Verstappen, who could clinch a second world title this weekend on F1’s return to Singapore for the first time in three years, was fourth and 0.339s down on Sainz’s benchmark.
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The Dutchman was the last of the frontrunners to complete his soft-tyre run and only posted one lap, having spent most of FP2 in the garage while Red Bull made tweaks to his front suspension.
Both Mercedes drivers conducted their soft tyre runs earlier than their rivals and their best times came on their second laps after seeing their first laps curtailed by traffic and yellow flags.
There was a scary moment for AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly when the bodywork around the roll hoop on his car suddenly caught fire as he was being wheeled back into his garage.
The Frenchman was able to safety remove himself from his car while his team reacted quickly to put out the fire.