Wed, 04 Oct 2023

By F1 correspondent Michael Butterworth

SINGAPORE, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) -- Carlos Sainz led Charles Leclerc for another Ferrari 1-2 in second practice for the F1 Singapore Grand Prix, with championship leader Max Verstappen only eighth after struggling for grip.

Unlike Friday's first practice session, which took place in the early evening, this second session began at a similar time to that of Saturday's qualifying and Sunday's race, meaning the running order should theoretically be more representative of the rest of the weekend.

After Leclerc had edged Sainz in FP1, it was the Spaniard's turn to set the pace in FP2, with his benchmark of 1:32.120 just 0.018s ahead of Leclerc, as lap times were around 10 seconds quicker than last year thanks largely to a revised layout at the Marina Bay Street Circuit.

Further down the leaderboard, Verstappen did not appear happy with his car, with the Dutchman complaining of a lack of rear end grip that was causing him to slide around.

Verstappen's teammate Sergio Perez finished one place ahead of Verstappen in seventh, but he too was unhappy with the balance of his RB19, at one point radioing his team to say he felt he would crash every time he braked.

Behind the two Ferraris, the two Mercedes of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton were third and fifth, with the pair sandwiching the Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso, who had come into this weekend with high hopes of a good result.

Lando Norris was sixth for McLaren ahead of the two Red Bulls, with Haas' Kevin Magnussen and the Alfa Romeo of Valtteri Bottas rounding out the top ten.

Bottas' teammate Zhou Guanyu ended the session 17th fastest, less than 0.5s adrift of the Finn.

Propping up the rear of the timesheets was Williams' Alex Albon, who only managed a handful of laps before being confined to the garage for much of the session with power unit issues.

Unusually, both Friday's practice sessions passed without any drivers coming to grief against the unforgiving walls around the Marina Bay Street Circuit, with no stoppages in either session.

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