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Vettel and Red Bull leave rivals groping in the dark in Singapore practice
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Posted By: Matt Meadows  |  20 Sep 2013   |  5:18 pm GMT  |  97 comments

In F1′s spectacular night race setting, Sebastian Vettel’s rivals were left groping in the dark today after Free Practice.

Although Lewis Hamilton topped the times in FP1, Vettel quickly announced himself as the man to beat at this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix, as he comfortably topped the times during Free Practice on another dominant day for Red Bull.

Although Singapore is a high downforce street circuit, the polar opposite to the last race at Monza, the pattern was the same; the Red Bull pair of Vettel and Mark Webber were out of reach of the rest of the field, in both single lap pace and race simulation runs.

“Things went pretty smoothly, said Vettel. “We really made a step forward. The car felt really good – and if you have confidence in your machine you can take it closer to the walls. Both tyre compounds worked, so I am looking forward to qualifying.

“I think Mercedes is very strong, so we have to watch out for them.”

Webber had set the initial pace during the early medium tyre runs and would have hoped to been closer to his young team-mate come the end of the session. But Vettel found over two seconds when using a set of super-softs, putting himself to the top of the standings and waiting for Webber to show his hand.

Webber could not utilise the grip of the softer tyres as well as Vettel and ended the session 6/10ths of a second adrift. This was in part due to a light collision with the wall as he neared the end of the lap, showering sparks as his right rear wheel hit the wall.

The duo went on to show consistent lap times on both compounds and put themselves as the benchmark of pace this weekend.

Red Bull’s nearest challengers this week – at least in qualifying – look set to be Mercedes. They have shown good pace around twisty circuits, such as Monaco, Budapest and the final sector at Barcelona, and will feel this weekend is a good opportunity to regain second place in the Constructors’ Championship off Ferrari.

Mercedes look to be the second fastest car with Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton taking third and fourth places. They often find a lot of pace from Friday to Saturday and today’s pace bodes well for qualifying.

Their race pace was down on that of the Red Bull and Lotus cars, who have greater consistency over the length of a stint. Webber managed 14 laps on a set of supersoft tyres on top of the initial quick lap, in and out laps.

Romain Grosjean was the first of the Lotus cars, in fifth place, with Kimi Raikkonen in eighth. They were both a second slower than Vettel, but within touching distance of the Mercedes pair.

Grosjean suffered technical issues during the FP1 session, causing him to take to the track late and end his session early with hydraulic issues.

Ferrari, meanwhile, had a less encouraging session with Fernando Alonso taking sixth place and Felipe Massa in 15th.

McLaren have seen a clear divide between themselves and Force India in recent races as they battle for fifth place in the Constructors’ Championship and today was another positive one for the Woking squad. They ended the day with Jenson Button in seventh and Sergio Perez in tenth place.

The circuit evolution from Free Practice One to Free Practice Two saw a lowering in lap times by almost three seconds. And we can expect to see times drop to 101-102 seconds by the time we have a pole-sitter.

The track was around three seconds faster than 2012 due to the abolition of the chicane at Turn 10, “The circuit is much improved here without the chicane and Turn 10 feels like a much nicer corner now,” said Hamilton.

SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX, Singapore, Free Practice

1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m 44.249s
2. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m 44.853s
3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m 45.258s
4. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m 45.368s
5. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m 45.411s
6. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m 45.691s
7. Jenson Button McLaren 1m 45.754s
8. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1m 45.778s
9. Adrian Sutil Force India 1m 46.002s
10. Sergio Perez McLaren 1m 46.025s
11. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m 46.406s
12. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m 46.429s
13. Paul di Resta Force India 1m 46.606s
14. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 1m 46.808s
15. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m 46.870s
16. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1m 47.287s
17. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m 47.434s
18. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m 47.761s
19. Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1m 49.434s
20. Charles Pic Caterham 1m 49.526s
21. Max Chilton Marussia 1m 49.619s
22. Jules Bianchi Marussia 1m 49.731s

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97 Comments
  1. 180110 says:

    May as well wrap up everything and give it to Vettel after Singapore and bring the winter tests forward by about a month.

    ps and unrelated: Whitmarsh needed Raikkonen at this moment in time with all the changes. Took things lightly.

