Singapore Grand Prix practice: Lewis Hamilton leads Max Verstappen
Lewis Hamilton beat Max Verstappen to fastest time by 0.184 seconds in the second Formula 1 free practice session for the Singapore Grand Prix.
Hamilton hit the front for Mercedes during the early running when he was on medium-compound Pirellis, setting a best time of 1m39.991s.
Verstappen, on hards, was second quickest for Red Bull during this phase of the 90-minute session but seven-tenths slower than Hamilton.
As usual, the 20 cars then switched to soft rubber for their qualifying simulation runs.
Alex Albon, in the second Red Bull, was the first to hit the top of the timesheets on that rubber with a time of 1m39.943s, only to be relegated to second shortly afterwards by Verstappen.
Hamilton then took first place with a lap of 1m38.773s, which stood as the fastest of the session.
Both drivers attempted to improve but were unable to do so on subsequent attempts, with Verstappen making it clear over the radio that he felt he could do better as his best lap was "compromised" in the final sector.
The Ferrari drivers were frustrated by traffic early in their qualifying simulation runs, with Sebastian Vettel suggesting Kevin Magnussen was "sleeping" after the Haas driver got in his way.
But they eventually did complete push laps, with Leclerc, who lost most of practice one to a gearbox failure, was 0.111s quicker than Vettel initially before the four-time champion jumped to third and left his team-mate back in sixth.
Valtteri Bottas recovered from his practice one crash with fourth fastest time, but was 1.121s off his pacesetting team-mate.
He was just half-a-tenth faster than Albon, who ended the session in fourth place after a difficult session during which he had an early trip up the Turn 7 escape road at the end of the kinked back straight before crunching his front wing into the barriers at the Turn 10 left-hander.
McLaren driver Carlos Sainz Jr was seventh fastest and just 0.016s slower than Vettel – putting him almost two tenths clear of Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg in eighth.
Lando Norris took ninth for McLaren, lapping two tenths slower than Sainz, with Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly rounding out the top 10.
Daniil Kvyat, who had an early brush with the wall, was 11th fastest and within a tenth of team-mate Gasly – with Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo 12th.
Racing Point’s Sergio Perez was 13th, 2.10s off the pace, but angered Magnussen during the qualifying simulation runs when he drifted to his right while the Haas driver was attempting to pass him on that side. The stewards will investigate the incident after the session.
Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovinazzi was classified 14th ahead of Racing Point’s Lance Stroll.
The pair set identical lap times – 1m41.128s – but Giovinazzi was placed ahead as he had set his time earlier in the session.
Kimi Raikkonen was 16th in the other Alfa Romeo, losing out to his team-mate in the first and third sectors of the lap.
Haas drivers Romain Grosjean and Magnussen were 17th and 19th respectively, putting them in among the Williams drivers.
George Russell was 18th having been as high as sixth thanks to being the first driver to complete a qualifying simulation lap, with Kubica last after lapping 0.732s off his team-mate.
Practice two times
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||1m38.957s||0.184s||29|
|5||Alexander Albon||Red Bull/Honda||1m39.943s||1.170s||30|
|7||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||1m40.145s||1.372s||33|
|10||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m40.637s||1.864s||32|
|11||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m40.713s||1.940s||32|
|13||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m40.875s||2.102s||29|
|14||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m41.128s||2.355s||35|
|15||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m41.128s||2.355s||31|
|16||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m41.232s||2.459s||28|
Singapore F1 practice: Verstappen top; Bottas, Leclerc hit trouble
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen topped the opening Formula 1 free practice session for the Singapore Grand Prix, while Valtteri Bottas caused a red flag by crashing his Mercedes.
Verstappen used soft-compound Pirellis to knock Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel off top spot by 0.167 seconds with just under half-an-hour remaining of the 90 minute session.
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton had set the pace during the initial 40 minutes when drivers were on their first set of tyres, setting a time of 1m41.469s to lead the way by 0.469s.
During this phase of running, Racing Point driver Lance Stroll was third fastest, just ahead of Bottas who clipped a wall early on his run and damaged a rim – limiting him to just three early laps.
This meant Bottas was the first to head out on his second set of rubber, using hard-compound Pirellis first to move up to second then to take top spot.
Hamilton then headed out, also on hards, deposing Bottas by six tenths of a second to make it a Mercedes one-two.
But Ferrari still had to go and both Vettel and Charles Leclerc had fresh softs, with Vettel taking top spot with a lap of 1m40.426s.
