Formula 1 returned to Singapore after a three-year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and returned in style, with a hectic free practice session in which the drivers had to fine-tune their new generation cars. without any data from previous campaigns.
The walls could be the main protagonists of the weekend, and from the first minutes of FP1 we already saw some scares, although the one who did not hesitate for a moment to go all the way was Lewis Hamilton, who on Max Verstappen’s birthday, he beat it by 84 thousandths to lead into the early action at Marina Bay.
Behind the leading duo finished Charles Leclerc, who despite his problems with the brakes at the beginning of the day, was able to get a good enough time to beat the second of the Red Bull, Sergio Pérez and the other George Russell’s Mercedes, who closed the top five.
Further back, just over a second behind the seven-time champion, finished Carlos Sainz, who, although he had a scare in the last corner when testing the soft tires, was sixth and was ahead of Esteban Ocon’s Alpine and Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin, who had to stop his car in the middle of the track after showing a red flag for touching the wall and puncturing his left rear wheel.
The Frenchman from AlphaTauri, Pierre Gasly, in the midst of all the rumours, was ninth, leaving Fernando Alonso, without testing the softer rubber, in tenth place.
Results of Free Practice 1 (FP1) of the Singapore Grand Prix 2022 F1
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||20||1’43.117||0.084||176.758|
|4||Sergio Pérez||Red Bull||15||1’43.839||0.806||175.529|
|6||Carlos Sainz Jr.||ferrari||24||1’44.138||1,105||175,025|
|8||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||12||1’45.221||2.188||173.223|
Summary of Free Practice 1 (FP1) of the 2022 F1 Singapore Grand Prix
The action returned to the Marina Bay circuit after three years with relatively little activity, and it is that only the two Alfa Romeos and some others were encouraged to test the behavior of the asphalt. Even with the sunlight, since the sunset would not fall until well into the session, it was possible to see a Max Verstappen who was celebrating, as he was turning 25 years old rolling through the streets of Singapore with the possibility of becoming a two-time champion.
Little by little, the rest came out on the track, like Charles Leclerc, who in the first few minutes reported on the radio that he had problems with his brakes, although from the wall they reassured him and told him that they would be informing him. The Monegasque preferred not to take risks and went straight to the pits to avoid an accident, he even got out of the car so that his mechanics could disassemble the front part of the F1-75.
The man from Monaco was unable to see first-hand how his rival for the title was placed in first position with a 1:47.329 , unseating Lando Norris, but still seven seconds behind the clock recorded by the cars in the last edition of the grand prix. . However, the lead did not last long for the Dutchman, since Fernando Alonso beat his mark before reaching the first 10 minutes of the session, while Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari was behind Sergio Pérez’s second Red Bull.
However, the times did not seem very representative, since they varied a lot in each lap, as Verstappen improved himself again to establish a 1:45.466 , leading his Mexican teammate by more than one second and by more than two to rest, but you could already glimpse a little what the natural order of the classification would be like, with some quite competitive Alpine and Mercedes, and some surprising Aston Martin in the upper zone.
The first scare of the weekend went to George Russell, who was the protagonist of a yellow flag after slightly touching the wall in what was previously a triple chicane, but was able to reverse gear to return to the garage and repair his car.
After almost 20 minutes of the first free practice, the porpoising that already seemed to have disappeared from the cars, returned in Norris’s McLaren, while Leclerc watched attentively from the garage, still with his helmet on, what was happening, and how the Red Bulls continued to lead. The Mercedes, after a good start, went down the table, although Lewis Hamilton returned to the top after a great lap, which his teammate was unable to do.
Fernando Alonso was still the surprise, and that is that the Asturian placed second, just behind the current world champion with the same medium compound, and his partner was not too bad, thus confirming the good form of the French car, placed that Esteban Ocon was sixth.
Shortly before reaching the middle of the first free practice sessions, Charles Leclerc jumped back onto the track, and on his first fast lap he managed to climb from last to 12th place , but still far from the rest. However, the vast majority of drivers were in the garage changing settings on their cars to get the new generation cars in the sweet spot for the demanding Singapore circuit.
After the first half hour of the session, some returned to the track and others got out of their car to let their mechanics work, like Fernando Alonso, but it still remained to bring out the soft tires that will be used in qualifying with the best conditions of the asphalt.
With 20 minutes to go, they brought out the red tyres, the softest in the Pirelli range, and Verstappen, as is tradition in Formula 1 with his incredible command, placed first, followed by Pérez and Ocon, although the activity had to stop due to a contact by Lance Stroll against the wall. The Canadian had a puncture in his left rear wheel and was forced to stop his Aston Martin in one of the runaways.
After a few minutes of standstill, the action resumed with 14 minutes to go before the checkered flag fell, and many tested the white that they still lacked, such as Carlos Sainz, who wanted to return to the good impressions he has had in the second half of season.
The same Madrilenian was about to end the day when he could have a serious accident in the last corner after a counter steering wheel. The Ferrari man managed to maintain control of his car to remain in third place, but he let his fastest lap attempt slip away, while Leclerc, with 10 minutes remaining in practice, made his first lap to climb to second position, behind just three tenths of Verstappen.
However, the Dutchman was not spared a scare, as he went wide in one of the runaways and spun to get back on track, at which point Lewis Hamilton beat his time by 84 thousandths to take the lead.
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