Ferrari not as competitive in Singapore, says Alonso

2012 Singapore Grand Prix Friday practice analysis

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Fernando Alonso’s assessment after the first two practice sessions in Singapore was that Ferrari are not as competitive as they were at the last race.

Alonso was able to take the battle for pole position to the McLarens at Monza but the silver cars and Red Bull appeared to have more pace than Ferrari during practice.

Sebastian Vettel headed both Friday practice sessions – the first time Red Bull have done so all year. But he was cautious on their chances.

“It’s still Friday and today’s results are not so conclusive as some drivers got stuck in traffic, etc…” said Vettel. “Most important is that the car seemed to work on either tyre, so we go from there.”

Here’s the data from the first two practice sessions:

Longest stint comparison

This chart shows all the drivers’ lap times (in seconds) during their longest unbroken stint:

Sebastian Vettel115.813115.352115.321115.725115.618115.822
Mark Webber108.964128.511109.589
Jenson Button115.386115.005129.622115.548115.951123.531116.946119.345116.37119.335
Lewis Hamilton115.067114.779122.916114.332114.978114.859123.436115.855115.519115.506116.529117.673
Fernando Alonso116.26120.118115.083115.739114.874115.362
Felipe Massa127.461112.757140.422112.338111.851118.927
Michael Schumacher115.915116.193117.587116.482116.992119.581
Nico Rosberg119.255115.918116.588116.826117.437117.994118.422125.847119.112
Kimi Raikkonen114.905114.644114.882116.373119.885116.998121.203116.563
Romain Grosjean124.499117.103117.047117.66116.853118.196116.787118.117
Paul di Resta115.144115.28115.227116.313119.28115.631116.168119.826116.167116.633119.325116.159
Nico Hulkenberg115.249116.134122.536115.427115.73116.302115.727116.151122.042117.131117.42120.827
Kamui Kobayashi117.761117.992121.568118.709
Sergio Perez115.573115.886115.981120.251144.032118.667116.07117.583120.704
Daniel Ricciardo117.871117.866117.626119.224120.062117.984120.021117.843
Jean-Eric Vergne119.418118.313118.326117.551117.727124.652118.117119.067118.994121.462122.021
Pastor Maldonado117.483116.83116.571116.574116.555116.413117.889124.091116.946117.483118.135
Bruno Senna129.103118.807111.452125.429
Heikki Kovalainen115.514115.795116.647116.116116.081116.044116.189117.962116.497
Vitaly Petrov118.429118.364117.654118.011118.342118.776121.466119.688
Pedro de la Rosa117.426117.312119.41118.683118.267118.451118.645
Narain Karthikeyan120.821118.823118.345118.672120.999118.685119.111119.309119.863119.388
Timo Glock117.259117.582126.723118.689119.01118.672118.714
Charles Pic122.04119.488120.717119.984122.792125.948

According to Pirelli the super-soft tyre is around 1.5s fastest per lap than the soft tyre. This means they will be in high demand during Q1 and Q2, which in turn will leave drivers with fewer fresh sets for the race.

Last year some drivers went to considerable lengths save fresh sets of the softer tyres in qualifying : three drivers in Q3 elected not to set a time at all.

Rain before first practice today meant the track was especially ‘green’ to start with. That will improve as the weekend goes on, but high tyre degradation is likely to play a vital role in the race with drivers hedging between two- and three-stop strategies.

It was clear from the long runs that the super-soft tyres were going off particularly quickly. “It’s tough in these temperatures, especially on the long runs, but to be honest I think everyone’s struggling a bit too,” said Hamilton.

“We’re looking at set-up and balance to improve our long-run pace, but today’s performance isn’t a bad place from which to start.”

Radio chatter from the high-fuel runs

Here are some of the team radio messages from during the race-fuel stints. See F1 Fanatic Live on Twitter for more:

