Singapore Grand Prix – Ferrari were left wondering what might have been after failing to challenge for victory in Singapore.
Heading into the Singapore weekend as favourites for the race win, the Scuderia failed to deliver. Friday saw Sabastian Vettel make an error in FP2 that saw him glance the wall, resulting in sufficient damage to curtail his track time. While Kimi Raikkonen was able to make up for it by having a good Friday and Vettel recovered to lead the FP3 session on Saturday morning, Ferrari’s weekend became shaky in qualifying.
Making it through Q1, Ferrari initially attempted to make it through Q2 on the UltraSoft – a slower tyre, but better for the race. However, poor initial laps from both Raikkonen & Vettel meant they were under serious pressure to deliver a time that would get them into Q3 and Ferrari opted against the risk. Putting their drivers back on the preferred HyperSoft, both made it into Q3 but didn’t light up the track, unlike Hamilton’s Mercedes or Max Verstappen’s Red Bull.
Starting from P3 & P5, that’s where the drivers finished the race. While Vettel initially got past Verstappen on Lap 1, his early pitstop saw him encounter traffic while pushing to make the undercut work and, instead, he ended up losing time and position. Running on UltraSofts that weren’t any quicker a race tyre than the Soft-shod Verstappen & Hamilton, Vettel was doomed to trying to make the flag without making another stop. While he completed this challenge, he was over thirty seconds behind by the end. Raikkonen ran a longer first stint before taking on the Soft tyres, but wasn’t able to pass the other Merc of Valtteri Bottas.
”Today’s winner deserved the victory.” said team boss Maurizio Arrivabene. He explained that Ferrari’s poor day was caused by attempting a strategy that was never going to work after Vettel hit traffic: “After Sebastian overtook Verstappen, we went for an aggressive strategy, trying for the undercut on the Ultrasoft tyres. Unfortunately, during the one lap that would prove to be crucial, we found ourselves behind another car and so we were unable to run at a fast enough pace. Despite today’s result, not all is lost. Now, calmly and with determination, we will tackle the remaining six races, fighting all the way to the end.”
Ferrari are now 25 points behind Mercedes in the Constructor’s Championship, while Vettel is 40 points behind Lewis Hamilton in the Driver’s.