Leclerc hit trouble before he could post a time on his fresh softs with a gearbox problem that manifested itself at Turn 19.
He was able to coast back to the pitlane, where his car was retrieved by the Ferrari crew – but did not return to the track.
Verstappen then improved again to take top spot for good with a lap of 1m40.259s, shortly before Bottas crashed and triggered a 10-minute red flag.
The rear stepped out on Bottas was he turned into the Turn 19 right-hander, sending him spearing into the wall with the car sustaining significant damage.
By this time, Bottas had been shuffled down to fourth behind Hamilton, with the second Red Bull of Alex Albon fifth fastest and 1.208s off the pace.
Nico Hulkenberg was the best of the midfield runners for Renault with a lap set on softs shortly before the red flag.
Both McLaren drivers were delayed by the red flag, but headed out after the restart to set their best times of the session – with Carlos Sainz Jr going seventh fastest, 1.746s off the pace.
Lando Norris went eighth, but only after an off at the Turn 7 left-hander while on his first push lap.
The two Toro Rossos rounded out the top 10, with Daniil Kvyat ninth and Pierre Gasly 10th and separated by just 0.072s.
Daniel Ricciardo was 11th fastest for Renault, just ahead of the lead Haas of Romain Grosjean – whose deal for the 2020 season with the team was confirmed on Thursday.
Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovinazzi was forced to have his quick run after the red flag, jumping up to 13th place with a lap 2.418s off the pace.
Stroll slipped to 14th by the end of the session having not improved on his first-set time due to moving onto hards, putting him just over three tenths ahead of the second Haas of Kevin Magnussen – who complained of braking problems early on.
Robert Kubica, who announced on Thursday that he will not continue with Williams next year, was 17th fastest ahead of Racing Point’s Sergio Perez.
Leclerc ended up 19th with his early time ahead of the second Williams of George Russell.
Practice one times
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||1m40.259s||–||22|
|5||Alexander Albon||Red Bull/Honda||1m41.467s||1.208s||24|
|7||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||1m41.966s||1.707s||20|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m42.305s||2.046s||26|
|10||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m42.377s||2.118s||24|
|13||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m42.677s||2.418s||15|
|14||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m42.786s||2.527s||13|
|15||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m42.791s||2.532s||28|
|18||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m43.369s||3.110s||23|
Oggi in gara non è successo granché; la macchina si comportava bene e avevamo una buona velocità, ma il più delle volte siamo rimasti bloccati dietro a qualcuno e abbiamo dovuto gestire le gomme. In questa pista è impossibile sorpassare, a meno che chi ti sta davanti non commetta un grosso errore. Potevo vedere che Bottas aveva difficoltà con la gomma anteriore destra e a volte andava in bloccaggio; riuscivo ad avvicinarmi a lui, ma non abbastanza per superarlo. Nel settore centrale del tracciato diventava anche difficile seguirlo perché perdevo carico aerodinamico. Nel primo stint eravamo rimasti fuori più a lungo sperando in una Safety Car, ma non è successo. La qualifica qui è la chiave di tutto, ovviamente quando parti dietro la tua gara finisce per essere noiosa, bloccato dietro ad altre macchine. Non c’è stato modo di usare tutta la nostra velocità. Ovviamente volevamo di più, abbiamo fatto quello che potevamo ma questo è tutto quello che abbiamo ottenuto.
Singapore Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton wins, F1 title rival Vettel third
Lewis Hamilton swept to a virtually unchallenged win in the 2018 Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix as another Ferrari tactical blunder cost Sebastian Vettel the chance of victory.
Vettel had to settle for third place behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
Hamilton and Vettel made the best starts of the top three and the pole-sitting Mercedes cut cleanly through the first three corners as second-placed Verstappen had to defend his position from Vettel.
Behind them, Sergio Perez nudged his Force India team-mate Esteban Ocon into the outside wall at Turn 3, eliminating him from the race and bringing out the safety car.
But before race control took the decision to neutralise the race, Vettel had made use of a better exit from Turn 5 to draw alongside Verstappen and pass him on the outside into Turn 7.
In their wake, the majority of the top 10 got away in grid order – Bottas in fourth followed by Raikkonen, Daniel Ricciardo, Sergio Perez and Romain Grosjean – but ultrasoft runners Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz Jr each gained two positions on the opening lap, at the expense of Nico Hulkenberg and the now-absent Ocon.
