Singapore GP Thread - Spoilers of Qualifying & Race

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Post by Fernando on Thu 17 Sep 2015, 9:18 pm

For the eighth time in the World Championship era, Formula 1 returns to the city-state of Singapore for what has fast become a new tradition - the F1 Night Race, the Singapore Grand Prix. As challenging and demanding as this twenty-three corner Marina Bay Street Circuit is, this year's race presents a couple of new challenges - a reprofiled layout, but most importantly, the haze.

The air in Singapore has been covered in a dense haze for the last several days, caused by the unfortunate forest fires in the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Kalimantan. The density of the haze out at over 200 PSI (Pollutant Standard Index) on Monday, which is considered "Very Unhealthy" on Singapore's index. Since then, the 24-hour PSI has dropped to 98-118, but civilians are still being advised to avoid strenuous outdoor activities as much as possible. Strenuous activities which might include...driving a Formula 1 car at ten-tenths for two hours.

Last year, rookies Kevin Magnussen and Daniil Kvyat had an extremely difficult time coping with the brutal heat and humidity that Singapore throws down, even under the night sky. The addition of haze to the mix will undoubtedly test the fitness levels of all twenty drivers on the grid.

One driver that had no difficulty coping with the conditions last year was Lewis Hamilton, who won his second career Singapore GP while championship rival and Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg limped off the starting grid with electrical issues, and retired after just thirteen laps - putting Lewis Hamilton in the lead in the World Drivers' Championship, from whence he would not look back. Hamilton enters this race coming off his second career Grand Chelem in Monza, and he will look to wrap up his third title early with another string of late-season victories - as Rosberg suffered a late engine failure at Monza which put him 53 points down on Hamilton with seven races remaining.

Speaking of 53, that is the permanent number being carried by Formula 1's newest and most American addition to the grid, Alexander Rossi, whose five-race stint at Manor begins this weekend. And on very late notice - he only booked his flight to Singapore two days ago. There are a lot of very invested American racing fans eager to see how Rossi will do in his debut performance (the author included) after spending nine years climbing the ladder through North America and Europe to reach this point.

Rossi's pre-F1 career arc trends rather similarly to that of Mark Webber, who also was given just a handful of races at Minardi to start his F1 career. And we know how that first race turned out for Webber. Expectations must be tempered to start off with, given Rossi is driving the slowest car in the field and they would need ridiculous attrition levels to reach the points, but even if Rossi can only regularly out-pace Will Stevens in the same equipment, his time at Manor will be considered a success. Stevens outqualified previous teammate Roberto Merhi 6-3, well above projections given their respective forms in Formula Renault 3.5 last year - in which Merhi was a title contender and Stevens was a distant sixth overall.

Singapore is not a power circuit, so the under-powered squads such as Red Bull, McLaren, and Toro Rosso may find themselves back in the fight for points after two very tough races at Spa and Monza. Low-speed traction will be the key as Marina Bay Circuit is plastered with first, second, and third-gear corners and requires a lot of downforce to negotiate effectively. It's also a very difficult track for overtaking, so those teams, which have been victimized by record-shattering grid penalties for power unit changes all season long, must keep the collateral to a minimum to keep as high on the grid as they possibly can. Back to the conditions - how will Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz fare in Singapore's brutal environment for the first time?

Projected to be a three-stop race, how well the teams manage their strategies will go a long way towards their drivers' success. Sebastian Vettel is no stranger to success here - he's a three-time winner of this event, and his new Ferrari has been very kind to its Pirelli tyres this year. He once again enters as the number one candidate to win other than the Mercedes duo - while teammate Kimi Raikkonen has just one podium finish here in five starts. But they'll need a solid weekend and a rocket start as they had in Hungary to threaten Hamilton, Rosberg, and the mighty Mercedes - the clear favorites to win big again and have the fireworks explode above Marina Bay in their honor when they complete the difficult sixty-one laps Sunday night.

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Post by GSC on Fri 18 Sep 2015, 7:00 pm

Volkswagen to buy RB, the new team to use Ferrari engines for a few years until.VW supplies its own

RB to continue as a sponsor. Not sure what it means for Toro Rosso
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Post by Guest on Fri 18 Sep 2015, 10:22 pm

Great news for F1, in attracting a manufacturer like VW. Ferrari were unlikely to offer RB the full works engine package, most likely the customer version for next year, so this makes sense for RB to work with VW, in designing their own engines. Can't see RB being a force in the short term, more likely they will now remain in transition until 2018, but then there is still no guarantee of success, just ask McLaren & Honda.

