Hamilton tops first Singapore practice
20 September 2013 – Lewis Hamilton set the pace during the first free practice session for the Singapore Grand Prix on Friday evening. The Mercedes driver, who clocked a 1:47.055, led Red Bull rival Mark Webber by 0.365 seconds, with Sebastian Vettel in third.
As has been the case throughout the 2013 campaign, the early installation laps were followed by a lull in track activity. With all 22 drivers eager to avoid the job of cleaning up the surface, the situation was accentuated, and the first timed lap did not arrive until around the half-hour mark, when Sergio Pérez ventured out in his McLaren.
When the frontrunners took to the circuit once again, Webber and Hamilton rose to the fore, the pair trading fastest times on numerous occasions. The Briton ultimately came out on top with his best effort, over three and a half seconds quicker than the time posted by Vettel in opening practice a year ago. This was largely due to the Turn 10 modifications and additional grip provided by extensive track resurfacing work.
Nico Rosberg ensured that Mercedes sandwiched the Red Bulls of Webber and Vettel, although the German was more than a second slower than team-mate Hamilton. Kimi Räikkönen, whose Lotus outfit has delayed the introduction of its longer-wheelbase car until Korea, wound up in fifth position, ahead of colleague Romain Grosjean who did well to recover from lengthy steering modifications.
Fernando Alonso ended the session seventh fastest, just ahead of Pérez and Toro Rosso's Jean-Éric Vergne. Esteban Gutiérrez completed the top ten for Sauber, edging out Williams rival Pastor Maldonado who had featured at the front early on.
Felipe Massa and Jenson Button were split by Valtteri Bottas in 12th and 14th, with Force India duo Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil, Sauber's Nico Hülkenberg and future Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo the last of the midfield runners. In the battle at the back of the grid, Jules Bianchi led the way ahead of Marussia team-mate Max Chilton.
Friday's second free practice session at the Marina Bay circuit begins at 9.30pm local time (GMT +8) and can be tracked via the GPUpdate.net live report feature