Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc during final training for the Singapore Grand Prix
Singapore (AFP) Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was the fastest in training for a shorter final on Saturday for the Singapore Grand Prix, half a second faster than championship leader Max Verstappen.
Heavy rain in the afternoon at Marina Bay Circuit meant that just 30 minutes of running time was possible with Leclerc’s handling conditions better as the track started to dry out, clocking in at 1 minute 57.782 seconds.
Verstappen’s fastest effort in Red Bull was 1:58,308 with Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari second in third with a time of 1:58,848.
Lewis Hamilton was stunned to be the fastest in Friday’s dry first training, but struggled to control the intermediate rain tires and was 12th, more than three seconds at Leclerc’s expense.
Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate George Russell was ninth fastest in a session that left more questions than answers just two hours before the all-important qualifying session under the floodlights later on Saturday.
One lap speed in qualifying is crucial in Singapore, with a top position being a huge advantage on a tight track that offers few overtaking opportunities.
Spaniard Fernando Alonso, who will start his 350th grand prix on Sunday – more than Kimi Raikkonen’s previous record – was the fourth fastest in the Alps, 1.647 seconds slower than Leclerc.
Sergio Perez finished fifth in the second Red Bull, Lance Stroll finished sixth in the Aston Martin followed by Esteban Ocon in the Alps.
Sebastian Vettel, winner in Singapore with Ferrari last time raced in 2019, finished eighth in his Aston Martin.
Verstappen has an almost irreplaceable lead in the title chase but must win Sunday’s race and see his nearest rival falter to retain his title, or the fight moves to Japan next week.