Sector times and ultimate lap times

CarDriverCarSector 1Sector 2Sector 3Ultimate lapGapDeficit to best
11Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault29.017 (5)42.057 (2)37.266 (1)1’48.3400.000
23Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes28.867 (1)42.119 (3)37.665 (3)1’48.6510.3110.000
34Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes28.890 (2)41.960 (1)38.007 (10)1’48.8570.5170.229
42Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault29.019 (6)42.255 (5)37.590 (2)1’48.8640.5240.100
55Fernando AlonsoFerrari28.988 (4)42.180 (4)37.728 (4)1’48.8960.5560.000
611Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes29.064 (7)42.438 (6)37.798 (5)1’49.3000.9600.000
712Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes28.975 (3)42.496 (7)37.868 (7)1’49.3390.9990.000
88Nico RosbergMercedes29.256 (9)42.723 (10)37.811 (6)1’49.7901.4500.000
96Felipe MassaFerrari29.327 (10)42.654 (8)38.058 (11)1’50.0391.6990.000
1010Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault29.340 (12)42.916 (13)37.886 (8)1’50.1421.8020.019
117Michael SchumacherMercedes29.242 (8)42.888 (12)38.133 (12)1’50.2631.9230.000
129Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault29.359 (13)43.020 (14)37.966 (9)1’50.3452.0050.000
1318Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault29.337 (11)42.845 (11)38.300 (14)1’50.4822.1420.154
1416Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari29.534 (16)42.696 (9)38.561 (17)1’50.7912.4510.000
1519Bruno SennaWilliams-Renault29.478 (14)43.152 (17)38.214 (13)1’50.8442.5040.608
1615Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari29.481 (15)43.069 (15)38.486 (16)1’51.0362.6960.086
1714Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari29.650 (18)43.160 (18)38.428 (15)1’51.2382.8980.212
1817Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari29.617 (17)43.107 (16)38.950 (19)1’51.6743.3340.335
1924Timo GlockMarussia-Cosworth29.920 (22)43.578 (19)38.720 (18)1’52.2183.8780.000
2020Heikki KovalainenCaterham-Renault29.748 (20)43.708 (20)39.120 (22)1’52.5764.2360.000
2125Charles PicMarussia-Cosworth29.868 (21)43.883 (22)39.112 (21)1’52.8634.5230.000
2221Vitaly PetrovCaterham-Renault29.693 (19)43.786 (21)39.457 (23)1’52.9364.5960.000
2323Narain KarthikeyanHRT-Cosworth30.227 (23)44.772 (24)39.110 (20)1’54.1095.7690.405
2422Pedro de la RosaHRT-Cosworth30.382 (24)44.599 (23)39.467 (24)1’54.4486.1080.000

Hamilton reckoned his mistake at the last corner on his fastest lap cost him half a second. That plus track evolution means there’s good reason to expect McLaren will be in the fight for pole position with Red Bull.

Alonso who ran a new high-downforce rear wing on Friday, was more pessimistic about his team’s chances: “The first impression is that we are not as competitive as we were in Monza, two weeks ago.”

“We still lack a bit of performance on tracks like this one, where you need maximum aerodynamic downforce.”

Complete practice times

PosDriverCarFP1FP2Total laps
1Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’50.5661’48.34051
2Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’51.4591’48.65141
3Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’51.5251’48.89646
4Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’51.6551’48.96445
5Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’50.6151’49.08643
6Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’51.9431’49.30051
7Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’51.6581’49.33956
8Nico RosbergMercedes1’53.2271’49.79058
9Felipe MassaFerrari1’53.0801’50.03945
10Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’53.0281’50.16144
11Michael SchumacherMercedes1’52.9861’50.26344
12Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault1’52.7161’50.34540
13Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1’51.5761’50.63652
14Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari1’52.2751’50.79150
15Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari1’52.2961’51.12247
16Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’52.8391’51.45044
17Bruno SennaWilliams-Renault1’52.6291’51.45236
18Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari1’53.1891’52.00956
19Timo GlockMarussia-Cosworth1’54.9081’52.21849
20Heikki KovalainenCaterham-Renault1’55.0911’52.57643
21Charles PicMarussia-Cosworth1’55.3351’52.86349
22Vitaly PetrovCaterham-Renault1’55.7601’52.93648
23Pedro de la RosaHRT-Cosworth1’56.6561’54.44847
24Narain KarthikeyanHRT-Cosworth1’54.51430
25Ma Qing HuaHRT-Cosworth1’58.05320

Timo Glock says Singapore is his favourite track and he managed to out-pace both the Caterhams on Friday practice. But Heikki Kovalainen had to abandon his effort at a flying lap due to Bruno Senna’s spin.

