Jolyon Palmer wasted no time to put pressure on his rivals: the Brit set the best lap time in today’s free practice in Singapore in 1:55.912, two tenths faster than Series leader Fabio Leimer. Marcus Ericsson finished third.
The session opened in high temperatures and humidity. James Calado was the first driver to feed onto the track on Pirelli soft tires as soon as the pitlane opened. The ART man set the early pace, but Felipe Nasr bettered the Brit’s lap time and sat at the top of the standings until his teammate set a time of 1:56.607 ten minutes into the session.
American Alexander Rossi was 4th for the backmarker Caterham team
Leimer was on a mission and lit the first two sectors in purple, but a little bit of traffic ruined the Swiss’ efforts. He had to settle for second best, two tenths slower than Palmer. The drivers returned to the pits and when the action resumed on track, Ericsson enjoyed a clear lap and put his DAMS car at the top of the standings with a lap time of 1:56.509. However, shortly after that, Palmer was able to find the extra pace to light all three sectors in purple and reclaimed the top stop going half a second quicker than the Swede.
In the dying minutes, Leimer put his head down and finally found a clean lap and a quick sector 2. He improved enough to promote himself to P2, but not enough to deny Palmer of the top spot. At the checkered flag, Palmer (who escaped from a huge slide towards the closing stages) led Leimer. Ericsson remained third ahead of Alexander Rossi, Mitch Evans, Calado, Sam Bird, Nasr, Johnny Cecotto and Stephane Richelmi.
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