The race got under way again on lap four but the frontrunners were running cautiously, nearly 11 seconds off qualifying pace, to manage their fragile hypersoft tyres and extend the first stint as far as possible.
As the lap count entered double figures the frontrunners lifted their pace in anticipation of the pitstops. Vettel was the first to dive in, on lap 14, taking on a set of ultrasofts.
The stop would prove disastrous for Vettel, since he emerged behind Perez and spent two laps bottled up behind him.
Meanwhile Hamilton and Verstappen pitted on successive laps to take on soft Pirellis with a clear strategy of running to the end with no further stops.
Hamilton returned seamlessly into the net lead, and although Verstappen’s engine stuttered slightly as he left the pit apron, he just squeaked ahead of Vettel into Turn 3.
The initial pitstop phase left Hamilton with a 3s lead over Verstappen once Ricciardo became the last of the frontrunners to change tyres, on lap 27.
Vettel was a frustrated third, telling his team: "We were again too late. We will not make it to the end."
As at the Monaco Grand Prix, drivers starting outside the top 10 with a free tyre choice benefitted as some of those ahead on softer rubber pitted first.
Conversely, when Perez, Nico Hulkenberg and Grosjean shed their hypersoft boots they emerged behind the tail-end Williams pairing of Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin, who had started on soft tyres and had no plans to stop promptly.
This prompted the race’s second significant incident when Perez grew impatient with Sirotkin and swerved at him as he finally went past at Turn 17 on lap 33, picking up a puncture in the process and enabling Hulkenberg to nip through.
As Grosjean tried to follow Hulkenberg through the pair baulked Hamilton as he came up to lap them, briefly enabling Verstappen to enter attacking range.
Once clear, though, Hamilton stretched his margin out to 3s again and remained out of reach until the chequered flag, eventually finishing 8.9s clear – with Vettel a further 30.9s down the road.
While Hamilton, Verstappen, Vettel and Bottas nursed their tyres to the finish, a battle for fourth place erupted in the closing laps as Ricciardo closed in on and challenged Raikkonen, who in turn crept up on Bottas. But nothing came of it and Bottas crossed the line 1s clear.
Fernando Alonso won ‘class B’ for McLaren from 11th on the grid, taking advantage of a long first stint on the ultrasofts to gain track position at the expense of Perez and Grosjean, and then undercutting Sainz for seventh place when he made his single stop on lap 38.
Charles Leclerc, another driver to start outside the top 10 on ultrasofts, followed Sainz home in ninth place, while Hulkenberg completed a solid recovery drive to round out the top 10 after losing track position on the opening lap.
Singapore GP result
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||61||8.961s|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||61||53.982s|
|8||Carlos Sainz||Renault||60||1 Lap|
|9||Charles Leclerc||Sauber/Ferrari||60||1 Lap|
|10||Nico Hulkenberg||Renault||60||1 Lap|
|11||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber/Ferrari||60||1 Lap|
|12||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren/Renault||60||1 Lap|
|13||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||60||1 Lap|
|14||Lance Stroll||Williams/Mercedes||60||1 Lap|
|15||Romain Grosjean||Haas/Ferrari||60||1 Lap|
|16||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||60||1 Lap|
|17||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso/Honda||60||1 Lap|
|18||Kevin Magnussen||Haas/Ferrari||59||2 Laps|
|19||Sergey Sirotkin||Williams/Mercedes||59||2 Laps|
|–||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||0||Collision|
“Queste qualifiche sono state un po’ più difficili di quello che ci aspettavamo” ha commentato Kimi. “In generale abbiamo faticato a mettere subito le gomme in temperatura e farle funzionare facilmente come era successo per tutto il weekend, per cui sono rimasto un po’ sorpreso. Le cose possono cambiare facilmente dalle prove alle qualifiche ed ecco perché non c’è motivo di guardare i tempi registrati durante le prove, soprattutto in circuiti come questo. Il risultato finale ovviamente non è eccezionale; questo è un tipo di circuito in cui se fai tutto per bene, il tempo sul giro ti premia, ma se hai delle difficoltà, il divario cresce molto velocemente. Domani sarà una giornata lunga e tutti sembrano essere molto vicini. Sarà una gara lunga, difficile e movimentata e di solito qui possono accadere molte cose. Cercheremo di fare le scelte giuste e svolgere il nostro lavoro”.
Kimi Raikkonen calls Ferrari’s Singapore GP qualifying slump ‘odd’
Kimi Raikkonen says it is "a bit odd" that the Ferrari Formula 1 car could not work its tyres properly in Singapore Grand Prix qualifying and unexpectedly struggled for pace.
