Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel
's Lewis Hamilton
staged a battle for fastest time round the Marina Bay circuit here in Singapore on Friday evening, with the honour finally going to the reigning world champion by 0.049s.
The opening session began on a track that was still damp in several places after the heavy storm that blew in just before GP2 practice, but eventually it dried out almost completely.
Initially the McLaren had a significant advantage in the first sector, but the Red Bull neutralised that with an advantage of its own in the second. Subsequently they evened out, but the advantage was still slightly with Red Bull in the third. Vettel lapped in 1m 50.566s to Hamilton's 1m 50.615s.
There was then a large gap to McLaren's Jenson Button
, who pushed Ferrari
's Fernando Alonso
down to fourth in the closing moments, with 1m 51.459s to 1m 51.525s. Right behind them, Pastor Maldonado
had a relatively uneventful time, bar one trip down the Turn Nine escape road, planting his Williams
fifth on 1m 51.576s ahead of Mark Webber
in the second Red Bull on 1m 51.655s, and the Force India
s of Nico Hulkenberg and Paul di Resta
on 1m 51.658s and 1m 51.943s respectively. Daniel Ricciardo
on 1m 52.275s and Sergio Perez
on 1m 52.296s completed the top 10 for Toro Rosso and Sauber
was 11th for Williams on 1m 52.629s ahead of Kimi Raikkonen who recorded 1m 52.716s for Lotus
, early pacesetter Kamui Kobayashi
on 1m 52.839s for Sauber and Michael Schumacher
on 1m 52.986s in the Mercedes
, which was running its revised exhaust system.
's return to active Formula One duty yielded 15th place on 1m 53.028s for Lotus, leaving him ahead of Felipe Massa
on 1m 53.080s in the second Ferrari, Jean-Eric Vergne
on 1m 53.189s in the second Toro Rosso and Nico Rosberg
in the second Mercedes on 1m 53.227s.
was the star among the 'new' teams with 1m 54.908s for Marussia
, which left him ahead of Caterhams Heikki Kovalainen on 1m 55.091s. Charles Pic
in the other Marussia was ahead of Vitaly Petrov
in the other Caterham in this inter-team fight, with 1m 55.335s to 1m 55.760s.
there was an intra-team battle, as Ma Qing Hua was at one stage within three-tenths of team leader Pedro de la Rosa
in an impressive run, before the Spaniard improved and left him behind, 1m 56.656s to 1m 58.053s. Nevertheless, it wasnt a bad performance from the Chinese rookie. (Formula1.com)