Ferrari look to capitalize on a strong first day of practices at Marina Bay as Red Bull tries to rally. FP3 begins at 5:30 a.m. ET / 11:30 a.m. BST.
Mark Thompson/Getty Images
Get to know the Marina Bay Street Circuit
Mark Thompson/Getty Images
The bumpy track, which was initially designed by the renowned Hermann Tilke (whose CV includes circuits in Jeddah, Baku, Austin and Abu Dhabi) and refined by KBR Inc., also presents a physical challenge for the drivers and teams, not just because of its characteristics but also because of Singapore’s hot and humid tropical climate. And though it’s the first Asian race of the season, the paddock operates on European time — meaning no jet lag but inverted sleep schedules.
“You need to put a lot of work into the car to get a good lap,” Lewis Hamilton said in 2008. “I’d say it requires double the energy of Monaco over a single lap. One lap around here is like two laps of Monaco.”
Before F1 hops into the thick of the sticky Singapore night, here’s what you need to know about the Marina Bay Street Circuit.
F1 Singapore GP circuit breakdown: Marina Bay is shorter but just as brutal
What you missed on Friday
It was a fascinating day of practice sessions. Here’s a couple of quick takeaways:
- Red Bull might be in trouble? Max Verstappen warned us after the Italian GP that Singapore would give his team issues, but I’m sure Friday even caught him by surprise. The Red Bull drivers finished FP2 (run in the evening, during race conditions) in P7 and P8 – behind the Ferraris, Mercedes, Fernando Alonso and Lando Norris. The handling of the RB19s wasn’t up to par. Pérez and Verstappen struggled to keep their cars out of the barriers, much less improve on lap times. “It’s just not coming,” Pérez reported at one point. “Every braking zone, I feel like I’m going to crash.”
- It was a strong day for Ferrari, which is mildly surprising. Both drivers showed well at the Italian GP, but we didn’t expect the Ferraris to contend at higher-downforce Singapore. Instead, Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc pulled off a clean sweep, topping FP1 and FP2.
- Good early returns for McLaren, which brought a whole host of upgrades to Lando Norris’ car this weekend. Luke Smith broke the upgrades down this morning.
- There might be more left in the tank for Aston Martin. Team principal Mike Krack told The Athletic the team had high hopes for Singapore. Alonso ran P8 in FP1 and P4 in FP2. His teammate, Lance Stroll, had a decidedly more challenging day with the car.
- Further down the grid, Haas showed improvements, while Alex Albon’s day ended early. Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hülkenberg hovered around the edges of the top ten, while the Williams driver retired with a power unit issue.
Singapore GP practices deliver Red Bull doubts and lizard hazards
Hello and welcome
Welcome to The Athletic‘s live coverage of the 2023 Singapore Grand Prix, one of the most physically demanding and visually spectacular races of the season. We’ve got two sessions on tap for you today:
- FP3 begins at 5:30 a.m. ET / 10:30 a.m. BST. It’s the final tune-up session on the streets of Marina Bay.
- Qualifying begins at 9 a.m. ET / 2 p.m. BST.
Keep with us as we get you caught up on what’s been a busy race weekend.