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!
 

F1Brits_90

Champion Elect
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.

i agree but partially red bull sort of ferrari catch up through the season & we think we ate in for amazing 3 way battle. then either Mercedes take a huge step forward or the other 2 go backwards. & we end up with status quo
 

Carlos7182

Browser
Does anyone else believe there is something seriously wrong with f1 these days. The tyres and overtaking needs to be sorted. I love the sport but I tune in to watch them race not do sub standard parade laps for the first half of a grand prix. The Singapore race was not a race. A race is all about being the fastest car best driver and so on. When can we actually get racing back and not tippy toeing around to preserve crap for later on!
 

Izumi

Banned
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.
I didn't count them, I didn't bookmark them for posterity, however enough of qualified voices from inside F1 establishment suggested and agreed, that Ferrari did not have a universally a good car to win in Mercedes style, which is any race, any time, any place. Certainly, there were races lost, like Canada, however Singapore track is first confirmation this season the team has, they have now a car that should be able to win everywhere. For reasons stated, I think it is harsh to say that Ferrari tossed away first half of a season. Sure, strategy mistakes by red pit wall were in abundance in recent years, but IMO it was a car and tire which held them back this year. In Vettel's case probably car setup (technical issue for him). Having said that, I think we need at least one more confirmation that car is good, and win was a win on merit, and not because Vowels messed up strategy in opponent's team.

We have to get beyond this:
Charles Leclerc won at Spa and Monza, but a controversial strategy call in Singapore meant that the struggling number 1 Sebastian Vettel won in Singapore.
Beats me why a writer of this article feels it was controversial strategy? The team won 1,2, and is it because Vettel won? Where was this cry at Monza or Canada? I've left F1 only because of such BS already several times, only to return a month later. Love of several decades is just too strong.
 
Last edited:
I don't think that Ferrari had a winning car during the first half of the season, suggesting they had doesn't only mean that Vettel is a not very good driver (as I gather that many believe is the case) but also that Lelcerc isn't much better.

Call me cynical but I don't think that Ferrari's winning streak bodes well for 2020, during the last few seasons we have often seen similar reversals of fortunes, but they always seem to happen was Mercedes is safely ahead in the points. I don't believe that Mercedes is losing its focus, I just think that on occasion they don't try hard enough, for the benefit of the show (IMHO the will collect all the silverware in the current format). Having said that I don't think that this was the case last Sunday, to me it looked as if they were struggling (or Hamilton was truggling,I believe that Bottas had the pace to challenge Verstappen and the Ferraris)
 

Izumi

Banned
Italian media seems to change tune (at least for this weekend), and suddenly pontificating, that Vettel is definitely should stay with the team next year. The old adage seems still in play, that in F1 you are only as good as your last race. I remain puzzled why Leclerc continues to think, that the race was "stolen" from him.
 
Last edited:

Bill Boddy

Professional layabout
Contributor
Having looked at what happened over the whole weekend and reading that Ferrari is now faster than Mercedes I am not so sure that that is true over race lengths.

The long distance runs favoured Mercedes with a slight but certain advantage over Red Bull with Ferrari well back. Yes, the Ferraris did lead the FP3 session but Hamilton lead FP2 and Verstappen led FP1. The first two sessions of qualifying are run with the leaders with engines turned down so are not reliable. So it comes down to Q3. There were six laps which counted (I don't include Bottas) and only four that counted, two by Leclerc and one each by Hamilton and Vettel. There wa no indication whatsoever from the race as the circuit and the tyre situation meant that they might as well have run with the engines turned. The result was due mire to timing of tyre chages than anything else.

This is hardly an indication that Ferrari now hold an advantage over Mercedes on all circuits.
 

Izumi

Banned
Bill, I have the same feeling. It make take a race or more to really validate Ferrari's standing on the grid and in race. Apparently Leclerc in post race interview stated more or less the same sentiment.
 

Ruslan

Podium Finisher
I didn't count them, I didn't bookmark them for posterity, however enough of qualified voices from inside F1 establishment suggested and agreed, that Ferrari did not have a universally a good car to win in Mercedes style, which is any race, any time, any place. Certainly, there were races lost, like Canada, however Singapore track is first confirmation this season the team has, they have now a car that should be able to win everywhere. For reasons stated, I think it is harsh to say that Ferrari tossed away first half of a season. Sure, strategy mistakes by red pit wall were in abundance in recent years, but IMO it was a car and tire which held them back this year. In Vettel's case probably car setup (technical issue for him). Having said that, I think we need at least one more confirmation that car is good, and win was a win on merit, and not because Vowels messed up strategy in opponent's team.