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Post by dyrewolfe on Sat 19 Sep 2015, 10:47 am

GSC wrote:Volkswagen to buy RB, the new team to use Ferrari engines for a few years until.VW supplies its own

RB to continue as a sponsor. Not sure what it means for Toro Rosso


Not much I would imagine. They are pretty much a separate team now and already use Ferrari engines IIRC. If RB are continuing as a major sponsor, I expect that will include any arrangements with other teams.

Thats not to say the VW influence might not creep into Toro Rosso over the next few years.

I'm guessing Christian Horner and co are breathing a huge sigh of relief that their Renault woes are soon to be over.

I'm interested to see which of its marques VW decides to front its ownership with. Lambo, Bugatti, Audi, Porsche...
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Post by Guest on Sat 19 Sep 2015, 11:08 am

Fernando wrote: ... Singapore is not a power circuit, so the under-powered squads such as Red Bull, McLaren, and Toro Rosso may find themselves back in the fight ... Low-speed traction will be the key as Marina Bay Circuit is plastered with first, second, and third-gear corners and requires a lot of downforce to negotiate effectively. ...

You know your stuff OK  After second practice Ferrari & Red Bull seem to be significantly ahead of Mercedes.  This morning Mercedes are reporting they got the balance of the car wrong yesterday.

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Post by GSC on Sat 19 Sep 2015, 12:02 pm

TR switched to Renault this year or last dyre. Were Ferrari powered for a while though.
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Post by Fernando on Sat 19 Sep 2015, 12:06 pm

Practice 3

1 Vettel
2 Raikkonen
3 Kvyat
4 Ricciardo
5 Hamilton
6 Rosberg
7 Alonso
8 Sainz
9 Verstappen
10 Ericsson
11 Bottas
12 Hulkenberg
13 Button
14 Massa
15 Maldonado
16 Perez
17 Grosjean
18 Nasr
19 Rossi
20 Stevens

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Post by Guest on Sat 19 Sep 2015, 3:02 pm

Vettel pole, 1.4 seconds quicker than Hamilton in fifth & Rosberg in sixth.

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Post by Guest on Sat 19 Sep 2015, 3:09 pm

Damage limitation for the Mercedes tomorrow.  The highest car powered by a Mercedes engine was fifth by Hamilton.  Since overtaking is said to be impossible here Hamilton and Rosberg should ensure they get fifth and sixth respectively tomorrow, anything else being a bonus.  

If Rosberg finishes outside of the top 8 tomorrow and Vettel wins, then Vettel will overtake him for second place in the Drivers Championship.

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Post by Guest on Sat 19 Sep 2015, 3:58 pm

Hamilton reporting an inability to generate sufficient heat into the tyres. They are operating below their "operating temperature" and are not gripping the surface - they are sliding around too much. So the question is what can be done to get more heat into the tyres - more downforce?

They had this problem in Malaysia but not so bad (cooler track). So problems in Malaysia and Singapore - a stone's throw away from each other on the global scale. But here Singapore is a night race. It seems to me they should have predicted this possibility before arriving here.

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Post by banbrotam on Sat 19 Sep 2015, 7:30 pm

Hilarious the way the TV pundits are wetting themselves by thinking that maybe the Mercedes dominance is over

Not only have they had this problem before, but not as bad simply because it's more pronounced here - didn't Hamilton utterly dominate the last race? Or doesn't that count when trying to hype the competitiveness picard

It's great to have a bit of competition, but let's see if Mercedes struggle as much during the remaining races

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Post by Guest on Sat 19 Sep 2015, 8:36 pm

It's the first non-Mercedes pole in the new V6 era, you always get over-reactions like this, when an era of dominance is halted. I've seen people who had such a hatred towards Vettel at RB, now lauding him, just for ending this Mercedes' domination, albeit for just one qualifying session. It's a one-off, on a very specific track. Anyone thinking this form will continue, is delusional & will be disappointed when we go to Japan.

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Post by Jermaine2015 on Sat 19 Sep 2015, 9:52 pm

Stunning lap by Sebastian Vettel and a well deserved pole position for Ferrari. Is the Mercedes era over? Clearly not, but if Ferrari(or anyone else for that matter) can improve 2016 could be a competitive season.

46 poles now for Sebastian, he's still young enough to perhaps reach 100 poles in his career.

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Post by dyrewolfe on Sun 20 Sep 2015, 9:40 am

Well that was an interesting quali session.

Looks like Ferrari are continuing to evolve and find extra performance. Red Bull also looked a lot more at home on a circuit that doesn't rely on raw pace.

Minor crisis for Mercedes - from what they are saying they were simply unable to get the tyres "switched on". The way their car is designed and set up, they just can't get enough heat into them...lots of medium /low speed corners on the circuit and no really big straights.

