Seven-time F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton was fastest in FP1 for the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix, as the sport returned to the Marina Bay circuit for the first time since 2019.
Hamilton’s 1:43.033 edged out championship leader Max Verstappen by 0.084s and marked the first time the British driver has led a session in 2022.
‘Today started off well with FP1, but wasn’t as great in the second session. The car is what it is and we’re bouncing around a lot, but it doesn’t feel like we’re massively off this weekend. There’s not too much we can do about the stiffness of the car with the tools we have, but set-up wise we can find more time. With the set-up that I had today, there was a lot of locking, which we will fix it tonight so we can come back and give it a better go tomorrow. Conditions here are tricky, I definitely feel dehydrated after the sessions, a bit heavy and very hot. But biggest problem is not the physical challenge so much as getting the car in the window for qualifying tomorrow,’ said Hamilton.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, Verstappen’s closest challenger, struggled with brake problems early on but managed to set the third fastest time of the hour-long session, just over four-tenths behind the Mercedes of Hamilton.
Verstappen, who could clinch his second title this weekend, had a spin late on in the session, but no damage was done to the Dutchman’s Red Bull.
There was a brief stoppage with 20 minutes remaining of the hour, after Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll clipped the barrier on the exit of Turn 5, damaging the left-rear wheel of the Canadian’s car.
Thai driver Alexander Albon returned to the Williams seat after missing the last race in Italy with appendicitis.
The 26-year-old also suffered a respiratory failure in hospital due to anaesthetic complications but put in 20 laps, his best lap the 16th quickest.
FP1 in Singapore is generally held to not be particularly representative given it is run in the late afternoon, while FP2, Qualifying and the Race take place at night.