Sebastian Vettel heads in qualifying for the Singapore GP as the man to beat after finishing final practice almost four-tenths up on Kimi Raikkonen.
The drivers arrived at the Marina Bay circuit aware of a new directive from Charlie Whiting, policing the track limits at Turn 7.
A newly painted yellow line on the outside of the kerb marked how far the drivers can go before their lap time is deleted.
Pierre Gasly’s session didn’t get off to the best of starts with the Toro Rosso rookie reporting that his “steering is bent, again.” He was quickly back in the pits to sort that out.
Early problems for @PierreGASLY
GAS: "Steering is bad again…"
TORO: "Which direction?"
GAS: "To the right… again"
— Formula 1 (@F1) September 15, 2018
Friday’s pace setter Kimi Raikkonen clocked the first time of the session, a 1:40.012, only to be pipped by Sebastian Vettel. The German went 0.004s faster as Ferrari ran the hypersoft tyres.
With Mercedes heading out on the soft tyres, Ferrari comfortably held down the 1-2 prompting Lewis Hamilton to return to the pits complaining that the yellow tyres were not representative in the heat. He was P16 to Valtteri Bottas’ P4.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen were the last two drivers to set times, waiting up halfway through the session before they left the pits. Ricciardo on the softs went P7, Verstappen was 3rd.
Bolting a new set of hypersoft tyres on his SF71H, Vettel did an extremely slow out-lap before laying down a 1:38.054.
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) September 15, 2018
Raikkonen responded to his team-mate’s time with a 1:38.416, 0.362s off the pace.
Mercedes were the next to venture out with new hypersofts on their W09s.
Hamilton put in a 1:38.738 to go third fastest with Bottas up to fourth. They were, however, half a second off Vettel’s pace.
Using the hypersofts for their final run, Ricciardo went fifth fastest with Ricciardo P6. They were both over a second slower than Vettel.
Verstappen blamed the “product in the back of this car” for his inability to challenge Ferrari and Mercedes.
Romain Grosjean was best of the rest ahead of Esteban Ocon, Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso.
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:38.054
2 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 0.362s
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 0.504s
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 0.549s
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1.132s
6 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1.211s
7 Romain Grosjean Haas 1.693s
8 Esteban Ocon Force India 2.019s
9 Sergio Perez Force India 2.177s
10 Fernando Alonso McLaren 2.2s
11 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 2.396s
12 Kevin Magnussen Haas 2.505s
13 Carlos Sainz Renault 2.537s
14 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 2.632s
15 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 2.744s
16 Charles Leclerc Sauber 2.861s
17 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 3.508s
18 Sergey Sirotkin Williams 3.83s
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 3.899s
20 Lance Stroll Williams 4.166s