Singapore GP: Raikkonen fastest in 2nd practice session

Yolanda Curtis
September 17, 2018

Sebastian Vettel was left to rue another frustrating day in his pursuit of championship leader Lewis Hamilton after the German could only manage third place in qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix on Saturday (Sep 15).

The top six from qualifying finished in the same positions, however, Ferrari were not quick to point out that Vettel had jumped Max Verstappen for second place off the line - only for the Scuderia's strategy to leave him hanging onto the final podium place.

Vettel was instructed to give it "everything you have", and in response Hamilton was told to stop at the end of the following lap.

"I don't think yesterday we were chanceless".

"I don't think we really had traffic on the fast laps but obviously we did on the out laps". The auto was just underneath me and I managed to maximize on pretty much every corner.

Verstappen drove equally impressively but the 20-year-old Dutchman missed out on being the youngest ever driver to secure pole. Mercedes managed his race impeccably and Hamilton has now won four of the last five. "After that the main focus was on defending third position and I wasn't very confident that we could make it to the end, but fortunately we did".

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"It was quite a monumental moment for us as a team".

"Honestly, this feels like a victory. When I saw second on the board I was surprised, with all the issues I've been having".

For Vettel and Ferrari it was another disappointing weekend after the auto showed plenty of pace through all three practice sessions, the German's cause not helped by a questionable strategy and a poor pitstop. Yet in qualifying, Hamilton was almost one second faster than sixth-placed Kimi Raikkonen.

Raikkonen was only fifth, behind the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas.

"The race is a different story and things will not be the same tomorrow but we are, for sure, not happy with how it went today", a despondent Vettel said. "There was too much time missing".

Fernando Alonso ran long on Ultrasofts to emerge in seventh spot and retained the place when he emerged from his pit stop, returning McLaren to the points.

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Hamilton opened a 30-point cushion over Vettel with a surprise win in Monza two weeks ago and while Ferrari are regarded as having a superior vehicle, the Briton set the second-fastest time of the day just 0.011 seconds back in his Mercedes.

Vettel also joked that he wished it was raining so there could be another collision like the one which took out the front three in last year's race.

A unique set of challenges makes the steamy track in the heat and humidity of Singapore's tropical climate the toughest physical test of the season. "I don't want to say it's impossible, but strategy is going to be our best option", Ricciardo said.

Qualifying is split into three sections - Q1, Q2 and Q3 - with five drivers eliminated in the first two leaving 10 fighting for pole.

Hamilton said. "It definitely got a little bit interesting towards the end with some of the backmarkers which was incredibly hard".

Ferrari has all the worrying to do now.

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