I'm sure Lewis isn't overly bothered with the lead he has in the championship.

So this will be an interesting race insofar as it will shake up the drivers' standings a bit, but given that this isn't a circuit known for overtaking, I'm not predicting a riveting race.
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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Sun 20 Sep 2015, 2:12 pm

Hamilton retired
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Post by Guest on Sun 20 Sep 2015, 2:21 pm

Bit farsical this race, dodgy VSC, poor track security & then this theory about the underground electrical stuff causing gearbox issues. Throw in the fact it's a poor track, means this should be removed from the calendar.

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Post by Guest on Sun 20 Sep 2015, 2:54 pm

Uncertainty with the Mercedes new engine. Problem last race with regard to Rosberg's engine - although apparently totally unrelated to the engine (water leak or something onto the engine) and this race software issues forcing a reset and then a retirement. Some talk of strong em / magnetic interference from across the track at Singapore causing the problem.

Singapore - Bernie must be getting a lot of money for it because apart from the novelty, now worn off, of a night time race - overtaking seems nigh on impossible.

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Post by Fernando on Sun 20 Sep 2015, 4:30 pm

Ferrari has been summoned to see the stewards of the Singapore Grand Prix following an alleged breach of the post-race parc ferme rules.

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Post by Guest on Sun 20 Sep 2015, 4:54 pm

Basically wasn't it that a photographer got injured during the celebrations or something along those lines? Race result stands

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Post by GSC on Sun 20 Sep 2015, 8:09 pm

I don't really mind Singapore. At least you're guaranteed a safety car at some point, which is more than has happened in half the races this season so far
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Post by GSC on Sun 20 Sep 2015, 8:38 pm

Lotus confirm Pastor for next year. Presumably with the blessing of Renault.

Grosjean to McLaren?
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Post by Fernando on Sun 20 Sep 2015, 8:47 pm

Grosjean will either stay at Renault or go to Haas with a future prospect of a Ferrari drive. I do wonder though if taking Pastor's money if the Renault deal has fallen through....

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Post by GSC on Sun 20 Sep 2015, 8:56 pm

The Pastor money isn't paying for tyres at present so it would make no sense if that were the case
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Post by Fernando on Sun 20 Sep 2015, 9:02 pm

It'll be enough to pay off the taxman & get them to the remaining races though.

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Post by GSC on Sun 20 Sep 2015, 9:04 pm

Bernie will probably get them to the remaining races in current circumstances.
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Post by Fernando on Sun 20 Sep 2015, 9:05 pm

By the sounds of things anyway Romain has fallen out with the management and most like to keep some kind of continuation at the team

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Post by Fernando on Mon 21 Sep 2015, 11:40 am

Jenson Button is set to bring the curtain down on his world championship-winning career in Formula One.

The British driver could announce his retirement as soon as this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix – at his favourite track, in a country he loves and from where his wife comes.

Sources have toldSportsmail that he has reluctantly made up his mind to end his 16-year career in which he clinched the title in 2009 with Brawn


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Post by Guest on Mon 21 Sep 2015, 11:43 am

Boullier said the budget would be reduced for next season, given the woeful constructors finish, so it was inevitable Button would retire. Likely to be replaced by current GP2 leader, Stoffel Vandoorne for 2016

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Post by dyrewolfe on Mon 21 Sep 2015, 12:42 pm

Fernando wrote:Ferrari has been summoned to see the stewards of the Singapore Grand Prix following an alleged breach of the post-race parc ferme rules.

I'd be less worried about that than the idiot that was wandering on the track during the race! picard If I were the stewards, I'd be asked how the hell that happened.

Funny thing was, he'd managed to get back behind the fence by the time the safety car got on track. Rolling Eyes

That said, I suppose we should be thanking him, as having an actual SC on track (as opposed to the VSC) caused the cars to get bunched up, which made the last stint more interesting.

Great recovery drive by Verstappen after stalling on the grid. Thought Perez, Sainz and Nasr had good drives as well.


Agree though that this street circuit isn't conducive to good racing with the current regs and cars. Far too many low-medium speed corners and the layout makes it difficult to take advantage of the few overtaking areas there are.

I would have thought Singapore still has some sufficiently under-developed areas that they could build a proper circuit somewhere.
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Post by Guest on Mon 21 Sep 2015, 2:49 pm

Fernando wrote:Jenson Button is set to bring the curtain down on his world championship-winning career in Formula One.

