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Singapore Grand Prix 2023

Just how far off is Red Bull after Singapore GP practice?

Max Verstappen admitted he had a far from ideal start to the weekend, but is the picture as bleak as it look for Red Bull at Singapore?

Verstappen Singapore
Analysis
To news overview © XPBimages

Max Verstappen knew the Marina Bay Street Circuit would be an outlier for Red Bull the year and he ends Friday practice left searching for over half a second to Ferrari.

The quickest lap by Carlos Sainz in FP2 on the Soft tyres was 10 seconds faster than the times from 2022, owing to the revised circuit layout in place this year.

This means there are more straights on the track, which caters to one of the main traits of the SF-23: straight line speed. Ferrari was not short of it with nearest challengers Mercedes around 5kph off and Aston Martin 4kph down in the speed trap.

A look at the data from the track shows that Sainz showed superior straight-line speed between Turns 15 and 16, while the run through Turns 18 and 19 onto the start/finish straight was also fastest.

Both George Russell and Fernando Alonso were strongest in the corners, with the Aston Martin coming out on top in the medium-speed as we've seen throughout the year.

Russell suspected that Ferrari was running lower power unit modes, so there could still be more to come from the team as it looks to improve its speed through the corners.

			© RN365/Michael Potts
	© RN365/Michael Potts

Is Red Bull in trouble?

Ferrari's long run pace on the Mediums has been the most consistent of the teams, with Leclerc and Sainz comfortably able to match each others times.

But looking at the averages between Verstappen and Sainz, the difference in times is around three tenths per-lap. Russell is also not far off the pace of Ferrari alongside teammate Lewis Hamilton, while Alonso is much more consistent.

FP2 Long Run analysis Medium tyre

Lap VER SAI RUS LEC ALO HAM
8. 38.1
9 42.0 38.7 37.8 38.2
10. 38.2 38.5 38.2 38.6 43.2
11. 42.8 38.5 51.8 38.1 37.9 38.0
12. 38.3 38.2 37.7 38.2 38.4 38.8
13. 38.5 38.0 38.3 43.2 38.1 38.4
14. 38.5 40.5 38.6 38.0 38.1 38.9
15. 38.6 38.3 38.5 38.8 38.2 39.3
16. 39.1 38.8 38.6 38.4 38.5 39.1
17. 42.4 39.1 38.9
18. 38.5 39.3
19. 39.1

Is Ferrari untouchable?

Even with the raft of updates that was brought by McLaren this weekend, Lando Norris believes it will be impossible to catch Ferrari on pure pace.

But are his comments a bit premature given Red Bull's ability to find something overnight in the simulator and with car setup?

Both drivers complained of rear instability with the RB19, a trait that was present in Monaco and almost led to the Dutchman losing out on pole had it not been for track evolution.

This is expected to play a factor around the Marina Bay Street Circuit according to Pirelli Chief Engineer, Simone Berra, throughout the weekend.

"As expected here we have high track evolution, especially during FP1 but even during FP2 we're seeing a big improvement in terms of lap times and grip values," he told media, including RacingNews365.

"This affected the delta between the compounds, so we're seeing some people in FP2 passing from C4 to C5 improving around one second per lap. We think it's slightly lower, we expect around 0.6 and 0.7s per-lap."

Norris spoke about getting the timing right with laps, which is perhaps where Red Bull can upset Ferrari's good run so far if it can achieve good tyre warm-up and not get impacted by traffic.

F1 2023 Singapore Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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