Fernando Alonso believes Max Verstappen will lead the F1 field by over two seconds at Singapore on Friday as the two-time champion revealed a key strength the pair share.
Verstappen has made a habit this season of being quick early on in Friday practice, with the chasing pack in a race to close the gap across the remainder of the weekend.
Speaking ahead of the Dutchman's first opportunity to secure back-to-back titles, Alpine driver Alonso identified with his Red Bull rival's astonishing adaptability.
“That’s something I consider one of my strengths and that’s why I stopped Formula 1 in 2018 to try different things because I thought that my career was not progressing, just being 10th or 12th in Formula 1 every weekend," said Alonso.
“I wanted to challenge myself in different categories, in different cars every weekend and try to achieve different titles or race wins."
Alonso to watch early blows in FP1 with interest
F1 has not raced in Singapore since 2019, meaning driver feel will be crucial to getting off on the right foot at the start of the weekend.
Alonso believes this lack of experience among rival drivers will help Verstappen make another flying start.
“I will look with interest in FP1 at the first five minutes of the session," continued Alonso.
"You will see that Verstappen will be 2.5 seconds in front of everyone and then slowly they will come. Then in quali, they will be close to him.
“It happens in a way as well on a small scale between my team-mate sometimes. On Friday, I am well ahead and then on Saturday and Sunday, they are getting better and better.
“Ideally, for Max or myself, we would love a wet FP1, FP2, FP3 session and go into qualifying for the first time on a new track condition.”