Despite comfortably setting the pace on the opening day of practice ahead of this weekend's third edition of the popular Singapore Grand Prix, Red Bull Racing star Sebastian Vettel has warned that Friday form may not 'mean so much' – as he predicted a 'surprise' from the weather and team-mate Mark Webber forecast a six-way battle for pole position.
The Red Bull pairing set the pace in both practice sessions around the floodlit Marina Bay street circuit – a track whose layout was always tipped to suit the Adrian Newey-penned RB6 well – and after Webber clinched the top spot in FP1, Vettel successfully turned the tables on the world championship leader in FP2, winding up more than six tenths of a second clear of the Australian and a full second out-of-reach of the first non-RBR driver, McLaren-Mercedes' Jenson Button.
Despite that dominance, with McLaren believed to have been concealing their true hand and Ferrari's real pace masked by Fernando Alonso's technical issue that forced the Spaniard to curtail his running 20 minutes before the end, both Vettel and Webber caution the situation might not be quite so clear-cut as the timing screens would suggest.
“The most important thing is to have a clean Friday, and we had no problem with the car today,” reported the young German. “It was tricky in first practice, as the circuit was still a bit damp from earlier rain, then in FP2 it didn't really dry up and some corners were like a sponge where you couldn't get rid of the water – I think it could be interesting tomorrow or on Sunday if we get some rain.
“It doesn't mean so much to be P1 today, as it's only practice and there are no points available, but it's still good to be on top and we have good pace. The weather may bring a surprise, though.”
“A pretty good first day,” concurred Webber. “The first session was wet, but we got some good running this afternoon. I haven't seen the times that closely yet, but I'm pretty happy with how today went. I need to work on my short-run performance a bit, but overall it's good.
“We knew nothing would change with our car before we came here; we've passed all the new FIA tests, and we weren't coming here expecting to be slower than we were in Budapest. Other people had their ideas on how to improve their cars, and we have continued to improve our car, too. Ferrari still look quick and anyone can be on pole tomorrow – us, Ferrari or McLaren – so we'll just keep trying to do our best.”