Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen topped free practice for the Singapore Grand Prix on Friday, as McLaren’s move to dump engine supplier Honda triggered a wave of upheaval off the track.
Ricciardo clocked a record 1min 40.852sec in the second session at the Marina Bay street circuit, while Verstappen was half-a-second back – with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas third and fourth.
All four were significantly quicker than the Ferraris, indicating possible problems for the Italian team. Kimi Raikkonen was ninth quickest, two seconds off the pace, and Sebastian Vettel was down in 11th.
Vettel is a four-time winner at the Singapore night race, which started in 2008 and will now run until at least 2021 after organisers announced a four-year contract extension.
He arrived in Southeast Asia just three points back in the standings behind Hamilton, who has been in rampant form, winning three of the last four grands prix.
Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg was fifth on the day while it was a positive session for McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne and Fernando Alonso, who were sixth and seventh.
Their performance came after McLaren confirmed its widely trailed split with Honda, ending a troubled partnership with the Japanese engine-maker which began in 2015.