The first Friday back in Singapore after a two year break saw Scuderia Ferrari pick up where it left off in 2019, with both cars at the top of the time sheet in the second and fastest of the two free practice sessions at Marina Bay. Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc were ahead of the rest but, as always at a street circuit, there is still plenty of work to do in preparation for tomorrow’s qualifying (at 21 local, 15 CEST) and Sunday’s race (22 local, 14 CEST). Both drivers concentrated on qualifying performance and Charles actually managed fewer laps than planned because of various checks and changes required on his car.
FP1. The first session got underway as the sun set, with Sainz and Leclerc leaving the garage on Hard tyres. However, Charles had to pit after just one lap to have his braking system checked over. Once on Soft tyres, Leclerc stopped the clocks in 1’43”435, to go third fastest, with Carlos posting a 1’44”138 for sixth, despite making a mistake at the final corner. They completed 17 and 24 laps respectively.
FP2. In the second session, as is usually the case, the track got cleaner and more rubbered in, so that the times came down. When the green light came on, Carlos went out immediately on Medium tyres. Charles took a few minutes longer to go out on track, while a set-up change was made on his car. Sainz was therefore the first of the pair to fit Softs, posting a time of 1’42”751, fastest overall, while Charles did a 1’42”795. Sainz completed 23 laps, Leclerc 14.
Important FP3. Tomorrow’s final free practice session, at 18 local (12 CEST) will be particularly important. The team will finalise qualifying preparations and then fine tune the car in race configuration, taking into account all the many and varied possible scenarios, starting with the appearance of the Safety Car, which has very often featured in races at Marina Bay.
Carlos Sainz #55
"It's been a busy first day here in Singapore. We managed to complete the full run plan but we also faced some challenges, particularly with the setup and car balance. We didn’t find the right window for FP1, but we managed to improve the feeling with the car for FP2. We still need to do some work and find some lap time, especially for the long runs. It seems we are up for a tight battle at the top so we need to try to maximise every aspect of the weekend."
Charles Leclerc #16
"Our performance was good, but unfortunately, we had limited running today. It isn’t ideal, so we have to make sure we have a clean FP3 so as to also work on our race pace. Our qualifying pace looks strong and we will target pole."