Red Bull may have stumbled in Friday’s practice for the Singapore Grand Prix, but Fernando Alonso is adamant they’ll be up to speed when it matters most.
While Ferrari controlled both practice sessions at the Marina Bay circuit, Red Bull’s concerns that this could be their bogey track for the season seemed to come true.
Neither Max Verstappen nor Sergio Perez looked particularly at ease with their RB19s throughout the Friday sessions and complained of a lack of traction, and lots of oversteer while Perez even reported he felt as if he was going “to crash at every braking point”.
Can Red Bull bounce back on Saturday?
While Verstappen finished the opening hour with the third fastest time, he dropped to eighth under the lights on Friday night with Perez was seventh.
The Mexican driver was 0.692 seconds behind the leading Ferrari of Carlos Sainz, with Verstappen a further 0.040 seconds back.
However, Alonso, fourth fastest in FP2, is convinced Red Bull will be in the fight for pole position come Saturday night.
“Red Bull will be fast when it counts, so yeah, it’s very tight,” he said.
“You can be P5 or P6, or you can be out of Q3 because within two tenths there are a lot of cars. It’s going to be tight. We have to be ready for anything and nail the lap in Q2 and Q3.”
The Spaniard reckons Ferrari – 1-2 in both practices – could also be ahead of out of reach for Aston Martin.
“I think Ferrari is probably out of reach again,” he said. “Like Monza, they are a little bit too fast.”
Red Bull worried Ferrari are ‘too far away’
Perez, seven-tenths down on Friday night, is worried Red Bull’s deficit to Ferrari could be too big to reel them in come Saturday’s qualifying.
He is, however, hoping Red Bull can resolve their rear-end issues and get back into the fight.
“I think there’s some interesting bits going on that we need to figure out overnight hopefully,” he told Sky Sports F1.
“We seem to be struggling quite a bit with the rear end of the car. Especially in FP2, so plenty of things to look at and hopefully we can come up with the best possible setup because we know that qualifying it’s very important.”
He added: “We did expect the Ferrari to be very strong around here. We [are] just too far away.
“Hopefully tomorrow [Saturday] we are able to close the gap a bit more, but I do expect quite a challenge. I think come Q3, it should be all very straightforward, but I don’t think we are relying anything on that.
“The main thing is to make sure we are able to improve the balance that so far, we are far off.”
As for Helmut Marko, he is hoping Red Bull “can do something in qualifying, otherwise it will be very difficult.”