Formula 1 is back in Singapore! After three years of hiatus on the island, since the 2019 edition, due to the pandemic of the new coronavirus, the category recovered the Asian country as an active part of the calendar. On the morning of this Friday (30), on the route established in the Marina Bay region, Lewis Hamilton put Mercedes in front to kick off the week.
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Yes, Hamilton! It is the first time in the 2022 season that the seven-time world champion has led an activity, whatever it may be. The front was surprising. Not only because of this taboo, but also because Max Verstappen and Red Bull spent practically the entire hour of FP1 in front and with a wide advantage over the others. In the end, Lewis finished 0.084s faster than Max, in second.
Charles Leclerc took third position in what was not an easy practice for Ferrari. The Monegasque opened the session with brake problems and had to return to the pits. Later, Carlos Sainz asked for setup changes and almost crashed. The Spaniard was sixth, still behind Sergio Pérez and George Russell. The six were separated by just 1s105.
In addition to the Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari drivers, Esteban Ocon, Lance Stroll, Pierre Gasly and Fernando ALonso finished the top-10. Despite the good position, Stroll crashed the car and broke the Aston Martin’s left rear suspension on the wall of turn five after briefly losing control. It was what yielded the only red flag of the activity.
O BIG PRIZE accompanies LIVE and IN REAL TIME all activities of the Formula 1 Singapore GP. FP2 is scheduled for 10am [de Brasília, GMT-3].
Check out how TL1 went:
The beginning of the Formula 1 weekend in Singapore took place with that familiar climate in the Asian country: strong heat and high humidity. The temperature reached 30°C at the beginning of FP1, albeit at 18:00 local time, and thermal sensation above that. The temperature on the track was not much higher, it was 36°C. The humidity approached 70%. It was F1’s welcome to Singapore after three years.
At the moment of the green flag in the pit lane, the sky was still clear. No sign of the night that would soon come. The first rider on the track to record a timed lap was Valtteri Botas, but the track was very busy right away. It might be a long time since Singapore’s real marina—it’s up to you, Miami—has been part of the season’s work.
Charles Leclerc was one of the first to take the track and then he said on the radio that something was not right with the Ferrari brakes. Then he returned to the pits for the team to immediately start moving.
Lando Norris was the first to show up and cut the lap time to less than 1min50s. He was in the 1min49s range, but his lead only lasted until Max Verstappen came along and nailed 1min47s329. The laps dropped, however, and Fernando Alonso walked in 1min47s291 just before Verstappen destroyed the clock again: 1min45s466, with just over 15 minutes of practice completed.
The first yellow flag of the day came from George Russell, who rode alone with the Mercedes, but quickly regained his bearings and moved on despite a slight contact with the protective barrier. He was apparently quite lucky not to cause significant damage to the Mercedes car. “I passed right through, but there’s nothing wrong with the direction,” he said.
Despite initially leading the way, Norris had the initial goal of training to test the car’s aerodynamic upgrades. It was visible that the McLaren had yellow, paraffin paint, in more than one area. The Englishman even warned that bounces were a real factor on the track.
Leclerc returned to the track after almost ten minutes of absence, but Ferrari was still trying to find itself. Carlos Sainz, for example, warned that “it’s very clear which setup changes we need to make, the ones we’ve talked about”. At least from what the Spanish spoke, the team knew what needed to be done.
Naturally, Alexander Albon appeared on the track, back after an absence from the Italian GP, due to an appendicitis crisis. The pilot had to have an emergency surgery, went through complications and even stayed in the ICU for a day. Recovered in less than three weeks, he was riding soft tires with Williams.
Verstappen improved his time a little more using the medium tires and led with 1min44s236, 1s1 ahead of Alonso.
With 30 minutes into the session, Verstappen led and had Alonso, Sergio Pérez, Sainz, Russell, Esteban Ocon, Lewis Hamilton, Lance Stroll, Leclerc and Pierre Gasly forming the top-10.
Stroll and Sebastian Vettel also showed some prominence with Aston Martin. Even with medium tires, they touched the car hard and appeared in the first half of the table. Vettel moved up to sixth place, while Stroll, who had passed the halfway mark in the top ten, improved even further and was second for a brief moment.
Very brief, because Pérez walked strong and scored 1min43s839 to take the lead. Moments after that – and before practice was stopped – Verstappen improved even more and recorded a time of 1:43.117. Hard to think of how to beat the Dutchman.
The interruption happened because of a red flag caused by Stroll. The Canadian driver backed into turn five and hit the left rear wheel into the wall, breaking the suspension and coming to a stop on the track.
Just before that, Sainz almost did the same. “Had a moment here,” he said on the radio after almost stamping the Ferrari on the wall.
With less than 15 minutes to go, training was coming to an end. Leclerc even appeared in second place, but the big moment would come with less than five minutes on the clock. It was at this time that Hamilton stunned everyone and clocked 1min43s033, jumping ahead on what was just the fourth lap on soft tires against Verstappen’s 15th.
Red Bull also ended practice with Pérez suffering from a problem that made the car have to be restarted in an escape area. And so it ended, with Hamilton leading the way.
F1 2022, Singapore GP, Marina Bay, FP1:
|two||M VERSTAPPEN||red bull||1:43,117||+0.084||20|
|4||S PEREZ||red bull||1:43,839||+0.806||15|
|8||L STROL||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:45,221||+2,188||12|
|9||P GASLY||AlphaTauri Honda||1:45,258||+2,225||24|
|11||S VETTEL||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:45,354||+2,321||22|
|13||V BOOTS||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:45,725||+2,692||24|
|14||K MAGNUSEN||Haas Ferrari||1:46,028||+2,995||22|
|15||Y TSUNODA||AlphaTauri Honda||1:46,081||+3,048||26|
|17||G ZHOU||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:46,408||+3,375||25|
|18||M SCHUMACHER||Haas Ferrari||1:46,601||+3,568||23|
|19||L NORRIS||McLaren Mercedes||1:46,680||+3,647||22|
|20||N LATIFI||Williams Mercedes||1:47,092||+4,059||18|
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