Carlos Sainz Jnr, Ferrari, Singapore, 2023

Ferrari fastest, Red Bull seventh and eighth in second practice

Formula 1

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Carlos Sainz Jnr set the fastest time narrowly ahead of team mate Charles Leclerc in the second practice session for the Singapore Grand Prix.

Ferrari locked out the top two positions for the second successive session on Friday as Red Bull drivers Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen could only set the seventh and eighth quickest times, respectively.

With the sun having fully set and the circuit entirely covered by darkness, conditions for the second practice session were more representative of what drivers expect to face in qualifying and the race. Naturally, teams were eager to cover as much distance as possible in the second session, with most cars heading out as soon as the session began.

The medium compound tyres were the flavour of choice for most of the 20 drivers in the early runs. After Ferrari established the pace in the opening hour, Sainz set the fastest time in the initial rush with a 1’34.150, but over the following laps that benchmark was reduced down to a 1’33.213, with Fernando Alonso half a second slower than the Ferrari driver in second.

Traction proved hard to come by: Verstappen caught a power-slide at the exit of turn 13. Around the same time, Lance Stroll ran a little too close to the wall on the exit of the same corner, touching with his right-front wheel but without any harm being done.

After 15 minutes, most cars returned to the garage. Leclerc took advantage of the clear track to set a new fastest time of the session with a 1’32.974, before drivers began to venture back out again on soft tyres. On the fastest compound, Ferrari took the top two positions once more, with Sainz posting a 1’32.120. Leclerc look set to beat that, but lost time in the final sector and ended up 0.018s down on his team mate.

Even on the soft tyres, drivers were battling with their cars around the lap. Lewis Hamilton ran off over the exit kerb at turn seven, before his Mercedes team mate Russell had to catch a snap of oversteer on the exit of the final corner. Traffic was also a problem, Sainz almost running into Verstappen on the approach to turn 13 after Red Bull failed to warn the championship leader of the Ferrari coming up behind him.

The second half of the session was dedicated to high fuel runs, with most of the top ten ranked drivers running on the medium tyres. There were no yellow flag interruptions or – as in the first session – lizards venturing onto the track, which allowed drivers to complete their runs without incident. When the session came to an end, Sainz led the second Ferrari one-two of the day.

Russell was the closest to the Ferraris in third, two tenths of a second behind, with Fernando Alonso splitting the two Mercedes ahead of Lewis Hamilton. Lando Norris was sixth-fastest in the upgraded McLaren, followed by the Red Bulls. The top 10 was completed by Kevin Magnussen and Valtteri Bottas. Alexander Albon ended the session slowest after completing just five laps due to a suspected power unit problem in his Williams.

2023 Singapore Grand Prix second practice result

Position Number Driver Team Model Time Gap Laps
1 55 Carlos Sainz Jnr Ferrari SF-23 1’32.120 26
2 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF-23 1’32.138 0.018 27
3 63 George Russell Mercedes W14 1’32.355 0.235 25
4 14 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin-Mercedes AMR23 1’32.478 0.358 25
5 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W14 1’32.585 0.465 23
6 4 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes MCL60 1’32.711 0.591 23
7 11 Sergio Perez Red Bull-Honda RBPT RB19 1’32.812 0.692 23
8 1 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda RBPT RB19 1’32.852 0.732 23
9 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari VF-23 1’33.017 0.897 25
10 77 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo-Ferrari C43 1’33.105 0.985 24
11 27 Nico Hulkenberg Haas-Ferrari VF-23 1’33.139 1.019 22
12 40 Liam Lawson AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT AT04 1’33.285 1.165 27
13 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault A523 1’33.361 1.241 25
14 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes AMR23 1’33.390 1.270 25
15 81 Oscar Piastri McLaren-Mercedes MCL60 1’33.461 1.341 23
16 22 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT AT04 1’33.477 1.357 27
17 24 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo-Ferrari C43 1’33.575 1.455 25
18 10 Pierre Gasly Alpine-Renault A523 1’33.824 1.704 24
19 2 Logan Sargeant Williams-Mercedes FW45 1’34.327 2.207 28
20 23 Alexander Albon Williams-Mercedes FW45 1’35.558 3.438 5

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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22 comments on “Ferrari fastest, Red Bull seventh and eighth in second practice”

  1. Coventry Climax
    15th September 2023, 15:58

    Surprised to see the Red Bulls down the order that far.
    Too early to predict anything, but interesting nonetheless.
    I’m not much of a gambling man, but I think the odds for yet another Red Bull win have just changed considerably.