    1. Richardd says:

      Don’t forget that he(Whitmarsh) did it with Hamilton last year and lost him and I believe now regretting it

    2. dean cassady says:

      Don’t be forlorn, for while the top of the championship standings seems in little doubt, there are fascinating pre-2014 battles warming, and we could see some burning this weekend, as the Kimi-Alonso rivalry begins, now!
      Also, the interesting release of the held-under teammates: it will likely be interesting to see the changes in intra-team dynamics at both Red Bull, and Ferrari; in fact, there are other rivalries, like, who’s staying at McLaren? Di Resta really needs to get back on stride, regardless of ForceI’sissues, if he wants to make the needed move up the constructor ladder, and Sutil is fighting for his F1 life, for a continued ride!
      All over the place.
      Now that the driver’s championship is more or less over, it will release a less inhibited competition.
      We’ll see.

  2. Anil says:

    That car.

    It’s literally on another level. What a piece of engineering!

    1. unF1nnished business says:

      It is as of recently.

    2. Sebee says:

      That Vettel.

      Literally on another level. :-)

      It’s a package!

      1. KRB says:

        Did Vettel gain a half-second on everyone solely thru learning some new driving techniques over the summer break? Vettel/RBR was fast enough before the summer break; but it’s RBR that has added the ‘ridiculously’ qualifier to that, since then.

        I seriously hope that all teams other than RBR stopped development on the current car, and went to 2014, over the summer break. ‘Cos if not, it reflects VERY badly on them.

        Did Perez forget how to drive since last year? Of course not. Makes you wonder just how good that 2012 Sauber was eh?!?

      2. justafan says:

        This is only friday mate, where cars race with different fuel levels. Come Saturday and Mercedes might lock out the front row.

      3. Tealeaf says:

        Actually yeah Vettel in quali with 1 run still over 3 tenths over Webber, with track evolution and a average middle sector there was at least another half a second making Vettel being easily the fastest, its the car? Webber 4th??? Rosberg absolutely smashing Hamilton? Get your facts straight.

      4. KRB says:

        TL, huh? I just said that the Vettel/RBR combo is faster now than they were before the summer break, and that gain is all down to RBR.

        Forget Webber, his mind’s not in it, he’s already thinking about next year. He’s never been stellar around Marina Bay to boot.

        On HAM-ROS, you’re right, Hamilton should be beating Nico here.

    3. Equin0x says:

      Sigh another comment trying to discredit Vettel, just admit it Seb is making the difference, Webber couldn’t beat the Mercedes at Spa, also Webber couldn’t beat Alonso at Monza, also apart from Malaysia which race would Webber have won this season if Seb wasn’t on the grid? Thr car’s overrated, don’t be surprised for Mark to be beaten by another car this race too.

      1. Simon Donald says:

        Vettel does make a difference between 0.5-0.6s a lap over Webber but that car IS also a massive difference. There has been a massive decline in Webber this season, he is clearly over it after Malaysia. I don’t think he has been on it consistently over a race weekend since then. All credit to Red Bull and Adrian Newey. They have built (another) fabulous car in which a talented driver like Vettel can make a difference also.

      2. Erik says:

        Actually I think it’s a bit of both. Vettel is good, no doubt, but the Red Bull car IS that good. Webber is not the driver he was in 2010, lacking motivation as he recently admitted, so he’s making Vettel look extra good. Don’t underestimate Adrian Newry’s work, I believe our little German friend would have less championships in his pocket if Newey hadn’t consistently given him an unfair advantage compared to the other cars in the last few years. Personally I believe if the other teams were asked to choose between Vettel or Newey to join their team, the man they would pick is the Brit, not ze jermann..

      3. justafan says:

        I think you are a bit unfair to Vettel. Remember Raikkonen drove those Newey machines for 5 years, never winning a title. Then he won in his first year not driving a Newey car.

      4. KRB says:

        They don’t pay Newey 10m just to look good, that’s for sure. No other designer/engineer in the paddock is even close to that money.

      5. Spinodontosaurus says:

        The car has been the best on the grid the past two races…
        But not to the extent that a superior driver is unable to beat a lesser one that is driving it (i.e. your Mercedes and Ferrari examples).

      6. Wade Parmino says:

        Vettel is good no doubt, better than Webber. But the car is built specifically for Vettel down to fine details (not to mention the team support, both practically and morally) and it makes him look as if he is A LOT better than he actually is. Webber struggles a bit with the car; the only Red Bull MW has been fully comfortable with is the 2010 car.

