Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton was the fastest in the second practice session for the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix, in an early indication that the championship leader will be tough to beat on Sunday.
Hamilton had a lap of 1 minute 38.773 seconds, 0.184 faster than Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who led the first session. Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel, who has 22 races without a victory, was third.
“It was a good day. We are very competitive and the car was working very well in both sessions, ”said Verstappen.
Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, who recovered after hitting the wall in the first session, was fourth.
Hamilton enters the race with a 63-point lead over Bottas with seven races remaining.
Although he already has eight victories this season, Hamilton has not won since the Hungarian GP in August.
Hamilton has won here for the past two years. A win on Sunday would bring him closer to his third consecutive championship and sixth overall, just one shy of Michael Schumacher’s record of seven.
Marina Bay Street’s 5-kilometer street circuit is one of the toughest to pass in F1, so whoever takes pole will have a good advantage. The driver starting first has climbed to the top of the podium in eight of the last 10 races in Singapore.
“There are always things to improve and in this race 95% qualifying and I feel very optimistic so far,” said Verstappen, who is third in the table.
Charles Leclerc, who struggled with the gearbox in first practice, was sixth, behind Red Bull’s Alexander Albon. The Ferarri driver won the previous two races. AP