Sebastian Vettel topped both Free Practice one and two on Friday at the Singapore Grand Prix, in a race that is pivotal in his quest for a third consecutive drivers Championship.
Vettel battled with Lewis Hamilton in the first session for the top spot coming out on top by just hundredths of a second.The session started in mixed conditions following a downpour prior to practice which meant the drivers began FP1 on the intermediate tyre. In comparison in free practice two the conditions were dry and it was the other McLaren of Jenson Button that Vettel found himself beating to the top of the time sheets albeit by a more comfortable margin of a couple of tenths.
In both sessions all the championship contenders were at the top of the time sheets. With Vettel, Button, Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber and Hamilton making up the top five in FP2. Fellow championship contender Kimi Raikkonen finished both sessions in 12th position in a car that should be capable of points on Sunday.
Force India looked impressive finishing session one in seventh and eighth and session two in sixth and seventh, Nico Hulkenberg won the teammate battle in FP1 before Paul di Resta took the honours in FP2. The team are hoping for a good points haul this weekend as they attempt to overhaul Sauber for sixth in the constructors championship, though this is unlikely considering they are 37 points behind.
Mercedes tested their new exhaust in both free practice sessions, finishing 14th and 18th in FP1 and eighth and 11th in FP2. It is unlikely that any judgements can be made about the effectiveness of the exhaust until it has been run for the whole race weekend.
All eyes were on Romain Grosjean in his return to action after a one race ban and he managed a respectable 15th place in FP1 despite taking a trip down the escape road, before he finished tenth place in the second session. Grosjean was not the only driver to suffer an incident as Bruno Senna caught the wall at turn 19 in FP2 causing a red flag whilst his car was removed.
Vettel will be glad to find himself back on top of the time sheets after a couple of difficult weekends. A strong win in Singapore would keep in contention for a third consecutive title but he will be hoping that any issues surrounding the car failure at the Italian Grand Prix have been resolved.