Red Bull new floor questioned

Folklore suggested Ferrari may ruin Red Bull Racing’s perfect season last time out in Monza. Back in 1988 it was there Ferrari ruined McLaren’s winning streak which meant they won just 15 of the 16 races that season.

Yet it wasn’t to be at this year’s Italian Grand prix. Carlos Sainz won the pole position and for 14 laps held off Verstappen before the inevitable overtake happened. 



Ferrari 1-2 dominent pace

Red Bull eventually finished 1-2 with the Ferrari’s behind. However, those in the know were looking to this weekends event in Singapore given the exceptional slow corner traction the cars of the Red Team have demonstrated this season.

In practice one it was the Ferrari’s sitting at the top of the time sheets the chequered flag fell, then as the night closed in and the thousands of lights lit the Marina Bay circuit, the expectation was that Red Bull would show their true pace.

Red Bull need to finish the race with a 1-2 to have any hope of claiming a record constructors’ title with seven races remaining. McLaren and Mercedes have won the title with five to go, but it is at the behest of Mercedes to prevent the world champions claiming another historic F1 record.

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Hamilton beaten by Russell

Russell looked to have a better handle of the tricky W14 Mercedes car as Lewis Hamilton was around half a second off the pace as the Friday practice session closed.

Yet remarkably after the qualy simulation run on the soft tyres, Verstappen was over 3/4 second off the pace of Sainz who was quickest ahead of Leclerc. The final standings were shocking with Red Bull placed in 7th and 8th.

Sergio Perez who won the race last year in Singapore was a few milli seconds ahead of his world champion team mate, but the Red Bull times were clearly concerning for the pit wall.

Red Bull U-turn 


Red Bull concerned

Red Bull were cautious coming to the city state race with Christian Horner stating before the cars hit the circuit that their car “didn’t suit the characteristics” of the Marina Bay track.

The Red Bull boss also admitted that pole position was as important as in Monaco because the opportunities in the race to overtake are few and far between.

Further, the undercut doesn’t work in Singapore, where a team pits early to gain a pace advantage on fresh rubber.

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Alonso genius evident again

Fernando Alonso man handled his car into fourth place, but this was no Aston Martin resurgence given he was 0.35 seconds off the pace.

Red Bull Racing will have to dig deep into their Friday night analysis to find the setup which will improve the car for Saturday practice and then qualifying.

Their job is hampered because the Marina Bay circuit has changed with four corners being dropped so their previous years’  performance data is less relevant.

Ricciardo slammed by former F1 champion


RB19 doesn’t suit Singapore

Both Red Bull drivers complained of a lack of rear end grip, which is a fundamental part of the Newey design. The 2023 car is best driven ‘on the nose’ which allows the car to rotate more quickly in the combination corners where the driver is braking and turning.

Sergio Perez radioed late in the session, “Its just not coming mate. Every braking zone I feel like I’m gonna crash. the rear is just stepping out massively.”

On a stop start circuit like Singapore, the RB19 is inferior to the Ferrari and expectations are now high for a Ferrari pole and win on Sunday.

Verstappen feared more than Hamilton says Button


Verstappen downbeat

“It was worse than expected today,” said Verstappen after the second free practice session in Singapore. “We were struggling a lot with the balance of the car. We tried quite a few things in FP2, some worked, some didn’t. But we never really got the car together.”

He continued: “We have quite a few things to figure out tonight. There are a few things we don’t understand. Of course, we will try to improve it, it’s quite a big gap. Ferrari is very fast, and we were just worse than expected.”


Red Bull floor questioned

Paddock whispers suggest Max Verstappen ran a modified floor in FP1 and it was the turn of Sergio Perez in FP2. This may be as a result of the FIA’s technical directive restricting and banning the use of a number of ‘tricks’ they believe the team have been utilising.

It is believed that much of the Red Bull advantage this season has been due to their underfloor air flow management, So the question is whether the FIA technical directive has found out the world champions and the playing field has been levelled.



Hamilton positive

Its a rare sight to see both Mercedes ahead of the Red Bull’s in any session this year and Lewwis Hamilton was bullish over the team’s performance.

“It’s been a great day here in Singapore,” beamed Hamilton. “FP1 was solid. We were still a little bit of where we wanted to be, but it wasn’t too bad. FP2 was for sure the best FP2 session I’ve had this year.

“It was nice to finish a Friday feeling so positive,” he added. “I think we’ve got a good platform to build off for the rest of the weekend. It’s the best I’ve felt from a Friday this year,

“I hope we can do some good work overnight, as we always tend to do, and continue to improve.”


Lawson eclipses Tsunoda

Liam Lawson who has never raced in Singapore was the lead AlphaTauri as he set the 12th fastest time, finishing ahead of Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll, and his fellow rookie Oscar Piastri, who wound up 15th for McLaren.

Yuki Tsunoda who is uncertain of being retained for 2024 could only manage 16th and was two tenths behind his rookie team mate.


READ MORE: Horner responds to Hamilton demands over Marko


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