Leclerc set the pace in FP1 at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, while teammate Carlos Sainz led a Ferrari 1-2 in the second session.

Given Ferrari’s struggles at high downforce circuits in F1 2023, many didn’t expect them to be Red Bull’s nearest challenger let alone be the team to beat.

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Red Bull, who are unbeaten in 2023, only managed the seventh and eighth fastest times in FP2.

Speaking after practice, Leclerc said he was “surprised” by Ferrari’s form but refused to get carried away by it.

“Yes, we are surprised but we’re not getting carried away either. It’s only Friday and we expect the other teams to show more for their true potential tomorrow. 

“We cannot get carried away but it is true we did not expect this kind of performance on a Friday at least.

“It’s a good start but now we need to focus on ourselves and hopefully we reproduce the same tomorrow.”

Sainz noted “very weird performance swings” in the past, hinting at Mercedes’ struggles over the year in seasons they were very dominant but tended to struggle in Singapore (2015).

“Yeah, a little but at the same time you always need to arrive in Singapore very open-minded, he added. 

“We’ve seen in the past very weird performance swings at this track as it’s a very particular one. So far it looks like it’s suiting our car well and it’s going well with the way that we’ve hit the ground running in FP1 and we could fine-tune the setup a little bit for FP2, and be a bit quicker. 

“It looks good but I do believe the track is going to change a lot for tomorrow, ramp up the grip a lot and it’s all about who finds the perfect setup for tomorrow.”