Published: Sun, September 16, 2018
Entertaiment | By Paul Elliott

Vettel rues messy qualifying session before Singapore showdown

Vettel rues messy qualifying session before Singapore showdown

"I think as I tried to explain, for us the qualifying didn't go the way I think we planned it to be", he said. The British driver clinched the title past year, beating second-placed Vettel by 46 points.

"It was a great qualifying", said Verstappen, the youngest driver to win an F1 race when he was 18.

It came out of the blue - he was 1.3secs faster than his own previous best lap of the weekend, and the scale of his achievement became clear as his rivals crossed the line. "I can be very happy with it".

"Honestly, this feels like a victory. When I saw second on the board I was surprised, with all the issues I've been having".

Ferrari looked strong in practice on the sinewy five-kilometre (three-mile) Marina Bay track.

The pace of the Red Bulls meant Bottas was shuffled down to fifth, 0.669s off the pace.

"It was a messy qualifying session and there was too much time missing so we didn't get any better than third", he added.

The Ferrari pairing of Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen had set the pace for most of the weekend, but the German could manage only third place, more than half a second down, and will start alongside Mercedes's Valtteri Bottas, who was fourth fastest.

"I want to say thank you to all the guys back in the United Kingdom who made that happen and we were able to deliver today". However, he crashed heading into the first turn, taking out Verstappen, Raikkonen, and Fernando Alonso with him.

Trailing Hamilton by 30 points, with six races left after Singapore, Vettel needs to win soon to stop Hamilton pulling away again.

After Singapore, there are only six races left, and the German driver can not afford to fall further behind.

Vettel is also seeking a fifth world title and while he remains a huge threat in a very competitive auto, the German was disappointed not to have been able to capitalise on the dominance Ferrari had over their rivals in practice.

Despite the P6 finish in first practice, Hamilton said that the times showed a different story. These are three reasons why Singapore has a well-earned reputation for being the most physically demanding race of the year.

Ferrari may, on the basis of practice, have the most consistent vehicle for the race in terms of pace, but Mercedes and Red Bull are close enough on speed that it will be very tough for Vettel to get by.

Hamilton had a scare in Q1 when he struggled on slower tires and was only 14th fastest - only just scraping into Q2. On my final run I tried to push a bit more, and I was two tenths up when I arrived to Turns 16 and 17 and then when I tried to short shift, the engine just cut out.

Ferrari has all the worrying to do now.

"I just have to say a big thank you to all the team back at base in Brackley and Brixworth, who have worked so hard to understand our problems at this circuit and to improve on our weaknesses", said Wolff.

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