By: Myanna Wedes.
As the sun set and the cars moved out on track, it was clear the drivers were working through various issues. George Russell was not happy with his seat configuration whereas Max Verstappen was feeling the bumps and having to bounce around in the car which was making his acceleration troublesome in various parts of the circuit. Lewis Hamilton was quick in the session though not shy of a little controversy with Carlos Sainz almost running him off the circuit. Hamilton returned the favour by going faster on track and pumping in the laps to establish where the Mercedes required improvements in order to be ready for qualifying tomorrow night.
The times in FP1 were up and down with changes taking place. Both Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel shared the top spots with Hamilton and Bottas. However, the feeling was not a good one when Bottas lost it and crashed doing some serious damage to his car. You can see the tyre marks on the street from where he slammed on the brakes and was trying to recover in order to not hit the barriers. Unfortunately, the crash started early before making his entry in to the corner and will definitely have the mechanics working hard to fix the car. Bottas on the radio: “Sorry guys”. The look on Toto Wolff’s face was not one of joy. Turn 19 has a new victim: the Finnish Bot. The other unhappy team who went in to crisis mode were Ferrari with Charles Leclerc suffering a mechanical issue and crawling back to the pits. The Ferrari mechanics were quick on their fit running to bring Leclerc back to the pits to begin analysis and hoping that it is not a suspected gearbox issue.
Verstappen appears to be in a very good mindset and is really looking forward to charging on Sunday night. His performance in the first session was stellar with teammate Alex Albon not far behind. The Red Bull Racing Formula One Team are on form in Singapore and utilising the conditions to their advantage. It shows that the Red Bull Racing Team have been working towards this race and know where they excel in comparison to their rivals. Dr Helmut Marko looked impressed when the cameras cut to a shot of him inside the garage watching his two drivers closely.
New kid on the block Lando Norris did a stellar job in recovering from a late spin with ten minutes to go in the session. Norris put himself in the top ten which is a good display of his ability to work through the hot and tiring conditions at Singapore. The extra time spent in Singapore may just have been a smart move for the young driver as he was cycling to learn the circuit in and out. We like to see this especially after the disappointment experienced in the last race. His teammate Sainz also received a bit of payback from Hamilton who was not going to yield track position purely to assist the Spanish driver. Interesting tactics taking place between the two drivers. We know these two have had history in the past. Overall, the first session was vital to see how the car and tyres reacted to the track conditions. With dusk about to fall, the next session will be intriguing to watch closely due to the fact that Leclerc is already behind as is Bottas due to their car issues, one which was human error and the other a fault of the Ferrari car itself. Tune in for the next session to see who ends up on the top of the timesheet. Could Verstappen dominate this entire weekend or will it be closer than what we all think!