A return to winning ways?
Marina Bay 2014
Singapore Grand Prix
Red Bull on top on Day 1 in Singapore
Scuderia Ferrari
Red Bull on top on Day 1 in Singapore
Posted By: James Allen  |  24 Sep 2010   |  7:54 pm GMT  |  47 comments

The Red Bull pair of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber set the fastest times on the first day of free practice on the Marina Bay Circuit.

The Red Bulls looked back to their best after two races on tracks which didn’t play to their strengths in Spa and Monza.

Red Bull is good over the kerbs in Singapore (Photo: Mason)


The cars look fast on a single lap and on long runs and are getting the soft tyres to last well. Vettel said that he’s pleased with the pace, but he has convinced himself that the rain is going to play a part in the weekend. This would be a shame for Red Bull as in the dry they seem to have an advantage.

All weekend the team has been asked about the FIA flexi tests and after showing what they’ve got today, Webber was pretty bullish about the legality of the cars,
“We knew nothing would change with our car before we came here,” said Webber. “We’ve passed all the new FIA tests and we weren’t coming here expecting to be slower than we were in Budapest. Ferrari look quick and anyone can be on pole tomorrow.”

Anyone in a Red Bull perhaps. I have a sneaking suspicion that Vettel might put a bit of run together now, like Webber did in Spain and Monaco. It’s just a hunch.

Ferrari have been Red Bull’s closest competitors since early summer, although it doesn’t look that way because of the way some of the races, like Valencia and Silverstone and Spa, turned out. Alonso missed the last 20 minutes of the session due to an”experimental part” in the gearbox breaking after he had overshot a corner and reversed back onto the track.

Meanwhile the McLaren drivers seemed reasonably happy with their cars, Lewis Hamilton said that his car was better over the bumps than it has been so far this season and sounds optimistic, as usual, “We’re reasonably close; we’re competitive; there’s more time for us to find tomorrow; so I’m optimistic,” he said.

“I think we’ll be able to compete with the guys who were at the front today. The Red Bulls definitely aren’t unbeatable here. Okay, they’re very quick in the second and third sectors, so we’ll have to work hard to try to make up time there, but I’m pretty confident we can do it.”

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47 Comments
  1. Azlas says:

    If it rains tomorrow or on Sunday I’ll be running round the house like a giddy school girl in excitement. This track in the wet with cars everywhere will be chaos!

  2. Goutam says:

    I predict ALO-P1; followed by 2 RedBulls.

    1. Panya says:

      Great prediction – i seconded it.

      1. dulait says:

        I third it.

        James seems to believe that the Bulls have the first 2 slots nailed, but I think Alonso will be a factor. He’s also dynamite around there, as the past 2 years have demonstrated.

        Time will tell.

      2. Galapago555 says:

        I would like to second that too. :-D

        I would put my money on RBR 1 – 3, with Alonso grabbing P2.

        Can’t wait for Qualy to start!!

    2. Baktru says:

      Woohoo Alonso on Pole :)

  3. EM says:

    Hello James,

    I was interested to read that Hamilton commented on the Red Bull’s pace in the second and third sectors.

    I thought the teams had timings which split the track up into around ten sectors, am I mistaken?

    So do the drivers consider the big 3 ‘public’ sectors and then split it down further for analysis? Do the drivers really only think about the 3 sectors or talk that way for the public? Or was Lewis talking about sectors 2 and 3 out of ten?

    1. rfs says:

      I’m sure Lewis meant sectors 2 and 3 out of 3. Where did you hear about 10 sectors?

      1. Amritraj says:

        The track is split in 3 broad sectors for which the audience see the timing splits.

        However, the teams get additional telemetry in which the track is split in 10 sectors.

        More than anything else, it helps the teams monitor and manage tyre performance at a much more granular level.

      2. Edward says:

        The F1 teams have software that allows them to see the time gains and losses over many sectors, I think its 8 on some tracks and 10 on others. This allows the teams to get a far more detailed view of exactly where time is made up or lost over ares of the track.

      3. Kinkas says:

        I am sure Lewis meant 2 and 3 out of 3, but the teams have available 8 or 10 split sector times.

