Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel again reminded his rivals that he is the man to beat.
The German set the fastest time in Friday’s (20 September) practice for the Singapore Grand Prix after an exciting street racing duel with teammate Australian Mark Webber.
In the end, the 26-year-old Vettel finished 0.604s faster than the Australian's 1m 44.853s.
“It was quite busy; it’s pretty hot out there, good fun and a nice place, but for all of us it’s quite hard work,” Vettel, who is chasing his third straight win in Formula 1’s annual night race and a fourth successive drivers’ championship, told reporters after the practice session.
A remodelled Turn 10, dubbed the "Singapore Sling" and once one of Formula One's most notorious corners, has helped slash times along with track resurfacing and smoother kerbs.
"The circuit is much improved here without the chicane and Turn 10 feels like a much nicer corner now," Lewis Hamilton noted.
Several of the practice times beat Kimi Raikkonen's 2008 race lap record of 1:45.599, indicating the five-year-old mark is set to fall on Sunday.
“The time we set was a surprise today, I got a good lap in, but I don’t think it’s completely representative. We seem to be quick, but I think Mercedes will be very strong in qualifying tomorrow,” he added.
Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were his closest rivals on Friday evening.
Hamilton who was the fastest in the first practice session finished fourth behind teammate Rosberg who was more than a second slower than Vettel.
“It's great to be back in Singapore although the conditions are incredibly hot out there and it's a tough challenge for the drivers. We had a reasonable day but there is still some work to do this evening as our competitors seem to be very quick again,” Rosberg said.
Lotus's Romain Grosjean was fifth, ahead of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, and McLaren’s Jenson Button.