- Lewis Hamilton closed out Friday’s running in Singapore quickest for Mercedes, edging almost two-tenths of a second clear of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen under the lights in FP2. Hamilton said at the end of the day that he “felt much better in the car today than I have for a while”, leaving him chasing a repeat of his “special” pole lap from 2018.

- Hamilton led Mercedes solo through the closing stages practice after teammate Valtteri Bottas crashed out in FP1. Bottas went straight on at Turn 10, damaging the front of his car and triggering a red flag. The Finn said after finishing a second off his teammate in FP2 that his car did not feel 100 percent right. “We need to have a look,” he said. “It felt like I couldn’t go any quicker, but I was one second off the pace. A bit tricky.”

- It wasn’t all plain sailing for Hamilton and Mercedes on Friday, though, as they landed in some hot water for their fuel used in FP1 being too cold. The FIA stewards found that Hamilton’s fuel was 11 degrees below the required minimum temperature, resulting in a €5,000 fine for the team.

- Verstappen led FP1 for Red Bull before finishing second in FP2, showing early signs of living up to the strong performance the team is tipped for at the street circuit. But Verstappen was taking nothing for granted after the session, saying: “I expect to have a good weekend, but still, there are no guarantees.”

- Teammate Alexander Albon lost 15 minutes of track time through FP2 after making a mistake at Turn 10 and locking up, causing him to go straight into the barrier. Albon only lost the front wing from his car after hitting the barrier square on, but admitted after the session it had knocked his confidence.

- Another driver lacking confidence after Friday’s running was Charles Leclerc, who also lost some track time after an issue in FP1. A gearbox problem cut his session short, and while a new gearbox was fitted to allow him to get out on-track in FP2, Leclerc said he had struggled to get to grips with the car. “I just didn’t feel confidence with the car, but also with the track, so I need to work for tomorrow and try to improve the driving,” he said.

- Sebastian Vettel was unsure of where Ferrari stacked up against Mercedes and Red Bull after both his and Leclerc’s qualifying simulations in FP2 were compromised by traffic, but he also wasn’t entirely comfortable with the car, citing too much understeer as being an issue. “I’m suffering a bit with the front, then on long runs everything was getting a bit too hot and sliding a bit too much,” he explained. “I think we can do better, I think we can improve the car, so let’s see.”

- Traffic was an issue many drivers flagged up throughout Friday’s running with a number of close calls, with one incident even attracting the stewards’ attention. Sergio Perez and Kevin Magnussen made contact at Turn 21 in FP2, with the latter receiving damage to his car. Perez said after the session that Magnussen had broken a “gentlemen’s agreement” between the drivers for starting flying laps, but was deemed to be at fault himself by the stewards, resulting in his first reprimand of the season.

- Perez’s condition had improved after suffering from an upset stomach on Thursday. “I was quite sick in the stomach, but luckily I think I managed to recover. By tomorrow I should be 100 percent,” he said. Perez was positive about the car updates Racing Point had brought to Singapore, giving him confidence of getting in the fight for Q3 on Saturday.

- Another update debuting on Friday in Singapore was a beard-less Daniel Ricciardo. “I was about to get into the shower last night, and I looked in the mirror,” he said. “It was starting to grow pretty long. To be honest, I looked and I was like, it so going to get sweaty tomorrow. I envisioned ripping the balaclava off and just a whole lot of sweat hanging [from the beard].”

- After Thursday’s driver market announcements, further details came through on Friday in Singapore as the grid begins to come together for 2020. Alfa Romeo chief Frederic Vasseur said the team’s focus lay with Antonio Giovinazzi for the vacant seat next year, while Christian Horner said there was no rush for Red Bull’s decision on Max Verstappen’s teammate for next year, ruling Nico Hulkenberg out of contention for the drive.

- Claire Williams confirmed that Williams had not opened talks with Hulkenberg about a possible drive for 2020, but said there was a natural “appeal” for the team were he to be an option.

- Kimi Raikkonen and Daniil Kvyat have both taken new gearboxes for this weekend’s race, both without penalty. No new power unit elements have been taken so far this weekend.

- Free Practice 3 begins at 1800 local time in Singapore (1100 BST) on Saturday.

 

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