Think his time was up 12 months ago, in all honesty. It was pretty obvious Honda would struggle in their first season, so I didn't see the point in returning & struggling this year. Although I didn't really like him, he's had a good career, World Champion in 2009 with Brawn, collected a bunch of memorable race wins & especially when in changeable conditions. He definitely had success when F1 went conservative, as it just played into the hands of Jenson's style of tyre management & against the true racers, who had greater speed than him. Think it's clear the passion for the sport isn't in him any more & with younger, exciting drivers joining the sport & waiting in the wings, he needed to move aside

He has both the aptitude to go on racing in the WEC & the charisma to work with the media, so plenty of doors should open for him.

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Post by dyrewolfe on Mon 21 Sep 2015, 3:42 pm

Mark Webber's been Tweeting JB to join him in WEC. Think he could also do a good job in Touring Cars, if he fancied it.

John wrote:
He definitely had success when F1 went conservative, as it just played into the hands of Jenson's style of tyre management & against the true racers, who had greater speed than him.

Thats total BS.

He was fortunate enough to have 1 season where he had a clearly superior car for the first few months. Same goes for most successful / title-winning drivers. F1 going conservative had nothing to do with it...because all the other drivers adapted to the new regs very quickly.

Jenson enjoys an on-track scrap as much as the next driver, when he gets the opportunity...you just choose to ignore it.
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Post by Guest on Mon 21 Sep 2015, 5:56 pm

dyrewolfe wrote:

John wrote:
He definitely had success when F1 went conservative, as it just played into the hands of Jenson's style of tyre management & against the true racers, who had greater speed than him.

Thats total BS.

Is it? From what I remember, Pirelli entered in 2011 with the aim to spice the show up with less durable tyres & JB came second in the WDC & beat Hamilton, who endured a miserable season. The previous season in 2010 with Bridgestone, Jenson came fifth in the WDC & Hamilton beat him with ease. I don't think the true racers adapted that quickly at all & still to this day are complaining about the tyres of Pirelli.

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Post by Guest on Mon 21 Sep 2015, 7:13 pm

In motor racing formula one is the pinnacle of the sport. Very few drivers make the grade. You have to be extraordinarily good to get in and stay there. Mark Webber does suggest that lower quality drivers are getting in through bringing their own sponsorship - but to get sponsorship you have to be pretty good also.

I think it is a myth to suggest you get ordinary drivers in formula one. That said within the crème de la crème that is formula one you also have a ranking that places people like Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso near the top and Jenson Button perhaps slightly lower but still in the top half.

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Post by GSC on Mon 21 Sep 2015, 7:48 pm

I think there's several ordinary drivers in F1 right now who have paid to be there
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Post by Jermaine2015 on Mon 21 Sep 2015, 10:18 pm

Sometimes in sport you get one chance to reach the pinnacle of your sport(when you aren't really the cream of the crop) - Massa 2008 and Webber 2010 springs to mind. Button in 2009 got his pinnacle. Is he a great driver? No, he somewhat exceeded his abilities. That said Button was a good personality for F1 so in that regard it's sad to see him go.

On regards to the race, stunning weekend for Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari. Pole, win and another podium. Can Ferrari win the title? No, but it bodes well for 2016. I guess they'll take engine penalties in Brazil to utilize the 4 remaining tokens they have.

Good to see Romain Grosjean getting his audition for Ferrari in 2017, by getting the opportunity to be team leader for Haas F1.

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Post by Guest on Mon 21 Sep 2015, 10:30 pm

Do worry for Romain going to Haas, can see him turning into the guy who had huge talent, like Hulkenberg, but the big move never materialised. Spending time struggling at Haas does him no favours, regardless of it being the Ferrari B team. Can see younger drivers like Verstappen or Bottas having more of a chance succeeding Kimi in 2017, than Romain will.

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Post by Jermaine2015 on Mon 21 Sep 2015, 10:37 pm

LiamB wrote:Do worry for Romain going to Haas, can see him turning into the guy who had huge talent, like Hulkenberg, but the big move never materialised. Spending time struggling at Haas does him no favours, regardless of it being the Ferrari B team. Can see younger drivers like Verstappen or Bottas having more of a chance succeeding Kimi in 2017, than Romain will.
Bottas is overrated TBH and Red Bull will be very unlikely to allow Ferrari to poach Max Verstappen after they already nabbed Sebastian Vettel.

Grosjean is a very good driver to have in the interim whilst the contracts of Ricciardo, Hulkenberg and dare I say Hamilton(although highly unlikely) run down in at the end of 2017

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Post by GSC on Wed 23 Sep 2015, 4:33 pm

Jensen probably overachieved in F1, timing is everything and he hit the jackpot with Brawn and earned the McLaren move. Id probably put him around the Webbers, Rosberg and Massas of F1, good driver, but not quite at the top level. Unlike those 3 he finished the job mind (albeit Barichello was a much kinder teammate than the others)
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