        If Vettel spends an entire career at Red Bull, his legacy will be impressive but always shadowed with the car being the decisive factor. If he goes to a different team and performs mediocre it will also imply this. Consistent wins in different cars is what is needed to show undoubted greatness, like Prost.

      7. Tomas says:

        No doubt Vettel is a superior driver to Webber (and nearly everyone else), but to say they get the same treatment and environment at RB is not true. I really wanted to see VET and RAI together next year it’s such a shame it didn’t happen. I feel like until he proves himself against another driver in a different car he won’t really get the appreciation he (perhaps) deserves.

      8. justafan says:

        Actually RBR even issued pro-Webber team orders in the past.

      9. Anil Parmar says:

        It wasn’t an attempt to discredit Seb, he just gets the most out of the car.

        I’ve lived in Milton Keynes all my life so quite proud we’ve produced such a dominant car!

    4. Wade Parmino says:

      Probably Newey’s 2nd best work. His best and probably the best Formula 1 car ever made was the 92/93 Williams. Although much of it’s performance came through mechanical grip rather than aero so maybe the Red Bull is his best. The technology used back then was what F1 is all about.

    5. Elie says:

      Yep – Retiring Webber is touching distance – so anyone doubting the car can go play with themselves

    6. Harshad says:

      Its the driver! yeah, the car is quick but Vettel makes it look quicker than it actually is.

      In FP1, Hamilton was on top of the tree by 4 tenths and Webber/Vettel was down in P2/P3.

      In FP2, obviously everybody improved but Webber still had the edge over Vettel (on Medium tyres) by 3 tenths. But on SuperSofts, Webber was told an improvement of 1.5 secs was expected on their best time on mediums (in that session), however, Vettel improved in own lap time by 2.2 secs!!!

      It’s clearly Vettel who makes the car look faster than it actually is, scoring lap times even which RBR don’t seem to expect!

      1. Anil Parmar says:

        You can’t out perform the car.

      2. Harshad says:

        I never meant that in the first place!
        Difference of 6 tenths between two team mates is telling! especially where Webber was faster than Vettel on Medium tyres.

        I’m just saying that Vettel is scoring Lap times that even the team doesn’t expect.

      3. justafan says:

        Only Hamilton can do that.

  3. Dale says:

    If Vettel gets pole and scampers away it’ll be another boring race.
    F1 is no fun when one car is way better than the others unless those cars are piloted by the best drivers as in the McLaren days of Senna and Prost.
    No matter how good or fast Hamilton or Alonso are when a car is so much faster even they can do nothing.
    I hope Mercedes and Lotus and or Ferrari find something this evening though I fear not.

    1. Cos says:

      I agree it does get boring when one driver runs away with the title so easily as SV does …I remember MS and how boring it was to watch him at Ferrari after his third victory…that said, it’s not SVs fault if his engineers give him a car this good…lets face it the other teams aren’t exactly poor or lack F1 experience…they need to pull their fingers out and improve. Whether the changes next year have any bearing on RB being brought to heel remains to be seen….especially with Honda re-entering the forray in a few years.

    2. Equin0x says:

      So you’re saying Vettel’s nowhere near the best driver yeah? In actual fact Vettel is the best driver thats why the enhlish speaking fans/media use these excuses to put him down.

      1. alexdhq says:

        I think he meant two best drivers in the same best car hence the reference to Senna and Prost

      2. Grant H says:

        Vet is one of the best, no doubt

        I think what some of the other comments are suggesting is put alonso / lewis / vet or kimi in the red bull and they are gonna win the title

        The one thing with vet though …. He has never had to drive a dodgy car like the others

      3. Rockie says:

        What is your argument based on? I think a lot of what you have said is myopic and borderline naive.

        “I think what some of the other comments are suggesting is put alonso / lewis / vet or kimi in the red bull and they are gonna win the title”

        Like he won it when at Mclaren at Alonso with the best car.

        Or Hamilton who almost lost the 08 title.

        I am guessing the Toro Rosso does not count as a midfield car as Vettel won with it?

      4. Grant H says:

        Rockie, alonso did not win with macca cos he shared the points with Lewis – macca made a strategy error even ron has come out on that
        Im sorry but that RB has been a car a class above the rest for 4 years and vets win with toro rosso does not count as it was monza, im not saying he is not one of the best- he is, but all of the other champs have dragged underperforming cars up the grid, lets wait and see how he does then

  4. Dave Deacon says:

    They need to make another category for Newey and let the other, mere mortals, have a decent race. I hate F1 when things get so completely one-sided. Anyone who imagines Vettel is the cause is a fool. Most any driver on the grid would do the same and some much better given the same car – to his credit, he knows it.

