Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix - Friday round-up

BY Sean Loo

The time sheets were all flashing Scarlet Red, with our Bull championship leaders running into some trouble.

This Marina Bay Street Circuit underwent a little makeover this year, and boy did it shake things up.

The F1 experts predicted that the changes to the circuit would shave off about nine seconds from the lap times. But guess what? It turned out to be even more impressive.

Carlos Sainz clocked a blistering lap at 1:32.120 seconds. That's not just faster; it's a whopping 10.913 seconds quicker than the same session last year.

The first and second practice sessions saw the Scarlet Ferraris top the timing charts. Sainz led the charge, leaving teammate Charles Leclerc trailing by a mere 18-thousandths of a second.

The scarlet cars from Maranello seemed to have brought their Monza magic to the city streets of Singapore.

But it wasn't all Ferrari dominance. George Russell was right there in the mix for Mercedes, and he was loving the new track layout.

According to Russell, the changes make the final sector and the entire lap flow like a well-composed symphony, and believes it's going to make the racing on Sunday a whole lot better.

Speaking of the rest of the pack, Fernando Alonso's Aston Martin found itself sandwiched between Russell and the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton.

Lando Norris, sporting a new McLaren livery, made waves with nine upgrades, securing a respectable sixth place.

But there were some grumbles in the Red Bull camp. Max Verstappen, still chasing his first Singapore win, and his teammate Sergio Pérez, the reigning champ here, weren't too pleased with their cars' handling.

Pérez even mentioned feeling like he was on the verge of crashing in every braking zone. Verstappen had his heart-stopping moments too, with a lurid slide out of Turn 13 that almost ended in a kiss with Sainz's Ferrari.

And let's not forget Kevin Magnussen, the Haas driver who seems to have a special affinity for the Marina Bay Street Circuit.

He roared into an unexpected ninth place, with teammate Nico Hülkenberg not far behind in 11th.

Somewhere in the mix, Valtteri Bottas's Alfa Romeo showed promise with a new floor upgrade. But it wasn't all smooth sailing; Alex Albon's Williams, looking sharp in its new livery, suffered a power loss just 10 minutes into the session.

Now, on a different note, in the world of motorsport, Thai driver Tanart Sathienthirakul ruled the roost in TSS The Super Series.

His Audi R8 Evo II was in a league of its own, leaving the competition in the dust with a commanding pole position.

In the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, China's Kailuo Luo set the pace in opening practice, leaving series leader Florian Latorre in his wake.

Formula 1 in Singapore just got a whole lot more exciting, and we can't wait to see how this high-speed drama unfolds.

Photo Credits: Singapore Grand Prix