Kimi Raikkonen: Red Bull’s Friday Singapore GP pace was misleading
Kimi Raikkonen says it is "pointless" to study Friday Formula 1 lap times as "it’s so easy to make somebody look good", after Ferrari overhauled Red Bull in Singapore qualifying.
Daniel Ricciardo lapped seven tenths clear of Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes in Friday practice at Marina Bay, while Raikkonen was nearly two seconds adrift in the best of the Ferraris.
But Raikkonen’s team-mate Sebastian Vettel closed to within a tenth of the pace set by Max Verstappen in final practice on Saturday, before beating the Red Bulls to pole by more than three tenths in qualifying.
Raikkonen would likely have joined Vettel on the front row without a mistake on his final Q3 lap, and suggested Vettel’s result indicates how misleading Friday practice form can be in F1.
"It all seemed to change for qualifying, but we have seen that in other weekends," Raikkonen said.
"Some teams can be quick very early in the weekend and then everyone closes up and bunches up a bit.
"Different fuel loads, or runs, it’s so easy to make somebody look good.
"It’s a bit pointless to look at the Friday times and say ‘this team will be ahead of others’.
"More often than not, everyone bunches up. The top three teams are usually closer to each other.
"Since yesterday, we – well at least myself – was nowhere near to the Red Bull; today, without some mistakes, we could have [both] been ahead of them."
Raikkonen said Ferrari was struggling to improve the car without making it worse in other aspects as it battled to turn things around after a difficult Friday.
He said he did not feel comfortable with his Ferrari’s handling as he ended up fourth, two tenths adrift of Ricciardo’s Red Bull.
"It’s been a difficult weekend, all the way through," Raikkonen added. "Qualifying was the best that it has been so far but it still definitely didn’t feel easy.
"It just didn’t feel like I would expect. I was fighting and trying to get a good lap, but [it was] easy to make mistakes and easy to lose lap time.
"It’s a tricky circuit, a lot of corners, a lot of places where it is easy to make a mistake. You take it to the limit, sometimes you get away with it, sometimes not.
"OK, it is never going to be easy anywhere, but you expect things to be making sense.
"It’s fighting with different issues, and improving one but creating another one. It’s small things.
"I’d take the fourth place because if you look until before qualifying, it could have been awfully more worse."
Vettel beats Red Bulls to Singapore Grand Prix pole, Hamilton fifth
Sebastian Vettel claimed pole position for Singapore Grand Prix, with Formula 1 world championship rival Lewis Hamilton down in fifth.
Ferrari driver Vettel set a time quick enough for pole position on his first run in Q3, during which all drivers used ultra-soft rubber, with a 1m39.669s.
He then survived a light brush of the wall at the right-hander coming out from under the grandstand on his second run to improve to a 1m39.491s to take pole from Red Bull driver Max Verstappen by 0.323 seconds.
Verstappen had set the pace in Q2, but after going second fastest on his first run in Q3 he was unable to improve on his second.
Daniel Ricciardo was third in the second Red Bull, but could only improve by 0.022s on his second run.
That left Kimi Raikkonen in fourth place, unable to carry his impressive first-sector pace into the second and third sectors of his final lap.
Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas both qualified on the third row, with the gap between the two Mercedes team-mates almost seven tenths of a second.
Nico Hulkenberg was best-of-the rest in seventh for Renault, just ahead of McLaren’s Fernando Alonso.
The second McLaren-Honda of Stoffel Vandoorne was ninth, well ahead of 10th-placed Carlos Sainz Jr.
Renault driver Jolyon Palmer missed out on Q3 after being relegated to 11th by Alonso on the second runs in the second segment of qualifying.
Palmer failed to improve on his second set of tyres in Q2 thanks to a moment at the final corner, which the team suggested over the radio cost him 10th place.
Sergio Perez complained about having "no grip at all" on his second Q2 run and ended up 12th after being unable to improve on his first-run time.
Daniil Kvyat did improve on his second run, but only by enough to take 13th ahead of the second Force India of Esteban Ocon.
Romain Grosjean, who paid two visits to the Turn 7 escape road at the end of the back straight in Q1, didn’t post a time on his first run in Q2 and was unable to do better than 15th when he made his second attempt.
Kevin Magnussen was the fastest of those eliminated in Q1, having been relegated to 16th by Hulkenberg’s leap up the order.
Williams driver Felipe Massa was also knocked out in 17th after a difficult session.
He didn’t set a serious lap time on his first run because he clipped the wall at the exit of the Turn 20/21 right-left and suffered a right-rear puncture.
Massa then had a big moment in the fast left-hander at the end of his final flying lap, which ensured any faint hope he had of making Q2 was lost.
His team-mate Lance Stroll was 18th ahead of Sauber driver Pascal Wehrlein, who also had a minor brush with the wall at the penultimate complex of corners.
Marcus Ericsson was last in the second Sauber, and will be given a five-place grid penalty thanks to a gearbox change triggered by damage suffered when he hit the wall during free practice three.
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m39.814s||0.323s|
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m39.840s||0.349s|
|10||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m42.056s||2.565s|
|12||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m42.246s||–|
|13||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m42.338s||–|
|14||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m42.760s||–|
Singapore GP FP3: Max Verstappen tops close final F1 practice
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen pipped Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel to the fastest time in third and final Formula 1 practice for the Singapore Grand Prix.
Verstappen posted a 1m41.829s on the ultra-soft Pirelli tyres to finish 0.072 seconds clear of Vettel with Lewis Hamilton 0.142s off the pace in third.
But Verstappen was told to return to the pits slowly after reporting that the car was "shifting by itself" while Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo clipped the wall, forcing him to back out of his final attempt at a low-fuel run.
Both Red Bulls returned to the track in the final seconds of the session, suggesting that neither situation caused any lasting problems.
McLaren continued its strong pace at Marina Bay with Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne fourth and fifth respectively.
As the sun set, Vettel was the first driver to post a representative time, the Ferrari driver going quickest with 1m43.237s, but he clipped the wall on the exit of the penultimate corner in the process.
The Red Bulls hung back and didn’t head out for their timed laps until midway through the session with Verstappen going fastest and Ricciardo second, 0.268s adrift of his team-mate.
The session was red-flagged after Marcus Ericsson had a low-speed spin, sending his Sauber into the wall backwards just after he had driven under the grandstand towards the end of the lap.
Ericsson recovered to the pits with a damaged rear end, but the marshals needed just under 10 minutes to sweep away the debris from the accident.
There was a flurry of activity when the session was restarted, with Vettel setting the fastest first and second sectors to go quickest with a 1m41.901s, 0.348s quicker than Verstappen.
The Red Bulls headed out in a bid to respond, with Verstappen reclaiming top spot by just a fraction of a second.
Ricciardo, who topped both Friday practice sessions, had to back out of his effort when he clipped the wall, and he ended up sixth quickest.
Hamilton’s lap to go third left the top three split by just 0.142s.
Nico Hulkenberg was best of the rest in seventh for Renault, with Valtteri Bottas failing to improve on his final run and ending up six tenths adrift of Mercedes team-mate Hamilton.
Kimi Raikkonen, who said "not a lot of things made sense" for Ferrari in Friday practice, continued to struggle as he posted the ninth best time, eight tenths behind team-mate Vettel.
Force India’s Sergio Perez closed out the top 10, a tenth clear of team-mate Esteban Ocon.
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m41.829s||12|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||0.688s||11|
|10||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1.181s||14|
|11||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1.280s||15|
|12||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1.527s||17|
|14||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1.745s||17|