Raikkonen topped the times on Friday while team-mate Sebastian Vettel lapped half a second quicker than Mercedes in final practice on Saturday.
But Lewis Hamilton claimed a surprise pole for Mercedes while Max Verstappen beat Vettel to the front row in his Red Bull, and Raikkonen could only manage fifth.
Raikkonen, who lapped 0.779 seconds off the pace and was more than a tenth slower than his team-mate, said: "We could [switch the tyres on] but not as well as we wanted and it was more difficult for sure than at any other point of the weekend.
"That is what is a bit odd.
"Sometimes it goes like that. In the end the result is not great in this kind of place where you need to have everything right."
Raikkonen said it had been a "very straightforward" weekend up to qualifying, with no changes made after final practice, and admitted "I am a bit surprised" by the result.
Vettel told his team over the radio during qualifying that Mercedes was preparing its tyres differently and Ferrari needed to take note.
Raikkonen was not sure if the slump was down to tyre preparation or a need to alter the car’s set-up.
"If you look at how it has been all weekend, it has been very easy," he said.
"Everything is running smoothly and that is why I was a bit surprised because honestly it is not like it is different conditions than earlier this weekend.
"It is not the first time that sometimes you found out in qualifying that things are not as you expect, but at that point there is not much you can do."
Raikkonen said there was not a major change in his car’s behaviour but "enough" to stop Ferrari from challenging.
He believes that minor changes would have meant it was "suddenly half a second faster because it is the nature" of the Singapore circuit.
"At a place like this it is fundamental to have it exactly as you want because there are so many corners and it is such a long track," Raikkonen said.
"You lose even half a tenth in one place and when that happens in a few corners you suddenly have three or four tenths difference.
"That is what is tricky here. It wasn’t bad. But for sure it wasn’t as easy as it has been so far."
Singapore GP: Hamilton takes pole ahead of Verstappen and Vettel
Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position for Formula 1’s Singapore Grand Prix with what Mercedes described as an "epic" lap.
The F1 world championship leader – whose Mercedes team had been expected to trail Ferrari in Singapore – set a best time of 1m36.015s on his first run in Q3, with engineer Pete Bonnington telling him "that was an epic lap" after crossing the line.
Hamilton abandoned his lap on his second run in the middle sector after running wide out of the Turn 7 right-hander, but had done enough to secure pole by 0.319 seconds from Red Bull driver Max Verstappen.
Verstappen was on a lap that was close to Hamilton’s time after two sectors on his second run, but a slow final sector put paid to his chances of taking pole position.
Verstappen said "this feels like a victory" after struggling throughout the Singapore weekend so far with engine complaints.
Sebastian Vettel also failed to improve on his second run, ending up 0.613s down in third place and less than a tenth ahead of the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas.
Kimi Raikkonen was fifth for Ferrari, two tenths ahead of the second Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo.
Both Mercedes and Ferrari had got away with tyre tactics scares early in qualifying.
Mercedes stuck with ultrasofts in Q1, and in a scrappy session only just made it through with Bottas in 12th and Hamilton in 14th.
Ferrari then tried to get through Q2 on ultrasofts, but had to abandon that plan for the second runs as it quickly became clear they would not reach the top 10 o the slower tyre.
Sergio Perez was seventh, a second slower than Ricciardo, for Force India ahead of Romain Grosjean’s Haas.
Perez’s Force India team-mate Esteban Ocon survived a brush with the wall at the exit of Turn 21 to claim ninth place ahead of Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg.
McLaren’s Fernando Alonso was bumped out of the top 10 by Grosjean’s late improvement, leaving him 11th and fastest of those eliminated in Q2.
He missed out on a place in the top 10 shootout by just 0.107s having outpaced Renault driver Carlos Sainz Jr, who failed to improve his time on his second run and complained of "absolutely no grip".
Sauber pairing Charles Leclerc and Marcus Ericsson were 13th and 14th, albeit with seven tenths separating the duo.
Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly was 15th, lapping over two tenths slower than Ericsson.
Kevin Magnussen was the quickest to be eliminated in Q1 in 16th place after failing to improve on his second run and being shuffled into the drop zone by Ericsson.
Toro Rosso driver Brendon Hartley was 17th, lapping two tenths off team-mate Gasly but half a tenth ahead of McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne.
Williams pairing Sergey Sirotkin and Lance Stroll were a distant 19th and 20th, lapping 1.4s off the rest of the field.
