Sebastian Vettel’s faint hopes of winning a fourth straight Singapore Grand Prix took a hit in practice when an engine failure forced him to sit out most of the second session on Friday night.
However, the German driver remains upbeat about his chances this weekend, believing that the pace of the RB10 is good around the Marina Bay Street Circuit.
In FP1, Vettel finished fourth behind Fernando Alonso and the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. However, after posting his final time at the end of the session, he was ordered to quickly stop his car and pull over at the end of the pit lane. The team then wheeled his stricken vehicle back to the garage with a suspected engine failure.
For most of the second session – some two hours later – Vettel was left sitting out of his car as the team worked to repair the problem. In the end, it was fixed with just 10 minutes remaining, allowing the four-time world champion to complete five laps and post a lap time good enough for fifth place in the final classification.
“Was today unlucky? I don’t believe in good luck and bad luck,” Vettel said. “I think we did a lot in the last few years that was right and we weren’t just lucky then. This year it’s a bit different and we have had some problems, but that’s part of life.
“We have overcome the troubles that we have had and it’s progressively getting better. In terms of pace it’s looking good this weekend. It was important to get a good feel on the super-soft tire.”
Vettel was quick to thank his team for repairing the car so quickly, replacing the engine – usually a four-hour job – in just three.
“The mechanics were pushing hard and changed the engine in less than three hours after FP1, which is a massive job, so thanks to them that I was able to get out in the second session.”
Vettel will not face a penalty for changing his engine as it was his ‘practice’ unit, and the team would have reverted to another one for tomorrow’s running anyway.