Vettel predicts close fight, downplays FP2 error

Image by Sam Bloxham/LAT

Vettel predicts close fight, downplays FP2 error

Formula 1

Vettel predicts close fight, downplays FP2 error

Sebastian Vettel is expecting a three-way battle between Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes at the Singapore Grand Prix but insists his error in FP2 will not prove costly.

On his flying lap on hypersoft tires, Vettel hit the wall on the exit of Turn 21, with both the front and rear wheel on the right hand side of the car making contact. Vettel immediately returned to the pits but didn’t run again, missing out on his race simulation in the only practice session to take place at the same time as qualifying and the race.

Vettel on track during Friday’s night session. (Image by Zak Mauger/LAT)

“Obviously there was a bit more than just a kiss, then we took precautions and decided not to run,” Vettel said. “We lost some time, which is not ideal, but nevertheless I think I’ve got a good feel for the car and thankfully I’ve been here before, so I know the track.

“Tomorrow I think it will be key to find the right balance and feel the car a little bit better than this evening and then we should be fine.

“I think it will be very close. It’s difficult to really read too much into the times. Also when people had traffic and so on it’s difficult to say how much they were struggling with tires or not. I think tires will be key on Sunday,  — Red Bull looked very strong, especially later in the stints.

“It is very close with all the three teams. I think Red Bull is maybe closer, they looked quick. We won’t really know before Sunday but obviously here the qualifying is important so we will see where we are tomorrow.”

Teammate Kimi Raikkonen set the pace in FP2, and with Singapore the 15th round of the season, Vettel says the data gathered by teams about their rivals during the year so far will prove useful when learning what to do in terms of setup changes overnight.

“Obviously it’s good that (Kimi) had a smooth session. And also the other cars. We are so late in the season now that we roughly know what to look at, also from others. So it’s not a big drama if you lose a bit of track time. Obviously it’s not ideal, it’s not what I wanted today, but it’s sometimes like this.”

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