Round 17 of the 2022 FIA Formula 1 World Championship started on Friday with practice at the Marina Bay Street Circuit as teams prepared for Sunday's 61-lap Singapore Grand Prix - the series making a popular return to the home of the first-ever night race after a three-year absence due to the Covid pandemic.
FP1 started as the sun began to set with the hour-long session concluding under the full glare of the lights around the challenging 5.063-kilometer (3.146-mile), 23-turn circuit. Kevin Magnussen led the way for Haas F1 Team in the session taking P14 at the checkered after banking a fastest lap of 1:46.028 on the Pirelli P Zero Red soft rubber - the Dane having earlier sampled the White hard compound. Mick Schumacher, making his career debut at Marina Bay, finished P18 with a best lap of 1:46.601 - also set on the softs - the German starting his run plan on the Yellow medium rubber.
FP2 saw both drivers add to their lap tally as the night session gave a taste of what's to come later in the weekend. Magnussen started second practice on the medium rubber with Schumacher running the hard compound for the first time. Both switched to softs for their qualifying sims. Magnussen recorded a quickest lap of 1:44.422 to take P13 on the timesheets while Schumacher was P19 with a 1:45.623 effort. A run to the checkered on high-fuel concluded track activities for the day.
Kevin Magnussen: "I think it was a good day. It seemed like we were a little more competitive than we have been recently so that's good. There's still stuff that isn't optimal yet which we're working on but despite that, it seems to be alright. I think mostly because of the cars you have to relearn the track a bit, but it hasn't changed, the bumps are still in the same places and it's remarkably similar to what it was three years ago. It's good to be back and it's a fun track to drive."
Mick Schumacher: "It was quite warm, especially in FP1, but it was great fun. I'm still learning the track and it's very unique so it's just a matter of getting used to it. On top of that, this year's cars are a lot stiffer, so you really need to get to learn the bumps and how to approach them. It really is about driving and getting those laps in and knowing where to position the car, and if you get everything right, then you can get to work on the set-up. That's what we're planning on doing tonight, working on it until we feel we're in a position where we feel comfortable and we're able to extract the maximum."
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal: "Here it is very important for the drivers to get laps in and that's what we achieved because Mick's never driven here, and Kevin, like the majority of the rest of the field, hasn't been here for two seasons. We achieved that and we drove a lot because the most time you can gain here is by giving the driver opportunity to drive. We've had a flawless two sessions and we're at a good point, so tomorrow we will continue."
Check out our Friday gallery from Singapore here.