The signs are ominous for the handful of drivers who harbour ambitions to prevent Sebastian Vettel from edging closer to his fourth consecutive Formula 1 World title, because the German was in scintillating form as he blitzed around the Marina Bay Circuit to claim the fastest lap in the second free practice session.
Vettel looked handy on the harder white band Pirelli tyres, but with a set of the soft red band options he ‘had wings’ and flew around in a time of 1:44.249 which was 0.604 better than his teammate Mark Webber who ended the 90 minute session under floodlights second best.
The Red Bull pair were the only two to break into the 104 seconds zone, and everyone was around two or three seconds quicker as the Marina Bay track surfaced was layered with race rubber.
Next best, albeit a second down on the best time of the night, was Nico Rosberg with Mercedes teammate fourth quickest, the Silver Arrows pair looking most likely to challenge Red Bull supremacy at this stage of the weekend.
Romain Grosjean, whose opening evening in Singapore was dogged by technical issues in both sessions which cost him track time in both free practice sessions. When he was finally unleashed he managed to set the fifth best time, with his Lotus teammate Kimi Raikkonen in eighth.
Grosjean only did 30 laps on the first night of action, which was about half of what the majority of his colleagues did.
Ferrari and Fernando Alonso will be burning the midnight oil to try and figure out how to close the 1.4 seconds gap they have to the front runners as the Spaniard could only manage the sixth best time, while Felipe Massa was down in 15th.
Jenson Button was unhappy with the balance of his McLaren in the early session but managed to get a decent enough setup to allow him to end the day seventh fastest. Serguio Perez, who was quicker than his more experienced teammate in FP1, was 10th in FP2.
Force India have ambitions to usurp McLaren in the title race and Adrian Sutil gave credence to their ambitions with the ninth best time, with teammate Paul di Resta 13th.
Despite the tricky nature of the circuit, it was an incident free hour and half, only Pastor Maldonado had any incident of note when he got it wrong entering into Turn 13 and tapped the barrier, that forced him to pit for a new front wing.
Interesting the difference two weeks makes, or perhaps the difference between a low downforce track and a high downforce one makes because at Monza the top 15 drivers were separated by a mere 1.029 seconds while at Marina Bay the same amount of time covered only the top three…
Singapore Grand Prix at Marina Bay Circuit, Free Practice 2 – Friday, 20 September 2013
|1||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:44.249||34|
|2||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:44.853||0.604||30|
|9||15||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:46.002||1.753||27|
|13||14||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:46.606||2.357||33|
|19||21||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham-Renault||1:49.434||5.185||34|