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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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Foto © 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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Foto © www.motorsportpics.de | Jerry Andre

19 | 09 | 2019 GP Singapur Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc arrived in Singapore determined to do well, even if, on paper, the Marina Bay circuit is not best suited to the characteristics of the SF90. As usual in this city near the equator, the timetable is unusual and one change is that today’s technical briefings and press meetings take place before the track walk, as the drivers like to tackle that at night, in the same conditions and temperatures that they will encounter in qualifying and the race.

With the media. Sebastian was first up to face the press and he had clearly already put behind him the lacklustre race in Monza. “A driver experiences some positive and negative moments in his career. Obviously, the Italian weekend was not one of the best for me, but that’s in the past now. The Singapore track is one I like a lot and I’ve won here more than once. This is always a special weekend and a very interesting one for us drivers,” said the German. “On paper, we are not favourites, especially because this track requires a high level of aero downforce. Fortunately, we don’t race on paper, we race on a track surface between the barriers, so just about anything can happen.” Seb went on to explain what preparation is required for the hardest race of the year from a physical point of view. “We try to arrive here as late as possible. I actually got here yesterday, because, given the times we are on track, the secret is to stay on European time. So your body gets a bit confused and for us it’s like being at home, apart from the very hot conditions and the high level of humidity.”

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Foto © www.motorsportpics.de | Jerry Andre

07 | 09 | 2019 GP Italien / GP ItalyIt was a complicated Friday at the Italian Grand Prix for all the teams, as it was a case of keeping an eye on the weather to get as much dry running as possible to prepare for tomorrow’s qualifying, when it is expected to be dry. However, the forecast for the race is less clear and could be changeable. Scuderia Ferrari dodged the rain that fell today, on its way to setting the first and third fastest times of the day with Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel respectively. The times look very close between the teams and qualifying could throw up some surprises.

FP1. The first session began in the wet, with Charles and Sebastian running full wet tyres for their installation laps, before switching to intermediates. There were three red flags when cars went off track which limited the amount of damp track running. Towards the end, it was dry enough for slicks and Charles and Sebastian took to the track to set their best times. The Monegasque did 20 laps, the best being a 1’27”905 whle Sebastian posted a 1’30”507.

FP2. In the second 90 minute session, everyone was on slicks, allowing all drivers to use dry weather tyres and so Charles and Sebastian were able to evaluate all the compounds available, fine tuning the settings and getting to grips with the heavy braking requirements of the Monza track. They worked on preparing for the race and qualifying, which is when they did their best laps. Charles posted a 1’20”978. He was the only driver to get under the 1m 21s barrier, while Sebastian was third quickest with a 1’21”179. The later part of the session was given over to long runs and by the end, Leclerc had completed 37 laps and Sebastian 39.

Saturday. Tomorrow sees the final free practice session get underway at noon CET, followed by qualifying at 15.00. The Italian Grand Prix starts at 15.10 on Sunday.

Sebastian Vettel #5
“The day was ok, but we can still get more out of the car. FP1 was a bit of a scrappy session, with all the teams heading out as soon as the light went green after each red flag. We didn’t have the usual rhythm of a Friday, but the main thing is that we got some decent laps in and we know where our weaknesses are and what to focus on.
For qualifying, we have to see what the conditions will be like, how careful we might need to be on the out lap, and how the tyres will work. Then we will take it from there. It is nice if you get a tow around here, and the priority is to get one perfect lap.
Ahead of the race, you just want to improve the car and make it faster overall, because you need a car that allows you to have a good performance while also saving the tyres. We have some work to do, and I know that I can find more for tomorrow.”

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Foto © www.motorsportpics.de | Jerry Andre

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GP Mexiko / Mexiko-Stadt
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