Carlos Sainz led Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc in the second practice session at the Singapore Grand Prix, but the results were inconclusive as both Red Bull Racing drivers struggled for mileage.
After some early trading of quick times, Sainz took control of the session once the soft-tire runs started with a time of 1m42.587s. Leclerc joined the session late after his Ferrari team changed his floor, leaving him almost 10 laps down on Sainz by the end of the hour and without a representative long-run simulation.
After a short stint on mediums, the Monegasque switched to a set of softs in the final six months, but he struggled to get the best from them, improving his fastest lap by less than 0.1s He ended the hour 0.208s adrift of the sister car.
George Russell followed for Mercedes at 0.324s adrift despite struggling with bottoming. The Briton came perilously close to crashing at Turn 12, overshooting the apex and coming within inches of a front-on crash with the wall and wiping off his front wing.
Max Verstappen slotted into fourth on a compromised evening. The Dutchman was confined to his garage for the first 20 minutes, his car surrounded by mechanics attempting to obscure the view of the garage, and when he joined the session he completed only three laps before returning to the pits. It wasn’t until the final six minutes that he finally rejoined the track, enough time to set only three laps on softs to go 0.339s off the pace.
The delays meant neither he nor teammate Sergio Perez — who completed only 11 laps after a similar amount of time garaged — had an opportunity to complete any long-run simulations, leaving Red Bull Racing on the back foot.
So, while the race simulations put Ferrari ahead of Mercedes in race trim, only three of the front-runners completed anything like a representative long run.
Lewis Hamilton was almost 0.6s adrift in fifth after a scrappy best lap on the soft tire, putting him a little more than 0.2s ahead of Alpine’s Esteban Ocon.
Valtteri Bottas showed well for Alfa Romeo in seventh ahead of Fernando Alonso and Perez. Lance Stroll completed the top 10, the Canadian keeping his session clean after having crashed his Aston Martin earlier in the day.
Lando Norris took the sole upgraded McLaren to 11th and 1.4s off the pace, although he lost some time to a big slide in the final chicane. He beat Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel and Haas driver Kevin Magnussen.
Pierre Gasly slipped from his top-10 berth in FP1 to 14th by the end of the evening ahead of Zhou Guanyu, Alex Albon and Yuki Tsunoda.
Daniel Ricciardo in the old-spec McLaren was 18th ahead of Mick Schumacher and Nicholas Latifi, who struggled early in the session with loose belts.