F1 Singapore Grand Prix: Valtteri Bottas crashed out in FP1, Max Verstappen fastest

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Mercedes already have some work to do this weekend after Bottas’ first practice session of the Singapore Grand Prix came to an abrupt end at Turn 19.

The Finn lost the rear of his car, locking his front wheels as he careered into the barriers.

He was looked strong for the first half of the session, having just gone quicker than Lewis Hamilton on the same tyres.

Red Bull then fitted the fastest compound on Verstappen’s car to give him free reigns and he let fly with a best lap of 1:40.259.

That was two tenths of a second faster than Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, but Hamilton was only 0.666s.

Encouraging for Mercedes and Hamilton in particular though was the fact the Briton was able to keep up with his rivals’ pace on the hardest compound available.

“I think they are very much going to be the favourites here,” admitted Red Bull boss Christian Horner.

“But we’ve got a competitive car and hopefully we can take the fight to them.”

There was also disappointment for Charles Leclerc, who had his session ended early due to a gearbox fault.

The Frenchman has won the last two Grands Prix, but Ferrari aren’t expected to be up near the front this weekend with the Singapore track not playing to their strengths.

Elsewhere, it was another encouraging session for McLaren, who were seventh and eighth.

Nico Hulkenberg, who is without a seat for 2020 at the moment, showed his pace by finishing best of the rest in sixth, just three-tenths behind Alexander Albon.

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