    There needs to be some sort of balancing with cars. They strive to make them all the same weight. Why not all the same top speed – maybe add weights after some test? We’d have better racing if they did.

    1. Dave Deacon says:

      Meant performance not ‘top speed’.

      1. woodframer says:

        There are plenty pro and am series with weight penalties, or hp/weight basis. I, for one, enjoy watching a talented driver in the best engineered car dominate the field. RBR/ VET has established the bar, it’s up to the competitors to raise their own game to compete, or settle for also-ran.

    2. David C says:

      Any driver except mark webber obviously. If you suspect that it has nothing to do with seb I would suggest that you in fact are saying something foolish and as such are a …..

      1. Equin0x says:

        All the english speaking ‘fans’ know deep down Vettel is the best on the grid all this talk about the car is nothing but jealousy and the fact they can’t handle the truth.

      2. Simon Donald says:

        He is definitely one of the top drivers in F1 at the moment, but if you had put Alonso, Hamilton or Raikkonen in that car, the results would be exactly the same. Like Michael Schumacher, he is a driver at the top of his game WITH a car designed by an engineering team at the top of its.

      3. Grant H says:

        Chip on the shoulder?

      4. KRB says:

        Channeling Nicholson there at the end, surely.

        Grant H, what’s two steps up from a chip? ‘Cos that’s what we’re talking about in this case.

    3. tim says:

      Then it really wouldn’t be Formula 1 anymore. RBR isn’t practicing some kind of dart art. Other teams need to step up their game.

    4. Juzh says:

      now that’s just desperate.

    5. SteveS says:

      “Most any driver on the grid would do the same and some much better given the same car”

      Any drivers other than Mark Webber and Kimi Raikkonen, obviously, both of whom have driven the creations of the great god Newey without any success. Anyone who imagines Newey is the cause of Vettels success is a fool.

      1. Anil Parmar says:

        Actually kimi had a lot of success with Newey, almost winning titles in 2003 and 2005. Webber is clearly past it and is less adaptable than seb.

        Can you please stop defending your hero Sebastian for a few days? It’s incredibly tiresome and ruining what is generally a great discussion board.

      2. SteveS says:

        Could you please stop repeating the same tired and often discredited anti-Vettel cliches on every thread? It’s incredibly tiresome and ruining what is generally a great discussion board.

      3. Tealeaf says:

        Actually its getting tiresome with this blatant sarcastic praising of Newey and the car please change the record also Webber is not passed it and h is actually 1 of the fastest driver on the grid, putting the jaguar on the front row, beating Hamilton in quali at silverstone 2008 with that uncompetitive Redbull back then and also completely trashing every team mate including Rosberg, Heidfeld, and Coulthard the problem is he got Seb as a team mate easily the best all rounder on the grid, but I fear Ricciardo is a younger version of Webber, super quick but lacking in racecraft maybe he can develop and beat Seb but I wouldn’t hold my breath, Webber’s trying to tarnish Seb out of bitterness but without Seb RBR would have struggled to win any of the WDC in the last 4 years, even Alonso will run away from being in the same team as Vettel, as goes for Hamilton? Well Seb passing him in Brazil 2008 and couldn’t be caught again whilst in a Torro Rosso has damaged Lewis, unfortunate because I think he’s the only 1 on the grid that has Seb’s pace and consistency over a race distant.

      4. Tomas says:

        Agreed! The guy is such a pain.

      5. F1ista says:

        Agreed. I read the comments section quite frequently and Steve S’ Vettel-centric comments, and hounding of those who are critical of Vettel, is tiresome and unpleasant.

        It’s also to the detriment of the comments section in general, as this is (was!?) one of the few websites where “fanboyism” hitherto wasn’t much of a problem.

      6. Nick says:

        That’s a quite brilliant analysis of my comment by you. Care to point out where I said that “Newey is a deity whom no mere mortal can compete with”.

      7. Nick says:

        Kimi Raikkonen ?
        Someone is using Wikipedia far too much.
        He was denied titles in 2003 & 2005 due to reliability in the same Newey cars and the same reliability issues almost cost Vettel the title in 2010.
        And where were Raikkonen’s teammates in ’03 and ’05 ?….yeah thought so.

