Red Bull Racing will head into qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix fancying its chances of a first Formula 1 pole position in 2017 after completing a sweep of practice on Saturday afternoon courtesy of Max Verstappen.
Red Bull arrived in Singapore eager to make the most of the engine-limited track layout and take the fight to the front-runners, but was expected to struggle to match Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel.
However, Daniel Ricciardo was able to lead its charge throughout Friday, topping both FP1 and FP2, with Verstappen following in second place in the night-time session.
The Dutchman moved to the top of the timesheets in final practice on Saturday, posting a best lap time of 1:41.829 to edge out Ferrari’s Vettel come the checkered flag.
Verstappen had a late scare on his Red Bull car, appearing to slow and reporting it was “shifting by itself”, but got back out on-track a few minutes later with no further issues.
Vettel was left to settle for P2, 0.072 seconds behind Verstappen, but it nevertheless marked a solid improvement from Friday when he could only finish 11th-fastest. Lewis Hamilton was third for Mercedes, also recovering from a disappointing Friday.
McLaren enjoyed its best practice session so far this season as Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne took P4 and P5 respectively, also benefitting from the lack of engine power required at Marina Bay.
Friday pace-setter Ricciardo took sixth ahead of Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg, with the Finnish pair of Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen slotting into eighth and ninth. Sergio Perez completed the top 10 for Force India.
Besides the late trading of lap times, the session’s other big incident of note came at the halfway point when Marcus Ericsson broke the rear wing of his Sauber by hitting the wall, causing a red flag period.
Qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix is live on CNBC and the NBC Sports app from 9am ET on Saturday.