Singapore Grand Prix: Practice Sessions
The final street circuit of the season showcased Pirelli’s P Zero Red supersoft tyres and P Zero White medium during the opening two free practice sessions.
Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel went fastest in the second session, with a time of 1m44.249s on the supersoft.
As expected, humidity was close to 75% at the Marina Bay circuit, which hosts Formula One’s only night race. This is just one of the factors that makes Singapore such a physically demanding race, so the two free practice sessions were essential for the teams to capture data that will allow them to maximize their opportunities during the race. After the flat-out straights of Monza, the teams revert to a high-downforce set-up for Singapore, which is the second-slowest lap of the year after Monaco.
Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery said: “It’s absolutely fantastic for us to be back in Singapore where the atmosphere is as spectacular as ever. Because it is such a different race to anywhere else, the work done in free practice is vital to assimilate information with different fuel loads, set-ups and compounds. This data forms the backbone of each team’s strategy, but with the high probability of a safety car, the strategies have to be as flexible as possible. Normally we’d be looking at two pit stops here, but it depends so much on how the race pans out or even if it runs to its full allocation of scheduled laps, which wasn’t the case last year. Singapore is also a massive contrast to the two races that have preceded it, so seeing how the high-downforce set-ups work with the tyres in these conditions was another priority. We’ve got more data to look at but what we can say for now is that wear is low and there is a significant performance gap of approximately two seconds between the two compounds which really opens up the opportunities for strategy. We’d expect most people to qualify on the supersoft, as it’s the closest we get to an actual qualifying tyre, but then what they do in the race is completely open.”