It’s not the first time the Formula 1 series has raced under the lights of Singapore but it certainly is the first time Nico Rosberg has won in Singapore and what better way to celebrate his 200th grand prix start.
The Singapore Grand Prix is always a physically punishing, long, hot and humid affair and the heat was playing a large role in an oppressive brake issue that both Mercedes drivers were nursing for the entirety of the race. Regardless, Nico Rosberg was able to hold off a charging Daniel Ricciardo to win by a mere four tenths of a second.
Lewis Hamilton struggled all weekend with his chassis performance and missing pole by seven tenths of a second exposed a possible aerodynamic downforce concern for the team. Irrespective of Lewis’s challenges with grip, he also suffered a brake heat issue that he nursed for the balance of the race—the longest on F1 calendar—to finish third.
Up front, I have to say congratulations to NBC Sports for having James Allen on broadcast as pitlane reporter. I’ve met James a few times and each time, he’s been wonderfully delightful to chat with and this considering he doesn’t know me from Adam. James brought an incredibly measured, intelligent assessment of the strategies that were playing out and his predictive ability was spot on through experience and investigative reporting. His interaction over tactics with Steve Matchett was terrific, a great chemistry there. James also asked terrific question in the F1 Extra segment of the drivers. He asked prescient, informative questions that the drivers found engaging and it prompted them to unpack the race for viewers—well done James!
I would be remiss in not also offering applause to Brian Till who sat in for an Indycar-calling Leigh Diffey. Brian walked in to a season with lots of permutations and clearly has done his homework and did a terrific job anchoring the broadcast.
It’s a win for Mercedes and Nico Rosberg for the victory but while many may be wondering if Mercedes were working hard enough on the strategy for both drivers, I tend to think they actually did do a good job of navigating around a brake heat issue, prioritizing the lead they had and covering Red Bull’s aggressive charge for victory. James Allen was right in that the team had to prioritize their lead and safeguard the victory but for Lewis, it was working with the ebb and flow of the cars around him. In the end, their strategy ensured a victory and third-place finish which could have been much worse.
A win for Force India’s Sergio Perez who, after watching his teammate end the race 100 meters from the start line, knew he had it all to do in order to take the fight back to Williams F1 in the constructor’s points battle. Making a very long run on soft compound tires, he secured 8th and took the team back ahead of Williams in the championship.
A win for Red Bull who rolled the dice in strategy starting on a harder tire than Mercedes in order to try to run longer and overcut them. A late-race stop for Daniel Ricciardo gave the Australian all the tools they had in the chest to try and take victory but they were just off by four tenths in the end. Christian Horner and his team of strategists and engineers should be applauded for making this a very close run race and using strategy as well as Mercedes brake issues to finish second in the race.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen could be afforded a win thumbs up for his 4th place finish but the team missed the undercut with Lewis Hamilton, who was struggling with brake heat issues, and managed to miss out on the podium. The team would most likely say that it was always going to be that way but watching timing and scoring, Kimi was putting in some impressive times and could have been competitive in 3rd and possibly held Lewis off.
It’s a win for Sebastian Vettel who came from the back of the grid in a car that is a half second slower than Mercedes to finish 5th and in the points. He was voted Driver of the Day at F1.com and with good reason. Passing is not a hallmark of Singapore and yet Sebastian made it happen along with Max Verstappen.
A win for Fernando Alonso who felt 7th was the best they could have hoped for and he got it. He said the team felt they could be the best of the rest (Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull) and it proved to be true.
Also a win for Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat and this is the type of performances that the young Russian has shown with some hard defensive driving against the man who supplanted him at Red Bull and beating his own teammate, Carlos Sainz, to 9th place.
A win for a struggling Renault who helped their man Kevin Magnussen take the final point in 10th place, only their second point of the season.
A fail for Ferrari and their rear track rod issue because given Vettel’s pace, he would most likely have been battling for serious podium positions. As it was, the team did use the back of the grid to their advantage by fitting a new engine and gearbox to add to the pool for the remaining races.
A fail for Williams who managed to finish outside the points with Felipe Mass in 12th and Valtteri Bottas DNF. This troubled weekend lost them the lead over Force India in the Constructors’ Championship.
A fail for Haas F! who couldn’t field Romain Grosjean’s car for the start of the race over a brake-by-wire system issue and just missing the points with Esteban Gutierrez in 11th.
A fail also for Sauber who missed the opportunity to score a point even with four cars out of the race.
A WTH moment for the Safety Car session end when the cars started at full tilt with a track worker still on track…that could have been very ugly.
A WTH moment for Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz at the start. It was a racing incident, that’s how I saw it and that’s how the stewards of the race saw it but it ended Nico’s race and scuttled Carlos’s.
A WTH for Haas F1 and Romain Grosjean who had “the worst car” Romain has ever driven according to the Frenchman. Also, failing to start the race didn’t do anything to restore hope and Grosjean’s frustration boiling over when he is trying to endear himself to a fledgling team is a bit of an unfortunate issue. There was that issue of Ruth leaving the team for Sauber and she was in their strategy department so it will be interesting to see if that has any knock-on effect.