I have not added them up but there were multiple team, reliability, strategy and driver mistakes. I would not be surprised if I did that Ferrari did not managed to drop 25-50 points per driver....and that is not entirely factoring in how they dealt or did not deal with their inconsistent performance. Now, Hamilton in 96 points ahead with 6 races to go. Hard to loose it at this point. If Vettel wins the next six races and Hamilton places 5th (which is easy in that car), then he has it. On the other hand, if the different was only 46 points, and Ferrari has the fastest car, then they would be in striking distance.
 

Ruslan

Podium Finisher
Call me cynical but I don't think that Ferrari's winning streak bodes well for 2020...

Well, if they genuinely have the best car at the end of the season, then I think they go into 2021 with an advantage. As it was, they did have the fastest car in testing at the start of 2020.

...during the last few seasons we have often seen similar reversals of fortunes, but they always seem to happen was Mercedes is safely ahead in the points. I don't believe that Mercedes is losing its focus, I just think that on occasion they don't try hard enough, for the benefit of the show (IMHO the will collect all the silverware in the current format). Having said that I don't think that this was the case last Sunday, to me it looked as if they were struggling (or Hamilton was truggling,I believe that Bottas had the pace to challenge Verstappen and the Ferraris)

Well, I don't very often buy into conspiracy theories, but it would make sense if they had the lead comfortably in control that they would already start focusing on the 2021 car and focus their time and energy elsewhere. Not sure if that is the case. But, quite simply, they did look like there were not quite there last Sunday. While Vettel was gifted a win by the team's choice of when to do pitstops, Hamilton was clearly gifted 4th place by team orders. There is no question Bottas would have passed him it they had not told him to slow down.
 

Ruslan

Podium Finisher
I remain puzzled why Leclerc continues to think, that the race was "stolen" from him.

Because he lost it because of the order of the pits stops, after leading in qualifying and the race. Now, a certain percent of drivers would say it was "stolen" from them in this situation (as many as half?), while a certain percent of drivers would say "well that is racing." So, I do find Leclerc's response to be interesting. It provides a data point as to who he really is.
 
Last edited:

Izumi

Banned
I don't know what to believe anymore; here a poster is talking about Vettel being gifted a win by a team, whereas Rosberg (not really a big buddy with Vettel) appraised Vettel's lap as epic, and very best ever, implying, that Vettel's driving has something to do with him getting ahead. Go and figure.
 

Ruslan

Podium Finisher
I don't know what to believe anymore; here a poster is talking about Vettel being gifted a win by a team, whereas Rosberg (not really a big buddy with Vettel) appraised Vettel's lap as epic, and very best ever, implying, that Vettel's driving has something to do with him getting ahead. Go and figure.

Well, I don't know if Vettel's one lap was epic and or whether Leclerc's lap was particularly non-epic....but the same situation occurred with Bottas and Hamilton, and Bottas would have passed Hamilton if he was not ordered to slow down. So, it does appear that for whatever reason, the "undercut" was particularly effective this race and this favored both of trailing cars on the top two teams. So, I don't mind stating that "Vettel was gifted a win by the team's choice of when to do pitstops."
 
I have not added them up but there were multiple team, reliability, strategy and driver mistakes. I would not be surprised if I did that Ferrari did not managed to drop 25-50 points per driver....and that is not entirely factoring in how they dealt or did not deal with their inconsistent performance.

I agree that Ferrari has many mistakes, I personally believe that some of those mistakes were due to the fact that they know that they didn't have the speed to challenge the Mercs on track on an equal strategy and so they tried for something different, in a sense they made mistakes out of desperation.

I also think that such an extreme car as the 2019 Ferrari needs a lot of time for setting it up properly and the simulators aren't often so reliable so a lot of running on track during half a season should help them
 

F1Brits_90

Champion Elect
I don't know what to believe anymore; here a poster is talking about Vettel being gifted a win by a team, whereas Rosberg (not really a big buddy with Vettel) appraised Vettel's lap as epic, and very best ever, implying, that Vettel's driving has something to do with him getting ahead. Go and figure.

as i put on the other thread. for vettel to be told to push & leclerc not. is very unethical and behaviour you would expect from different teams
 

Angel

Race Winner
Contributor
Does anyone else believe there is something seriously wrong with f1 these days. The tyres and overtaking needs to be sorted. I love the sport but I tune in to watch them race not do sub standard parade laps for the first half of a grand prix. The Singapore race was not a race. A race is all about being the fastest car best driver and so on. When can we actually get racing back and not tippy toeing around to preserve crap for later on!

