Credit: Formula1 Ferrari
The first day at Marina Bay is mostly about adapting to the challenges of the 23-corner course, with a first practice session held still in daylight and a second one run after nightfall. Kimi Raikkonen came out as the fastest man – incidentally setting a new unofficial track record, allowing for the fact the circuit has been shortened by 2 metres – at the end of P2, while Seb Vettel was the only driver not to benefit from the clear advantage of the Hypersoft compound. A contact with the barrier out of the last chicane meant that his SF71H had to be driven back to the garage for repairs, which took till the end of the session. However, the car seemed to be quick and the battle is very open for tomorrow.
“Today everything felt OK and things ran pretty smoothly,” said Kimi. “In the first session we checked many things and made some changes; in the second one everything seemed to work . It was a normal Friday, but obviously this track is different to many others and the second session is held in different conditions from the first one. The tires behaved pretty much as we expected. The Hypersoft is the one that provides the best grip for sure, so it is very useful here, at least for the short runs. Obviously they are not going to last as long as the other compounds, but we are aware of that. I tried two different floors; there’s not a night and day difference between them, but we wouldn’t use something if we didn’t think it is better. Now we‘ll keep on doing our job and see what it brings tomorrow. For sure it will be close”.
“After hitting the wall”, said Seb “we took some precautions and decided to stop running. We lost some time, which is not ideal, but nevertheless I got a good feeling with the car. Luckily, I’ve been here before and I know the track so I can make up for lost time. Tomorrow I’ll be keen on finding the right balance to feel the car a little better than I did this evening. Then, I think it should be fine. On the other hand, Kimi’s data is very important too and it’s good to know he had a smooth session. I lost a bit of time today, but it can happen. In the evening we tried something on our car which didn’t work very well, but the car is good and has potential. I believe we can improve and tomorrow it will be better. Also, I think on Sunday tires will be an important factor, so we’ll see”.