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Formula 1

Red Bull’s Singapore struggles continue, Ferrari sweeps practice

by Josh Suttill
3 min read

Carlos Sainz led the final practice session at the Singapore Grand Prix as 2023 dominators Max Verstappen and Red Bull continued to struggle.

Key moments:

> Sainz beats Russell to fastest time

> Verstappen fourth after late torque mode change

> Six teams in top 10

> Aston Martins only 13th and 14th

Sainz beat his Friday benchmark by a tenth to top FP3 with a 1m32.065s, a lap he set with 10 minutes of the session remaining.

His session-topping time ensured Ferrari completed a clean sweep of all three practice sessions in Singapore.

Team-mate Charles Leclerc might have beaten him, going fastest of in the first sector of his final flying lap, but he had to back out of his lap after a big snap. That left him down in fifth place.

He was beaten by George Russell, who nearly surmounted Sainz with a late flying lap that was only 0.069s slower.

Lando Norris made good use of the upgraded McLaren – team-mate Oscar Piastri has the older spec until next weekend’s Japanese GP – to end up third fastest, 0.238s slower than Sainz.

F1 Grand Prix Of Singapore Final Practice

Verstappen popped in a late flying lap to break into the top four having spent the majority of the session outside of it.

His complaints of an “unacceptable” feeling on upshifts continued and he took two trips down the escape road at Turn 1 and Turn 14.

Red Bull made changes to his car throughout FP3 and while he said it was a “little smoother” on his final run, when Red Bull told him to switch to a different torque mode, he complained of wheelspin and a lack of grip.

“But just miles off still,” Verstappen said in his appraisal of that mode change at the end of the session.

“I’m just struggling for rear grip. That last sector I’m just drifting. If I compete in drifting I might win the race.”

Team-mate Sergio Perez didn’t fare any better as he’s still not comfortable with the rear end of his RB19 around the streets he won on last year. He finished FP3 down in eighth place.

Leclerc was fifth ahead of Lewis Hamilton, Piastri, Perez and Nico Hulkenberg, who put Haas inside the top 10 for a second consecutive practice session.

F1 Grand Prix Of Singapore Practice

Yuki Tsunoda was 10th fastest ahead of the second Haas of Kevin Magnussen and the Alpine of Esteban Ocon.

Aston Martin ended up with both cars outside of the top 10 with Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll in 13th and 14th places.

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Though there were some wall brushes, no driver had a significant impact with the barriers to ensure a clean sweep of practice sessions without a major incident.

Alex Albon caused a brief yellow flag period when he went down the Turn 14 run-off while Liam Lawson spun his AlphaTauri at Turn 2 and continued.

Practice 3 Results

Pos Name Car Best Time Gap Leader
1 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1m32.065s
2 George Russell Mercedes 1m32.134s +0.069s
3 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 1m32.303s +0.238s
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1m32.378s +0.313s
5 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m32.381s +0.316s
6 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m32.535s +0.47s
7 Oscar Piastri McLaren-Mercedes 1m32.73s +0.665s
8 Sergio Pérez Red Bull 1m32.784s +0.719s
9 Nico Hülkenberg Haas-Ferrari 1m32.896s +0.831s
10 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT 1m32.945s +0.88s
11 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m32.97s +0.905s
12 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault 1m32.979s +0.914s
13 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin-Mercedes 1m33.051s +0.986s
14 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 1m33.126s +1.061s
15 Pierre Gasly Alpine-Renault 1m33.351s +1.286s
16 Liam Lawson AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT 1m33.357s +1.292s
17 Alex Albon Williams-Mercedes 1m33.37s +1.305s
18 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m33.54s +1.475s
19 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m33.637s +1.572s
20 Logan Sargeant Williams-Mercedes 1m33.708s +1.643s
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