FormulaNerds Cut To The Race Podcast

Singapore Grand Prix: F1 Free Practice 3 results

The teams took to the track for the final practice session of the weekend

Latest Episode | Cut To The Race Podcast

Red Bull experience issues, while Ferrari look to maintain the pace ahead of qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix.

The Singapore Marina Bay
It was a hot and humid day in Singapore… (Image credit: Formula 1 on X)

It’s qualifying day at the Singapore Marina Bay Street Circuit. But first, the drivers took to the track for the final free practice session of the race weekend.

Ferrari led Friday’s session, securing a 1-2 in both FP1 and FP2. Its drivers took turns to share the top spot, with Charles Leclerc going fastest in the first session, and Carlos Sainz topping timesheets in FP2. Though only time will tell, there were signs that Red Bull’s race-winning streak could — possibly — come to an end in Singapore.

Championship leader Max Verstappen led Sergio Perez in FP1, the Red Bull pair finishing P3 and P7 respectively. The team then performed a little worse in FP2, with Perez placing P7 and Verstappen an uncharacteristic P8. Speaking after Friday’s practice session, Verstappen commented on Red Bull’s depleted pace. “The Ferraris are very fast, but I think we’re just way worse than we expected,” said the Dutchman.

Heading into Saturday’s practice session, there was a curiosity as to whether this relative dip in performance would continue. Meanwhile, Ferrari would be looking to maintain their position as pacesetters, a possible race-win looming on the horizon for the Scuderia.

 The first laps

The green light came on, but the drivers were slow to take to the track. One of the first to do so was the Alfa Romeo of Zhou Guanyu and Valtteri Bottas, the team putting in some early laps. They were joined by the Red Bulls and the Ferraris, as well as Lance Stroll.

Bottas set the early pace on the soft tyres with a time of 1:35.082. Sergio Perez, on the mediums, sat behind Bottas with a lap time of 1:35.233. The Ferrari initially seemed quicker than the Red Bull, with Sainz leading the charge. Verstappen soon beat Sainz’s time, however. The championship leader went six-tenths quicker, jumping to the top of the timesheets.

Meanwhile, Verstappen’s teammate Perez came over the radio, voicing some dissatisfaction with the car. The rear was “still on the edge”, according to Perez, who was P6 after the first ten minutes of the session.

As the drivers started to put in some more quick runs, the Ferraris began to really show their pace. Sainz led the standings, running quicker than Leclerc.

More cars take to the track

Out came the Mercedes and the McLarens — with George Russell placing P2 on the soft tyres. Lewis Hamilton, also running on the softs, was P7. Verstappen recorded another quick lap on the mediums, topping timesheets with a lap time of 1:33.660. Quicker than Sainz, though not by a huge margin, the Spaniard only 0.118s slower. Verstappen joined Perez in voicing complaints about the car, venting frustration about the car’s upshifts.

Leclerc set an impressive lap, coming painfully close to matching Verstappen’s time. The Ferrari driver was a mere 0.003s slower — but it was still the early stages of the session. There was always room to improve…

Picking up the pace

George Russell was the quickest of the fastest of the soft-tyre runners, leading Hamilton. Also running on softs were Williams and Alfa Romeo, the former faster than the latter. Meanwhile, Red Bull and Ferrari seemed to be trading fastest laps. Sainz dethroned Verstappen, with a time of 1:33.195.

However, George Russell then recorded a faster lap, setting a benchmark time of 1:32.883. Yellow flags briefly waved in sector 1 as Liam Lawson suffered a spin, the Kiwi still getting to grips with the circuit. The AlphaTauri driver fortunately kept it out of the wall, the green flags waving again soon after.

With half an hour left in the session, it was a 1-2 for Mercedes, Hamilton 0.222s behind teammate Russell. At the opposite end of the spectrum, it looked to be a tricky session for Alfa Romeo, the drivers running in P17 and P19 — even on the soft tyres.

Lando Norris seemed to be running strongly in P6, just 0.113s behind Leclerc. In P7 was Yuki Tsunoda, who also looked to be running well. Less happy was Sergio Perez, who was almost two-tenths off Tsunoda’s time. The pace of the Aston Martin was middling, with Fernando Alonso in P9 and Lance Stroll in P14.

Switching to softs

With the track temperature reaching 37 degrees, and with very little traffic to speak of, George Russell set out on an impressive push lap. It was a clean, purple-sectored lap. The Mercedes driver increased the benchmark, recording a time of 1:32.364. Lando Norris, who was now on fresh soft tyres, set out on a push lap of his own, giving Russell a run for his money.

The McLaren driver bested Russell’s time, going six-hundredths quicker than the Mercedes driver. Lewis Hamilton placed P3, whilst Esteban Ocon followed up in P4. Meanwhile, Alex Albon got perilously close to the wall — just managing to keep it clean. Oscar Piastri put in a push lap, recording a time that was four-tenths slower than Norris. It was still a strong lap, and it promoted the rookie to P4.

The Ferraris and the Red Bulls switched to the soft tyres, taking to the track for their out laps. Verstappen was over three-tenths down on Norris, taking P4 from Piastri’s grasp. The Ferrari drivers, however, looked as if they could take the top spot from McLaren. A stunning sector two for Sainz promoted the red car to P1 with a time of 1:32.065.

Problems for Red Bull?

Remember those earlier issues with the upshifts? It looked like the issue was still plaguing Verstappen, who voiced his frustrations on the radio once again. The Dutchman said that he could not drive the car with the upshifts, stating it was “unacceptable”. With six minutes remaining, Red Bull told Verstappen to box, the team looking to run some tests.

It was clear that the issue was harming Verstappen’s performance. His best lap was 0.571s down on Carlos Sainz’s best lap, Ferrari evidently having the upper hand in Saturday’s practice session. Charles Leclerc, although slower than Sainz, Russell and Norris, was still quicker than Verstappen. Qualifying could be interesting…

Final minutes

With just two minutes remaining, Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen set out on a push lap. Although Leclerc had a purple sector one, a wobble in sector two saw the Ferrari driver abort the lap. Verstappen, meanwhile, was improving on his previous time but remained down on Carlos Sainz. Verstappen’s time was only quick enough to see him place P4.

The chequered flag waved, the drivers wrapping up their final push laps of the session. No one was quite able to beat Sainz’s time — meaning Ferrari topped every practice session this race weekend. Could it be back-to-back poles for Sainz and the Scuderia?

Sainz would certainly have to keep an eye out for George Russell and Mercedes, though, the Brit looking comfortable around the Singapore circuit. Russell was just 0.069s off of Sainz’s time and looked in the running to challenge for pole position.

Red Bull will be looking to amend the issues experienced in FP3 ahead of qualifying. Even after the team’s attempt at troubleshooting this session, Verstappen continued to struggle with the balance of the car.

Coming on the radio at the end of the session, Verstappen said: “I’m just struggling for rear grip. See that last sector? I’m just drifting.” He added, “I think if I’m going to compete in drifting I might win the race.”

Final classification

Featured Image Credit: Scuderia Ferrari on X, formerly Twitter

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.

Back to the top