Singapore F1 Grand Prix 2016 Qualifying: Results, Times from Friday's Practice

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistSeptember 16, 2016

SINGAPORE - SEPTEMBER 16: Nico Rosberg of Germany driving the (6) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes F1 WO7 Mercedes PU106C Hybrid turbo on track during practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Singapore at Marina Bay Street Circuit on September 16, 2016 in Singapore.  (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
Lars Baron/Getty Images

Mercedes star Nico Rosberg recovered from a crash in first practice to top the lap times in Friday's second practice session ahead of Sunday's Formula One Singapore Grand Prix, finishing with a time of one minute, 44.152 seconds.

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen was just 0.275 seconds behind that time, while the Red Bull duo of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo took third and fourth, respectively, building on an impressive start to their practice runs.

A roller-coaster day for Mercedes was compounded, however, after reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton was unable to finish second practice following a hydraulic issue, settling in P7 as a result.

The official Formula 1 Twitter account provided a look at the second practice times in full:

Earlier, Red Bull began their preparations for the Singapore Grand Prix in fine form after Verstappen finished first practice the quickest on Friday with a fastest lap time of 1:45.823. The Dutch ace edged team-mate Ricciardo by just 0.049 seconds in Friday's opening session.

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Sebastian Vettel did enough to finish third-fastest in first practice and was 0.464 seconds slower than leader Verstappen, while Mercedes' Nico Rosberg took fifth despite crashing late, just behind team-mate Hamilton.

Here's a look at the lap times in full from the first practice:

Second Practice Recap

Rosberg made the recovery Mercedes hoped he would in second practice, blitzing the field in 1:44.152 to end Friday's action as the in-form driver ahead of this weekend's entertainment.

It was a day to forget for Hamilton, however, who only managed 10 laps in the second session before car troubles meant he was forced into an early exit as Mercedes confirmed issues with the vehicle:

It was also a miserable practice day for Romain Grosjean, who was again unable to find his groove after failing to post a lap time in first practice. The Haas driver completed just 12 laps in the second session before a rear-suspension issue called for his departure.

The Frenchman came into contact with the wall and looked as though he'd managed to get away with some cosmetic damage at first, but the blow suffered eventually proved more costly:

Vettel ultimately ended up a little more than a second slower than timesheet leader Rosberg, but the German was in pole position himself for a time after posting an impressive lap of 1:45.266.

He did manage to best that lap eventually, but it was only good enough to take P5 heading into Saturday's qualifying. Sky Sports F1 showcased Vettel's lap times, which at one point appeared to be ticking down sweetly before a disruption in momentum:

Further down the order, Manor driver Esteban Ocon finished bottom of the second-practice timetable after he collided with the barriers, confirmed by Formula 1 writer Tom Clarkson:

Friday's second practice was also an opportunity for drivers across the board to test out their fortunes with the ultrasoft tyres with qualifying in mind, although there was mixed success.

Another consistent session for Red Bull built nicely on the first practice as Verstappen and Ricciardo once again nestled themselves among the fastest finishers, boding well for the remainder of the weekend.

First Practice Recap

Ricciardo impressed in Friday's first practice.
Ricciardo impressed in Friday's first practice.Yong Teck Lim/Associated Press

The winding circuit of Marina Bay promises big things for McLaren this weekend, with their disadvantages in power likely to be cancelled out in part, while their chassis gives Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso a big boost.

However, Button's first practice got off to a nightmarish start on Friday when the virtual safety car was called into action on the first lap following a failure.

ESPN's Jennie Gow couldn't help but jest at the comical attempt by the stewards to get the Briton's vehicle back to the pits early on:

It was hardly surprising to see the Mercedes pair of Hamilton and Rosberg duelling for top spot early on, and the reigning world champion managed to pip his team-mate by half a second to assume the lead before long.

Ferrari's Vettel posted a fast time of his own and was on Hamilton's tail before having a run-in with the boundaries on Turn 20, and onlookers could attest to it being more than a simple "brush":

There were serious concerns for Grosjean, too, and after returning to the garage, Haas confirmed their driver wouldn't be able to post as much as a single lap time in first practice:

It was about an hour into first practice that came the rise of Red Bull, where Verstappen wrested the lead from Hamilton, followed closely by team-mate Ricciardo.

Ricciardo was unfortunate to be just half a tenth of a second behind his Dutch colleague, too, considering there was a point where he was the in-form driver across all sectors:

What started out as a very promising session for Rosberg ultimately ended in tears after he careered into the barriers at Turn 18 with just over 10 minutes remaining in the session:

His mistake was a reminder that even the cream of the crop can falter under pressure, and with two points separating him from standings leader Hamilton, the omens for Sunday are perhaps looking more bleak now.

Red Bull, on the other hand, will take their positives from first practice—as will Ferrari—and hope it's an indicator of things to come for the rest of the weekend at Marina Bay.