Firstly, welcome to the forum Carlos7182 :) :moustache:

Secondly, I agree and I'm sure I speak for many others here who will also agree. All we can do is hope the new rule changes that come in for 2021 will change things for the better. Previous changes haven't helped so....... but we can all live in hope I guess. That also means of course we're stuck with more of this in 2020 though sadly. At least the last few races have been better than the start of the season, well, sort of.
 

Izumi

Banned
as i put on the other thread. for vettel to be told to push & leclerc not. is very unethical and behaviour you would expect from different teams
I've read transcript, and as I understand it, both drivers were informed about them relevant traffic, each for different reason. One was on in-lap, the other on out-lap; in both cases the same, namely, watch for Hamilton behind you. There was no explicit "push... push".
To Leclerc - Hamilton behind you with DRS engaged
To Vettel - you are racing Hamilton (now)
Are you suggesting it is duty (or ethical obligation) of the team to play drivers one against other, and team has to inform teammates where each of them is any given moment? What if they honestly forget next time to tell both and tell just one some essential piece of information yet had adverse impact on the otehr one? What kind of mess that will create in time?

Today it is pitstop, tomorrow that corner, race after that something else. Once you start on this path, where is end to it? Is it really customary in each team to inform driver B that driver A pitted?

Finally, wasn't there actually some rule against communication between pits and a driver discussing other drivers positions? I am lazy to look it up, but from my fuzzy recollection there was once the issue of this kind discussed with Whiting.
 
Last edited:
as i put on the other thread. for vettel to be told to push & leclerc not. is very unethical and behaviour you would expect from different teams

I don't think that that is what happened, my understanding is that Ferrari didn't expect Vettel to be so fast and when they realised that Vettel was going to pass him Leclerc was already inbound for the pits. I don't think that the pit wall slowed down Leclerc on purpose, his in-lap was just very slow despite the fact that he had to defend his lead, maybe his tyres were shot (in that case with a bit more xperience he could have asked for a pit stop)
 

Izumi

Banned
I don't think that that is what happened, my understanding is that Ferrari didn't expect Vettel to be so fast and when they realised that Vettel was going to pass him Leclerc was already inbound for the pits. I don't think that the pit wall slowed down Leclerc on purpose, his in-lap was just very slow despite the fact that he had to defend his lead, maybe his tyres were shot (in that case with a bit more xperience he could have asked for a pit stop)
Look at it from 360° perspective, what do you think about charges that Ferrari should have informed Leclerc about the undercut?
 

Ruslan

Podium Finisher
I also think that such an extreme car as the 2019 Ferrari needs a lot of time for setting it up properly and the simulators aren't often so reliable so a lot of running on track during half a season should help them

Yea, this is not discussed much, but was clear from the testing that Ferrari had a very good car. But, then we only saw flashes of that during the first half of the season. There clearly were problems with set up, simulators and the wind tunnel that prevented them from optimizing their performance at every track. It does appears that they have solved that, but it took them a while.

If we knew what was going on inside of Ferrari, there would probably be an interesting technical and management story here.
 

Ruslan

Podium Finisher
Does anyone else believe there is something seriously wrong with f1 these days. The tyres and overtaking needs to be sorted. I love the sport but I tune in to watch them race not do sub standard parade laps for the first half of a grand prix. The Singapore race was not a race. A race is all about being the fastest car best driver and so on. When can we actually get racing back and not tippy toeing around to preserve crap for later on!
Welcome to the forum.

Yes, many things are wrong with F1 today, and many things were wrong with it a decade ago, and there were also a number of problems two decades ago. But, I find I have now vested so many decades watching and following F1 that I still have the obsession to follow the train-wreck that is F1, flaws in all. No other sporting series quite does it for me.

Anyhow, this forum is a good place to argue over what changes need to be made, and there are number of threads for this....but....if the fans can't agree as to what the solutions are, then it is not particularly surprising that the people running the sport also have a problem sorting out the issues.
 
Top Bottom