The pole position was within reach – Ferrari

F1 Grand Prix, GP Singapore, Marina Bay Street Circuitsg

After strong showing in the free practice sessions, Ferrari ended the qualifying session for the Singapore Grand Prix with a disappointing third and fifth place. However, the team thinks there was more potential in the car.

Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen topped the second practice session on Friday while Sebastian Vettel controlled the proceedings in the final practice. Interestingly, Ferrari could not keep up the momentum in the all-important qualifying session as their rivals Mercedes and Red Bull were able to find bigger performance gains. In the end, Vettel clinched only the third place while his team-mate Räikkönen only managed to finish fifth.

'Messy' qualifying session

After the session, the four-time world champion indicated that the team did not get the maximum out of the car in a what he described a messy qualifying session.

“Our laps today were not ideal”, said Seb “and, all in all, our qualifying session was not as good as it could have been. I think we didn’t take the best out of the car. We didn’t have a smooth session, that’s it. The gap seems big but it’s partly because this is a very long track, so I am not worried. I think Lewis had a very good lap but he was not impossible to beat. Obviously, it’s always better to start from the front row, but I think tomorrow it will be fine.”

Speaking to the press, Vettel was not downbeat after the session and stressed that he still believes in the race performance of the SF71H.

“The car is good, so I believe we can stay with the group of the cars in front and then we have two hours of racing to work something out. You never know what can happen. Obviously, we should have done better because we had all the ingredients, but today we didn’t put them all together. I’m not completely upset because third is not a disaster, but for sure we wanted to qualify on pole and that was up for grabs today. However, we now turn the page and see how we can fight tomorrow”.

Problems with switching the tyres on

Vettel’s team-mate Räikkönen said that Ferrari’s sudden qualifying slump was odd. The 2007 world champion put the blame on the tyres which Ferrari could not switch on.

“This qualifying was a bit more tricky than we expected”, Kimi commented. “In general, we struggled to ‘switch on’ the tyres straightaway and make them work as easily as it had been all weekend; so I was a bit surprised. Things can change quickly from practice to qualifying, that’s why there’s no reason to look at the lap times in practice, especially in places like this.”

Räikkönen thinks that gap between the race performance of the top three teams is close which can end in hard fight for the top places.

“The end result obviously is not great; this is the kind of circuit where if you get everything right your lap can be very good, but if you have some difficulties, the time difference gets big very quickly . Tomorrow will be a long day, everybody seems to be quite close to each other; it will be a long, tough and hectic race , and usually many things happen here. We’ll try to make the right decisions and the right calls”.