Singapore: World champion Sebastian Vettel`s wretched run of luck continued at the Singapore Grand Prix on Friday when the German suffered an engine failure at the end of the first free practice session which compromised his track time in the second.
The Red Bull driver has won the last three races at the Marina Bay Street Circuit and while his car appeared as competitive against the dominant Mercedes as it has at any time this season, Vettel still faces an uphill battle to claim victory on Sunday.
Yet to win in 13 races this season and outperformed by new team mate Daniel Ricciardo, a three-time winner, Vettel could only finish sixth in Monza last time out but looked far more like his old self before his engine failed.
The German clocked the fourth fastest time in the early session, 0.818 seconds off the pace, but was left stranded on the track after the chequered flag and sat in the pits for more than 80 minutes of second free practice before he could attempt a lap.
"It`s a Friday engine, not the one he has planned to race with," Red Bull team principal Christian Horner told reporters.
"The engine changes on this car take around three-and-a-half hours, so there`s a lot of work to do. It`s going to be tough. The biggest loss is the track time and the long run.
"Sebastian doesn`t seem to have much luck at the moment."
After his mechanics managed to rebuild his engine in time for an eight-minute blast at the end of the day, Vettel completed five hectic laps, pushing hard and taking risks but was only able to clock the fifth fastest time of the night.
"This morning felt good but this afternoon was harder to go out and nail the first lap right away, we got pretty close -- but surely I was not able to get the best out of the tyres straight away," Vettel said after he finished 0.551 seconds adrift of the pace-setting Lewis Hamilton.
"But overall I am pretty happy and I am sure we can improve the car. We should be in a good place tomorrow."