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Roundup Of Friday's Practice Sessions
Kimi owns the night while Charles owns up
A night of contrasting fortunes for Ferrari saw Kimi Räikkönen destroy the Marina Bay Street Circuit record while teammate and title challenger Sebastian Vettel again fell victim to an error and ended his Friday running half an hour early.
Midway through the second 90-minute session Vettel, under fire recently for mistakes like his clash with championship leader Lewis Hamilton in Italy, kissed the wall on the exit of Turn 21, pitted with what looked only like a damaged rear right wheel but climbed out as fluid drained from underneath his #5 car.
Meanwhile Räikkönen, whose departure from Ferrari was announced this week, set all the hype aside then set the fastest time ever seen in Singapore with a 1:38.699, already seven-tenths of a second quicker than last year's pole-winning time set by Vettel himself.
Kimi was carrying on where Lewis Hamilton left off: earlier in the session the Mercedes man who loves the limelight, leads the championship and has already won here three times, became the first driver to take a Formula 1 car round the Marina Bay Street Circuit in under 99 seconds.
Using Pirelli's softest tyres, the pink-walled Hypersofts, Hamilton posted a time of 1:38.710, good enough for second place, as the teams began running through their qualifying simulations midway through the evening on the 5.063-metre circuit, now two metres shorter than it was last year.
If the front-running pace was hot, it was the rear brakes that were on fire - literally - on the #18 Williams of Lance Stroll, struggling with teammate Sergey Sirotkin in the last two places that have become sadly familiar to the former multiple champions.
Earlier in the day it had taken only 20 minutes for Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, who was fastest in Friday last year, to show the increased pace of the 2018 cars. The Australian posted a 1:39.711, no less than two and three-quarter seconds faster than his time in the corresponding 2017 session.
The other talking-point of that first 90-minute session came when Singapore rookie Charles Leclerc, the young man on his way to Ferrari next season, had a clumsy moment at the entry to Turn 10 and damaged the front right of his Sauber, coming on the radio instantly to say 'Sorry guys, my fault, I touched the wall.'
Ricciardo, off to Renault for 2019, finished the day fourth-quickest behind current teammate Max Verstappen as the Red Bulls failed to reproduce the form that saw them dominate Friday running last year. The young Dutchman spent much of the session quizzing his team about what he called 'engine hesitations' in his Renault power unit.
With Valtteri Bottas fifth, the best of the best were Renault, for whom Carlos Sainz was sixth ahead of midfield rival Haas's Romain Grosjean, while Fernando Alonso survived a late scare when Marcus Ericsson's Sauber spun in front of him to finish the session eighth-fastest for McLaren.