      8. SteveS says:

        So Newey cars are unreliable and almost cost Vettel the 2010 (and 2012) titles, and did cost Raikonen the title in 2003 and 2005, but at the same time Newey is a deity whom no mere mortal can compete with? Whatever.

      9. Spinodontosaurus says:

        >”Kimi Raikkonen? He was denied titles in 2003 & 2005 due to reliability in the same Newey cars and the same reliability issues almost cost Vettel the title in 2010.”
        Exactly. All you have really done here is prove his point.

        >”And where were Raikkonen’s teammates in ’03 and ’05?”
        The same can and very much should be said of Webber. Even then, Montoya was more or less a match for Kimi from mid-season in 2005, after he had properly settled in, despite a ‘tennis’ injury.

      10. NickH says:

        Spot on. I think there are loads of ‘fans’ on this site that never even watched f1 before Hamilton came in. Raikkonen would have walked the championship in 2005 if his Merc v10 hadn’t blown up every other race. Alonso won that championship on default by just having a reliable car

      11. Tealeaf says:

        Yeah even all the rookie mistakes, reliability problems and a team mate always the benefit of Seb’s problems in 2010 he still claimed the title, he compensated for it, nothing to do with wiki I watched all the seasons live and I was gutted Raikkonen didn’t win with Mclaren and all the Newey cars but Seb is a better driver even as a 23 year old, he would blow away Raikkonen now and Alonso and Hamilton too, only drivers right now on the grid that has the potential are Hulkenberg, Ricciardo and Bianchi. Most of you lot always claiming the car is all that knows fundamentally Vettel is the best all rounder just don’t have the stomach to say it…

      12. F1ista says:

        Vettel in 2010 depends which way you look at it. Yes he lost points because of car frailty but he also lost as many points because of his errors. Both were factors, both nearly cost him the title.

        In 2012, the Red Bull was infinitely more reliable than Hamilton’s McLaren which really did contribute towards costing him his rightful 2012 title. Vettel also received a number of penalties in 2012 (Hamilton received none) so it absolutely cannot be said that “Red Bull nearly cost Vettel the title in 2012.”

        In fact, given the number of errors Vettel made in comparison to his rivals, Red Bull gained Vettel the 2012 title.

      13. Spinodontosaurus says:

        You can add several others to that list, including Montoya. Even Hakkinen didn’t every season he entered whilst Newey was at McLaren.

        During Newey’s time at McLaren, the designer that consistently beat Newey’s creations was a certain Rory Byrne, who I seem to recall has been helping Ferrari out a bit recently.

      14. Jean-Christophe says:

        That Rory Byrne might be good but I think he’s over rated. At the time, Ferrari enjoyed unlimited testing and a circuit of their own right next to their factory. They could afford a of trials and errors.

      15. Backhouse says:

        No it is all down to Newey. Vettel isn’t even in the top 5 and Webber not top 15. its all about RB smoke and mirrors to deflect away from Newey.

      16. KRB says:

        Yeah, Newey’s a total non-factor! Or Renault Sport for that matter too. Pfft!

    6. Vivek says:

      If that were to be the case, then why not ask all the teams to race identical cars built to a standard specification like some other series (A1 etc.). That is not the objective of F1 isn’t it.

      This is the charm of F1 for the engineers, the ability to outdo rival engineers, innovate and make the best equipment.

      A pity for Kimi fans like me, that Kimi found himself in Mclaren during 2002-2006 when probably Newey was at his worst (excepting for 2005, when engine reliability put paid to Mclaren’s hopes). If not for that Vettel would be far closer to Schumacher’s records now, and Kimi would already be multiple WDC.

    7. Cuba says:

      Clone the drivers too and make them all wear the same clothes F1 teams must have the cash for cloning departments surely?

    8. KRB says:

      Yeah, I think it’s time we just go to a spec series, with Newey and RBR providing the cars. No one else is even close!

  5. Sujith says:

    As expected. As Niki Lauda said… he is gonna bag the championship by India or Abu Dhabi.

    But still, this is F1! Hopefully we might see a little drama at the end to make it a little bit difficult for him rather than a walk in the park. Either way, looks like he’s defended his title!

  6. max says:

    James pls comment on alonso and mclaren!!!!

    1. James Allen says:

      My comment is the concluding few lines of the story

  7. dren says:

    I expect Mercedes to be in the hunt this race. As James stated, they usually find something between now and the race.

