Lewis Hamilton delivered a late flying lap to claim top spot in the opening practice session for this weekend’s 2022 FIA Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix, beating world championship leader Max Verstappen by 0.084s with Charles Leclerc third.
Red Bull Racing’s Verstappen had claimed P1 with a soft tyre run of 1:43.117 with just over 20 minutes remaining, but after a red flag period caused by Lance Stroll’s collision with the barriers, the world championship leader moved to medium tyres while Ferrari’s Leclerc and Mercedes driver Hamilton took their opportunity to put in a first performance run of the weekend.
And it was Hamilton who found the most time on the 23-corner, 5 kilometre Marina Bay Street Circuit. The seven-time champion put in a lap of 1:43.033 to steal top spot from Verstappen by just 0.084s. Leclerc, meanwhile, moved to third place with a lap of 1:43.453 that left him three tenths off Verstappen but four ahead of the other Red Bull of Sergio Pérez.
At the start of the session quickly claimed top spot with a lap of 1:47.329 set on medium tyres, with team-mate Pérez in second place. Across two more runs the world championship leader worked his way down to 1:44.236 to sits 1.1s clear of Alpine’s Fernando Alonso with Perez ran third thanks to an improved time of 1:45.349.
There were early problems for Leclerc, though, and the Ferrari driver sat out almost 25 minutes of the session as his team fixed a brake issue on his car. That left the Monegasque driver’s team-mate Carlos Sainz as the only Ferrari driver on track and he slotted into fourth place with a lap of 1:45.628 on hard tyres.
George Russell then caused yellow flags to be shown when he locked up on entry to Turn 11. He went straight on but was able to slow enough to just touch the barriers with the nose of his car. He was able to reverse out and carry on.
Verstappen then bolted on soft tyres and the Dutchman posted a purple time of 1:43.117 with Pérez taking P2.
With just over 20 minutes left on the clock Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll, fourth at the time, brought out the red flags when he made a mistake in Turn 5 and clipped the outside wall. He sustained a rear-left puncture and stopped at the side of the track in Turn 7.
The session resumed after a five-minute stoppage but few cars headed out. The Red Bulls emerged on medium tyres and that allowed Leclerc, on soft tyres. to post a lap of 1:43.435
With five minutes to go Hamilton powered to the top of the timesheet by eight hundredths courtesy of a lap of 1:43.033.
Verstappen took second, while Leclerc was third ahead of Pérez. Russell was fifth ahead of Sainz, while Alpine’s Esteban Ocon finished seventh. Stroll slid to eighth ahead of AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly and Alonso. Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel took 11th ahead of McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo.
2022 FIA Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix – Free Practice 1
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:43.033 20 176.902
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:43.117 0.084 20 176.758
3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:43.435 0.402 17 176.215
4 Sergio Pérez Red Bull 1:43.839 0.806 15 175.529
5 George Russell Mercedes 1:44.066 1.033 21 175.146
6 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:44.138 1.105 24 175.025
7 Esteban Ocon Alpine/Renault 1:44.736 1.703 24 174.026
8 Lance Stroll Aston Martin/Mercedes 1:45.221 2.188 12 173.223
9 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri/Red Bull 1:45.258 2.225 24 173.163
10 Fernando Alonso Alpine/Renault 1:45.336 2.303 11 173.034
11 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin/Mercedes 1:45.354 2.321 22 173.005
12 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren/Mercedes 1:45.724 2.691 21 172.399
13 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:45.725 2.692 24 172.398
14 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1:46.028 2.995 22 171.905
15 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri/Red Bull 1:46.081 3.048 26 171.819
16 Alexander Albon Williams/Mercedes 1:46.119 3.086 20 171.758
17 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:46.408 3.375 25 171.291
18 Mick Schumacher Haas/Ferrari 1:46.601 3.568 23 170.981
19 Lando Norris McLaren/Mercedes 1:46.680 3.647 22 170.854
20 Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes 1:47.092 4.059 18 170.197