All Messages 2019

22 | 09 | 2019 GP Singapur / GP Singapore Scuderia Ferrari dominated the 12th edition of the Singapore Grand Prix with Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc finishing first and second. The result was down to a perfect strategy that led to the team’s 84th one-two finish in Formula 1. The key moments were the pit stops, with Seb’s on lap 19 and Charles’ on 20. From a situation where the team was running first and third, after all the major players had pitted, the two SF90s headed the field, although now with Sebastian ahead of Charles, who had started from pole and had led the early stages of the race.

Start. The start went well, with Charles maintaining his advantage over Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian. All the way to Turn 7, the German tried to get past the English Mercedes driver but had to give best in the end. Once the race settled down, Leclerc did not push too hard, so as to save the tyres as much as possible to fit the requirement for a one-stop strategy. On lap 19, the traffic situation looked good enough to go for the pit stops. The team therefore decided to bring in Sebastian first, as he was under threat of an undercut from Max Verstappen, who was less than a second behind. The stop was perfect and after it, Vettel had a clear track ahead of him, which meant he could push to the maximum, making ground on the rest of the field to the extent that, when Charles stopped one lap later, he found himself behind Sebastian.

Safety Car Periods. On lap 35, the Safety Car came out following the incident between George Russell and Romain Grosjean, when Vettel had around a 5 second lead over Charles, who was followed by Verstappen, Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. There were two more Safety Car periods, one when Sergio Perez stopped on track and another when Kimi Raikkonen had to do the same. The slower laps allowed the Ferraris to save their tyres so that they were able to comfortably make it to the finish, with the chequered flag being waved almost on the regulation two hour mark.

Statistics. This was Scuderia Ferrari’s third consecutive win, the first time that’s happened since 2008 when there were actually four in a row, in Malaysia, Bahrain, Spain and Turkey. Sebastian returned to the top step of the podium after an absence of over a year, dating back to Belgium 2018. It was his fifth win in Singapore, which is a record for any driver at the Marina Bay track. His 14th win with the Scuderia also puts him third in the list of all-time Ferrari winners between Michael Schumacher on 72 and Niki Lauda on 15. It is his 53rd win and the Scuderia’s 238th. The next round, the 16th of the season, is next weekend in Russia, at the Sochi Autodrom.

Sebastian Vettel #5
“After yesterday, when I wasn’t able to get everything out of the car, I am pleased with the way everything went today. It was about time! The last few weeks have been far from simple for me, but in the end, I knew I could turn things around. I never stopped believing in myself and today, with the great help of the team here and in Maranello, we got the result we should always be aiming for.
I was playing a waiting game until I got the call on the radio to pit for new tyres. I had not expected to stay out so long but the decision was key, because I was able to rejoin with a clear track ahead of me and I could run at my own pace making up ground on all the others, to the extent that I was in the lead by almost five seconds at the time the Safety Car came out. From then on, the race was continually interrupted, with a further two restarts, but I still managed to maintain concentration and avoid making any mistakes.
It’s too early to say if this win means we can be competitive on all the coming tracks. Here, whoever is in front sets the pace, almost like in Monaco and on used tyres, Hamilton seemed stronger than us, which means we still have work to do when it comes to our race pace. Certainly the upgrades we brought here worked well and made us competitive, which means we are working in the right direction.”

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Photo © www.motorsportpics.de | Jerry Andre

21 | 09 | 2019 GP Singapur / GP Singapore Tonight we witnessed two fantastic laps from a couple of drivers on top of their game, getting the most out of the SF90, which itself seemed to have improved even on high downforce tracks like this one. Charles Leclerc took his fifth pole position of the season and of his Formula 1 career, while Sebastian Vettel will line up third on the grid, beaten to second place by just 29 thousandths by Lewis Hamilton.

Q1. Having gone well in the final free practice session, Charles and Sebastian ran Soft tyres throughout qualifying. On his first run, the Monegasque did a 1’38”014 which got him safely through to Q2, while Sebastian got caught in traffic on his way to a 1’38”939. Both drivers did a second flying lap. Charles did not improve but Sebastian got through to the next session with a 1’38”374.

