2014 Singapore GP Practice Two: Hamilton fastest as Rosberg hindered by red flag
Hamilton fastest from Alonso but Rosberg forced to abort supersoft lap after Maldonado crashes; Nico fastest in sector one before stoppage; Vettel completes just five laps after engine change
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 19/09/14 7:34pm
Lewis Hamilton set the Friday pace as night-time descended in Practice Two at the Singapore GP but an untimely crash for Pastor Maldonado skewed single-lap comparisons between the timesheet-topping Briton and title rival Nico Rosberg.
Rosberg, the championship leader, finished in the unusual confines of 13th place but his position – and the 1.5-second gap to Hamilton – was misleading after the German was forced to abandon his low-fuel run on the supersoft tyres when Maldonado slammed his Lotus into the wall further ahead on the barrier-lined street track.
Rosberg had just clocked the fastest first sector of all on the red-marked rubber – 28.702s, which would prove the fastest of the session – just seconds before Maldonado came a cropper at Turn Ten, the sight of the crumpled Lotus E22 in the Armco enough for Race Control to unfurl the red flag.
When action resumed, and having already taken some of the life out of the supersoft rubber, Mercedes switched Rosberg onto his heavy-fuel race simulations while Hamilton began what proved an interrupted low-fuel effort on the supersofts. The Briton ultimately set the pace with a lap of 1:47.490, although his time through the first sector of 28.787s was eight hundredths slower than Rosberg managed before the sister W05 was forced to slow.
Still, both of Mercedes' duelling rivals completed copious running in the long-run simulations that concluded the session, leaving the battle finely poised heading into the weekend at one of the most physically-gruelling circuits of them all.
It remains to be seen whether Hamilton and Rosberg will be joined in the battle of honours at the front in qualifying, even if Practice Two appeared to provide further evidence that the would-be challengers should be closer to the runaway W05s around the technical and elongated street layout.
Ferrari and Red Bull both finished within 0.3s of Hamilton, although the former’s often-encouraging Friday pace habitually carries a health warning given that the F14 Ts usually drop back into the pack come the business end of the weekend.
Still, having set the outright pace in P1, the fact Alonso lapped just 0.133s slower than the Silver Arrows at the end of the day appears to give prospective vindication to the Spaniard’s prediction that Ferrari should fare better here than at high-speed Spa and Monza.
As in Belgium, Daniel Ricciardo shouldered the bulk of Red Bull’s P2 work with team-mate Sebastian Vettel on the sidelines for all but the final seven minutes of running while they worked to replace the old engine which expired at the end of the opening session.
Once belatedly back on track, Vettel completed five laps to finish fifth behind the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen, with Kevin Magnussen beating McLaren team-mate Jenson Button to sixth.
Force India pair Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg, who had been the first to switch to the supersofts, were eighth and ninth respectively ahead of Toro Rosso rookie Daniil Kvyat.
Struggling Lotus showed better than on some Fridays this year to finish 12th and 14th but Maldonado’s latest 2014 mishap – the Venezuelan has been involved in numerous crashes and incidents so far this year – proved a fresh cause of unwanted frustration.
The 2014 Singapore GP is live only on Sky Sports F1 this weekend. Our race-day coverage begins at 11.30am on Sunday with lights out at Marina Bay at 1pm.