“Few pleasures can equal that of watching Ferrari set the pace in any Formula 1 Grand Prix.”
Not Lewis Hamilton, a seven time world champion and perhaps a Hollywood star in the making. Not Helmut Marko, one of Austria’s most talented exports to the realm of Motor Racing and someone perceptibly angry at anything that’s not Red Bull; but the confession of every possible Tifosi.
In an age where Ferrari have made headlines for being the team so often on the verge of a comeback as also one habitual of binning chances of winning, it was spectacular to see the F1 icon set early pace at the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix.
In what couldn’t have been a better start to the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix, Carlos Sainz led teammate Charles Leclerc in a Ferrari 1 and 2 at the electrifying Marina Bay on September 30!
In setting a blitzy 1: 42: 587 for the Scuderia, the Spaniard emerged just +0.208 seconds out in front of the other smashing red car on a day where, truth be told, it wasn’t just about the Scarlet red cars!
In the first free practice on a hot and humid Friday afternoon here at the Singapore-bound spectacle, Marina Bay was head over heels about Sir Lewis Hamilton.
The four-time winner at Singapore, Hamilton, who last won here at 2018 (the year of his fifth Formula 1 world title), set great pace in giving Mercedes the upperhand. Putting all of that great experience into great play for his world conquering team, the Stevenage-born did little to excite the Red Bull fans as Verstappen found himself edged out for sheer pace.
But again, it’s Friday. It’s a lot about the first feelings at the track and the initial build up and the different set ups that teams work with, which might not be an exact representation of who takes it all eventually come Saturday and Sunday.
Having said that, there can be little doubting the ceaseless excitement of the Ferrari fan, many of whom felt that the Sainz and Leclerc magic could play the big differentiator come Saturday.
Large swathes of racing fans from Australia, India, Malaysia, and even Sri Lanka arrived at the glorious race track dressed in Ferrari gear cheering obviously for a team that has so often given Mercedes a hard time this season and maybe even those who back red.
If the eventual outcomes such as Le Castellet, Baku, and Monaco are an indication then it appears as though races like Silverstone, Spielberg and even Monza, despite the final laps playing spoilsport, showed Ferrari on the mend.
Though at the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix free practice, Leclerc and Sainz, not in that order, set the right order for the sport’s most spectacular racing marquee as also its most successful.
Big winners barring these two also included- Russell and Ocon- the Mercedes driver clinching the third fastest time and the Evreaux-born setting the sixth fastest time in that order.
Interestingly, the young Frenchman of Alpine was eight tenths off the pace of the track leader but in so doing, beat the legendary Fernando Alonso, the experienced old hand bagging a lowly P8.
The man from Asturias, Northern Spain finished behind Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas, the Finn arguably one of the most under appreciated drivers of the season.
Hamilton, meanwhile, bagged a fifth in P3 and could’ve done a lot more had his flying lap not been compromised thanks to Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly’s incident that no one saw coming.
The famous French driver jumped out of his car in a bizarre pit stop incident during the final free practice (P3); his run ruined when flames shot out of the air vents of his AT03. The incident, thus, also compromised Sir Lewis Hamilton, who had already bolstered hopes of an imperious finish after dominating P1 earlier on Friday.
His teammate, it ought to be noted, was just 0.324 seconds off Carlos Sainz’s pace in leading a strong reply of his Mercedes Formula 1 team.
Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, meanwhile, gathered ninth while Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll, quicker than the great four time winning world champion Sebastian Vettel (P12), clocked the tenth fastest time in P3.
It’s all set for Saturday, i.e., October 1. And the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix, it ought to be said, could well become the love interest of the cars seeming in die hard form out in the front.
After all, there’s little irony in the fact that the colour best capturing the essence of passion is red and besides being the bloodline of us mortals as also that of the Tifosi, it happens to be the colour of the Ferraris since always.
So will the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix qualifying see the Ferrari’s paint the town red or will Verstappen have other plans to unfold a bull run over the Prancing Horse?
It’s all to play for in the next few hours!