FP2: Carlos Sainz heads Ferrari one-two, more lost time for Charles Leclerc
Carlos Sainz put himself and Ferrari at the top of the FP2 timings in Singapore, with Charles Leclerc battling back from further troubles.
Sainz enjoyed a smooth session as he set the pace with a 1:42.587, though he was flying the Ferrari flag solo for a time as Leclerc missed out on more track time, as he had suffered during FP1 as well.
Leclerc was not alone in going through a trimmed down schedule, Verstappen also spending a fair chunk of time in the garage, though both drivers ultimately got push laps in, Leclerc’s proving more competitive than Verstappen’s efforts.
With Verstappen finding himself P4, there was a Mercedes driver either side, the Silver Arrows unable to keep up their performance from FP1.
The Marina Bay Street Circuit was at peak wow factor as the lights fully took effect for FP2, Alex Albon thankfully feeling well enough after FP1 to continue in the race weekend, following his recent health scare.
Mercedes sat atop the FP1 timings courtesy of Lewis Hamilton, but it was over to George Russell in the other W13 to lay down an early marker on the medium rubber, clocking a 1:44.661. Hamilton soon bettered that by over half a second.
The W13 looked to be running lower than in FP1 as Mercedes chased extra performance, all while Nicholas Latifi was struggling to get comfortable with his seatbelts.
Ferrari also had further problems after a disrupted opening practice session, Charles Leclerc at the back of the garage of as the floor came off his F1-75.
Lance Stroll meanwhile was running a new gearbox as a precaution, following his whack of the wall in the previous session. Some evasive action to head down the escape road meant that Kevin Magnussen dodged a similar fate early in this FP2 session.
As for Russell, he went on a slide almost identical to what he suffered in FP1, this time avoiding the barriers. Progress! Red Bull were still in the garage due to a driveshaft failure on Sergio Perez’s RB18, while set-up changes were being made to Verstappen’s challenger.
Sainz decided that he fancied a spell at the top of the timings, a short one as Hamilton pipped him by just under 0.05s with a 1:43.668, even with a hold-up behind Latifi. Sainz soon took that back with a 1:43.2, while Pierre Gasly’s push lap ended in the escape road.
2o minutes gone in the session and still no sign of Leclerc, but Verstappen was out on the track, going P5 on the hard C3 tyre.
Now halfway through FP2, the front wing was going back onto Leclerc’s Ferrari as the driver got suited up, the all-important qualifying runs approaching fast.
Perez set off on a fresh set of softs, but much more would be needed than his 1:44.6, complete with a kiss of the wall, as Sainz would demonstrate by delivering a 1:42.7. Hamilton was hindered by traffic on his attempt.
Leclerc’s effort on the medium tyre was enough for P2, while Yuki Tsunoda was now the driver finding his car stranded in the garage. Russell had found time though was soon called back into the pits after a nasty lock-up, while Valtteri Bottas briefly triggered the yellow flags with an off down an escape road.
Sainz meanwhile improved to a 1:42.5, Leclerc reclaiming P2 from Russell despite still being on the medium tyres, Ferrari struggling to find a piece of clear track to drop him into if they were to switch him to soft tyres. Verstappen had not taken part in any of the qualy runs as work resumed on the front suspension.
Also back in the garage was Gasly as a fire broke out around the airbox above his head, triggering shocked looks on the mechanics who were wheeling him in. After taping up the damage, caused by a connected fuel breather, Gasly returned to the track. Tsunoda’s issue meanwhile was confirmed to be a fuel system issue.
Gasly went out into the thick of the race runs, Hamilton encountering a spot of bother as a snap forced him to go straight on at the first corner.
Leclerc meanwhile was determined to get that push lap in on the soft rubber, successful in his mission as he went P2 with a 1:42.795. Verstappen was also in action again and on a flying lap, P4 for the Red Bull driver after a tricky final sector.
Leclerc went again, but the soft tyres it seemed were not hanging on well, that final run not bringing any improvement as the clock struck zero. He made it clear to Ferrari that he cannot be doing these laps with traffic around.
1 Carlos SAINZ Ferrari 1:42.587
2 Charles LECLERC Ferrari +0.208
3 George RUSSELL Mercedes +0.324
4 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing +0.339
5 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes +0.595
6 Esteban OCON Alpine +0.825
7 Valtteri BOTTAS Alfa Romeo +0.844
8 Fernando ALONSO Alpine +0.933
9 Sergio PEREZ Red Bull Racing +1.319
10 Lance STROLL Aston Martin +1.395
11 Lando NORRIS McLaren +1.426
12 Sebastian VETTEL Aston Martin +1.662
13 Kevin MAGNUSSEN Haas F1 Team +1.835
14 Pierre GASLY AlphaTauri +1.882
15 Guanyu ZHOU Alfa Romeo +1.937
16 Alexander ALBON Williams +2.557
17 Yuki TSUNODA AlphaTauri +2.624
18 Daniel RICCIARDO McLaren +2.860
19 Mick SCHUMACHER Haas F1 Team +3.036
20 Nicholas LATIFI Williams +3.966