Grand Prix 2019 Singapore Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

Here we go you lucky ducks. Our good friend Olivier signed up for this one, but since he's not around you're stuck with me doing it instead, sorry ;)

As we head into Asia and the race at the Marina Bay Street Circuit of Singapore the balance of power looks to have shifted slightly in the 2019 season. We started off the year with the domination of Ferrari in testing and then when the racing started we were back to square one. Mercedes were on the front foot and off up the road like a robbers dog winning every race going it seemed. Bottas, complete with his new beard, even showed some fight against his team mate and took a couple of wins in Australia and Azerbaijan, he was the only one who managed to deny his team mate in the first eight races as we all sat back and expected total domination by the German team and Hamilton, it seemed likely.

Then we went to Austria and something happened. Now Austria is always a track where Mercedes as a whole and Hamilton in particular has struggled more than at other circuits from what I can tell, Hamilton did again this year it would seem. The young Dutch driver Max Verstappen managed to stun us all and pull a win out of the bag, followed home by both Ferrari's and Bottas ahead of Hamilton. Since then out the last five races Hamilton has only won two, his dominance seemingly less than it was. Whether he's so far ahead in the championship he's not as driven to win, or if it's something else, who knows? Red Bull and Ferrari seem to have suddenly found a way to beat him, at least Verstappen and Leclerc have, let's not mention their team mates just now for various other reasons.

Singapore is another track like Monaco where the walls are incredibly close, the turns tight and twisty and where pretty much anything can and often does happen. We rarely see a race there without at least one safety car, often there is more than one due to the nature of the track and lack of run off areas etc. not to mention the narrow and cramped pit lane. It's a bumpy circuit, and although the race is run in the evening when it should be cooler, note the should, the temperature inside the cockpit can get up to 60C (140F). The humidity is also incredibly high making it even harder on the body, along with being one of the longer races which can trouble the two hour limit. So it's not for the feint hearted. You need to be on your game both mentally and physically to win in Singapore.

Of the eleven times it's been raced since we returned there in 2008, Nico Rosberg has won it once, Fernando Alonsohas won (ahem) it twice and both Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton have four wins under their belts. The way things are going you have to wonder if either of them will win it again this year. Vettel likes this track but in his current form I have to wonder if he can up his game enough to take his first win of the season on such a demanding track, especialy when his younger team mate Charles Leclerc is showing such brilliant form and could potentially make it three wins a row. Then again will Max Verstappen put in another sterling performance to take his first win here and third win of the year as well? Will Hamilton find that extra something that seems to have been missing in some of the recent races and grab another win here, his fifth here and his ninth of 2019? Under the artificial lights and in the heat and atmosphere of Singapore you can bet whoever wins it will be physically drained by the end of it all. Probably we will too if the race is anything like as demanding as it had been sometimes.

Last year your pole sitter was Hamilton and your podium was 1st Hamilton, 2nd Verstappen 3rd Vettel. On a side note, Kevin Magnussen managed to grab the fastest lap there which just proves how unpredictable this place can be.

Turn on your fans, sit back and let's hope we all enjoy Singapore 2019!
 

Izumi

Banned
Well, he was faster in P3, faster in all 3 qualifying sessions and was comfortably ahead of him before the pit stops. It is not like Vettel beat him on the track.
Vettel didn't win this race because he was slow. His pit stop was slower than Leclerc's, and surprised timing of his pit stop was circumstantial, as decision was explained after race. In fact pit wall crew (like you) were taken by surprise with Vettel's speed. Perhaps in Monza it was reverse case, but such is racing sometimes. Drivers do complain for one reason or another, however it makes me wonder if Leclerc has taken his litany a step too far when he said "I didn't expect Vettel to overtake me".

Hard to say whether this race indicates there are better times ahead for Ferrari.
 
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Greenlantern101

Super Hero And All Round Good Guy
Contributor
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Well, he was faster in P3, faster in all 3 qualifying sessions and was comfortably ahead of him before the pit stops. It is not like Vettel beat him on the track.

Vettel was behind Leclerc while they were in a procession looking aftert their tyres and their fuel, when after lap 20 they started racing and cars around them started coming in for their tyre change Vettel was better than Leclerc. Leclerc complains that by stopping Vettel first they gave him a chance and that it possibly true BUT (i) Ferrari had to cover themselves from what was happening around them (had they not stopped Vettel when they did Verstappen would have undercut him) and most importantly (ii) Leclerc was in clean air and couldn't go faster during Vettel's out lap.

I also think that if Leclerc was so much faster he should have least tried a move on Vettel after one of the 3 SC restarts yet, despite the fact that Ferrari's pit wall him told their drivers that they were allowed to race each other, he didn't even manage to get in a position to try once.

