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Max third quickest in Singapore FP1

Published on 15 September 2023 by Stefan Meens

Max Verstappen opened his Singapore Grand Prix weekend with the third quickest time in the first free practice session. Ferrari led the way on the altered Marina Bay Circuit with Charles Leclerc fastest ahead of team mate Carlos Sainz. Max’ Oracle Red Bull Racing colleague Sergio Perez was seventh quickest.

Due to taking place during the day time, FP1 in Singapore is traditionally not a good indicator of the conditions that the drivers will face during Saturday’s qualifying and Sunday’s Grand Prix as both sessions are scheduled during the evening.

Nevertheless, it is busy out on track as soon as the pitlane opens, with only Williams waiting to send their driver pairing out of the garage. Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas is the first driver to clock a time, which is soon bettered my McLaren’s Lando Norris.

Max’ first timed effort, completed on the hard Pirelli tyres, is good enough for P3. The Dutchman’s feedback to the team is clear and concise: “Pretty much in every corner, I have oversteer on corner exit”. On the other side of the Red Bull garage, Perez reports problems of his own, asking for his seat to be raised with the Mexican having trouble spotting the apex of the corners.

After a busy opening half of the session, the Marina Bay circuit goes quiet with the teams preparing for qualifying simulations on the red side-walled soft tyres. Pierre Gasly is the first driver to clock a flying lap on the quickest compound. The rest of drivers have to wait for a moment to unleash their potential after a yellow flag is waved due to a lizard trespassing on track.

When Max ventures out for his first flying lap on the softs, he has dropped down the order to P16. However, the reigning champion makes ample use of extra grip the Pirellis offer and clocks the second quickest time behind Leclerc. Shortly after, Max is relegated to P3, with Sainz completing a Ferrari double at the top of the leaderboards.

In the closing stages, another lizard-prompted yellow flag briefly interrupts the session but most drivers still head out to complete a long run simulation on the hards, meaning lap times are no longer bettered.

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Results first free practice Singapore:

1Charles LeclercLECFerrari1:33.350 24
2Carlos SainzSAIFerrari1:33.428+0.078s23
3Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:33.476+0.126s21
4Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Mercedes1:33.522+0.172s23
5Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:33.540+0.190s20
6George RussellRUSMercedes1:33.695+0.345s24
7Sergio PerezPERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:33.725+0.375s21
8Fernando AlonsoALOAston Martin Mercedes1:33.974+0.624s27
9Yuki TsunodaTSUAlphaTauri Honda RBPT1:34.042+0.692s24
10Esteban OconOCOAlpine Renault1:34.066+0.716s23
11Lance StrollSTRAston Martin Mercedes1:34.568+1.218s24
12Pierre GaslyGASAlpine Renault1:34.639+1.289s22
13Alexander AlbonALBWilliams Mercedes1:34.657+1.307s18
14Valtteri BottasBOTAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:34.802+1.452s24
15Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari1:34.887+1.537s23
16Liam LawsonLAWAlphaTauri Honda RBPT1:34.894+1.544s26
17Nico HulkenbergHULHaas Ferrari1:34.985+1.635s22
18Zhou GuanyuZHOAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:35.456+2.106s24
19Oscar PiastriPIAMcLaren Mercedes1:35.474+2.124s21
20Logan SargeantSARWilliams Mercedes1:35.778+2.428s23