Speed trap

#DriverCarEngineMax speed (kph)Gap
112Nico HulkenbergForce IndiaMercedes290.8
24Lewis HamiltonMcLarenMercedes290.80
33Jenson ButtonMcLarenMercedes2900.8
411Paul di RestaForce IndiaMercedes289.61.2
55Fernando AlonsoFerrariFerrari288.91.9
62Mark WebberRed BullRenault288.82
78Nico RosbergMercedesMercedes288.42.4
87Michael SchumacherMercedesMercedes288.32.5
91Sebastian VettelRed BullRenault287.53.3
1021Vitaly PetrovCaterhamRenault287.33.5
1119Bruno SennaWilliamsRenault287.13.7
1218Pastor MaldonadoWilliamsRenault286.54.3
1314Kamui KobayashiSauberFerrari286.24.6
1423Narain KarthikeyanHRTCosworth284.95.9
1515Sergio PerezSauberFerrari284.86
166Felipe MassaFerrariFerrari284.46.4
1716Daniel RicciardoToro RossoFerrari284.26.6
1820Heikki KovalainenCaterhamRenault283.96.9
1917Jean-Eric VergneToro RossoFerrari283.96.9
209Kimi RaikkonenLotusRenault283.17.7
2122Pedro de la RosaHRTCosworth2828.8
2210Romain GrosjeanLotusRenault281.69.2
2325Charles PicMarussiaCosworth280.610.2
2424Timo GlockMarussiaCosworth279.910.9

Note that the Singapore speed trap is not the one where the highest speeds are recorded – that normally comes at Intermediate 1, the data for which is not available for Friday. Singapore typically sees some of the lowest top speeds of the year.

2012 Singapore Grand Prix

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Image © Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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25 comments on “Ferrari not as competitive in Singapore, says Alonso”

  1. All the better for the championship! Hopefully Red Bull can make up for the wretched weekend they had in Monza.

    1. This is nothing new for Alonso, even without the fastest car I would not be surprised if he were to win this GP. And watch out for Hamilton too, his long runs looked particularly good overall. But yeah, it would be great for the championship if both Hamilton and Vettel beat Alonso to cut their deficit!!

  2. Alonso is telling lies to delude others. If he gets his ferrari in the top 4 in quali , then he will use that fast starting ferrari to challenge for the lead before the first corner.

    1. It’s a short run to the corner so there wont be room to make up many places, which is why all the races before have been won from pole, except for ‘crashgate’ ofcourse!

    2. Lies? I think that’s smarter than giving your fans false hope and then disappointing.

      Ferrari was a crap car in the first four races, ever since Barcelona it’s been decent, but not necessary the best either.

    3. He’s telling the truth in that the Ferrari is unable to match the qualifying pace of Red Bull and McLaren. But you’re right it’s still very possible for him to qualify 4-5 and have a good first lap and race from there.

  3. Looking like a great quali battle in prospect for tomorrow between McLaren and Red Bull. q3 between HAM and VET will be epic. I think lewis will just edge it, his car looked so hooked up from the onboards.

  4. Quite surprising to see Red Bull so high in the speed trap. Not like them at all, even more so considering the type of circuit this is. Sauber are playing it cool too by turning up the downforce (I assume).

    Karthikeyan looks pretty dismal, 24th and 23rd best sector times, at least De La Rosa has a sniff at 20th!

    1. @andrewtanner; It is surprising isn’t it, they are either going for less downforce or Newey has managed to reduce drag elsewhere. I notice that Vettel is using more wing than Webber, but that may change before Q1.

    2. I think the type of circuit has everything to do with their respective place in the speed trap. All the teams have a high downforce setup so it brings them all down to ‘red bull’ level top speeds.
      All though I possibly expect them to be down the order a bit once we get the top speed data for the fastest section of the track.

    3. @andrewtanner, Actually it is Karthikeyan who had a “sniff” at 20th, not PDLR!!

    4. @ndrewtanner – I think the main reason is because the speed trap is not in the highest speed part of the track, and as Red Bull get good traction out of the corners they are able to get up to speed quicker.

      1. @vettel1 You’re probably right :) Where is it placed?

        1. @andrewtanner – I don’t actually know personally I was just reading Keith’s comment! I’m guessing probably on the start finish straight since I think I saw a speed being measured there during one of the sessions on the on-screen graphics.

  5. I think, to be honest, that there is not much difference between the long-run pace of the front runners. Both Mercedes and Grosjean are a bit off, Hamilton and Massa seem to have a bit of an advantage, while Vettel, Webber, Button and Alonso run pretty much the same.