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m36.334s||0.319s|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m36.996s||0.981s|
|7||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m37.985s||1.970s|
|9||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m38.365s||2.350s|
|15||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m39.691s||–|
|17||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m39.809s||–|
Singapore Grand Prix: Vettel leads Ferrari one-two in practice
Sebastian Vettel and his Ferrari Formula 1 team-mate Kimi Raikkonen set a commanding pace in final practice for the 2018 Singapore Grand Prix.
Vettel’s fastest time was three tenths quicker than Raikkonen and over half a second faster than Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.
The Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen ended the session fifth and sixth, over a second off the ultimate pace.
As with Friday’s practice one, which also began in daylight, many teams waited until a quarter of the session elapsed before heading trackwards.
Heavy cloud cover made for less comparable conditions, and lower track temperatures than this time on Friday – 36C as opposed to 43C – while the ambient temperature was 30C.
Vettel went to the top of the timesheets with a 1m40.008s on a set of new hypersofts early in the session, but after a second run on the same set was less profitable he fitted new tyres and set a new benchmark of 1m38.054s – 0.6s faster than Raikkonen’s best from Friday – with 25 minutes of the session to run.
Mercedes appeared to be continuing to evaluate a one-stop strategy as both Bottas and Hamilton embarked on long runs early in the session. But while Bottas completed an eight-lap stint, with a best time of 1m41.292s, Hamilton returned to the garage after six tours and a best of 1m42.507s.
Apart from installation laps, Verstappen did not emerge until the halfway mark but he was quicker than the Mercedes on soft tyre, setting a 1m40.826s while complaining that his engine was making a disconcerting array of noises. The team suspected a software problem.
When the Mercedes embarked on their qualifying simulations on new hypersofts Hamilton posted a 1m38.738s, fastest of all in the middle sector but half a second off Vettel in the first.
Bottas crossed the line in 1m38.779s despite being fastest in the final sector, though he subsequently improved to a 1m38.603s.
If Hamilton had left anything on the table in sector one he did his best to locate it on a second run on the same set of hypersofts, this time clocking up a 1m38.558s, but it was still not good enough to get within a net half-second of Vettel.
Hamilton, though, may be able to draw succour from the fact that while he was able to extract a second flying lap from his hypersofts, Vettel dropped off badly when attempting another push.
Ricciardo and Verstappen made their qualifying simulations when the track was thick was traffic, and even with the hypersofts could manage no better than 1m39.186s and 1m39.265s, over a second off Vettel’s session-topping time. Verstappen was particularly vociferous in complaining about his Renault engine.
Romain Grosjean was the best of the rest for Haas, seventh overall but 1.693s off the leader, followed by Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez in the Force Indias, though that team faces investigation for a potential unsafe release of Ocon.
Fernando Alonso was 10th, and might have gone faster but elected to bail out of his final qualifying simulation, declaring that the amount of traffic on track made it "like a jungle".
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m39.186s||1.132s||14|
|6||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m39.265s||1.211s||10|
|8||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m40.073s||2.019s||14|
|9||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m40.231s||2.177s||14|
|14||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m40.686s||2.632s||16|
|17||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m41.562s||3.508s||18|
TEAM REPRESENTATIVES – Maurizio ARRIVABENE (Ferrari), Frédéric VASSEUR (Sauber), Guenther STEINER (Haas), Gil DE FERRAN (McLaren)
Q: Maurizio, please can we start with you? Welcome. There have been lots of announcements coming out of Ferrari this past week. Your 2019 driver line-up is sorted, with Charles Leclerc replacing Kimi Räikkönen. Talk us through how and why that change has taken place?
Maurizio ARRIVABENE: How and why? It’s not clear? OK, I try to be clear. When you make some choices like this, that are related to the driver, you don’t have to look only at the short-term commitment but also at the long-term commitment. A long-term commitment means it’s not only for next year, it’s for the future of the team – how you are going to grow a young talent, and what you want to expect from him for the future. That’s very simple. It’s not a decision taken by Mr Simpson; it’s a decision taken by me, discuss it also with the top management, that is taking into consideration many, many factors. This has nothing to do with the respect that I have for Kimi, that is great, as a human being and a driver, but if you have to do a choice, thinking about the future of the team, I think we made the right choice, for us and for Kimi. And the way that we wrote the press release was absolutely intentional. We were using a different style, breaking a bit the rules of Ferrari, that is normally going to communicate this in one line, broke the rules, giving also tribute and respect to Kimi for what he has done with us and wishing him the best for the future, and the best for the future it’s here.
