In chronometric terms, George Russell was the first, thanks to a lap in 1’44:661, just over a second from the EL1 benchmark.
Nicholas Latifi encountered a relatively rare problem: his harness was incorrectly attached, while Vettel left the track at the end of the second sector, without damage.
The Red Bulls and Charles Leclerc stayed in the garage at the start of the session. The case is more problematic for the Monegasque, who seems to have a problem with the flat bottom.
Meanwhile, the Mercedes, like the others in medium rubber, are unfolding an interesting score: Hamilton is in the lead, after a quarter of an hour, in 1’44:091. His teammate Russell is 3rd, just behind a decidedly efficient Fernando Alonso!
Carlos Sainz pulled out all the stops, still on yellow tyres, in 1’43:710, then in 1’43:231. Only three cars, at this stage, have yet to take to the track. But no one has fitted soft tyres, as if we didn’t dare consume them too quickly.
Max Verstappen has finally come out. It must be said that the Dutchman has a clear conscience for the moment, since nothing seems to stop him. He came out with the hard tyres, which are equivalent to the soft tires that will be allocated to Suzuka.
Charles Leclerc finally put on his helmet, before getting back into his SF-75. Half an hour from the end of these EL2s, Alexander Albon, Sergio Pérez and Kevin Magnussen chose the red tyres. The latter moved up to 5th place.
Little-used racing simulations
Charles Leclerc only had half an hour to prepare for the rest of his weekend. A big contrast with a Sergio Pérez, on soft tires, who first grazed and then touched the wall.
Carlos Sainz engaged the attack mode, in 1’42:751: the improvements fell in all directions!
Esteban Ocon has an Alpine that works really well in Singapore! The Frenchman was in the top 5, before the last 20 minutes, not far ahead of Fernando Alonso, 7th.
For Pierre Gasly, who should be replaced by Nyck de Vries next year, was the victim of a small fire on the top of the engine cover, on his Alpha Tauri.
Along the way, it was the Ferraris that dominated the debates, while the first relay simulations began. Sergio Pérez has done his racing work on soft tyres, which will be favored at the start, in the event of a dry track.
The Red Bulls shone with their discretion: Pérez was only 8th and Verstappen only 14th.
In the end, the Ferraris recovered their colours, especially Charles Leclerc who drove very little this Friday. Beware of the Mercedes, they are not far away!