Grand Prix 2012 Singapore Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

From the sunshine, trees and Ferrari madness of Monza to the water front and arc lights of Singapore, F1 begins the long haul end of the season with a night race at imaginatively named Marina Bay circuit. McLaren have won the last three races but Fernando Alonso still retains a significant margin in the Drivers Championship going into round 14. Last year was a Red Bull walk over but this year the Bulls have been somewhat castrated and Monza proved a real low point with a double DNF.

Lewis Hamilton's pole to flag win in Italy must give him great hope of chasing down Alonso's Championship lead, hopefully the on-going contract shenanigans won't distract him in the City State race. Don't under estimate Ferrari however, Massa showed good pace at Monza and Fernando Alonso is the only multiple Singapore GP winner in the field, one win behind matching Graeme Lawrence's three victories (look it up if you don't believe me).

After a pulsating second at Monza Sergio Perez must be hoping to go one better this race as his Sauber, through a combination of out right pace and strategy, was chasing down the leading McLaren towards the end in Italy. Whether their usual unusual strategy in Singapore will reap the same dividends remains to be seen, perhaps it's Kamui's turn?

The one man destruction derby that is Romain Grosjean will more than likely be back in the Lotus after Jerome d'Ambrosio put in a workman like, but less than stellar performance, standing in for the Frenchman. Kimi Raikkonen must be hoping the Lotus works better around the streets than it did on the high speed Monza track although fifth wasn't a bad result. Mercedes will, doubtless, continue in their position of best of the rest although Force India were their usual speedy selves around the open curves at Monza and will probably push the Mercs close.

Of the rest, what can you say? Williams - the tortoise and the hare incarnate, albeit the hare seems to have a habit of breaking a leg a little too often. Should we run a sweep on whether Pastor or Romain will punt another driver off first? The back of the grid are using the Noah principal and will come in "two by two", in qualie at least. This is a special race for Narain Karthikeyan as it marks the anniversary of his d├ębut at HRT having driven the Spanish shit box in free practice last year. Money well spent...

Pointless fact about Singapore: If you cross into Malaysia with less than 3/4's of a tank of fuel you will be fined $100 dollars.

Circuit write up is here: enjoy!
mjo - agree completely... Although I do suspect that had Schumacher's incident been someone else, then it might have been punished much more strongly! (It reminded me of Grosjean's accident in Spa- and could have been absolutely disatrous!)
Just as a general observation--

Steward intervention/non-intervention is one of a plethora of reasons I prefer sports car racing ( Le Mans, ALMS etc) to F1. Amazing how F1 managed to survive since the 50s without the stewarding that has reared its ugly head in the last few years.

The self-proclaimed "best drivers in the world" sure seem to require a lot more monitoring now than they ever did in the past. I wonder why that is?
Has any action been taken against the Hulk for clipping across in front of Kobayashi? I know he cut his tyre, but it does seem like a cut and dried offence when he took out the sauber's front wing?
Just as a general observation--

Steward intervention/non-intervention is one of a plethora of reasons I prefer sports car racing ( Le Mans, ALMS etc) to F1. Amazing how F1 managed to survive since the 50s without the stewarding that has reared its ugly head in the last few years.

The self-proclaimed "best drivers in the world" sure seem to require a lot more monitoring now than they ever did in the past. I wonder why that is?

Because racing is so much safer these days if a driver drove recklessly back then, the chances are he would pay with his or somebody else's life, now they just walk away unscathed so obviously the stewards have to intervene more...
If there were still a driver of the day I would be very tempted by Massa. After the second lap he was last by some distance, he drove well, aggressive when he needed to be and made two good overtakes. He also managed to make his last set of super softs go an enormous distance.
This race for me was a bit hit or miss. At times it looked like spicing up but then at times it went dull.

I have to say when Hamilton retired my heart sank, i think we'd have seen an almighty battle for the lead. I think Vettel had the pace to win even without Hamilton's retirement, i think the Red Bull's race pace was slightly better than the Mclaren's this race and Jenson's pace proved this.

However you've got to say Vettel was very graceful about the win and knew that had Hamilton stayed around he would have had a much harder race day. Also nice little touch on the Sid Watkins thing through the radio from the German.

Button's second was about the best result he could have hoped for. TBH he just didn't have the pace to challenge the big two or one once Lewis retired. Nonetheless solid drive from the Frome racer.

Can't fault him on his drive today, he knew he didn't have the pace to challenge and still he end's up on the podium. TBH it was a good consistent race from a man whose been simply the best out there this season.

Paul Di Resta:
He was my driver of the day. Didn't put a foot wrong all day, got off the line well and gained a couple of places through strategy and Lewis's retirement. But nonetheless solid drive from a man who surely will be in a top team next season. Also put Alonso under a bit of pressure and caused Ferrari to up the aunty.

Others who had smashing days:
Felipe Massa - TBH he could have finished higher than 8th in his Ferrari but that puncture put him right off strategy and he went and did his own race and came through the field and finished 8th marvelously.

Lewis Hamilton - despite retiring he was doing a good job up front and looked like he was heading for a very interesting battle with Vettel. Just the lad needs a shoulder around him and to get going again.

Congrats to Marussia - they may only have finished 12th but that 12th position from Timo Glock goes along way for a team who have a small budget to play around with.