  4. Cynic says:

    Vettel is 6 tenths faster than Webber, no mention anywhere on here or BBC by the commentators. If it was Webber 6 tenths faster, it would have been spammed all over the place and how of an amazing driver he is blahblahblah.

    Fact.

    1. miso says:

      It’s only Friday practice. I’m sure if he is that much faster in qualifying plenty will be said about it.

    2. jim says:

      Oh really…. what about when Webber was faster in FP1 by over 5 tenths?

    3. Harv says:

      Webber was over half a second faster than Vettel in the first practice – didn’t see anything mentioned about that either.

    4. Aussie Fan says:

      Its only a practice session so it doesn’t really count towards anything. It would only be worth mentioning if it was obvious they were both really trying repeatedly to get a faster time than each other & Webber ended up that much slower. Such as ,well, qualifying…..

      Fact :-)

    5. Haydyn says:

      Come on Cynic…be fair…

      Its P2 and it doesnt count for squat if hes 4 minutes faster than anyone else.

      Qually will sort out just whos who…I would expect that both RB’s will be quick, both drivers on a similar pace as they have been all year.

    6. Paul says:

      Doesn’t that tell you something??

    7. nathan says:

      pull your head in1 its only practise. If he is ahead of him by 6 tenths in quaily then everyone will give him the praise he deserves like they did in hungary.

    8. Clay says:

      It’s only practice remember.

    9. Cliff says:

      FP1 & 2 give an indication on the teams performance relative to the opposition. The BBC show SV as the fastest in FP2, what more do you want? This can only be a benchmark for FP3 and qualifying. I could be wrong, but I read JA’s column to be giving an overview of the days events from a team perspective with a comment from LH. With the weather closing in, FP1 & 2 may be academic to the final qualifying positions.

      1. Chris says:

        In addition a lot of last minute laps got disrupted by a yellow flag.

        Fact.

  5. Galapago555 says:

    From Asturias, it’s been a little frustrating the way Alonso lost control and went wide when he seemed to be running very close to Vettel fastest lap. Actually, he had scored the best S1 time, and was only 1 tenth slower than Seb on S2.

    James, how close in your opinion could have he finished that flying lap, in case he hadn’t made that mistake?

    1. artorwar says:

      From Alicante, It was sad to see a silly run-off causing so much trouble, ‘Nando was looking good. I don’t believe the stuff about the experimentalb part. I still expect him to be fast though, maybe P2? ¡Nos esperamos!

  6. Tommy K. says:

    James,

    Is it true that Red Bull was running low fuel in Friday practice? If they did, it’s going to be really close in the race, no matter what happens tomorrow!

    1. Kinkas says:

      Tommy, most likely the RB’s were sandbagging yesterday. That’s the way they run their programme (more fuel then others during FP’s). The Redbull are at least half a second faster on Ferrari’s and at least a full second from Mclaren.

  7. mo kahn says:

    In FPP2 Button was a revelation. Ofcourse RBs were expected to be quick here, as in Monaco, Hungary.

    Wonder if the new Ferrari floor was revised and introduced in Singapore in order to qualify to the revision in FIA floor scrutinies to the floors of all cars effective Singapore GP.

    If so… then were Ferrari running illegal floors in races preceeding Singapore GP?

    A logical plausibility

    Enjoy Singapore GP Everyone :)

    1. Rich C says:

      Excuse me – did you just use the words “logical” and “plausible” in discussing F1??

  8. Dan E says:

    Mr Allen,

    Lewis Hamilton was quoted after practice being less than nice about the chicane that sent Sutil flying and caused the significant damage to the Force India’s front-left suspension.

    Is he alone in having these concerns? Do you consider it an issue and does the chicane really bring anything positive to the race-track?

    To my mind, it’s little more than the racing equivelent of a speed hump.

    Furthermore, if a driver almost anywhere in the pack were to misjudge the corner on high fuel during the first lap, there could well be a pile-up of epic proportions.

    1. artorwar says:

      Mistakes have to be punished, think Wall of Champions! End of the day, if you make an unforced error and don’t avoid the hazard thats life, as for a pile up, well, it’s a street circuit, the same could be said about Swimming Pool.

