Hamilton sets the early pace in Singapore

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton shone in the opening practice session for this weekend's historic night race by setting the fastest lap in Singapore today.

The McLaren driver, clocked a time of one minute 45.518 seconds under the floodlights at the Marina Bay street circuit.



Ferrari's Felipe Massa, who trails Hamilton in the driver standings by a single point, finished 0.080secs behind the 23-year-old in second place.



Massa's team-mate Kimi Raikkonen clocked a time of 1:45.961 to take third while McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen claimed fourth with a fastest lap of 1:46.463.



BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica completed the top five with a time of 1:46.618.



Williams driver Nico Rosberg recorded a time of 1:46.710 to take sixth place while two-time world champion Fernando Alonso, who had briefly topped the timesheets, finished seventh in his Renault.

Nick Heidfeld of BMW Sauber, Renault's Nelson Piquet and Honda driver Jenson Button completed the top 10.



Red Bull's David Coulthard, eager to finish his Formula One career on a high, will be hoping for better after recording a time of 1:48.517 to finish 15th.



All eyes had been eagerly anticipating exactly how the circuit would look under floodlights and, as expected, it did not disappoint with all sections of the track brightly lit.



The rain and thunderstorms that had lashed Singapore in the morning failed to materialise in the evening meaning only a small section of standing water remained at Turn One as conditions were otherwise perfect.



Alonso, whose concerns regarding bumps at Turn 10 were allayed after the FIA rectified the issue, was quick from the start and set the initial pace but it did not take long for Hamilton to climb to the top of the standings.



Raikkonen briefly usurped Hamilton but the Englishman soon regained his lead, and he stayed there for the remainder of the session.



Mark Webber of Red Bull saw his practice ended early when he ploughed into the barrier at Turn 18 on only his fourth lap while Honda's Rubens Barrichello also crashed out when he spun off the track at the final corner.



Comments