Fernando Alonso predicted a tight qualifying session in Singapore on Saturday, after a day that saw Red Bull struggling Ferrari flying, while the rest were separated by small margins.
As for Aston Martin, it was another session of contrasts, with Alonso mixing it up with the heavy hitters as usual (eighth in FP1 and fourth in FP2) while Lance Stroll in the other AMR23 was nowhere close (11th in FP1 and 14th in FP2) almost one second slower than his teammate.
With Red Bull out of position and Ferrari a decent step ahead of the others, it seemed that Aston Martin, Mercedes, and McLaren will be having their own fight, the latter two having an advantage on the Astons.
Speaking after practice in Aston Martin‘s team report, Alonso said: “Today [Friday] was fun. I think the new circuit layout is an improvement: it’s a bit faster and you get into a little more rhythm around the lap. I like the changes they’ve made.
“It was a normal Friday in Singapore – hot and humid – but we got some useful tests done on the car and with the tyres, so let’s see how tomorrow goes.
A couple of tenths will make a difference in qualifying
“It’s hard to read too much into the times – today was more about building confidence with the car and the track. I think qualifying is going to be very tight: we could be P5, P6, or we could go out in Q2 if we lose just a couple of tenths over a lap,” the Spaniard warned.
“We are going to have to nail the laps in qualifying tomorrow to ensure a good result in the race,” he concluded.
Stroll, as usual, struggled in the other AMR23, even surviving a moment with the track walls in FP1, he said after practice: “I think the new track layout works well and is fun to drive.
“I don’t know yet if it’ll encourage overtaking though; there’s not much of a braking zone into Turn 16, but we’ll see what’s possible on Sunday.
“Today we couldn’t really find the pace we needed, so we have some work to do tonight to understand where we can improve. We’ll make some adjustments to the set up and come back stronger for qualifying tomorrow,” the Canadian concluded.