Fernando Alonso: “Today’s result isn’t surprising, because from the start of the season, on average we have always started from between sixth and eighth place and then made up ground in the race, which we will try and do again tomorrow. The updates brought to this race have gained us a tenth of a second on our competitors, a result which matches our expectations. Even if the gap to the leader is still significant and the improvement might not be that evident, we cannot say our engineers have not put in the effort, because everyone has done a super job. Expectations for tomorrow are still high, even if in the meantime, our rivals have not wasted their time and along with other teams like Mercedes and Lotus have made a further step forward. Faced with this, we must be realistic and try to make the most of any errors they might make. I think the podium can be within our grasp tomorrow, if we have a perfect race and make the best choices in terms of strategy, tyres and the right number of stops. Here in Singapore, in five years there has always been a safety car and for that reason, here more than anywhere else, luck can make the difference”.
Felipe Massa: “Having struggled so much yesterday and in the third free practice session, today in qualifying, we finally managed to put together a good lap, completely changing the set-up on the car. Certainly the gap to the quickest cars is still big, but today, doing a time that is close to that of the Red Bulls or Mercedes was really difficult, partly because they have not suffered as much as us from a lack of grip and because we find ourselves on a high downforce circuit. I am expecting a difficult race because anything can happen here and tyre degradation is particularly high, even if I hope we have a good race pace and can be competitive. It’s tomorrow’s race that counts and we will do our utmost to improve our position in the Championship. My effort over the next seven races will be the maximum, because I would like to end my time with Ferrari in the best way possible”.
Pat Fry: “Today we managed to improve both cars, finding the right compromise between performance over a single lap and also on a long run. Even if this was not enough to put our drivers on equal terms with those in the top places, we worked well as a team to extract the most from the package we had available to us. There were definitely some external factors that didn’t do us any favours, such as the stop-start nature of the track and the lack of grip that seemed to affect us more than our rivals. Here, only those with the best traction manage to be comfortable when tackling the numerous chicanes and that explains the difference in performance between us and the cars at the front and the size of the gaps compared to those at Monza. Historically in Singapore, there is an almost hundred percent chance of seeing the race neutralised and this year too, we will have to be ready in case the Safety Car comes into play. In some instances this could be a help, in others it can destroy your race and so we need to think about having a flexible strategy. Here, reliability also plays a very important role, because the high temperatures put the cars under a lot of strain, also from a mechanical point of view. Ahead of us we now face one of the most difficult Grands Prix of the year and many variables could affect the outcome: we will try and push to the maximum, making the most of any opportunity”.
Singapore GP – Making progress
Singapore, 21 September – At all other races on the calendar, while the mechanics and engineers work late into the night, they can hear the noise of the crowd having fun, either in the campsites around the track, or just sitting out in the main grandstand, watching the work in the garages. However, here in Singapore, where the local crowd headed off to their beds after yesterday’s night time practice, the paddock was a silent place as the eleven teams got down to the task of preparing the cars for the second day of the Singapore Grand Prix. With or without anyone watching, wherever in the world and whatever the time of day, the sport is all about teamwork, and it’s teamwork that our technical director, Pat Fry credited with producing a marked improvement in the performance of the F138 today, compared to Friday night.
However, all things are relative and clearly having Felipe sixth on the grid and Fernando seventh, is not ideal, especially as the gaps to the quickest were quite big. Therefore, tomorrow’s race on paper will be about trying to pick up as many points as possible, although the stated aim of trying to finish some races ahead of series leader Sebastian Vettel looks like a difficult task, as the Red Bull is on pole position, which is always worth a little bit more than usual on a street circuit where overtaking is very difficult. The technological toys like DRS and KERS are less effective on city streets and overtaking is more likely to feature a driver on fresh tyres passing another on older rubber.
Alongside Vettel is Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes, with Row 2 made up of Romain Grosjean in the Lotus and Mark Webber in the other Red Bull. Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes will be on Felipe’s inside tomorrow, while Fernando Alonso, on the clean side of Row 4 has another world champion for company, Jenson Button eighth in the McLaren.
The Scuderia duo can also hope for a stroke of good luck, as fate has often played a part at this track, where the arrival of the Safety Car is something to take for granted rather than it causing a surprise. We keep saying it, but the Scuderia never gives up and so anything is still possible tomorrow night under the harsh artificial lights of the Marina Bay circuit.
Singapore GP – Sixth and seventh for the Scuderia
Singapore, 21 September – Qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix had the crowds packed into the grandstands holding their breath until the chequered flag at the Marina Bay circuit. Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso ended the spectacular night session in sixth and seventh places respectively, in what was a closely fought contest.
In Q1, Alonso and Massa did a first run on the Medium tyres, doing 3 and 7 laps respectively. Then, both F138s went out on the Supersofts, which produced a notable drop in lap times. Fernando ended up third with a 1.45.115, while Felipe was 13th with a 1.45.658.
In Q2, both men went out first on used Supersofts from the previous session, improving their times. In the final 3 minutes, the two Ferraris were back on track with new Supersofts, with Fernando going sixth fastest in 1.44.153 and Felipe eight in 1.44.376.
Fernando and Felipe did just a single run each in Q3, using the final set of Supersoft tyres, which saw Felipe taking sixth in 1.43.890, ahead of Fernando who did a 1.43.938. Pole went to Sebastian Vettel in the Red Bull with a time of 1.42.841.
Singapore GP – Reliability runs
Singapore, 21 September – Sebastian Vettel was fastest in the third free practice session at the Singapore Grand Prix, this afternoon at the Marina Bay circuit. The German Red Bull driver lapped the spectacular street circuit in 1.44.173, to finish ahead of Romain Grosjean (1.44.364) in the Lotus and Nico Rosberg (1.44.741) in the Mercedes. Best placed Ferrari driver on the time sheet was Fernando Alonso, sixth in 1.45.257, while in the other F138, Felipe Massa was tenth in 1.45.935. Both Ferrari men ran the same programme, which because of the nature of the track and the heat, focussed on mechanical set-up as well as a further evaluation of the Medium and Supersoft compounds brought here by Pirelli.