Carlos Sainz secured the practice hat-trick for Ferrari in Singapore with a 1:32.065 in a session in which Red Bull looked to have overcome their issues only to falter.
Sainz topped the timesheet in final practice at the Marina Bay circuit by 0.069s ahead of George Russell with Lando Norris third for McLaren.
As for Red Bull, Max Verstappen was fourth fastest with the driver complaining about “unacceptable” upshifts while Sergio Perez was P8 as his rear-end issues continued.
Carlos Sainz wins the final practice battle
After Friday’s practices and the laying down of the rubber, the drivers faced a washed down and slippery Marina Bay surface after heavy rainfall earlier in the day. It was, however, dry as they took to the track for the start of FP3.
Red Bull were a bit late to the party as the team continued to work on both RB19s after Friday’s troubles with Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen seven-tenths down on pace-setter Carlos Sainz and complaining about a lack of traction and too much oversteer.
As Sainz hit the front with a 1:35.0, Perez and Verstappen left the garage with the Dutchman immediately going quickest, six-tenths up on the Ferrari.
But Perez wasn’t happy and complained the rear was “still on the edge, feels a bit too pointy on entries”. He was eight-tenths down on his teammate. Perez pitted, and Verstappen went off at Turn 14. Alfa Romeo were also having a few troubles as Valtteri Bottas lamented traffic and Zhou Guanyu told Alfa Romeo his C45 was a “bit too neutral”.
As the track conditions ramped up, Verstappen went P1 with a 1:33.6…. and then let rip at his “f**k” upshifts. But it wasn’t all bad as he did decline the opportunity to pit for a flap adjustment, telling his race engineer that he was “happy”.
Russell joined the Verstappen v Sainz battle and traded P1s before his teammate Lewis Hamilton joined him at the sharp end of the timesheet for a Mercedes 1-2. At the other end, Liam Lawson brought out the yellows as he went spinning.
Set-up changes saw Leclerc pit for a wing adjustment while Perez had a bit more work done on his RB19 but the driver still wasn’t happy. Bottas had a scruffy entrance into the pits, one in which he went wide over the lines.
The first of the qualifying simulations began with 20 minutes to go with Russell lowering his benchmark to a 1:32.3. Lando Norris in the upgraded McLaren jumped ahead of the Mercedes teammates by 0.06s but surprisingly given his earlier pace in the session Verstappen’s time was only good enough for P4, 0.3s down. “Unacceptable” he said of his upshift problems.
Friday’s pace-setter Sainz regained P1 with a 1:32.065 while a late lap from Russell closed the gap to 0.069s. Norris finished third ahead of Verstappen, Leclerc and Hamilton.
1 Carlos SAINZ Ferrari 1:32.065
2 George RUSSELL Mercedes +0.069
3 Lando NORRIS McLaren +0.238
4 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing +0.313
5 Charles LECLERC Ferrari +0.316
6 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes +0.470
7 Oscar PIASTRI McLaren +0.665
8 Sergio PEREZ Red Bull Racing +0.719
9 Nico HULKENBERG Haas F1 Team +0.831
10 Yuki TSUNODA AlphaTauri +0.880
11 Kevin MAGNUSSEN Haas F1 Team +0.905
12 Esteban OCON Alpine +0.914
13 Fernando ALONSO Aston Martin +0.986
14 Lance STROLL Aston Martin +1.061
15 Pierre GASLY Alpine +1.286
16 Liam LAWSON AlphaTauri +1.292
17 Alexander ALBON Williams +1.305
18 Valtteri BOTTAS Alfa Romeo +1.475
19 Guanyu ZHOU Alfa Romeo +1.572
20 Logan SARGEANT Williams +1.643