A WTH moment of Valtteri Bottas who had an issue with his seatbelts and at first blush you’d think this would be something that never fails but apparently they do, even in F1.
Finally, a WTH moment coming out of the paddock is just what will happen with Liberty’s investment and the potential for Mr. E to actually pack his bags and walk away. Much has been mentioned of a 3-year deal to keep him involved but if you read Martin Brundle’s interview, I don’t get the impression he’ll be around that long.
Singapore GP Results:
|2||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||0.488s|
|6||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m11.197s|
|8||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m51.062s|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m51.557s|
|11||Esteban Gutierrez||Haas/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|12||Felipe Massa||Williams/Mercedes||1 Lap|
|13||Felipe Nasr||Sauber/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|14||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|15||Jolyon Palmer||Renault||1 Lap|
|16||Pascal Wehrlein||Manor/Mercedes||1 Lap|
|17||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|18||Esteban Ocon||Manor/Mercedes||2 Laps|
|–||Romain Grosjean||Haas/Ferrari||Not started|
|–||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||Collision|
Drivers’ Championship Points:
Constructors’ Championship Points:
I’d give a WTF to Verstappen’s start(s). This is the 2nd bad start in a row, and it could be argued it caused the carnage between Hulkenberg and Sainz.
It’s a good point on his starts, not sure what the struggle is for him but it’s the same system in Dan’s car.
He must have Webbers old starting system.
Apparently there was an issue with his clutch, which the team applied to the FIA to have fixed in parc ferme (on safety grounds) but were refused. Bad call by the FIA, as it immediately caused Hulkenberg’s crash.
“Bad call by the FIA”
Next time a serious issue like that is reported they should have driver start at the back not to compromise anyone else’s safety.
Oan, will we be so lucky to have a situation in near future where we can collectively determine it was actually Verstappen’s fault? So far we had about half a dozen “incidents” between bad starts, questionable defending and decision making and I am yet to hear that either FIA, RedBull or Verstappen himself said it was his (Max’s) fault.
When it comes to Max’s other “incidents” I totally agree – I think he’s been protected despite some rather questionable maneuvers, especially his defending. It was good to see Kvyat serving him up some of his own medicine. You can also see from my other comment on this post that I wasn’t a fan of Max’s driving during this race. However if his clutch is unsafe to other cars, and that’s obviously the FIA’s call, there’s plenty of precedent there for it to be changed. A few races ago Hamilton had some tyres changed in parc ferme after he flat-spotted… Read more »
Right. I was making a tongue-in-cheek comment aimed at no one in particular. Correct. I am familiar with regulations but am of an opinion that if particular malfunction happened as a direct result of driver’s action (ex. pushing too hard and ending up flat spotting tires) then it would be unfair to others to have him simply swap the tires and go on like nothing happened. As for the clutch, every team has responsibility to ensure fully functioning vehicle in the time allotted for repairs. I personally would allow them (RedBull) to change the clutch but then have him start… Read more »
Yeah with the tyres I thought it was a bit rich that Lewis was allowed to get away with that. It gives a perverse incentive to drivers, so that if they’ve slightly locked up on their fastest Q2 lap, they could “accidentally” lock up hard on the in-lap and thus ask for a replacement set. And sure the replacements would be of a similar age but its not the same as driving a tyre with flat spots. And what does “similar age” mean? A qualy tyre’s usually deemed to have done 2 laps, though one of those laps is absolutely… Read more »
Brian Till did not just do a great fill-in job, he was outstanding. Nothing personal against Lee Diffy, but Brian gives us a glimpse what the NBC broadcast could be if NBC cared. He was well better than Lee in the role and I really really hope NBC promotes Lee out of there for Brian. He really takes the whole broadcast up a notch. When was the last time we heard Lee Diffy talk about rolling speed through the corner or car setup? Look I like Lee but all he brings is endlessly trying to find the ’emotional story’ of… Read more »
Liked James Allen but thought Brian Till seemed incredibly out of it and inaccurate and bumbling. Just was not impressed at all.
At least the Channel 4 team have temporarily stopped reporting that Hamilton is on his way to a fourth title.
Rosberg is a worthy opponent, and whichever Mercedes driver wins this year will have earned it.
They are as bad as the 5Live team.
I listen to the 5Live reviews just because I love F1, but geez they spend 1/2 of each podcast on Hamilton. If it’s because he’s British, where is the love for Button and Palmer???
I think Lewis is on his way to his 4th title. Also Ben Edwards is about 20 times more entertaining than David Croft and Martin Brundle combined.
In Australia we get the british sky coverage which is great and all. Ted Kravitz, David Croft and all the rest of the team do great work but I’ve always missed James Allan. I grew up listening to him and he did a great job . I’m glad nbc picked him up and I hope it’s a long term deal. He’s a great operator.
