Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Singapore, 2017

Upgraded Red Bulls fly but Ferrari are in the hunt

2017 Singapore Grand Prix Friday practice analysis

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The first day of practice for the Singapore Grand Prix can be summed up as follows: Red Bull are quick, as expected. Mercedes are not quite there, as expected.

And Ferrari? Well, that’s an interesting question.

They were bang on the pace of Red Bull in first practice. But the opening session is always a particularly unrepresentative one in Singapore as the street track is very ‘green’ and the lingering sunlight keeps the temperatures high.

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Singapore, 2017
Singapore Grand Prix practice in pictures
In second practice Sebastian Vettel delivered a tantalising glimpse of pace by setting the quickest time of any driver through sector one.

Then he clipped the barrier at the exit of turn ten. Could he have sustained that pace over the rest of the lap? We may find out tomorrow. Expect Ferrari to have more performance in reserve from their engine, but Red Bull have some useful steps forward here too.

ExxonMobil have provided a fuel upgrade for this race. And both RB13 sported Ferrari-esque front sidepod extensions during practice. It helped add up to a lap time advantage of seven-tenths of a second over the Mercedes. That’s comparable to what they had on Friday in Monaco – a similar if far shorter course.

“After such a good day we have to believe that a very good result in qualifying is possible, so we will go for it,” said Max Verstappen. “Compared to our competitors we look very strong, we didn’t expect to be this competitive so of course this is very pleasing for us.”

If Ferrari are capable of going quicker than Red Bull, it doesn’t look like being by very much. And the RB13 looked very good on a long stint (see below). Still on the strength of today’s sessions session it seems it will be these two teams leading the charge in qualifying.

For championship leader Lewis Hamilton, Red Bull’s form could be a relief if he does indeed only have the third-quickest car. “Red Bull seem like they’re very strong and they’re thereabouts with Ferrari,” he admitted. “So we’ve got some work to do. But nothing is out of reach.”

The battle behind the big three should be close too. Both McLaren drivers looked well hooked-up on what could be their last strong track until their Renaults are installed. Nico Hulkenberg was well up too in his Renault. Force India’s pace may come as a disappointment to Toro Rosso, however.

Longest stint comparison – second practice

This chart shows all the drivers’ lap times (in seconds) during their longest unbroken stint. Very slow laps omitted. Scroll to zoom, drag to pan, right-click to reset:

Best second practice times by tyre

DriverTeamBest ultra-soft timeUltra-soft gapBest super-soft timeSuper-soft gapBest soft timeSoft gap
Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’41.5550.703None1’42.505
Valtteri BottasMercedes1’42.1041.2521’43.5461.469None
Daniel RicciardoRed Bull1’40.8521’42.1660.089None
Max VerstappenRed Bull1’41.4080.5561’42.077None
Sebastian VettelFerrari1’46.7535.901None1’43.1040.599
Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’42.8351.9831’43.8011.724None
Sergio PerezForce India1’42.8261.9741’43.7291.652None
Esteban OconForce India1’43.0542.2021’44.3892.312None
Felipe MassaWilliams1’43.8362.9841’44.6752.598None
Lance StrollWilliams1’44.3013.449NoneNone
Fernando AlonsoMcLaren1’42.7881.9361’43.7181.641None
Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren1’42.5011.649NoneNone
Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso1’43.2362.3841’43.9641.887None
Daniil KvyatToro Rosso1’43.6082.7561’44.0221.945None
Romain GrosjeanHaas1’44.9284.0761’46.3374.26None
Kevin MagnussenHaas1’44.4173.5651’45.9313.854None
Nico HulkenbergRenault1’42.4481.5961’45.0632.986None
Jolyon PalmerRenault1’43.7952.9431’44.7902.713None
Marcus EricssonSauber1’45.7214.8691’47.1425.065None
Pascal WehrleinSauber1’45.6734.821None1’48.4525.947

Combined practice times

PosDriverCarFP1FP2Total laps
1Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’42.4891’40.85254
2Max VerstappenRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’42.6101’41.40851
3Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’42.9041’41.55563
4Valtteri BottasMercedes1’43.4341’42.10462
5Nico HulkenbergRenault1’44.1011’42.44857
6Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren-Honda1’44.3401’42.50159
7Sebastian VettelFerrari1’42.5981’43.10454
8Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Honda1’43.7591’42.78851
9Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’43.4231’42.82660
10Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’43.7341’42.83555
11Esteban OconForce India-Mercedes1’45.0531’43.05459
12Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso-Renault1’43.23638
13Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Renault1’44.2201’43.60857
14Jolyon PalmerRenault1’44.9611’43.79557
15Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’45.0841’43.83659
16Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes1’47.1901’44.30143
17Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’44.41732
18Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’46.4561’44.92849
19Pascal WehrleinSauber-Ferrari1’47.8861’45.67358
20Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’47.6991’45.72158
21Antonio GiovinazziHaas-Ferrari1’46.78227
22Sean GelaelToro Rosso-Renault1’47.57026

2017 Singapore Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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7 comments on “Upgraded Red Bulls fly but Ferrari are in the hunt”

  1. Turn that picture vertically and you see an M for Monster, with perfect colors too xD

    1. @redbullf1 Lol
      @fer-no65 Yes, you’re right, I think we can clearly see that Ferrari as a weekend team seem to not be as efficient as they should in order to fight for the title, that said RB brought a big new package.

  2. Red Bull being so strong here is very good news for Hamilton!

  3. Well. My prediction from the summer break still hasn’t seen one lie of race wins coming through the surface, so what now? Well.

    Ferrari is making sandbagging an Olympic sport. There is more in that car. Sign Vettel #1 80%. No bold or italics this time as I’m not 100% sure but it goes against logic to just make up a 0,3s in 1 month comparing Hungary to this timesheet. In this era, it just isn’t possible.

    The race runs of the pack seems to suggest Ferrari is trying to Russian Roulette themselves on the US as long as possible just to get track position, that would make a very tight battle if Ricciardo does get pole.
    And did the site do an editorial on Palmer? I remember one or some with Kubica but a full one. No? Do it and be critical. The sole reason why he is in there would suggest to me Cyril planned to use him as a poor dummy all along.

  4. I think Ferrari and Mercedes missed a trick by not coming out with a purposely built high downforce rear wing. Unlike Hungary I don’t think RB is just quick on Friday, it’s going to be very tight, the Merc’s look out of water, Bottas looked great in Monaco and Hamilton looked great in Hungary, they need to ride those kerbs. Vettel looks good but it feels like they are missing a good chunk of downforce…

  5. Would fit the irony of Verstappen’ season very well if the one weekend he actually has a chance at pole (becoming a recordbreaker in the process) his team mate pips him to it. Red Bull look good though.

    1. Max didnt get the lap together on the 2 occasions. 1st because of yellow flags, 2nd because he kissed the wall.

      I really hope this will be his weekend. He deserves it.

      I look forward to qualy big time

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