Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel are surprised by the speed their Ferrari shows this weekend at the Singapore Grand Prix. Both drivers start the race on Sunday from pole position and third place respectively.
Despite the recent Ferrari successes at the fast Spa-Francorchamps and Monza, Mercedes and Red Bull Racing were considered to be the big favorites on the street circuit, because in 2019 the Ferrari generally did not perform well on courses with many curves and few straights.
A major aerodynamic update seems to give the Italian team the necessary downward force in the corners. Among other things, a new nose and an improved floor were introduced. The engine is already considered the strongest in the field.
"We have to thank the people at the factory," a smiling Leclerc said in the press conference on Saturday after qualifying in Singapore. "I am very surprised by our speed. The whole team is surprised. We just expected that we would have a hard time here."
311Preview F1: "Get away from a strong Mercedes in Singapore"
"Now we understand the car much better"
That prediction was mainly based on the race at the equally winding Hungaroring, where the Ferraris finished one minute behind winner Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes before the summer break.
"There we had a less good balance in the car", Vettel looked back. "Now we understand the car much better and therefore we lose less in turns. We have also improved the car considerably."
Leclerc already felt on Friday that the new parts had their effect. "We also saw that in the data and I noticed that it worked. Our technical people have done a good job."
"I almost lost the car a few times"
The Monegask beat his experienced teammate in the final phase of the qualification. For a moment Vettel seemed to be taking the pole position, but with a "crazy round" according to Leclerc, he dragged in his fifth pole of the season.
"And that while I made a lot of mistakes. I almost lost the car a few times," he referred to the fact that he almost hit the wall in turn 3 and turn 11. "I was surprised that I didn't spend much time there On instinct you keep the car out of the concrete. It all felt very intense. "
Vettel was disappointed that he saw his first pole of the season being taken away, but he said he could only blame himself. "I just didn't have a perfect lap", the four-time world champion was realistic.
"I lost the car a little in turn three and turn nine. Then I was behind and pushed too hard. That caused me to lose it a little. Too bad it didn't work, because it was inside."