British hero Lewis Hamilton relegated Max Verstappen to second place by the end of Friday practice in Singapore, but the pair were well ahead of the rest of their rivals.
Verstappen, who had been quickest in first practice at the Marina Bay circuit, returned to the top of the times after his qualifying simulation in the second session. However Hamilton. having been fractionally slower than the Red Bull driver through the first two sectors, produced a stunningly quick final sector time – four tenths of a second quicker than anyone else – to head the times.
Both were almost a full second faster than their respective team mates. Bottas, back on track after crashing in first practice, was 1.1 seconds behind Hamilton. Alexander Albon went off at turn 10 early at the beginning of second practice and damaged his front wing. After he had a new example fitted he posted a best time of 1’39.943, just within a second of Verstappen.
The Ferrari drivers lost time in traffic on their first flying runs. Vettel got a clean run in but on his worn tyres ended up eight-tenths shy of Hamilton. Charles Leclerc, whose first practice session was disrupted by a gearbox problem, had to settle for sixth.
Traffic trouble was a theme of the session. Brit Lando Norris was held up by his own team mate, though both McLaren drivers ended the day inside the top 10. They were separated by Nico Hulkenberg, who again was the fastest of the two Renaults.
Perez and Kevin Magnussen made contact, the Racing Point driver accusing his Haas rival of trying to spoil his lap. Perez was summoned to the stewards over the incident.
The Haas pair struggled for pace: Magnussen ended the session behind George Russell’s Williams. Grosjean, 17th fastest, told his race engineer not to talk to him in the corners after spinning at turn two.
Euro Weekly News will be updating through the weekend with feed back reports from track side Paul Mohamed in the pit lane this weekend. Updates will only be in our Sports section as not to annoy non petrol heads.