IMHO yesterday Leclerc was beaten fair and square on track
 

Izumi

Banned
GP247
Marko, though, had a lengthier explanation for the surprising struggle on a track that was supposed to suit the RB15.
He told ORF, “The problem was in the simulator. We were totally misled by this. The simulator is the basis of our setup for the race weekend, so if it is not right from there then you are in trouble. “The problem is that we set up our chassis much too stiffly, which meant we lacked stability. We also had too little downforce,” explained Marko.

One of (many) examples why testing on a track is more reliable to validate your car readiness for a race. A car has to be in best state of preparedness when it slots on the starting grid. It is better for racing, it is better for a team and rewards are bigger.
Ferrari had problems in the past in mis-calibrated wind tunnel, Honda similar misleading calibration issues on dyno, had their name dragged through the mud, and so it goes. There is no substitute for real thing, which is testing in real conditions (if possible).
 
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220

Banned
While qualifying might be a indication of speed it doesnt always correlate to race pace.
Both Ferrari's fastest race laps were over 8 seconds slower than their Q3 laps, really it is to the stage that qualifying and the race are almost 2 different events.
 

Izumi

Banned
It was always like that. Race setup/qualifying setup... It might be that forthcoming changes in qualifying format might change that. Short sprint as a method how to form a grid sounds good and better over what it is now, but I am not yet sure that this is all what's needed. I still like 12 laps qualifying format as it used to be. For now I have feeling that instead addressing governing causes why grid formation is predictable, they are trying to mask it with gimmicks. Sprint qualifications will have problems as well; fast cars will do well, lesser cars will not. (But then, my mind is old.)
 
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F1Brits_90

Champion Elect
I got to be careful here because vettel drove well, great cutting through the traffic, on the safety car restarts & also no mean feat to keep mental concentration for 2hrs. but if I was Leclerc I would've been fuming praise Leclerc for staying so calm under the adrenalin, because he got a fantastic pole, drives to the team instructions perfectly & what does he get in return shafted by team race taken off him. vettel wouldn't have won that race if it wasn't for Leclerc being on pole, that radio message spoke volumes because we all know when Ferrari speak in Italian over the radio, they either up to something or being quite secretive. was this Ferrari giving him a win to get the monkey off his back, get him back to his best

also on Ferrari hats off to how fantastic is that update from a distant 3th/4th in hungary over minute behind to 1-2 in Singapore 6 weeks later, that is extremely impressive. surprised that Mercedes didn't go safe pit lap after vettel or with Leclerc cost lewis at least a podium, but championship wise he wont mind because he was ahead of bottas so 65 pt lead & a 96 pt lead from last non Mercedes which means bottas has to win the next 5 & hope lewis doesn't finish on podium to claw that back, Leclerc/Verstappen has to win 6 hope Lewis isn't in top 5

Gasly I thought had a good race, which normally would be good thing but is he in danger of being like a perez where he gets a reputation of only good being in a midfield car, Grosjean this was the weekend to get everyone to change there mind about why he deserved a 2020 seat because most ive seen in the paddock talking, don't understand the decision, I get the point he good at setting up a car but F1 is about performance this weekend was pretty bad, that silly error in FP2 & if he thinks that going around the outside of Turn 8 was viable move that why he didn't yield, taking out grosjean well he needs his head testing
 

F1Brits_90

Champion Elect
That race did my head in. So frustrating on many fronts. Stupid tyre preservation, limping around 6 or 7 seconds a lap slower than needed...and urgh, all the laps wasted under the safety car. I almost threw the remote at the TV.

yes wasnt the greatest race, was abit poor. this is a race that could do with a mandatory 2 stopper because that 1st stint every year is ridiclous

Hamilton - today he didn't have the pace to match Verstappen or the Ferraris, the way that Mercedes treated Bottas remind me of how Ferrari used to treat Barrichello, it wasn't nice and IMHO it wasn't fair nor necessary because Bottas is still in the race for the WDC and Hamilton has the talent to shine on his own merit.

yes i thought that was quite weird it was final admission that they think bottas is clear no2 & almost they were trying to use bottas to make up for the own terrible strategy decisions, dont overtake lewis please otherwise we will get a mouthful
 
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we all know when Ferrari speak in Italian over the radio, they either up to something or being quite secretive.

there's plenty of people in the world who speak Italian so it's a hardly going to work if their aim is to try and cover up what they are doing. If you have a particular radio message in mind I'd be happy to translate it for you

Regarding Vettel and Leclerc, if the winner wasn't called Sebastian Vettel we would all be praising him for being 4 seconds faster than his main opponent on his out lap and we would be talking of a potential conspiracy against him by Ferrari because Vettel's pit stop was half a second slower than Leclerc's.

Vettel has made many mistakes in the past and often it looked as if he wasn't very focused, we all agree on that, I don't quite see the problem in saying that yesterday he drove very well and that he's a deserving winner. Lelcerc had many opportunities but he never used them to his advantage. To me it looks as if yesterday Vettel did what he's always been very good at: put his head down when he's on his own and pull in great lap times.