    1. DonSimon says:

      Missed practice because my flight was late, but friends from SG who saw it said the RBR was like a different Formula. Ominous. I look forward to tomorrow!

  8. David C says:

    I suspect merc are sandbagging as usual and I see them fighting for pole tomorrow. Well done RBR and Seb in particular 0.6 seconds is a huge gap over his team mate.

    1. Grant H says:

      God i hope so not anogee RB bore fest

      1. Grant H says:

        *another

  9. John M says:

    I suspect all the other teams have accepted the obvious–barring a very unlikely monumental failure–that Red Bull and Vettel will win this year. With that in mind, there’s not much point in wasting resources fighting over table scraps. I’d have to think the teams have mostly shifted their attention to next year’s cars.

  10. goferet says:

    Nice day out in the streets of Singapore and also nice to see no major incidents in the confines of the walls.

    After today’s action, qualifying is going to be mighty for it appears Mercedes and Red Bull are evenly matched and hence why Vettel is looking forward to a showdown for he wants to confirm really, who is the best gunsligger in the block.

    As for race pace, I don’t think it’s important on tight street circuits such as this for I recall Alonso keeping a faster Red Bull behind for the entire race in 2010 so yes, grid position is key.

    Lotus are looking decent for some decent points but once again Kimi looks out of sorts for it appears the track doesn’t like him.

    Ferrari brought some upgrades but as usual, due to correlation problems, the upgrades seem to make the car worse as it looked jittery.

    As for Mclaren, they sure do appear to have made a step forward and now comes the tricky part >>> The drivers have to make sure they aren’t beaten in qualifying by any midfield team or else there will have the cloud of underperformance hanging over them like what happened to Jenson in 2012.

    Anyway, it looks like a promising battle at the front for lots of drivers will be gunning to bring Vettel’s recent run of success to an end.

  11. Nige says:

    Bring back the tyres we had at the beginning. Changing the tyres to last years construction has made the racing boring and played right back into red bulls hands. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

  12. Truth or lies says:

    Ferrari what an omni-shambles.

    It’s true Kimi really did it for the money.

    1. Grant H says:

      I think its a telling sign when they have bought loads of new parts and the car looked like it was on an ice rink at times, suggests they dont know what does what

    2. Elie says:

      Money is what will make or break Lotus competitiveness in 2014. So yes of course it’s about money.. Why would any WC sign with a team that a) can’t pay their suppliers & guarantee development, and b) can’t pay you.

      1. KRB says:

        Yeah, can’t believe Boullier’s actually upset that Kimi let it be known that they were behind on his payments. How would any of us react if our employers missed some paycheques? To me, that’s a total red flag screaming “time to get out” …thankfully I’ve never had to deal with such an awkward situation.

      2. Elie says:

        Well just heard earlier during quali that another 14 staff are about to leave Lotus-for Ferrari very scary times

  13. Tealeaf says:

    Even if Newey stays at RBR as soon as Vettel leaves Redbull for Ferrari the energy drinks company will lose the championship. Anyone who thinks Vettel is not all that are either lying to themselves or a desperation statement to make Hamilton look good, there isn’t a team mate Hamilton has beaten cleanly or fairly apart from Kovalainen, still these claims about how Hamilton is better than Vettel, put them in the same car it’ll make racing against Rosberg like a sunday drive.

  14. Aaron Noronha says:

    True. Plus both redbull cars are running the same troublesome gearbox as in Monza. So anything can happen. It would safer to change the gear box, take the penalty and salvage some points rather than risk everything and go for glory

  15. fox says:

    The probability of safety car is high, hence the one gambling best will win!

  16. Sarvar says:

    Like or hate Red Bull Racing but it’s already 5th season this team has been gradually, constantly and perfectly raising their game each season so far. What an admirable harmony and environment is there in the team. Hats off!!!

    1. KRB says:

      Totally … they make all the rest look like relative morons!!!

  17. hoosen says:

    Lets wait quali for true pace.

  18. Marcelo Leal says:

    For sure pole os good at Singapore, but dont forget the safety cars, and bad pit stops leaving you behind slower cars. Even MS did big mistakes at this circuit…
    In the end, I do believe LH will be ther or thereabouts for pole, and I do remember the Singapore gp when he misjudged the mive on Felipe, and after that he did one of the best gp’s I can temember, doing plenty of overtakes (14 I think), and without that mistake on Felipe, he would be able to catch the leader, and run for the victory. So, this gp has some good things to expect, do not despair.

