Sebastian Vettel failed to carry his practice to potential into qualifying, leaving him on the second row for tomorrow’s Singapore Grand Prix. The world champion was quickest in all three sessions prior to qualifying but bemoaned a lack of grip on the supersoft tyres in Q3, allowing Lewis Hamilton and Pastor Maldonado to beat him.
“It’s hard to say what happened. I was happy until the end of Q2, but then in Q3 we weren’t able to go with the track and improve. In Q3 I couldn’t feel the grip so well and convert it to the lap time. The most important day is tomorrow and we have got pace in the car. We have been competitive this weekend and our target is to have a good race tomorrow; P3 is still a good place to start from.”
Red Bull teammate Mark Webber also suffered for grip in the final part of qualifying and starts two points behind championship leader Fernando Alonso in seventh. The Australian had a tough start to the evening, hitting the wall at turn 18 in final practice, and didn’t feel comfortable later on.
“We expected to be higher than that. It was a tricky session and on every run the car felt a bit different. We didn’t have the rear-grip that we had in the other sessions; normally the super soft tyres give us a certain balance, but it was difficult to chase it in that session. It’s disappointing to be seventh, but it’s a long race tomorrow and we have a chance to get something from it.”
Team Principal Christian Horner feels a problem with the drivers’ out laps contributed to the relative lack of pace in Q3 but expects a better performance in the race itself.
“After being competitive in FP1, 2 and 3, third and seventh is a strong result here, but perhaps not as strong as we would have hoped for. Our rhythm in Q3 seemed to be slightly interrupted, but it’s still close and it’s a long and hot race tomorrow. I’m sure we can race well from third and seventh on the grid.”