15 SEPTEMBER 2018
SINGAPORE GP – QUALIFYING
MAX VERSTAPPEN, Position: P2 – 1:36.334 (Practice 3 – P6 1:39.265)
“Today was the best Qualifying session I’ve had in Formula 1. Given the engine driveability issues we faced in Practice and Qualifying I was very surprised to bring it home in P2. My Q3 lap was really good and we made progress with the set-up in every session which meant the car felt great at the end. The main step was finding quite a bit of front grip, this helped a lot come Q2 and Q3. Around here if you feel it was a good lap with few mistakes it usually translates into a front row. Even with the odd false neutral we managed to be on the front row so I’m really happy. If I can take a metre against Lewis at the start, and get in the lead, there is a good chance of a win as it’s a hard track to pass on. You still need luck with Safety Cars but as always I will do my best. I can certainly say I have put myself in a good position to try.”
DANIEL RICCIARDO, Position: P6 – 1:36.996 (Practice 3 – P5 1:39.186)
“It was a strange session and I was surprised that we lost so much pace in Q3. We made some changes between FP3 and Qualifying and initially the car felt pretty sweet. Everything we changed seemed positive and I thought we would get quicker and quicker as the track evolved, but we just lost pace as the session went on. I don’t have any answers as to why that happened yet which is pretty frustrating. I honestly thought we had a really good chance of a front row and in the space of an hour we lost a second to our competitors. Even with two attempts in Q3 we just couldn’t improve. It felt like we did everything right but the lap time doesn’t show it. I know we have good race pace but on a street circuit Qualifying is so important. It was strange and frustrating but hopefully we will find some answers.”
CHRISTIAN HORNER, Team Principal: After looking at the times in FP2 and FP3, for Max to finish on the front row in Qualifying today is a massive achievement. He struggled with driveability issues during all three sessions which the Renault technicians tried hard to resolve. Max was able to drive around the issues in Qualifying and to end up on the front row is a fantastic effort. Daniel looked competitive in Q1 and Q2 but unfortunately the balance seemed to move away from him during the first Q3 run and although they reverted to the initial setting for the final run, sixth was the outcome. We all know he loves street circuits so I’m sure he will be fighting hard to make up ground tomorrow with what we believe is a good race car. The start will be important and we know the Hypersoft has high degradation, so it will be fascinating to see the different strategies that everyone employs in the race.”
Here in Formula 1 we love a challenge, we embrace the brain-busting conundrum, we relish solving the unsolvable and overcoming impossible odds to get things done. Truth be told, though, we probably love trouble a little too much and over the years F1 has developed a unique talent for catastrophising the simplest of tasks – even here in Singapore. Here are our top F1 over-complications…
1. Staying on European Time in Singapore – For some reason we’ve managed to turn this into a prime example of how F1 overcomes an apparently gargantuan challenge and keeps the sport running as the finely tuned, high-tech wonder of the age we all know it to be. In the real world this is also known as working the night shift. You know, like millions of people do every day. Blackout curtains, going to bed at 6am, sleeping until 2pm and eating cereal in the mid-afternoon – seriously, teenagers do this all the time.
2. Strategy – Everybody loves the gambits, stratagems and insanely complex chessboard manoeuvring that goes into a carefully worked out strategy of errr… filling the car up with fuel, making a pit stop when the tyres wear out and driving as fast as you can in the circumstances until the flag falls. How do you know the tyres are worn out? If you can see the canvas, it’s time to call in your driver.
3. Weather – Nowhere else on God’s green earth (with possibly the exception of Britain) is the weather discussed with such obsessive, brow-furrowing concern as in F1. Like a paddock full of flouncing Goldilocks clones, we peer upwards, raise a sucked finger to the breeze and complain that it’s too hot, too cold, too wet, not wet enough, dusty, dry, sandy, humid, foggy, smoggy, cloudy, a little bit overcast. And don’t even get us started on microclimates.
4. Regulation Change – If there’s one thing guaranteed to cause consternation in the F1 paddock it’s rule change. Change the design of a wheel nut and it’s the end of F1 as we know it, extend a reference plane and it’s an unprecedented shift in the status quo… unless you win, then it’s fine.
5. Damage – In a world where victory and defeat are separated by the nanoseconds of time provided by that 0.005-degree realignment of the upper turning vane on the front wing endplate, how is it that when a driver grinds that endplate into carbon dust by repeatedly smashing it into a sausage kerb he actually goes faster?