Rosberg fastest as Hamilton hits trouble

Nico Rosberg

Nico Rosberg

Nico Rosberg set the pace in Friday Practice for the Singapore Grand Prix while his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton was hampered by a mechanical issue.

Rosberg topped the times in the second 90 minute session after bouncing back from a crash at Turn 18 in the afternoon outing, which damaged the front of his Mercedes.

The German quickly put the mistake behind him to clock a 1:44.15s effort on the ultra-soft tyres.

Title rival Hamilton could only set a time good enough for seventh in Practice 2 with his evening cut short by 30 minutes due to a hydraulic issue.

The Brit’s best lap was more than a second adrift of his team-mate albeit on the super-soft tyres.

While Mercedes allayed fears over its pace at the Marina Bay Circuit, Ferrari emerged as serious challengers this weekend with Kimi Raikkonen only 0.2s shy of Rosberg.

Red Bull confirmed pre-event predictions regarding its speed at the venue with Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo occupying third and fourth respectively.

Verstappen was only a tenth adrift of Raikkonen while Ricciardo spent a portion of the final session in the pits after clipping the wall, which resulted in a spin at Turn 11.

“I think we had to work with it today and I think we can find a few things tonight, I am not discouraged by the pace,” said Ricciardo.

“I think where we are is pretty good considering where I think we can be with the car. I think there is still a lot more we can get out of it.

“If we find that, I think we will be looking alright tomorrow. As predicted, three teams are all there within half a second.”

Sebastian Vettel was unable to match his Ferrari team-mate for speed, ending Friday practice in fifth more than a second away from Rosberg’s pace.

Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg was sixth, while Carlos Sainz (Toro Rosso), Fernando Alonso (McLaren) and Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso) completed the top 10.

It proved to be a difficult day for Williams with Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas mired down in 14th and 15th respectively.

Qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix is scheduled for tonight at 2300 AEST.

Result: Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix Practice 2

Position Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:44.15s 34
2 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:44.42 0.27s 34
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1:44.53 0.38 29
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1:44.55 0.40 26
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:45.16 1.00 33
6 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1:45.18 1.03 35
7 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:45.27 1.12 10
8 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1:45.50 1.35 33
9 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1:45.77 1.62 30
10 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1:46.02 1.87 35
11 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1:46.06 1.91 26
12 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 1:46.57 2.42 30
13 Esteban Gutierrez Haas/Ferrari 1:46.72 2.57 36
14 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1:46.85 2.70 30
15 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1:46.96 2.80 30
16 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1:47.16 3.00 30
17 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:47.16 3.01 34
18 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1:47.53 3.37 29
19 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1:48.39 4.23 12
20 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1:48.48 4.33 32
21 Pascal Wehrlein Manor/Mercedes 1:48.50 4.35 33
22 Esteban Ocon Manor/Mercedes 1:48.82 4.67 29

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