16 September 2018

Seven hours after the race

The Singapore Grand Prix was not a gripper, unless you're a Lewis Hamilton fan. 

Lewis took a sensational pole position on Saturday and made a great start, leading Max Verstappen into the first corner on the Marina Bay circuit. There was a Safety Car almost immediately after Force India's Sergio Perez shoved his team-mate Esteban Ocon into a wall but before that happened Sebastian Vettel had powered ahead of Verstappen, using all the grunt of his potent Ferrari power unit. Vettel was stuck behind Hamilton at the restart and followed his title rival in the early laps before Ferrari decided that the only thing to do was to take a risk and try to get ahead on the road with an undercut. Vettel hurried into the pits, the team exchanged the hypersoft tyres for ultrasofts, hoping that they would give Sebastian what he needed. Once ahead, he would be able to stay ahead and dictate the pace. Well, that was the theory. Mercedes reacted and called Lewis in immediately, put his car on soft tyres, and he was out on the track ahead of Vettel... Things would get worse for Vettel two laps later when Verstappen went for an overcut, diving into the pits, taking on soft tyres and getting out JUST before Vettel arrived. The Ferrari was in third and the two cars ahead had tyres that were better-suited for the job in the hand. Vettel settled down  to try to drive as carefully as possible, to keep the tyres alive, but they were shot to pieces in the closing laps and he dropped back 30 seconds. Sebastian is a lucky fellow because Valtteri Bottas was also struggling, unable to get close enough to Nico Hulkenberg to bring out blue flags and force Nico to get out of the way.

And behind Bottas both Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo were stuck in the draft and unable to mount an attack. It was one of those races. By the end of the race the only other man on the lead lap was Fernando Alonso, the best of the rest. He was helped by his various rivals crashing into one another and generally being rather silly. Sergio Perez and Romain Grosjean both did things that got them penalised, while Kevin Magnussen was unable to get his car to work. This meant the two Renaults finished eighth and 10th, the pair split by Charles Leclerc's Sauber.

Lewis's biggest problem was the backmarkers, notably Romain Grosjean and Sergey Sirotkin, who really should know better. The pair git in the way so much that Lewis found himself briefly under threat from Max Verstappen. Grosjean was penalised - and thoroughly deserved the penalty for being trucculent.

- We look at the F1 concept cars for 2021
- We talk to Gunther Steiner about Haas's recent highs and lows
- Maurizio Arrivabene talks about trading in Kimi Raikkonen for new model Charles Leclerc
- Alex Ribeiro talks about his F1 adventures
- We remember Whizzo Williams 
- JS hates the state of Williams F1
- The Hack writes about Ronnie Peterson
- DT ruminates on the fortunes of young drivers
- Peter Nygaard snaps the sights of Singapore

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