The fastest time in free practice today was set by Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg with a benchmark of 1m44.152s in FP2 on the ultrasoft tyre.
In the more representative and slightly cooler conditions of FP2, which started off with 33 degrees of track temperature, drivers were able to concentrate on qualifying simulations and race rehearsals, seeing how their cars reacted with different fuel loads and tyres on the constantly evolving surface. The performance gap between the ultrasoft and supersoft is currently around 0.9s, whereas the gap between supersoft and soft is around 1.3s – meaning that for now, more than two seconds cover the three choices available.
With traction being a characteristic of the Marina Bay circuit, drivers had to take particular care to avoid overheating the softest compounds in particular. With the ultrasoft never having run in Singapore before, and likely to play a prominent role in qualifying, gaining sufficient information about it was a priority throughout free practice.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “We saw a lot of teams experimenting different technical solutions in FP1, whereas the work was more specifically focussed on qualifying and the race in FP2. On this type of track strategy can make a very big difference, so this is sure to be a big focus of tonight’s data analysis as teams consider the best tactics for what’s set to be a multi-stop race. The way that the track evolves in Singapore is considerably different from a daytime race, and the teams had a good opportunity tonight to assess the vital information for the rest of the pattern of wear and degradation as the night went on: weekend.”