Vettel believes a front-row lockout was possible for Ferrari, but his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen had to settle for third on the grid. Hamilton has won the Singapore Grand Prix twice in 2009 and 2014. “I’ll focus on the race weekend and see what Lewis does but I want to win the championship”. “This year I’m still fast, and often I feel that I have done a flawless lap”. His new teammate Alexander Rossi (ABOVE RIGHT) joined the session late, after waiting for his auto to be repaired following the heavy impact with the wall the American suffered in FP1.
The German trails Hamilton by 53 points with seven rounds remaining but will be buoyed by his performance at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, lapping the 23-turn layout in one minute, 47.995 seconds on a hot and muggy evening. The German, apart from a brief mid-season flicker of improvement, has struggled to match Hamilton all season.
This is only the Russian’s second race in Singapore and he admitted on Thursday that he had found the first one previous year very hard , the intensity of the challenge in the heat and humidity, around a long lap and a race of almost two hours testing all the drivers. Britain’s Hamilton coolly drove hands-free as he rolled down the pitlane adjusting his gloves, but it was a less than smooth session for the reigning world champion.
But, while his title prospects may appear as hazy as the smog that has blanketed Singapore in the build up to Sunday’s race, he has refused to throw in the towel.
Rosberg, now second on 199 points with three race wins, is aiming to close the 53-point gap on his team-mate after a calamitous weekend in Monza earlier this month, where he was forced to retire just three laps from the finish after his engine caught fire.
With the caveat that this is only practice, the difference so far is that Mercedes seem simply to lack pace – although they may not have been running their cars at maximum performance. I don’t know what happened to them today, they looked a bit slow. The 5.065-kilometer long Marina Bay circuit is a street track that winds its way through the heart of the city-state. Coupled with the heat, humidity and racing under lights it is one of the most demanding on the calendar.
Fernando Alonso, whose McLaren team hoped the low-speed nature of the circuit would help mask the power deficit of its Honda power unit, was seventh, a few thousandths behind Rosberg.
Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat ended the day fastest with teammate Daniel Ricciardo third.