Q: Fréd, thank you for waiting. Yesterday in the press conference, Kimi wasn’t that forthcoming when asked about his move to Sauber, so can you just put a little bit of flesh on the bone for us. How did you persuade Kimi to continue his career with your team?
Frédéric VASSEUR: I don’t want to say, like my future driver, ‘why not?’ but I think for us coming from where we were last year… I had a look this morning on the FP1 of 2017, I think it is a huge opportunity to have in our car, in the Alfa Romeo Sauber, one of the three world champions who will race next year. It’s a huge opportunity for the team, for the brand, for everybody. We know that we are quite a young team also and we need to have someone leading the team with a huge experience and I think Kimi will fulfill all the parts of this.
Q: (Andrew Benson – BBC Sport) Maurizio. How concerned are you by the errors being made by your lead driver in several races this year, and questionable race management decisions by the team – and what are you doing about them?
MA: Oh my God! Again! OK, I start from the second one and I want to be clear, once and forever. I mean, I would ask some of you, all of you, who is so crazy to give team order to a driver at the start of the race? I mean, we do our thing with the maximum professional effort. Before the race we are looking at the video of the start of the race, our team manager is giving instruction on the best line to follow to the driver. The only team order you can tell to the driver at the first corner is “guys, I would like to have both of the cars OK.” All the rest, I mean, it’s nonsense. I explain you the reason why. Kimi, in the case of Monza, was in pole position. Do we agree for once on this? He was in pole position right? Sebastian was 8m from him. How you think that Kimi can look on his side where Sebastian is? In your opinion, the order is “Kimi, please slow down when you start, and don’t worry if Hamilton and all the others, they are overtaking you.” What we are discussing about? That is the answer to your question. And then, team order, do you think the team orders, they were invented in Monza last weekend? I don’t think so. It’s 28 years that I’m in Formula One and I always heard team orders. There are many ways to give it to the team: before, during, after. That’s not important. The problem in Monza is that you have no time to give team order to anyone, because at the third corner it’s happened what has happened. So, this is the reality. I mean, don’t expect me to give team orders to the driver at the start of the race, looking forward to the first corner. It’s too dangerous and it’s crazy.
Q: (Stuart Codling – Autosport) Fred, what do you expect Kimi to bring to your team next year that you haven’t got already and can’t get elsewhere?
FV: Clearly Kimi has huge experience in F1, I think he already told that yesterday. For the team, we are building up every single department and I think he will be very supportive in the process. I think from aero to design office to track engineering, tyre management, I think everybody in the team is more than welcome to have Kimi on board in the future. It’s a step forward for us for sure. This is on the technical side and on the more marketing and commercial side, for sure it’s a huge push and if you have a look at what we had last week in terms of social media, so it was probably the first time in our lives that we have so many connections. On both sides, I think it will be supportive for us.
Q: Fred, are there still a lot of people at the team who can remember him from 2001?
FV: Some, yeah. For sure, I was not there but some guys came to my office saying ‘ah, superb that Kimi’s back.’ But I don’t want to consider the fact that Kimi’s coming back that we have to think about the future, not about the past.
Q: (Jake Michaels – ESPN) Maurizio, you said earlier that Kimi’s move from Ferrari to Sauber next year is the best thing for Ferrari and for Kimi. Can you explain why that’s the case and why the best thing for Kimi isn’t to stay at Ferrari?
MA: It’s quite simple. I also said that it’s very important to look at the situation of the team in perspective, perspective meaning two or three years. So in my opinion, that is justifying enough our choice to have a young driver for next year, to grow up and that’s it. It’s not a decision that is look on the actual situation or only to next year. My job is to look forward to the future of the team. That was the justification of the choice.
Q: (Jerome Pugmire – AP) Maurizio, just to follow up on that, Kimi said yesterday it wasn’t his decision and wasn’t his choice. Can you explain how he took the decision and did he try and persuade you to change your mind? How did he feel about it?
