Red Bull driver Max Verstappen set the pace in the first practise session for the 2019 Singapore Grand Prix, as Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas crashed on Friday.

Despite complaining about the bumps on the Marina Bay Street Circuit, Verstappen set the session’s fastest time of 1:40.259, with the twisty street track expected to suit the Red Bull package.

Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari finished second, with championship leader Lewis Hamilton third in his Mercedes, though the Briton will be encouraged at setting his fastest time of 1:40.925 on the slower hard compound tyres.

Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas finished the session fourth, though the Finn blotted his copybook by crashing at turn 19, leaving his mechanics with a major rebuild to do before the day’s second practise session.

It was also a difficult session for Vettel’s teammate Charles Leclerc. The Monegasque arrived in Singapore on the crest of a wave after winning the previous two Grands Prix in Belgium and Italy, but could only manage the 19th fastest time in FP1 after a gearbox problem midway through the session.

Verstappen’s teammate Alex Albon ended the session a promising fifth on his first visit to Marina Bay, while Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg’s sixth place will do him no harm as he continues to search for a drive for 2020.

 

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