Q2. Leclerc immediately posted an excellent 1’36”930 while Vettel stopped the clocks in 1’37”305. They went out again and got down to 1’36”650 and 1’36”720 respectively to comfortably make it to the final 12 minutes to decide the top ten places on the grid.

Q3. Seb and Charles went out on new Softs to fight for pole. The German got a really good first lap in 1’36”437, which was the target for the rest to aim for, even though he “kissed” the wall with left rear wheel, but with no damage to the car. Leclerc encountered traffic but still posted a 1’36”791. In the final minutes, both SF90s went back out on track: Sebastian was unable to improve, but Charles produced an amazing lap in 1’36”217, which not even Lewis Hamilton could match, although the Englishman did manage to lap a whisker faster than Vettel.

Sebastian Vettel #5
“I’m not completely satisfied with my Q3, as I wasn’t able to improve on my second attempt. I made a mistake in sector 1 and I realised I was not improving, so I decided to abort the lap. It started off very well, but I wasn’t able to put together the lap I potentially had. Overall, first and third is great for the team and even if I cannot be entirely happy we can say that we were able to extract the most from today.
The new parts we have on the car worked as expected this weekend, since we are not losing out in the corners to the extent that we were in in Hungary, a track quite similar to this. We were able to extract more performance and also, in terms of race pace, I think we can be competitive.
Yesterday we suffered with a lack of front grip, but tonight as the temperature dropped, it was better for us, the balance also improved from yesterday to today. The race will be really long but I think we could have some opportunities.”

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Photo © www.motorsportpics.de | Jerry Andre

20 | 09 | 2019 GP Singapur / GP Singapore  As usual, the Friday of the Singapore Grand Prix proved particularly demanding for the drivers and crew working in the paddock. It was a very long day, with the usual suffocating humidity, typical of the tropics being a factor until sunset, with the second free practice session ending at 10.00 pm. Sebastian Vettel ended the day third fastest while Charles Leclerc was sixth. The two sessions were very busy as, on top of their usual tasks, the mechanics had to change the gearbox on Charles’ car in between the sessions.

FP1. Between them the two SF90s racked up 35 laps. Seb and Charles began on the hardest compound tyre posting times of 1’44”479 and 1’43”618 respectively. After their first runs, new parts introduced for this race were fitted and evaluated. Sebastian went out on the softs, setting a 1’40”426, second fastest time of the session, while Charles had to pit with the aforementioned gearbox problem after just 12 laps. Sebastian did 23. With the gearbox changed in between sessions, the team was able to investigate the cause of the malfunction.

FP2. As usual, the lap times came down in the second session and Sebastian and Charles got through their planned programme. They each did 31 laps to end up third and sixth. The German’s best lap was a 1’39”591, while the Monegasque did a 1’40”018. In the second part of the session the drivers worked on race simulation, trying the various tyre compounds and different fuel loads.

Programme. The final hour of free practice takes place tomorrow evening at 18.00 local (12.00 CET) with qualifying getting underway at 21.00 (15.00 CET.) The twelfth Singapore Grand Prix begins at 20.10 (14.10 CET.)

Sebastian Vettel #5
“Hungary is the reference circuit for this track but today is maybe not the right day to compare and tomorrow will be a lot more straightforward. It was not the smoothest of Fridays for us and I think there’s still a margin for improvement on the car. However our rivals look very fast, certainly faster than us.
The soft is the tyre we don’t use so much, it has greater grip but doesn’t last so long. Today was not that bad and the medium tyre was not much better. However, tomorrow we focus on the softs and when it comes to the race, as usual here, we will all be trying to survive on just one stop and manage the race.
As I said we can still improve, because the car is not yet doing exactly what I want, and in terms of balance we know where we can find some lap time. All the new parts that we brought seem to work, so let’s see how close we can get tomorrow.”

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Photo © www.motorsportpics.de | Jerry Andre

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