MA: I think Kimi was funny also yesterday during the press conference. I try to be funny too. What did you expect Kimi to tell you, that Homer Simpson took the decision? Of course I took the decision but I have to say that the relationship with Kimi is so good that he understands. It’s not only a question of telling him this is the decision. If you do my job properly, it’s to take him through the process, and I took him through the process of the decision and he didn’t even try to say ‘yeah, I would like you to change your mind’ or something. He’s a professional driver. Then I heard many other things like ‘ah, you know, telling him in Monza was the wrong time.’ Think about if I had told him in Belgium and Sebastian was winning the race? Kimi was in the same position and then it was wrong to tell him in Belgium. So the right time is not written on the paper, but what is written on the paper is that when we sign contracts with a driver, we sign a contract with professional drivers. I always talk with my two drivers as professional drivers and I’m expecting from him the maximum of professional effort and to use all their professional skills and Kimi is one of them. Kimi was so nervous and so unhappy that I told him on Thursday, if I’m not wrong, in Monza but he was so unhappy that he made pole position on Saturday. We’re talking with professional drivers.
FV: I have to make him unhappy ever single weekend!
MA: Yeah, in fact that’s what I was thinking afterwards, because when I read some criticism and I said I accept the criticism, I was thinking OK, if it’s like this, I’m going to make him unhappy every weekend so he’s going to give us the pole position. Guys. We are talking about professional drivers not kids that they are driving at the luna park.
Singapore – Il primo giorno a Marina Bay è dedicato soprattutto a prendere confidenza con le insidie di un tracciato che conta ben 23 curve, dove la prima sessione si svolge alla luce del sole e la seconda già in notturna. Kimi Raikkonen ha concluso la giornata segnando il miglior tempo alla fine della P2 – tra l’altro segnando un nuovo record della pista non ufficiale, su un tracciato ridotto di 2 metri in lunghezza – mentre Sebastian Vettel è stato l’unico pilota a non trarre vantaggio dalle Hypersoft. A seguito del contatto con la barriera verso l’ultima chicane, la sua SF71H è dovuta rientrare in garage per le dovute riparazioni fino al termine della sessione. Tuttavia, la macchina sembra essere veloce e la lotta per domani è aperta.
“Oggi tutto è filato liscio”, ha detto Kimi. “Durante la prima sessione abbiamo controllato diverse cose e abbiamo fatto alcune modifiche. Nel secondo turno di prove tutto sembrava funzionare. E’ stato un venerdì normale, ma ovviamente questa pista è diversa da molte altre e la seconda sessione si svolge in condizioni differenti rispetto alla prima. Gli pneumatici si sono comportati bene come ci aspettavamo. Le Hypersoft senza dubbio permettono la migliore aderenza in assoluto, per cui sono molto utili qui, almeno per pochi giri. Ovviamente non durano come le altre mescole, ma ne siamo consapevoli. Ho provato due fondi diversi; non c’è una differenza enorme fra l’uno e l’altro, ma non useremmo qualcosa se non pensassimo che vada meglio. Adesso continueremo a fare il nostro lavoro e vedremo come andrà domani. Di certo saremo tutti molto vicini”.
Singapore GP F1 practice: Raikkonen fastest, Vettel hits wall in FP2
Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen topped the second Formula 1 free practice session for the Singapore Grand Prix.
Raikkonen was fastest early on using ultrasoft Pirellis, setting a best time of 1m40.510s to outpace Red Bull’s Max Verstappen by 0.030s.
During the early running, Lewis Hamilton went off up the Turn 14 escape road after a near miss with Sebastian Vettel.
Hamilton was closing rapidly on the Ferrari when he locked up into the right-hander, narrowly avoiding hitting the Ferrari.
When drivers switched to hypersofts for their qualifying simulations, Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas briefly went fastest before being deposed by team-mate Lewis Hamilton’s 1m38.710s lap.
Raikkonen then claimed top spot with 53 minutes of the session remaining, setting a lap of 1m38.699s to beat Hamilton by 0.011s.
Sebastian Vettel was on a lap that could have challenged the top two when he hit the wall with the right-hand side of his car exiting the Turn 21 left-hander late in the lap.
He was able to recover to the pits, but reported he suspected he had sustained damage, with evidence of a leak as his car was dragged into the garage.
Vettel did not return to the track, ending up ninth based on his pace on ultrasofts earlier in the session – lapping 1.934s off the pace.
Red Bull’s promising early pace did not carry over to its qualifying simulations, with Verstappen 0.522s off the pace in third, just under a tenth faster than team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.
Later in the session, Verstappen reported he had a problem coming out of Turn 7 with a "misfire or something" – later telling the team that the problem was recurring.
The pace of the Red Bulls meant Bottas was shuffled down to fifth, 0.669s off the pace.