Conversation (imagined) between the Mercedes garage and the pit-wall:
[Pit wall] But Lord Toto, why do you wish me to tell the drivers to slow down because of brakes?
[Lord Toto] Because we will give the enemy hope, then snatch it from them with two laps to go.
[Pit wall] But Lord Toto, won’t they become suspicious when they see no black dust from our brakes during the race?
[Lord Toto] No my apprentice, they want to believe they have a chance.
I sometimes do wonder whether the concern in F1 about making sure there’s a ‘show’ results, via hidden discussion, in these ‘nailbiters’. I think the conversation, if it happened, probably included the line ‘because I’ve been instructed by CVC capital to give the enemy hope, but I’m allowed to make sure it doesn’t change the results. Don’t worry, I won’t let him get any closer than we need to keep the numbers up on the late broadcast commercials’
Minor correction – “A win for Red Bull who rolled the dice in strategy starting on a harder
tire than Mercedes in order to try to run longer and undercut them” – I think you actually meant overcut, not undercut.
Good race summary, though I think you were generous in giving Kimi the “win”. He certainly deserved 3rd and it wasn’t his fault that he lost the podium spot – but his team certainly made yet another panicked knee-jerk strategy error & then had the temerity to try and defend it as the right call after the race.
Best NBC F1 Coverage. EVER. Thank you. Even though Brian kept messing up the cars, which is easy to do for a newcomer, the elevated conversation, actually talking about the racing, was a refreshing change. I would take that any day of the week over the non-racing commentary we usually get. 2X for the comment about the interaction between Matchett and Allen (M&A). My son and I watch together and constantly talk about the tactics during the race. For once, the broadcast discussions by M&A were parallel to ours, instead of minutes later. VERY GOOD SHOW. Especially loved the comments… Read more »
I really enjoyed that race! Props to Vettel for his drive from dead last to P5 – a worthy drive of the race. Too bad Ferrari flinched and called Kimi in for that last pit stop, although there’s no way to know for sure if he’d been able to keep Hamilton behind him to the end had he stayed out. And that last mad dash from Ricciardo kept me on the edge of my seat all the way to the end. Top stuff! Bummer for Nico Hulkenberg – he got a great start, which seems to have been what put… Read more »
Agreed there were some great drives and, while I generally think that’s a track that exists because Bernie was paid the appropriate level of extortion, rather than it being a place fit for a race, I have to admit drivers like Vettel and Verstappen were getting the overtakes done. Kudos to Red Bull et al for letting Daniil stand up for himself, rather than listening to Verstappen moan and ask to have him pull over. Not only did Kvyat have every right to race for his job, not only should Verstappen of all people have to suffer some aggressive defense,… Read more »
Okay,. I hereby call on ALL F-one-B supporters to send this letter – because NC is right, the coverage with James Allen and Brian Till was 100% more informative and entertaining. Whatever they cost, KEEP THEM ON. Send or phone your comments to:
Gary Zenkel, President
Jon Miller, NBC Sports president of programming
+1 212 664 4444 phone
30 Rockefeller Plaza
I’m staggered by the positive reviews of Brian Till. How many times did he call one driver another’s name, sometimes from a different team? And those moronic repeated comments about Merc not ‘doing something’ when Hamilton asked them to? Umm, F1 drivers always bitch meaninglessly when they’re frustrated at teams which cant just vaporize the other cars. And what was that weird comment about ‘keeping speed through the corners by not shortening the braking zone’ what? Go back and count the times matchett and hobbs had to fix the innacurate things this guy said it must have been 15 at… Read more »
I try to loo at this in a fair light given that calling F1 is not his main gig. To make a driver error in the same colored cars and not have the helmet designs down, to me, is perfectly understandable. I miss that from time to time to and I watch this sport much closer than many. I think what Brian was speaking about with the corners is that a driver will carry more rolling speed through the corner by adjusting his braking style, length and point of braking. I think that’s what he was referring to but I… Read more »
Yes, I understand, but you could have done 100 times better. Where is NC’s chance to fill in? We want it. I agree there is a point to make about the braking, he just didn’t seem to be able to do it, and as an announcer I think the job is to recognize the need to explain the braking and say ‘Steve, when they talk about brake management, what are they asking the driver to do?’ if you’re not good at it yourself. I just think he kept making this mistake, like he thought ‘they put me here, I gotta… Read more »
I liked it when they showed the chick at Merc grilling the mechanic and then sending off to do his job – I mean I’m all for a WAG shot of little miss Kimster but there are women doing serious work in F1 and the broadcast would do well to feature them more. I mean Bernadette Collins is one of the major reasons Force India, where the F1 drivers are probably also driving the truck between races, is killing mighty teams. I encourage the broadcast to feature a shot of these females who are calling the shots for every time… Read more »
Perhaps a fail for McLaren who had how many mechanical failures over the weekend, practice through the race? Alonso raced very well but this was supposed to be their big chance, and still they can’t keep the damn thing running even.