Alonso fastest in first practice for Singapore GP

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Fernando Alonso has finished fastest in the first free practice session for this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.

The Ferrari driver posted a fastest lap of 1:49.056 to outpace both of the Mercedes drivers in the first session at Marina Bay as the drivers got their first taste of racing under the lights in Singapore on Friday evening.

As the session began when there was still some daylight, most opted not to complete any serious running in the first part of the session despite having a free set of Pirelli tires available. Instead, the majority of the quick times came once the track had rubbered in, with Alonso finishing at the top of the timesheets.

Kimi Raikkonen could not match his teammate’s pace in the sister Ferrari, finishing seventh and some 1.7 seconds down on Alonso’s time. The Finn’s session came to an early end after a brake fire with three minutes remaining.

Instead, it was the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg who posed the stiffest challenge to the Spaniard, finishing second and third respectively. As many expected, Red Bull showed signs of good pace in first practice in Singapore. Sebastian Vettel, a three-time winner of the race, came home in fourth place ahead of teammate Daniel Ricciardo. However, he was forced to pull his car over at the end of the pit lane once the session had finished due to an engine problem.

Jean-Eric Vergne rallied to finish sixth for Toro Rosso, but he was also sidelined after an ERS failure on his car. Toro Rosso teammate Daniil Kvyat finished behind Jenson Button and ahead of Sergio Perez, who rounded out the top ten.

The session also gave drivers a first chance to get to grips with the new radio regulations. Many asked their engineers questions that could not be answered, forcing them to give vague and nondescript answers.

Alonso’s pace will certainly give Ferrari some encouragement, and the Italian marque will hope to carry this form over into FP2 later today.

You can watch FP2 live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 9.30am ET today.