Michael Schumacher fully deserves his ten place grid drop in the next round as that incident with Jean Eric Vergne could have been avoided and Vettel should never have been under investigation.
After Hamilton stopped his car, his mechanic mentioned that Hamilton did do everything he could yesterday despite the problem (or something alike). So that's an indication they knew something was wrong.
As I recall the engineer said "We did everything yesterday we could". Some are choosing to interpret that means that there was a problem that they tried to patch up, equally it could mean "At least yesterday we showed you were the quickest out there.". Auntie is quoting Whitmarsh as saying "there had been no indication before the race that there was anything wrong [with the McLaren's gearbox]".
I never would have thought that a race could be too long, but the Singapore GP for a dry race, is very long, and is uneventful until a safety car comes out, they should reduce the laps by 10-15 laps or so, bit of a drag!

Like the Hamster above says
This race for me was a bit hit or miss. At times it looked like spicing up but then at times it went dull.

With Hamilton retiring, I was gutted. Most no here that I'm by far not his biggest fan, but his luck this season has been poor. From poor pitstops, reliability, drivers crashing into him (what goes around comes back around maybe? ;)), he's driving brilliantly despite all tthat, and seeing him 52 points behind the leader is probably not the right indication of his season. Whether he could have won or not, I do not know, but he was driving great, and we could have been in for a great battle between Vettel and Hamilton, and with them battling, maybe Button could have joined in too.

He was angry in qualifying as he missed out on pole, and left most of us pondering why he was as slow as he was in Qualifying 3. But was geared up to make things right for the race, and that he did. Dispatched Maldonado early on (which isn't no mean feat!), and stayed withing 1-2s behind Hamilton before the latter retired. Drove a controlled race, and crucially for hiim this race puts him right back into the championship, he's not been lucky either this season with 3 DNFs not being his fault, and the Red Bull being inconsistent. Again beats his team-mate comfortably, could his championship challenge finally start now? We know he loves Suzuka, and a confidence boost like this is what he needed.

Never looked like hassling the leaders Alonso, but with slower cars behind him, and with Hamilton and Maldonado not finishing, third is what he was going to achieve, just a typical average race from Alonso, keeps his lead up, and with Singapore being a strange track, we could see the usual suspects put Alonso out of the podium spot, come Suzuka.

Which brings me to Pastor Maldonado, what a shame. We all know he has the speed, he's only converted that twice into a points position, and the rest has been his own undoing (apart from Bahrain), was about to end his pointless streak, but it wasn't to be as a hydraulics failure put him out of a possible podium position. It was a great mature drive, worthy of a podium, totally decimated his team-mate this weekend. Deserved more, but maybe it was the cars time to let the Williams down rather than the driver.

After Friday practice they were tipped to having the fourth fastest car, and that showed in qualifying and the race for Force India, as Paul di Resta, brought home his car in fourth, albeit aided by retirements. Achieved his highest points position finish here last year, and he's done it again here this year, was hoping for his first podium, but it wasn't to be, as Fernando's Ferrari was a little bit faster.

Rosberg had a quiet race, fifth has been their best finish since Schumacher's podium in Valencia. The best result Mercedes were going to get in this race considering how the weekend went. Puzzling how they went from podium contenders to basically nowhere. Out-developed massively by the others, brought some upgrades for Singapore, but it's a little too late, although Britney does say, "there's more to come from Mercedes", don't know if hes' talking about this year.

Not a great race for Lotus at all, been solid in most grand prixs, were tipped by some to win here, but they looked far from winning here. Lucky to get 6th and 7th. Raikkonen again for three races running salvages something from the race. Concentrating too much on the DDRS maybe? Been delaying the upgrade since Hungary. Looks as if they've been out-developed since Spa, we will see the DDRS in Suzuka finally, whether it will bring them back to the front or not, we'll see. If they want to finish well this season, they need to get their act together, several missed oppurtunities, and now falling back. Considering that one of their drivers is in the championship and Ferrari pulling away in the championship, it's not good enough.

Felipe! Great race from him! Helped by two safety cars and retirements it must be said, but he drove brilliantly after a puncture on the first lap in the first few turns, leaving him way behind the field. His stints where great, and his last one incredible. His overtake could have been immense, but Senna left him a bit too much space, but great recovery to get the car pointed into the corner.

Some points for Toro Rosso, who keep falling back from the rest. But two points finishes in two races, in a league of their own. Really need some upgrades to the car, last year they brought upgrades to the car in the final third of the season, but where unlucky not to get points, but, not many upgrades going on this car.

Webber's penalty was fair as he got an unfair advantage, and because of that passed Kobayashi, despite the one corner rule (of going of the track and gaining the advantage), he passed Korn on the Kob straight into the next corner.

Hats off to Glock who seems under pressure this season as Pic is matching him, was of course aided by retirements and the two Caterhams colliding with each other, but the upgrades brought to this car have worked well, and a really good boost for them to overtake Caterham after finishing last the past two seasons.

As for the championship, if anyone has best chance to win the championship apart from Alonso, it's Vettel. I seriously don't see Raikkonen in the title fight at all judging by the last three races where he's managed to achieve the maximum he could, add to the fact Lotus still are poor on the strategy and pitstop front. They have some upgrades for Suzuka, but chasing the DDRS for ages, they've fallen back, while also delaying the DDRS since Hockenheim.

Hamilton needs to be on the podium every race, which could look likely as the car looks quick everywhere, but even so, he needs Alonso to score lowly for two races or a DNF.

Alonso looks a bit worried as the car looks faster and the gap has been reduced by 8 points, from 37 to 29. But, now it looks as if he's got one contender, and with McLaren with the best all round car, and the Red Bull inconsistent, it looks fine for him. (easy for me to say).

Not done one of these in a while, now I know why, it takes an age! :)
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