    All this based on the longest stint comparision purely. I read that Massa ran on super-softs on his long-run, while Alonso ran on softs. I don’t know about the tyres on which others set their runs, but that one is favourable for Ferrari: Massa showed some good pace on the super-softs, question is, how quickly he destroys them compared to others. He emphasised high tyre degradation, so that degrades his performance somewhat. And given that Alonso mainly tested new developments, the current state of the setup woek should be pretty much a mess with an improperly balanced car, using rubbers too much, even compared to others. Work to do then, but I think if they can get on the top of that without scrubbing off too much speed, Ferrari’s long-run pace is actually good.

    Too bad it counts for nothing if their one-lap pace is bad, and it seems really bad. Singapore does not favour overtakings, so they could sit in traffic all Sunday with a good long-run pace…

    I’m disappointed.

    1. @atticus-2, I at the moment tyre degradation looks set to play a major role on Sunday, and if Alonso’s is better than his rivals, he could do very well from P5; I don’t see him starting any lower unless his car breaks down again. It wouldn’t surprise me to see the first pit stops around lap 10-11.

    2. Singapore does not favour overtakings, so they could sit in traffic all Sunday with a good long-run pace…

      You could have said the same thing about Valencia, yet Fernando got from P11 to P1. I think it’s hard to write off any circuit as unovertakable this year

  6. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
    21st September 2012, 23:01

    Hopefully Lotus picks it up tomorrow in FP3 and Quals, because the cars looked rather sluggish. I realize the track doesn’t suit the car well, but….

  7. So far it looks like Red Bull & McLaren are the teams to beat (as was expected, tbh) but I think McLaren have the edge. Alonso & Kimi will still be there or thereabouts in the race, but I don’t think the Ferrari or Lotus has the qualy pace to match those two teams. I’m so annoyed that we haven’t really gotten a chance to see just how good the Williams really is… Personally I think it’s at least as good as the Sauber, but between Bruno’s poor driving & Pastor’s amazing ability to throw away points, we may never find out.

  8. Force India & Williams are going to be high up on Sunday I think. Pole and 1st is surely between Ham and Vet, and maybe Button, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hulk, Di Resta or Maldonado up there too.

  9. I can easily see Alonso on podium again. I’d surprised if during the last couple of laps I don’t say to myself “he did it again”.

    I suppose the driver most likely to get the best out of the car on saturday will be Vettel. He seems to love this track, and if the Red Bull responds as well as it did today, he should be on pole with the McLarens quite close behind.

    1. No offense at all, but I can’t help thinking of the role to be put on MAS during the race. Ferrari is well known in this area of game playing and Marina Bay is one haunting spot for those kinds of plots. Maybe this time to take out HAM and VET altogether? Based on the FP1 and FP2 where it seems Ferrari is bit off the pace of McLaren and Red Bull, and the straining up points gap up to this GP, well the probability of having some weird thing or accidents is rapidly increasing.

  10. Damage limitation for Sauber this weekend!

    Force India’s usual late-season resurgence seem to be happening once again. This is definitely a great chance for each of their drivers to try and come into the spotlight at last. Especially concerning potential seats for next year…

    1. Though from those “long” runs @electrolite, it seems Sauber at least can work on getting ahead of Mercedes, who seem to not have found everything that is in those updates as they are slower than Sauber still. FI do indeed look good here, long runs that are as long as anyone’s, with pace not far behind what Hamilton showed. Interesting.

  11. I’m a little surprised at how short the long runs were, according to the graphic above. Webber did only three laps in his race simulation? The driver I followed most closely was Hamilton, and indeed the chart corresponds to what I saw. He had good consistent pace for the first 10 laps (including two slow-down laps – or laps where he made a mistake – I only saw the timing). His tyres had also done almost two flying laps in the qualifying simulation, but his starting tyres on Sunday will also have a lap on them (provided nothing strange happens and he does a run in Q3).

    It therefore looks like we can expect Q3 runners to come in as early as lap 10, which would point to a three-stop race. From FP1 the durability of the softs seemed much better, with many drivers setting good times late into the tyres’ life. However, 25 laps on a single set of tyres may be pushing it. An interesting strategy for those able to get into Q3 with two sets of super softs might be to do only a single run, and save a fresh set of options for the last stint on Sunday. I expect Hamilton and Vettel will try to battle it out for pole and do two runs, but Alonso might elect to do a single run, as I don’t see him starting lower than P5, or higher than P3. The same holds, to a lesser extent, for Button and Webber.

Comments are closed.