Singapore, FP2: Sainz takes over at top ahead of Leclerc

Verstappen finishes eighth only


By Franck Drui

15 September 2023 - 16:11
Singapore, FP2: Sainz takes over at (...)

Carlos Sainz topped the timesheet in the second practice for the 2023 FIA Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix, beating Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc by juts 0.018s as Max Verstappen finished in eighth place.

It was Sainz who set the session’s early benchmark, with the Spanish driver posting a lap of 1:34.150 on Medium-compound Pirelli tyres, but as the clicked towards the 10-minute mark that time was beaten by Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso who took top spot with a lap of 1:33.964. Sainz was soon back on top, however, with a lap of 1:33.303, before making another improvement at the quarter mark to 1:33.213, with Alonso back in P2.

With almost a third of the session gone, Yuki Tsunoda, in a heavily revised AlphaTauri, jumped to second place with a lap of 1:33.483, but further back there was little joy for world champion Max Verstappen with the Dutchman languishing in ninth place and grumbling over the radio about the poor balance of his car before pitting for adjustments.

Leclerc was much more comfortable on the streets of Marina Bay and the Monegasque driver reclaimed top spot just before the 20-minute mark with a medium-tyre lap of 1:32.974, 0.239s quicker than Sainz in second.

A lull followed as teams prepped for quali sims, with Sainz one of the first on track on Soft tyres, followed soon after by Leclerc. And in their intra-team duel, it was Sainz who came out on top with a 1:32.120s, just 0.018s ahead of his team-mate as Alonso slotted into third ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris, Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas and AlphaTauri’s Liam Lawson.

Hamilton then emerged and took P3 from Alonso, while George Russell sandwiched the Aston Martin driver by taking fifth place.

After a long spell in the Red Bull garage for set-up changes, Verstappen eventually emerged at the halfway mark but he only managed the sixth quickest time, a sizeable 0.732s behind Sainz. Alonso then improved to third, although the Aston Martin driver was still 0.358s behind Sainz.

Like his team-mate Red Bull’s Sergio Pérez was also struggling with his RB19 and after the Mexican’s first attempt on Softs put him eighth and more than 0.8s off the pace he told his engineer that it “was just not coming” and that the rear end of his car was stepping out “massively”.

With 20 minutes left Russell moved to third and that brought to an end any major improvements on soft tyres, with the bulk of the field moving to harder compounds for the remainder of the session.

Elsewhere, there was trouble for Alex Albon. Having set his fastest lap on the hard tyre, a power unit issue after five laps ensured Williams driver could not make a quali run.

01 Carlos Sainz Ferrari SF-23 1:32.120 26
02 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF-23 1:32.138 27
03 George Russell Mercedes W14 1:32.355 25
04 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin Mercedes AMR23 1:32.478 25
05 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W14 1:32.585 25
06 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL60 1:32.711 23
07 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Honda RBPT RB19 1:32.812 23
08 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RBPT RB19 1:32.852 23
09 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari VF-23 1:33.017 25
10 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Ferrari C43 1:33.105 24
11 Nico Hülkenberg Haas Ferrari VF-23 1:33.139 22
12 Liam Lawson AlphaTauri Honda RBPT AT04 1:33.285 27
13 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A523 1:33.361 25
14 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR23 1:33.390 25
15 Oscar Piastri McLaren Mercedes MCL60 1:33.461 23
16 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Honda RBPT AT04 1:33.477 27
17 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo Ferrari C43 1:33.575 25
18 Pierre Gasly Alpine Renault A523 1:33.824 24
19 Logan Sargeant Williams Mercedes FW45 1:34.327 28
20 Alex Albon Williams Mercedes FW45 1:35.558 5

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