Sainz ended up 0.208s faster than Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc, who completed his soft tyre qualifying simulation run in the closing stages of FP2, and 0.324s clear of Mercedes’ George Russell

Verstappen, who could clinch a second world title this weekend on F1’s return to Singapore for the first time in three years, was fourth and 0.339s down on Sainz’s benchmark. 

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The Dutchman was the last of the frontrunners to complete his soft-tyre run and only posted one lap, having spent most of FP2 in the garage while Red Bull made tweaks to his front suspension. 

After setting a surprise fastest time in FP1, Lewis Hamilton was fifth and over half a second adrift in the second session. 

Both Mercedes drivers conducted their soft tyre runs earlier than their rivals and their best times came on their second laps after seeing their first laps curtailed by traffic and yellow flags. 

Esteban Ocon was sixth ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas and Alpine teammate Fernando Alonso, with Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll rounding out the top-10 order for Red Bull and Aston Martin. 

There was a scary moment for AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly when the bodywork around the roll hoop on his car suddenly caught fire as he was being wheeled back into his garage. 

The Frenchman was able to safety remove himself from his car while crew from Aston Martin acted quickly to extinguish the flames.