Race Report: Vettel wins Singapore GP

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Many Formula 1 fans expected the Singapore Grand Prix to favor the Ferrari and Red Bull cars given the lack of high-speed corners and long straights. Those characteristics are generally happy hunting grounds for the Mercedes team and Mercedes-powered cars.

Having said that, the storyline coming out of Friday’s practice session started to signal a problem with long-run and one-lap pace for the Silver Arrows leaving Ferrari and Red Bull to battle it out on a circuit just over 3 miles in length with 23 corners which is located on the equator with all the heat and humidity a driver can stand over a two-hour race.

Ferrari took the pole and led the race the entire 61 laps claiming their 3rd win of the season with Sebastian Vettel inching ever closer to second in the driver’s championship. The bad weekend Mercedes were having was exacerbated by a DNF for points-leading Lewis Hamilton and a 4th place finish for Nico Rosberg.

Red Bull had the long-run pace to win but Ferrari and Vettel did a masterful job of managing their race, tires and pace in order to cover the hard-charging Australian but two safety car periods—one for a crash between Felipe Massa and Nico Hulkenberg and the other for a 27-year-old man who wandered out on track which is one of the youngest track invaders in F1 history—made Vettel’s task of staying ahead of Ricciardo easier for sure.

Kimi Raikkonen said his Ferrari was a handful all weekend but he felt lucky to finish on the podium and had nothing for Vettel or Ricciardo. As for Rosberg, he said Lewis’s optimism about having pace to win had it not been for the DNF is a bit far-fetched as he was on the same strategy and had the same pace as Lewis and clearly had nothing for the frontrunners.

WinWin

A big win for Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel who take their third victory and while I say it’s a win for Red Bull and Daniel Ricciardo, I know they came in to this weekend feeling like they could win the race so they may not feel like they’ve won what they may have had the safety cars not come out. That’s unrealistic to think it wouldn’t because it has been released at every single Singapore Grand Prix since it came on the calendar seven years ago.

It’s a win for Valtteri Bottas and Sergio Perez who needed to increase their points haul to get ahead of their teammates and with both Mass and Hulkenberg taken out in the pit-exit crash, they drove tidy races to clean up the points by taking advantage of the incident. Bottas is now 5th and Perez 9th in the driver’s championship.

A win for Scuderia Toro Rosso who placed both cars in 8th and 9th for a points haul. This was quite a feat given that Max Verstappen stalled on the grid and was a lap down but clawed his way back into the points. His teammate, Carlos Sainz, had gearbox issues dropping several place but recovered to finish behind Verstappen.

While Sauber didn’t enjoy yet another points coring race from Marcus Ericsson, it was his teammate that claimed the final points-paying position of 10th giving the team much needed results that equal cash.

FailFail

Certainly a WTH weekend for Mercedes and while these shorter circuits don’t necessarily favor the Silver Arrows, they didn’t do too badly at Monaco. The team said they didn’t know what the issue was and many suggest that the FIA’s new clampdown on tire pressure measurements and processes have played into the weak performance and lack of grip they were having this weekend. Regardless fo the speculation, the team were flummoxed as to why they were so far off pace in Singapore.

Lewis Hamilton has points in hand so his DNF isn’t good but it didn’t cost him the lead in the championship either. Hamilton with a DNF in Singapore and Rosberg with a DNF two weeks ago is a challenge that Mercedes said they do not want to happen in 2015. So far, gremlins are striking and you have to wonder if the aging season is starting to give Merc som reliability issues along with the other teams.

A fail for Daniil Kvyat who was caught out by the first safety car period falling back to 6th and could never recover. Kvyat looked to have the measure of his teammate all weekend long but the race proved that his destiny was to lose his lead over Ricciardo in the driver’s championship. Ricciardo has had his share of bad luck this year so perhaps it’s Daniil’s time?

Lotus F1 had a tough weekend but perhaps even being at the race is a win, regardless, the performance was a fail and Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado were sitting ducks for most of the race bested by teams that aren’t usually beating them.

A big fail for McLaren who felt this circuit was flattering them a bit and that points could be possible. In fact, Fernando Alonso said this was the best weekend so far this year. As soon as they say that, the team scores another dual DNF and it must be said that Jenson Button is starting to sound like a man who is leaving the team. His comments are becoming more disengaged and critical of the team and that’s usually a sign of a eminent departure from McLaren.

WTHWTH

Certainly you have to wonder what the fan was doing wandering around on the circuit taking pictures. Ricciardo said he would have liked to swerve over and clip the idiot as it prompted a safety car which sealed Vettel’s victory. Toto Wolff said he looked like he’d had a few beers and maybe that’s how they do things in Austria, Toto, but I think he was trying to find a bathroom having eaten a dodgy curry. Either that or he was trying to help Lewis reset his car’s computer as he is an IT manager for Pan Pacific and has a righteous set of tools.

singapore fan track

Another WTH moment was for Ferrari and their team who bum rushed parc ferme shoving photogs around and ignoring security like Hell’s Grannies. It was like an incident simply missing the appropriate hashtag justice moniker for crying out loud.

If you were scratching your head as to why Toro Rosso told Max Verstappen to pull over and let Carlos Sainz through, then you were in the same boat as 17-year-old Plucky Teen Max Verstappen. He promptly said no and disobeyed team orders and took 8th place leaving team boss, Franz Tost, to try and justify his actions in the press by defending his petulance.

