Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore Bridgestone Motorsport’s Friday Update
Lewis Hamilton (Vodafone McLaren Mercedes) set the marker on the opening night of running for the Singtel Singapore Grand Prix by using Bridgestone’s soft compound Potenza tyre to set Friday’s fastest lap time at the 5.07km Marina Bay Street Circuit, as Formula One cars ran at night for the first time at the fifteenth round of the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship. Hamilton set his time – a 1min 45.518secs – in the first of the two 90-minute practice sessions, both of which took place after sunset and under artificial lights. Hamilton was eight hundredths of a second faster than next quickest, Felipe Massa (Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro). Raikkonen went third fastest. In the later practice session, ING Renault F1 Team driver Fernando Alonso set the quickest time, using the super soft compound to set a time of 1min 45.654secs. Alonso was almost a tenth quicker than Hamilton, who also set his fastest time using the super soft in this session.
Massa went third fastest. Today was the first time that Formula One cars used the new Marina Bay Street Circuit, and the first time F1 cars have run at night to practice for a Grand Prix. Hirohide Hamashima – Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development, said: “The Marina Bay Street Circuit is certainly an interesting and challenging track for Bridgestone and all the competitors on our tyres. This evening the circuit started very dirty, as we would expect from a new facility, especially a street course. The grip level from the track improved rapidly through the first session, however, the fastest time seen today was some way off our predictions. Normally we would see an improvement in lap times in the second session and from the softer compound tyre but we did not see this today. This is perhaps because there is still not sufficient rubber laid down on the track and also due to team strategies in the session as they learnt this new track.
The soft tyre worked well with conditions as they were today. We have a lot of data to analyse and tomorrow’s running should give us a better idea of what to expect in Sunday’s race.” Stats of the Day Total amount of laps completed by all drivers: 1042 laps Average number of laps per driver: 52 laps Most laps by a driver: 65 – Piquet Fastest lap: 1min 45.518secs – (FP1) Compounds used: Soft / Super soft