  19. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    I think Mercedes will do nothing against Red Bulls, they will race Ferrari only for P2, as James suggest in the article.

    So I hope some funny moves from KIMI and PEREZ.

    Did you see HULK was ahead of MASSA today? Good sign for signing HULK to Lotus!

  20. Sammy says:

    I can’t believe his 3 consecutive world titles and give Vettel 100% satisfaction as his car is not from this world.

    He’s beating every record but it remains to be seen what he can do in a car that is equaly fast as the others.

    He’s an excellent driver, like a few others out there, but it has to be said that he doesn’t need to pull out a qualy lap every lap of the race which gives him (more) room for errors or in other words: he’s not making any because the car is too easy to drive.

    1. Rockie says:

      In the hands of webber the car is on the same pace as the Ferrari or the Merc.
      Vettel makes the difference.

    2. K says:

      If you had bothered to watch the first half of this season, when RBR did not have the fastest car, but it was between Ferrari, Mercedes and Lotus with RBR being in there sometimes, Vettel was leading the championship still.

      People now suddenly talking like the RBR was this fast the entire season are just making up stuff to bash Vettel. It has gotten lame and boring now and people who keep trying this tactic are not being taken serious anymore.

      1. James Allen says:

        Agreed. Vettel was on the back foot at times this year but the consistency has been extremely impressive

        He’s having as good a season as Alonso had last year. His car is now the fastest, so he’s winning everything. But look at the time sheets from earlier this year, China, Spain etc and it wasn’t the dominant car it is now

      2. Elie says:

        As the team solidifies and builds consistency, so is Seb. The team is gelling brilliantly and growing together. Its very scary to think what they have done to the “established- order” in a relatively short time in F1 terms. Mclaren, Ferrari and even Mercedes look like amateurs next to them.

        But this is also why you must tip your hats to Lotus and FI for what they be done with very little resources.

  21. Elie says:

    ” Groping in the dark” lol James!.. Are you sure it’s not “grappling” ?.. There certainly is no love lost between some of them !!.

    Mercedes still have the usual gains to make in Sat and aim sure Hamilton will pull the rabbit out of the hat– at least out from under Raikkonen !hehe.Despite better long run pace if the Bulls and Lotuses whoever ends on pole on that hot gooey difficult circuit will have a huge advantage.

    I still think Hamy will challenge for win and I think the sulky Samurai will be there or abouts !

  22. Spyros says:

    So the new tyres allow RBR’s car to stretch its legs, everywhere. Still, its funny how everyone there is always ‘surprised’ at the gap to the second team!

    Oh well… wake me up in March, please.

  23. Trickle says:

    Ive been a Vettel fan since 08, hes always been fast but hes driven on another level this year. 2010/2011 he definitely wasn’t the best but end of 2012 and this year hes just been on another level.

    People dont enjoy dominance of pole to flag victories which is unfortunately the two things Vettel does best. It may not be fun for spectators buts its smart.

  24. Marybeth says:

    Dear Bernie, Pt II
    I do apologize. I was wrong for voicing my difficulty with NBC going between NBCSN, NBC, & CNBC for covering F1 last June. Now, NBC will not be showing the Singapore qualifying until 1 am Sunday morning EDT in the eastern USA. It would be better for those who can keep up with the switching back & fourth straight, or know how to program their machines to record it accurately. It is being shown live on their internet site, but that eliminates a lot of people. It was also mentioned yesterday during practice 2 that there is a possibility that it might be on at 3:30pm this Saturday afternoon if the America’s Yacht races were over. I have no idea if it was settled yesterday or is still going on today. The SPEED internet site use to keep us up on all of that, but not since it has turned into FS1. I don’t like the way NBC is showing F! and find it difficult, but there are others who can keep it straight & for them, I am now rescinding what I said in “Dear Bernie, PtI”. They are right now, 9:30am Sat., probably wondering why they cannot watch qualifying live on CNBC, & I feel guilty, I will not be able to post this on the PF1 site because they no longer allow me to post as they switched to only facebook to be able to post comments. What was the SPEED site & is now the FS1 site no longer allows any comments at all. I will see if I can find a site. F1 coverage is nothing like it was a year ago over here in the USA. Again I do apologize for any difficulty I may have caused.
    Thanks, Marybeth

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