Now, while the overwhelming social media traffic is very supportive of Max, and I am too, you might check your moral outrage barometer if you were one of the people castigating Sebastian Vettel for telling Mark Webber to get bent when ordered to move over or not pass. Max, like Seb, is not in F1 to play wet nurse to their teammate. They are there to win.

PosDriverCar/EngineLapsTime/Delay
1Sebastian VettelFerrari612h 01:22.118
2Daniel RicciardoRed Bull/Renault611.478
3Kimi RäikkönenFerrari6117.154
4Nico RosbergMercedes6124.720
5Valtteri BottasWilliams/Mercedes6134.204
6Daniil KvyatRed Bull/Renault6135.508
7Sergio PérezForce India/Mercedes6150.836
8Max VerstappenToro Rosso/Renault6151.450
9Carlos SainzToro Rosso/Renault6152.860
10Felipe NasrSauber/Ferrari611:30.045
11Marcus EricssonSauber/Ferrari611:37.507
12Pastor MaldonadoLotus/Mercedes611:37.718
13Romain GrosjeanLotus/Mercedes59Not running
14Alexander RossiMarussia/Ferrari592 Laps
15Will StevensMarussia/Ferrari592 Laps
Jenson ButtonMcLaren/Honda52Gearbox
Fernando AlonsoMcLaren/Honda33Retirement
Lewis HamiltonMercedes32Power Unit
Felipe MassaWilliams/Mercedes30Power Unit
Nico HülkenbergForce India/Mercedes12Collision

 

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Sir Andrew

A great race, I certainly didn’t feel an overwhelming urge to snooze. Interesting that it was the gearbox on both McLarens, am I right in thinking that they run a slightly different design of gearbox (materials) to the other teams? It’s relief that it isn’t the engine AGAIN causing them to retire. Mercs woes. I think it’s not only the tire pressures – where I think they were running on the fine edges of pressure to enable a better performance window – but also the new engine. Nico having a problem at Monza and now Lewis loses pressure due to… Read more »

Sergio José Pérez Leyva

Pastor has just been confirmed by Lotus for next season… Lotus confirmation as a team remains to be seen.

eram

Pastor purchased Lotus for 30 million and is going to rename it to Team Maldonado, he gets to drive both cars.

Sir Andrew

The way he drives, having two cars per weekend is the only way he is going to reliably finish races!

jcn115

he’ll be back, he is The Maldonator

http://youtu.be/V9GtxYrMQcI

B52RockLobster

I agree. Pastor parked the car in the corner because he knew Button was going to try and cut in and take him on the inside. Probably a legal racing move, but dirty and exactly what you’d expect out of Pastor.

eram

You never know what is going to happen, one part of the circuit can have spectators walking on track while the other part can be dry..

Dr T

That plucky spectator is the youngest ever to invade the race

Negative Camber

I said that. :)

Daniel Johnson

The FIA just thew a fit because he had the soft compound on his right foot and the super soft on his left.

dude

3 things I took from this race:

Guy walking on the track was most exciting part of the race.

Max earned more respect from me.

Eddie Jordan’s shirt.

Paul KieferJr

That guy walking out on the track is definitely a big “WTH” for me. I have no idea what he thought he was doing.

dude

He looked kind of down like he just had a break up. Understandable.

geeyore

Although somewhat distracted by domestic duties, most of what I saw was a great race with plenty of surprises and change-ups. It was excellent and satisfying to see Vettel, Ricciardio, and Kimi on the podium, and it’s very pleasing to see Merc rethinking their race game. Sounds like Hamilton lost his charge pipe. The same thing happened to me on a track day several weeks ago. Funny, when I lost mine the biggest worry was also whether I still had the C clamp, a $20 part (actually, it’s so insignificant that it’s hard to find a replacement). And just a… Read more »

Dr T

Not sure that you could put Danil Kyvat into the fail category – sure he was due some bad luck but the timing of his pit stops is a hardly a slight on him or the team – if the safety cars had happened a bit later he would have had “the undercut” and we would have been hailing the team strategy

Dr T

As an unrelated aside – everything has gone very quiet online with regards to the career of even pluckier teen Mick Schumacher…

I’m looking forward to the future exploits of plucky child Felipinho Massa

Tom Firth

He’s been doing fine. Strong young driver in first year of racing really, a win, a podium and best rookie on a good few occasions, in addition to some mistakes that come with F4 level racing.

Managed to break his wrist earlier in the year too, unfortunately. As expected, not a contender this year in an incredibly competitive junior series, one to watch next year though.

Degan

Nice post race tie up! Would be a shame if JB exited with such a whimper after such an awesome career, although with his experience, I’m sure his decision to stay on this year was a (mis) calculated risk. Hope Honda can do right by him and at least get them in the points by the end of the year, but in Suzuka would be awesome! Not sure you can compare max/Carlos to seb/mark. Max fought his way back from dead last, and deserved to take the points. Seb swooped on his wounded (engine turned down at the request of… Read more »

Mike S

Wait…isn’t that?…??

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Race Report: Vettel wins Singapore GPI actually enjoy the Singapore GP a lot. It's a punishing track and offers a visually stunning backdrop. Perhaps it's me but the circuit is not as identifiable as Monaco's turns are so you get lost int he grayness of the circuit much like you did with Valencia. It's difficult to tell where the drivers are without landmarks. Maybe in time, it will register in my brain but I know exactly where the cars are on the Monaco circuit.
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