British driver George Russell finished the second practice session at the Marina Bay circuit third fastest, trailing behind the Ferraris of drivers Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc. Observing the race, he noted that it a tight one with several teams showing strong performance. More would be needed for a solid qualification, but for Mercedes, it was an encouraging display.
Russell elaborated on Mercedes‘ strong performance, stating, “It’s definitely probably our best Friday of the year so far. But it is definitely really close between probably five teams at the moment, which is pretty exciting. So we will have to work hard overnight, and try and gain those last milliseconds ahead of tomorrow.”
Much to many people’s surprise, Ferrari dominated the high-downforce Singapore track. Russell, however, opined that not only could the Ferrari team maintain this momentum into Saturday, they could potentially intensify their performance, based on GPS analysis of their engine modes. “Ferrari are looking favourites at the moment and I don’t think they were maximum [with their] power unit as well,” Russell remarked. “They’ve probably got a couple more tenths in the pocket.”
According to Russell, the battle is likely for the second row, although he emphasized that nothing was certain. He pointed out that the tyres, particularly the C5, the softest compound, could be vital in securing those valuable tenths of a second. “So we just need to find that sweet spot, try to nail every single lap and find ourselves in a good position.”
Lewis Hamilton, Russell’s team-mate, was also enthusiastic about Mercedes‘ performance, sharing Russell’s optimism after ending FP2 in fifth place. He enthused, “It was nice to finish a Friday feeling so positive. I think we’ve got a good platform to build off for the rest of the weekend. It’s the best I’ve felt from a Friday this year, so I hope we can do some good work overnight, as we always tend to do, and continue to improve.”
Fernando Alonso of Aston Martin reinforced Russell’s observations on Ferrari‘s strong showing. The Spanish driver, who finished fourth in FP2, commented, “I think Ferrari is probably out of reach again. Like Monza, they are a little bit too fast.” He anticipates a stronger showing from the Red Bull team on Saturday, observing, “Red Bull will be fast tomorrow when it counts, so yeah, it’s very tight.” Alonso emphasized the importance of readiness and executing perfect laps in both Q2 and Q3 due to the competitive atmosphere.