Vettel, Raikkonen downplay Ferrari’s ‘favourite’ tag for S’pore Grand Prix
SINGAPORE — They may be regarded as favourites for Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix (GP) because of their cars’ ability to generate more downforce — a trait which allows them to better navigate the notoriously twisty Marina Bay street circuit — but Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen believe this weekend’s race will not be a straightforward one.
The Italian team, along with Red Bull, are expected to dominate the race in the Republic, with current leaders Mercedes expected to struggle on the low-speed circuit.
It all points to a golden opportunity for Vettel, 30, to take the lead in the drivers’ championship come Sunday. He is currently second in the standweather’s ings on 235 points, just three points behind Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.
However, Vettel, who is the most successful F1 driver at the Singapore GP with four wins, insists it will still be a close fight for the top of the podium, and refused to rule Mercedes out of the running for the chequered flag.
“In theory, our car should be a bit better here ... but I think it’ll still be a close race,” Vettel said during a Ferrari press conference yesterday. “We’ve seen that it’s always very close no matter where we go, even on the tracks that we think suits a particular team.
“So I don’t go with the theory that we are favourites for the race ... I go with what we have, what I’ll feel on the track and how the car performs. It’s important to trust the car, and there’s no reason to believe the car shouldn’t be any good. How good it’ll be, however, we’ll find out (this weekend).”
Agreeing, Raikkonen added that there also were many other variables to consider that could affect the outcome of the race.
“I don’t know whether we’re favourites or not ... it’s not in our minds, and we’ll have the same discussions that we have in every race,” said the 37-yearold. “Even if you say this track favours one team over the other, it doesn’t guarantee anything ... it depends on things like the weather, the safety car, and what happens in the race.”
Both drivers were beaten to the top of the podium by Hamilton at last weekend’s Italian GP in Monza, which is the home race of Ferrari.
Vettel, who finished third in Italy, says he is eager to make amends in Singapore, but claims he feels no added pressure to secure a victory here.
“If you have the chance to win but you don’t, then yes, it’ll be a let-down. But if you don’t have a chance to win, and you don’t, then you don’t feel that bad,” the German explained.
“I think it’s more important to have the lead after the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi. Whatever happens on the way is not as important.
“The target is clear, but we have a lot of races and still have time to get points, and what counts are the results at the end.” NOAH TAN
So I don’t go with the theory that we are favourites for the race ... I go with what we have, what I’ll feel on the track and how the car performs. Sebastian Vettel FerrarI drIver, WHO Has tHe best recOrd IN tHe sINGaPOre GP