Red Bull looked all out of sorts on Friday ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix, but Danica Patrick is not reading much into that.
While Ferrari recorded a one-two finish in the opening practice session, Max Verstappen was not far behind, his deficit to Charles Leclerc out front only 0.126s.
FP2 though was a far more alarming session for Red Bull as Ferrari claimed another one-two, though with Verstappen and team-mate Sergio Perez this time seven-tenths off the pace, with Perez claiming over team radio that he feared crashing in every braking zone, due to instability in the rear end of the RB19.
Danica Patrick hints at Red Bull “games”
While only the very brave would count Red Bull out come qualifying on Saturday, the deficit to Ferrari is nonetheless concerning for the team which has won all 14 grands prix so far in F1 2023.
Patrick though does not believe we should read too deeply into Red Bull’s Friday struggles.
“I’m not always buying every time that a team has a bad day, or even a session,” the former IndyCar and NASCAR racer told Sky F1. “Because sometimes it just all of a sudden turns the other direction.
“There’s probably games getting played, and then sometimes you just miss it. So yeah, not really counting them out.
“But they did come in saying it would probably be a little bit more of a struggle, and so far that’s been true…it’s only Friday.”
Come the end of FP2, the top seven featured Ferrari, Mercedes, Aston Martin, Red Bull and McLaren, with Sainz in P1 down to Perez in P7 separated by less than seven-tenths.
Former Aston Martin strategy chief Bernie Collins believes the Marina Bay Street Circuit, a venue which demands great driver confidence, will continue to create a mixed-up top 10 as the race weekend progresses.
“All year, Red Bull has been up front, but behind that it’s been very difficult to tell the order, and I think that is the case here,” she said.
“And it is a drivers track almost, we spoke so much about the confidence, so I think you will get a very potentially mixed up grid or you’ll get more than just the standard order in that top 10.”
Red Bull potentially then face the biggest threat yet during this record-breaking F1 winning streak, the Austrian outfit currently on 15 in a row, while Verstappen is chasing an 11th victory on the trot this weekend in Singapore.