Ferrari played down their strong early pace shown on Friday practice day for the Singapore Grand Prix, the Red cars topping both sessions and setting themselves up for a good result, perhaps even a much-needed victory amid Red Bull’s apparent struggles.
The speed unleashed at Monza by Ferrari, was evident again in Singapore. The Reds have ticked the SPEED box emphatically. Two remain, race pace and race execution. But that’s for Sunday.
For now, Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc are the fastest blokes around the shortened Marina Bay Circuit. The pair ending FP2 one-two at the top of the lap time sheets, the Spaniard a couple of hundredths quicker than the Monegasque in the other Ferrari. A tenth and a bit quicker than the best of their rivals.
Sainz is on a hot streak at the moment, clearly, he didn’t get the”Charles is quicker than you” memo and continues to eke out more speed on hot laps than he has before. His Monza pole last time out is a testament to this.
At the end of Friday’s action, Ferrari summed up: “Both free practice sessions went well for Scuderia Ferrari at the Singapore Grand Prix, although it is only Friday and therefore too early to make optimistic predictions regarding the rest of the weekend.
“Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc were at the top of both time sheets, doing plenty of laps and working both in qualifying trim, essential between the walls of the Marina Bay circuit, and in race configuration.
Sainz said in the report: “A positive Friday. The car seemed to be in the right window from the very first lap in FP1 so we kept focused on fine-tuning the set-up during the second session. I expect the track to improve for tomorrow, so we should have more grip and then we’ll see how much our competitors and ourselves can improve for qualifying.”
Teammate Leclerc added: “It was quite a good day. The car looks a bit more competitive than we had expected on a track like this, but we shouldn’t get carried away because I think that our competitors are not showing their true pace yet. We will work on optimising the balance on my side overnight and I’m sure we will see some further improvements.”
Ferrari have not won a Grand Prix since Leclerc won the 2022 Austrian GP. The Italian team are third in the 2023 F1 Constructors’ World Championship, embroiled in the battle for second best, behind soon-to-be-crowned Champions Red Bull.