  9. Mee says:

    James, what did you think about Jerome d’Ambrosio’s first F1 outing? He was only 2 tenths slower than his experienced team mate Timo Glock, but was that a ‘fake’ margin (low fuel high fuel) or was he really that impressive?

    Do you think he has what it takes to be in F1 next year as a regular driver?

    1. James Allen says:

      It’s too early to say. They seem pleased with him

  10. Mr Squiggle says:

    Red Bull and the kerbs…

    I wonder if this explains the difference between Webber and Vettel after the first day’s practice. Seb has a history of ridig the kerbs for all they are worth, Webber less so, until its time to go for pole

  11. LiamC says:

    Hmmm,so an “experimental” part broke in Alonso’s gearbox. Wouldn’t that mean a change and penalty?

    1. chetz says:

      maybe not cos it was “experimental”..

    2. Edward says:

      I’m not too sure it renders a total change of gearbox. Remember in Australia 2009 when Rubens had to have 3rd gear changed on his car between qualy and the race. He didn’t get a penalty and I think that is the case here.

  12. Wombat says:

    Watching race from Esplanade Waterfront Stand.
    Track had damp patches on the outside turn 17.
    Cars around turn 17 are all over the place.
    There’s a repair in the road right on the racing line for the outer tyres.
    Cars can just fit in between the yellow line and the patch.
    Some try to miss it other don’t seem to worry as it doesn’t really bother them.
    Going wide gets them into the wet patch.
    Some slide wide out of turn 17.
    Others just kind of blast around.
    Got to be more to come…………..

  13. Paul says:

    I agree with you James that Vettel will put a run together from here. In a lot of the circuits where Red Bull have been dominant e.g. Silverstone and Hungary, he was very unlucky and Webber ended up winning despite not being quite on Vettel’s pace.

    I remain convinced that Seb will win this championship

    1. James Allen says:

      This is based on nothing more than a feeling, remember. Today will tell us more

      1. dulait says:

        Pressure’s off Seb now. When the pressure is off, he’s dangerous. I expect him to walk to victory in Japan.

      2. artorwar says:

        I have the same feeling. He’s bouncing back pretty well from the unfair criticism. I like his attitude and I hope he does well, but my heart says Webber for the WDC!

  14. Edward says:

    I really hope JB can get a solid result here and at least outscore Lewis and Mark. Perhaps it is better to be chasing in the championship rather than leading it going into a GP like Singapore where having nothing to lose in an unpredictable (hopefuly due to some wet weather) race may be of more benefit to race tactics.

  15. John says:

    Have to say while I do think the Bulls have the speed, I’ve noticed recently, particularly in the last race, that the Mclarens seem to have outstanding starts off the line. They both took off at the last race, so I think if a Mclaren finds its way on the front row there is a good chance of taking the lead.

    My money is on Vettel getting pole if this is dry qualifying. I believe that Alonso and Hamilton will have to fight it out for 3rd place in qualifying in the hope that one of the Bull drivers make an error. This will be a ridiculous race if it rains (but at least there’ll be some overtaking) and when I’ve been in Singapore, it always seems to rain more often in the day rather than at night, so….

    1. Robert Lujan says:

      I have to agree with you about Red Bull being strong. But I hope Webber will get pole. He has less a chance of throwing it away as Vettel. McLaren will get off the line faster than Red Bull but may lose it during the race.

  16. Robert Lujan says:

    Not that I want it to happen but I bet anyone right now that at least 1 driver will FLY off at turn 10. As to who will be the first? I think it will be Seb Vettel. He is going to be way too aggressive Sunday and if it rains (or possibly even if not) will miss his breaking point and the chicane will have him in flight. Hopefully nothing will happen, but i wager he will test out the Red Bull’s flying ability there.

  17. Rabbitleader says:

    James,

    Do you think the other teams will try to put more pressure on Alonso’s Ferrari engine to force Ferrari into taking a new engine? For instance, teams could pressure Alonso all the way to the finish rather than accepting a comfortable place behind.

    1. James Allen says:

      I think they are all on the limit anyway, to be honest. No-one’s holding anything back! There’s a championship at stake.

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