flag was held for half an hour as marshals attempted to remove standing water, and it was Max Verstappen who looked imperious for much of the 30 minutes of running, eventually finishing second as the Ferraris moved in, with Carlos Sainz third.
The Mercedes pair, who had looked quick on a dry track yesterday, appeared to struggle to heat into their Pirellis, with George Russell ninth and Lewis Hamilton 12th on the time sheets.
Here’s what happened in all practice sessions for the 2022 Singapore GP.
It was the Alfa Romeo pair setting early sighter laps on the streets of Singapore, with Valtteri Bottas going quickest with a 1min 49.166sec.
With all drivers keen to get out and get back to grips with a track which hadn’t been used for three years though, normal service was very quickly resumed – Max Verstappen hit the top with a 1min 45.466sec, over a second faster than his teammate Sergio Perez, the next closest man on track.
It wasn’t such smooth running for Charles Leclerc though, who immediately reported issues with his brakes and came back in after an out-lap. With almost twenty minutes of the session gone, he still hadn’t set a time.
After a third of the session had gone, the driver closest to the Milton Keynes pair wamuys Alpine’s Fernando Alonso, at first 1.3sec off the pace, then climbing into second with a time 1.1sec off Verstappen.
With still no lap set by Leclerc, Ferrari’s only representation was Carlos Sainz, who was fourth on a 1min 45.626sec.
He wasn’t happy though: “It’s very clear the set-up change we need to do guys,” said the Spaniard to his team on the radio.
Ocon added to Alpine’s impressive form with fifth, but was shuffled down the order by Russell halfway through the session with a 1min 45.970sec.
Sebastian Vettel then popped up into fourth, 1.1sec off the top time.
Whilst his team-mate was down in 19th, Alex Albon was impressive by getting into the top ten on his comeback from appendicitis and a respiratory failure at Monza, his 1min 46.119sec putting him seventh for a period.
“What’s going on with the ‘torque overun’,” said an unhappy Russell with 25 minutes left, whilst Sainz nearly hit the wall on another fast lap.
“I had a moment,” he said with some understatement.
Not quite as much as the one Lance Stroll was about to experience at the exact same point on the circuit though, as he clipped the barrier on 21 minutes, his left rear suspension broken.
The Canadian was fourth on the timesheets beforehand, his promising practice over.
The session was red-flagged to retrieve his Aston Martin as the precious little track time was reduced further.
When running got back underway, Albon hit the track immediately, showing no signs of ill-effect from his medical issues.
Sainz had a huge high-speed moment in the final corner, but the Spaniard somehow kept it out of the wall.
Leclerc then finally got a decent lap on the board with the second fastest lap of the session, only 0.3sec off Verstappen.
With ten minutes left Hamilton was still languishing down in the 18th, with Norris behind him. Having said driveability was really poor beforehand though, the Mercedes driver then surprised everyone by going fastest with a 1min 43.033sec.
Verstappen had a lock-up and ended up in the run-off, but managed to escape and carry on his way.
When the flag fell the top three was Hamilton – Verstappen – Leclerc, appearing to signal that this weekend’s qualifying and race could certainly be close-run things.
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Yet agin it was the Alfas which set the the early times, the timing screens showing Bottas at the top with a 1min 45.893sec.
Soon though he was bested by George Russell, sparks flying as he put in a 1min 44.661sec.
“There’s something not quite right with belts, compromising my lap-time,” said an uncomfortable Latifi as he soon headed back in.
Hamilton then knocked 0.6sec off his team-mate’s time to go fastest, continuing on from his impressive lap at the end of FP1.
Verstappen was still in the pits, having his front suspension changed, with neither Perez or Leclerc having set a time with over ten minutes gone.
Sainz then topped Hamilton by 0.3sec, making more progress than he’d done in the first session, which featured a number of lurid moments for the Spaniard.
However it wasn’t long before the Mercedes driver was back in front, the W13 appearing to manage the kerbs well with a 1min 43.668sec.