And I also think that it would be fair to remember that Vettel was instrumental, or rather without him Leclerc stood no chance, in Leclerc's victory at Spa and in Lelcerc's pole at Monza (where in fairness it has to be admitted that Vettel was faster in qualy because if Leclerc was 1 tenth ahead of him after gaining 4 tenths of a second by taking a tow from his team mate to me it looks as if Vettel in qualy was approx 3 tenths quicker. Pity Leclerc didn't return the favour. The fact that Vettel squandered his chances in the race is another matter)
 
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F1Brits_90

Champion Elect
there's plenty of people in the world who speak Italian so it's a hardly going to work if their aim is to try and cover up what they are doing. If you have a particular radio message in mind I'd be happy to translate it for you

well its everyone speaks over the radio in English. unless they only broadcast the English ones on British tv & it just seems if theyve got something to hide. actually i would like to know what binnoto said to leclerc in warm down lap

on the point leclerc, it just a strange decision because every top team give the leading driver (unless their is a championship on the line) the preferential/better strategy. it felt alot like 2017 monaco when kimi did everything right & got done by his own team.

i praised vettel for what he did & it was good but it wasnt a great win. i would feel same at Mercedes & red bull
 

Angel

Race Winner
Contributor
I don't want to argue about this, but surely Ferrari didn't call either driver in as I understand it. Vettel chose to go in early and try the undercut, Leclerc could have done exactly the same thing, he simply chose not to. Vettel used his greater experience to gain an advantage over the other drivers and his team mate. Should Ferrari have asked Vettel to pull over? Well if it spoilt Leclerc's championship chances, maybe, only it didn't. As Publius Cornelius Scipio also pointed out earlier, after three safety car restarts Leclerc didn't once try to pass Vettel. Had Vettel, Hamilton or Verstappen been second you can bet they would all have had a go at a pass at any of those points. Unless of course the team told him not to, but I didn't hear that they did.
 

Izumi

Banned
No. Vettel was ordered to come into pits from pit wall. He said quite clearly after race that he thought it was too early, but at the end he obeyed. Order was issued just seconds before pit entry. Sitting in a car he did not know that he was a sitting duck for Verstappen. Once out, clear track and well working tire let him free to run, and he was just as surprised to see Leclerc being behind, and Charles was to see him ahead. All was explained by Ferrari in more than one interview.
 
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Angel

Race Winner
Contributor
I stand corrected. I hadn't heard that about Vettel being called in. I beg your pardon. I only get highlights and I don't always see/hear everything that goes on sadly :(
 
actually i would like to know what binnoto said to leclerc in warm down lap

he told him that he drove a great race that he will explain him why they had to pit Vettel first and to enjoy the podium ceremony

Also re Ferrari's radio messages to their drivers, during the first SC period they broadcast a radio message by Leclerc where he was complaining and asking if he could race Vettel, they cut the answer on the FIA feed, Sky Italia played the whole message and Leclerc was told that he could race Vettel only to be careful. IMHO if there was a conspiracy to screw Leclerc they would have told him to hold position.
 

Izumi

Banned
they had to react to RBR getting ready for Verstappen
Yes, I've understood that. What surprised me, that Ferrari openly without eye-blink admitted, that they didn't expect Vettel to catch Leclerc. Sounds rather dismissive of their driver. Italian media meanwhile are elated with the race outcome. I wonder however if they aren't writing Mercedes off too early.
 
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Ruslan

Podium Finisher
Hard to say whether this race indicates there are better times ahead for Ferrari.

Well, I think it does. I think the real story of the 2019 season will be how Ferrari threw away a championship in the first half of the season. But.....it does make you wonder how 2020 is going to shape up.
 

Ruslan

Podium Finisher
Vettel was behind Leclerc while they were in a procession looking aftert their tyres and their fuel, when after lap 20 they started racing and cars around them started coming in for their tyre change Vettel was better than Leclerc. Leclerc complains that by stopping Vettel first they gave him a chance and that it possibly true BUT (i) Ferrari had to cover themselves from what was happening around them (had they not stopped Vettel when they did Verstappen would have undercut him) and most importantly (ii) Leclerc was in clean air and couldn't go faster during Vettel's out lap.

Well, I have not seen the in-and-out times. I usually watch the races with the friend, and he commented the Leclerc seemed slow getting in and out of the pits. Not sure if that is the case.

I also think that if Leclerc was so much faster he should have least tried a move on Vettel after one of the 3 SC restarts yet, despite the fact that Ferrari's pit wall him told their drivers that they were allowed to race each other, he didn't even manage to get in a position to try once.

Noted....but this hardly re-establishes Vettel over Leclerc.

IMHO yesterday Leclerc was beaten fair and square on track

Well, no one passed anyone on the track. We have not seen anything like the Hamilton-Rosberg duels at Ferrari (yet). On the other hand, I am beginning to think that the 2020 season could be very interesting.
 
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