    Sad to see Williams back in the spots they were so familiar with over the last decade or so. Hopefully Albon’s car is sorted for tomorrow and he at least can show some decent pace again, somewhere in the midfield.

    1. RB sandbagging?

      1. They’re definitely not sandbagging judging by Max’s and Sergio’s comments. They didn’t seem slyly confident. They seem annoyed. I still bet Max will somehow get pole, but if he does it’ll he milliseconds.

        The stat mentioned during FP2 kind of blew my mind: by leading 14 laps of the Italian GP (the only laps he has lead all season), Sainz has now lead more laps this season than any non-RBR driver. The other totals are pathetic, all under 10. This after 14 rounds.

        1. I couldn’t believe it and you’re not quite correct. Leclerc amassed an impressive… 12 laps. 94.3% of laps led went to Red Bull.

          I Looked it up here: https://www.statsf1.com/en/2023/stats-tour-en-tete.aspx

        2. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
          16th September 2023, 10:23

          The way I read the regulations at the start of 2022 I was expecting drivers to not worry about leading laps but wait it out until the last moment to get the final overtake in before the chequered flag.

          ORBR could certainly do that if they wanted to.

      2. TD018 :)

        1. If the directive nerfed red bull, it’s exactly what we need to make the season interesting, though we definitely have to see quali and they tend to be more competitive in the race than quali.

          1. @esploratore1
            I disagree with the current application of the technical directives by the FIA. It highlights the FIA’s inability in initially formulating clear regulations and subsequently enforcing them. In my opinion, if an individual is found to be in violation of the rules, especially considering that the FIA possesses detailed specifications for every component used in each race, disqualification from every race in which the particular “trick” was employed is the suitable penalty.

    2. I can imagine Verstappen winning still. Though this time it may be an actual fight. Really hope so, whoever wins.

  2. One thing to note: the long runs show RBR with easily the fastest race pace. In the unlikely event RBR can’t turn around their one lap pace and Max qualifies say 6th or lower, I’ll be seriously interested to see his demeanor during the race if he’s not able to just blow past other cars in the DRS zone or over cut with dominant pace. It’s easy to be patient and calm when you know gaining the lead is inevitable. Having to work for it across multiple cars is another thing.

    I am not referring to his skill, BTW. I am referring to how he might mentally react if he starts getting stuck because he might say he doesn’t care about stats, but we know he wants to stamp his dominance by executing a clean sweep for RBR and continuing his streak until the end of the season. If it’s just 2-3 cars he has to battle, I’m sure he’ll enjoy it.

    1. Very interesting indeed! He showed last year you can pass in Singapore though (and also demonstrated how not to do it ;-)

  3. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    15th September 2023, 17:18

    It’s over!!! It’s over! Red Bull’s dominance is finally over!

    Everyone has caught up with them!

    Now that Checo is faster than Max, will Red Bull extend Max’s contract for next year?

    Has anyone checked with Marko to see if Max’s slump can be attributed to the fact that he’s Dutch?

    I’m picking Sainz for the WDC – that 250 point gap to Verstappen is looking 10 times smaller today that it did yesterday. Get in there Carlos! Get in there! You lap that Red Bull and you lap it good! Forza Ragazzi! Forza Ferrari!

    1. Haha you’re wrong it’s Fred who is sandbagging. He’ll be lapping the Fezzas on Sunday.

  4. 0.6, 0.7 while in search for balance doesn’t seem like a big problem… if they can find the right balance overnight

  5. How did the lizards long runs looked like?

    1. A lizard got a DNF after being run over by alonso unfortunately, and the others retired in solidariety!

  6. The same lizard, presumably, but hopefully, neither qualifying nor the race will get disrupted by it.

    1. Thank you.

      1. Has there been a tightening up on bendy bodywork and if so is this the reason for Red Bull’s lack of pace?

        1. Has there been a tightening up on bendy bodywork

          I thought it was a tightening up of everything bendy/flexi – top, bottom, front, back.
          Anyone know a reference for a copy of TD018?

          and if so is this the reason for Red Bull’s lack of pace?

          If there is a lack of pace, rather than overly heavy sandbags, and TD018 is the reason, that’s “interesting”

          1. It concerns all aerodynamic component flexibility, so also includes floor and both wings and all other aerodynamic parts of the car

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