In photos: Ferrari's disastrous Asian spell
11 October 2017 – Ferrari entered the sequence of Asian flyaway events brimming with confidence, but departed Japan with its 2017 prospects in tatters. GPUpdate.net reflects on a nightmare trio of events for the squad.
It started with a kiss…
And to think, it all started so well. Sebastian Vettel delivered a stunning pole position lap, via a brush of the wall through Turn 19, and could barely contain his elation in the immediate aftermath, climbing atop his car. It was the perfect day for Vettel, as he exploited Ferrari's pace around Marina Bay while Mercedes' expected struggles came to fruition, as Lewis Hamilton could manage only fifth position in the Q3 shootout.
…never thought it would come to this
In wet conditions, Vettel made a so-so getaway from pole, moved to defend against Max Verstappen, as Kimi Räikkönen ducked to the inside in an attempt to pass both. Three into one did not go, leaving both Ferraris with race-ending damage, before Räikkönen slid onwards to Turn 1, making secondary contact with Verstappen.
Vettel spins, Hamilton wins
Vettel limped on for a couple more corners, albeit with terminal damage, and the leaking coolant from his SF70-H left him powerless to prevent a spin on the run between Turns 3 and 4. Hamilton is given prime viewing for Vettel's spin and watches on as his title rival loops into the wall, clearing his path for victory.
Vettel escaped sanction for the Singapore clash but wound up starting at the back of the grid anyway at Sepang, after an engine problem, which developed during the third practice session. Ferrari fitted new power unit elements prior to the start of qualifying but on his first push lap he was met with a lack of power, and pulled back into the garage. Vettel was unable to register a lap in Q1, consigning him to the back of the field.
Victory hopes go technical
Räikkönen narrowly missed out on pole but Ferrari's Friday pace meant that Sepang was a golden chance for the Finn. However, the same problem which affected Vettel developed on Räikkönen's car en route to the grid. Ferrari tried to fix it on the grid but had to wheel Räikkönen back to the garage, leaving him unable to start.
Gearbox concerns after slow-down lap shunt
Vettel recovered to fourth position, collecting valuable points, but suffered a bizarre slow-down lap clash with Williams' Lance Stroll. It left Ferrari with an unnecessary repair job, and prompted concerns over the state of Vettel's gearbox, which was ultimately given the all-clear for Suzuka, meaning a penalty was avoided.
Räikkönen's Suzuka weekend stalls
Räikkönen crashed through Degner 2 in the final practice session, causing damage to the left-front of his SF70-H, while the impact meant his gearbox needed changing, resulting in a five-place grid penalty. Räikkönen went off again on his first Q3 lap, though avoided the barriers, and on his second run a so-so effort left him in only sixth, which became 10th once the nature of the penalty (and Fernando Alonso's own sanction) was applied.
Losing its spark
Ferrari detected a problem with a spark plug on Vettel's car and a fix on the grid proved futile, leaving the German with a lack of power. Having slipped down the order during the early laps, Ferrari called Vettel in the pits to retire, compounding the team's dismal run of just two finishes from six and a paltry 22 points.