Scuderia Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel says the team took a “precaution” in ending the German’s Friday practice for the Singapore Grand Prix, after he hit the Turn 21 exit wall in the afternoon session.
Vettel was on a qualifying simulation run around the 23-turn Marina Bay street circuit and was matching the benchmark time set by team-mate Kimi Räikkönen in the first two sectors of the lap.
Exiting the left-hander of Turn 21, Vettel, as is de rigour, ran wide to maximise lap-time, but hit the wall with the rear-right wheel, immediately abandoning the lap and returning to the pitlane.
The only visible sign of damage was scuffed Pirelli markings on the tyre, but the SF71-H soon began leaking coolant from a damaged radiator.
Ferrari then took the decision to withdraw Vettel’s car from the remainder of the session, thus not allowing the four-time world champion the chance to complete a high-fuel race pace simulation run.
However, Vettel does not the believe the minor incident will have large ramifications on the rest of the weekend.
“After hitting the wall, we took some precautions and decided to stop running,” he explained.
“We lost some time, which is not ideal, but nevertheless I got a good feeling with the car. Luckily, I’ve been here before and I know the track so I can make up for lost time.
“Tomorrow I’ll be keen on finding the right balance to feel the car a little better than I did this evening. Then, I think it should be fine.”
Räikkönen puts the work in
In the opening practice session, run in unrepresentative conditions, Vettel headed a Ferrari three/four, lapping the circuit in 1m:39.997s, just under three-tenths slower than pacesetter Daniel Ricciardo.
In the second session, it was Räikkönen who topped the timing sheets, with his 1m:38.699s being 0.011s quicker than championship leader Lewis Hamilton.
After the Finn had set his time during his qualifying simulation, he was tasked with completing Ferrari’s race pace simulations, owing to Vettel’s car sitting in the garage on the jacks.
“Kimi’s date is very important and it’s good to know he had a smooth session,” said Vettel.
“I lost a bit of time today, but it can happen. In the evening we tried something on our car which didn’t work very well, but the car is good and has potential.
“I believe we can improve and tomorrow it will be better. Also, I think on Sunday tyres will be an important factor, so we’ll see.”