A phenomenal lap saw Sebastian Vettel storm to a fourth career pole in Singapore, seeing off the two Red Bulls with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas down on the third row.
Sebastian Vettel: “Yesterday I wasn’t smiling, today I am. When you belong to a team, you need to believe in each other and this is the perfect proof. Our Friday was messy, but our team has worked all night long and I am grateful for that. Here the guys worked all night and got to sleep around breakfast time, I believe. Meanwhile, back at the factory, Charles Leclerc worked at the simulator and other people analysed the data. Yesterday it seemed that we were not competitive enough and a lot of answers were missing. At the beginning of qualifying I was just thinking about doing my job. Then in Q3 I attacked, and I am very happy it worked. For us it’s important to turn up the day. If it’s a bad day, we want to change it making it a good one because we always try to have good days. I think yesterday was very important for us because we learnt from it. It was a hard lesson but we improved our understanding of the car and the track evolution came to us. Now we probably have a better idea what the car needs. There are always lessons that need to be learnt and I am quite happy that we had a bad day yesterday. We are happy we got the pole today because it always helps. But the race is tomorrow, so we’ll see what happens."
Kimi Raikkonen: "It has been difficult since yesterday and even today it was not easy. The whole track felt very tricky to drive, it was hard to be quick and put the car where we wanted; in some sectors we were more competitive than in others. In qualifying it was a bit better compared to yesterday and this afternoon’s P3 practice, but I was still far from feeling comfortable to push. I was still fighting trying to do a good lap and it was easy to make mistakes and lose lap time. To finish fourth is not ideal but I’ll take it considering all the struggles that we have had so far ; it could easily have been worse. At least we gave ourselves a chance for tomorrow and hopefully with a bit of luck we can gain some positions. We’ll tackle it as a new day. Lately our starts have been quite decent, so we’ll try to make good progress and see where we end up."
Max Verstappen: "All weekend has been a good build up, getting faster and faster and finding a smooth rhythm so to come away with second is a really good result. I took a little bit of risk to put down a good lap as we had predicted the others would improve from yesterday and this morning's sessions. Perhaps there was a bit of time in the last sector to find but in general I am very pleased with how the car and I performed. That was the best balance in terms of set-up I have had with the car in Qualifying all year and that is a big positive. My quickest time was more or less the maximum I could do, Sebastian just had an even better lap. Race pace is good so we have a chance tomorrow but it looks like Ferrari have found quite a lot. The start will be important and maybe if there are a couple of safety cars that could impact the result too."
Daniel Ricciardo: "I really thought I could get on pole position today so I'm a bit disappointed to be honest. Seb's last lap was strong and we couldn't run with that. That pace was good for us in Q3 and it seems like he did most of his time in the first sector. I didn't really know what else we could do. If we get the start right tomorrow then we can put some pressure on him through our strategy.I still believe we have a good chance to win this race. I do enjoy a street circuit and the challenges that come with it, brushing up against the walls and all that. I feel I can do this lap after lap for two hours tomorrow and still hold my concentration. I really want this one so hopefully that hunger prevails tomorrow."
Lewis Hamilton: "Every year it has been relatively difficult for us in Singapore – so we knew it would be tricky.I thought Red Bull would be as quick as they were, but I didn’t anticipate Ferrari to be that strong. I gave it everything today but I could not get any more out of the car, I squeezed it until it was dry. Sebastian has Verstappen next to him, so anything can happen at the start."
Valtteri Bottas: "So far, it’s been a difficult weekend for us. We’re clearly third quickest around here, that’s just not enough. Today highlights that we still have issues producing enough downforce and mechanical grip on a track like this. We know our pace alone isn’t enough to score a podium, so we need a clean race, a good strategy and bit of luck."