Several drivers were running off track, with both Magnussen and Gasly locking up and having to spin their car in the run-off.
Leclerc was having his car scanned for scrutineering purposes and therefore couldn’t leave the garage, but his team-mate Sainz improved as he clocked a 1min 43.231sec.
Verstappen then sampled the hard tire with 35 minutes left, going fifth quickest, 1.4sec slower than Sainz, who then went even faster on 1min 42.751sec.
A surprise name near the top was Valtteri Bottas, who was in the second after using the sort tyre, 0.6sec off Sainz.
As drivers pushed, thus more hairy moments were occurring – both Perez and Ocon hit the wall, escaping with no damage, whilst Sainz came within millimeters of doing the same.
Russell then locked up when looking to improve, but still went second quickest, only 0.160sec away from the ultimate pace. Both Mercedes had been setting their quicker times on the second lap into runs, showing again that the Mercedes is slow to warm up its tires.
As if things weren’t hot enough, Gasly’s car needed a puff of fire extinguisher in the pitlane as the airbox suffered a touch of conflagration, the Frenchman managing to extract himself before the situation got much worse.
By now many drivers were trying out the long runs on the medium tyre, with Verstappen down in 15th.
Hamilton had a moment into Turn 1, oversteering off the circuit, with Russell now ahead of him in third, 0.3sec off Sainz’s time.
Verstappen then attempted a qualifying simulation run, his 1min 42.926sec good enough for fourth.
From here the order would stay the same, with Sainz looking confident in first, with a frustrated Leclerc second, Russell third, Verstappen fourth and Hamilton fifth.
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At 1pm a huge downpour hit Marina Bay, meaning the session was delayed by stewards to move the standing water and allow other parts of the track to dry.
With half the session gone, the green flag was finally thrown, allowing cars to get some precious track time on a still-wet circuit.
Pierre Gasly was the first man to venture out, using the full wet tyres. His 2min 09.894sec was the early marker, with Valtteri Bottas on track behind him, who told his team that he actually thought intermediates might be the better tyre.
Gasly’s AlphaTauri team-mate Yuki Tsunoda clocked a lap 4sec off the top time, with Bottas a further 2sec back.
Daniel Ricciardo then slotted in second with a 2min 10.874sec, but his McLaren stablemate Lando Norris then hit the top, besting Gasly by 0.2sec.
The Haas pair of Mick Schumacher and Kevin Magnussen filed in fourth and fifth, 1.7sec and 2sec off Norris respectively.
The German then went fastest on a 2min 09.388sec, but Carlos Sainz soon shaved 0.7sec off that.
It wasn’t then long before Max Verstappen arrived, a 2min 06.872sec announcing him as the fastest man on the track.
The times soon tumbled. Verstappen took 3sec off his quickest lap, with Gasly with 0.2sec off his fellow Red Bull employee.
Sergio Perez was the next closest man, helped a second slower than his team-mate.
With 12 minutes left on the clock, none of the Mercedes, Alpines or Aston Martins had set a time.
Schumacher was then subject to hurried calls to stop when one of his tires wasn’t fitted correctly by the team, whilst Russell took part in a simulated pitstop before heading out.
Verstappen had brought down his time to 2min 02.098sec, with Sainz less than a tenth behind.
Leclerc then joined the party by hitting the top with a 2min 00.983sec, but Verstappen immediately improved on that by 1.5sec.
Alex Albon went into one of the run-off areas and had to spin his Williams out of trouble, as his team-mate Latifi had done earlier in the session – the Canadian was 13sec off Leclerc, who was now fastest with a 1min 58.899sec .
The Mercedes cars were appearing to struggle to build tire temperature, with Hamilton sixth (3.5sec off top) with Russell in 14th, 4.6sec off.
As the checkered flag fell, it was Leclerc leading the pack with 1min 57.782sec, with Verstappen half a second off. Their nearest challenger was Sainz, 1sec off the his team-mate’s pace.
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