His second practice session in Singapore was cut short when he clouted the wall on his first qualifying simulation run, limiting him to just 12 laps under the floodlights. But Sebastian Vettel, who despite admitting the incident was far from ideal, is confident his Ferrari can recover and challenge for pole position on Saturday…
Vettel, a winner at the spectacular Marina Bay Street Circuit a record four times, could only go third fastest in FP1 behind the two Red Bulls, and then was confined to his garage when he got a little bit too close to the wall at Turn 21 in FP2, a session in which his team mate Kimi Raikkonen topped the timesheet.
On initial viewing, the glancing blow looked to have caused only minor damage to his rear-right wheel, but as the four-time world champion returned to the pits, hydraulic fluid was pouring from the back of the car. The incident forced Vettel to head back to his Ferrari motorhome, bringing a premature end to his Friday participation.
The former Red Bull star, however, believes the only setback was to miss out on running time in the night-time conditions that the drivers will face both in Saturday’s qualifying and Sunday’s race - and he’s hopeful of delivering the goods this weekend.
“The bad was obviously the touch to the wall which made the session come to an end,” said Vettel. “Obviously there was a bit more than just a kiss, then we took precaution and decided not to run.
“We lost some time, which is not ideal, but nevertheless I think I’ve got a good feel for the car and thankfully I’ve been here before so I know the track. Tomorrow I think it will be key to find the right balance and feel the car a little bit better than this evening and then we should be fine.
“I tried a little bit too hard and we lost some time but I think overall the car is working and I think we can improve it from where it was. So it’s not yet where I want it to be but I think for tomorrow we should be in a better place.