Singapore Grand Prix: Practice Sessions
The Marina Bay circuit was lapped with some of the quickest times in its eight-season history today, following some track modifications and corner re-profiling from Turns 10 to 13 this year.
The fastest time of the day was set by Red Bull driver Daniil Kyvat, who set a time of 1m46.142s on the P Zero Red supersoft tire (compared to the equivalent fastest FP2 time last year of 1m47.490s). The top three in FP2 were within just a tenth of a second of each other, after a closely fought session.
With Marina Bay being a street circuit used for normal traffic during the year, the surface was quite ‘green’, especially in FP1, which led to a high degree of track evolution as usual. More rubber was laid down in FP2 enabling the cars to go even faster, although there were also one or two drops of rain – a consequence of the naturally high humidity levels – which had no effect on the running.
As usual in Singapore, track temperatures fell progressively during the session, meaning that the conditions in FP2 were most representative of Sunday night’s race. Consequently, the teams especially focussed on understanding tire behavior during this evening session, held between 2130-2300 local time.
Unusually, both Mercedes were out of the top three in FP2, although they went quickest in FP1, with all the teams working through a programme designed to replicate race pace for Sunday, in order to formulate the optimal strategy. Currently, there is a performance gap of 1.5 to 1.6 seconds between the two compounds, although this may come down as more rubber is laid on the circuit tomorrow.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director: “We found conditions as we expected them to be in Singapore tonight, with a very green and slippery track that evolved rapidly. So far, it’s about a second and a half between the two compounds, which is again broadly in line with our expectations. This leads to a few strategy options, in a race that is always unpredictable. In other news, we’re obviously very pleased to see that the procedure for measuring tire pressures during the race has been formalized and clearly communicated to all the teams; this is very important to eliminate any grey areas.”