Carlos Sainz Jr was best of the ‘Class B’ runners for Renault, lapping 0.906s off Bottas and three-tenths faster than Haas driver Romain Grosjean.
McLaren driver Fernando Alonso was eighth fastest, just under two-tenths faster than Vettel with Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg rounding out the top 10.
Force India ran a major upgrade on both cars, with Sergio Perez 11th and Esteban Ocon 13th – split by the Sauber of Marcus Ericsson, who had a spin late in the session.
Charles Leclerc recovered from his first-session error, when he struck the wall and damaged his front-right suspension, to end up 14thfastest.
Kevin Magnussen rounded out the top 15 for Haas, 2.455s off Raikkonen’s time and just 0.010s faster than McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne.
With Toro Rosso pairing Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly 17th and 18th respectively, Williams drivers Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin brought up the rear, both almost 3.5s off the pace.
Stroll suffered a right-rear brake fire during the session, but was able to get it under control by slowing down to cool the brakes and return to the pits.
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m39.221s||0.522s||28|
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m39.309s||0.610s||33|
|11||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m40.774s||2.075s||30|
|13||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m40.870s||2.171s||33|
|17||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m41.542s||2.843s||38|
|18||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m41.615s||2.916s||36|
Singapore Grand Prix practice: Daniel Ricciardo leads Red Bull 1-2
Daniel Ricciardo set the pace for Red Bull in opening practice for the 2018 Singapore Grand Prix as lap times tumbled compared with last year’s practice one.
During a qualifying simulation run on hypersoft tyres in the final half hour Ricciardo lapped in 1m39.711s, not only deposing Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel from the top spot but also obliterating his own fastest time from the equivalent session last year – a 1m42.489s.
Max Verstappen made it a Red Bull one-two, and Vettel’s team-mate Kimi Raikkonen ended the session seven tenths of a second off the pace in fourth after losing track time to a car issue.
Nico Hulkenberg, trialling a new bargeboard on his Renault this weekend, was the best of the rest in fifth, albeit 1.394s off the pace, while neither of the Mercedes drivers attempted a fast lap on the hypersoft compound. Lewis Hamilton was sixth fastest, Valtteri Bottas eighth.
As the session got under way the Marina Bay circuit was still basking in the late afternoon sunshine and an ambient temperature of 32C. The track surface itself was a baking 43C.
Given the relatively unrepresentative nature of this daylight session, several teams demonstrated little urgency in taking to the track, and only eight drivers set timed laps during the first 15 minutes.
The track surface evolved markedly over the course of the session and the process accelerated as more cars joined the fray: Raikkonen’s initial benchmark of 1m44.622s was over two seconds slower than Ricciardo’s fastest lap in practice one last year, but by the time the session entered its final hour both Mercedes and both Red Bulls had smashed the 2017 time – without using the softest tyre compounds available.
Much of this improvement will have come through car and tyre development, since teams seldom chase set-up this early during a race weekend on a street circuit with a ‘green’ surface.
Both Raikkonen and Verstappen ran new MGU-H power unit elements, their third of the season, but Raikkonen managed just eight laps before a technical problem forced him to pit for what the team warned him would be "a long change".
Vettel also spent much of the first hour in the garage, completing just 10 laps before he and Raikkonen returned to the track on hypersofts with 35 minutes to go.
Vettel duly rocketed to the top of the timesheets with a 1m39.997s, eclipsing Bottas’s previous best of 1m41.669s on the softs, while Raikkonen had a brief off at the Turn 18 left-hander that heads under a grandstand, taking to the escape road
Ricciardo and Verstappen then emerged to run qualifying simulations on hypersofts, and both of them went quicker than Vettel, with a 1m39.711s and a 1m39.912s respectively.
All the while, the Mercedes pairing followed their own programme of long runs on the soft compound, though they were clearly hustling: Bottas made a brief excursion down the escape road at the tight Turn 14 that concludes the back straight.
Carlos Sainz Jr squeezed between the two Mercedes’ times on his qualifying run on hypersofts, and Charles Leclerc was ninth fastest for Sauber before clipping the inside wall at Turn 3 and removing his right-front wheel just minutes before the end of the session.
Romain Grosjean completed the top 10, three places and just over three tenths faster than Haas team-mate Kevin Magnussen.
|1||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m39.711s||–||27|
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m39.912s||0.201s||27|
|12||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m42.412s||2.701s||25|
|15||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m43.177s||3.466s||25|
|16||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m43.240s||3.529s||25|
|17||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m43.485s||3.774s||30|