A challenging weekend for Ferrari was expected in Singapore, on a track that demands high aerodynamic downforce. However, the Marina Bay Friday brought yet another reversal of expected values for the 2023 Formula 1 season, with the Red cars monopolizing the top two positions in both of today’s sessions.
Charles Leclerc set the pace in the opening session, then in the evening one, he relinquished the lead to his teammate Carlos Sainz, albeit by a fraction of a second. It’s true that in terms of race pace, the SF-23s seem to show a greater increase in lap times compared to the competition, probably due to tire wear. Still, it’s equally true that this season they had never approached a GP as well as they did today, as team principal Frederic Vasseur emphasized.
“First of all, it was our best Friday since the start of the season. It’s a bit unexpected on a track like this, but overall, I think we did a good job. Qualifying, however, is tomorrow, and it will be a matter of tire management and preparation. But it’s always better to start like this than in the midfield,” Fred Vasseur said to Sky Sport F1 microphones.
Many are already pointing to the Reds as the frontrunners in the hunt for pole position tomorrow, but for now, Frederic Vasseur prefers to remain cautious, even though it’s clear that a good qualifying session on a city circuit can be a significant advantage for the race.
“Tomorrow, we will all be very close again, so we need to focus on ourselves. We have room for improvement, but I believe that goes for everyone. We just need to focus on our work and tire preparation for the flying lap, which will be crucial. So far, everything has gone well in terms of setup; we’ve had a good Friday, with both drivers showing good speed. There is great spirit within the team, and that’s positive.”
Finally, when asked about the significant difficulties shown by Red Bull today, who finished only in seventh and eighth positions, seeming like distant relatives of the RB19 cars that dominated extensively in 2023, breaking all kinds of records, Fred Vasseur dodged the question a bit.
“Honestly, I focus on ourselves, and I don’t care about what happens to Red Bull. We already have enough work to do with our car and our drivers without thinking about the others. They will probably react and find their pace tomorrow, but it’s true that they had a tough day today. Perhaps when you have a bit more pressure, you make a few more mistakes. But we need to focus on ourselves without thinking about Mercedes, McLaren, and so on. Those are not my concerns,” he concluded.