2018 Singapore Grand Prix.

Discussion in 'Sports' started by Swami, Sep 13, 2018.

  1. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

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    Singapore Grand Prix: High humidity, close walls and a spectacular crash in 2017



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    There was a spectacular start to the 2017 Singapore Grand Prix as Ferrari pair Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen along with Red Bull's Max Verstappen crashed on the opening lap
    A night race on the streets of Singapore is one of the most spectacular sights in the Formula 1 calendar - and last year's race provided one of the most dramatic moments of the season.

    On a wet track and under the floodlights, Max Verstappen was sandwiched between the two Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen to his left and Sebastian Vettel to his right, with all three coming together and all taken out at the very first corner.

    Vettel had been on pole position and had only been behind championship leader Lewis Hamilton by three points before the collision - the first time ever both Ferraris had to retire on the opening lap.


    Hamilton went on to win the race - Mercedes' third victory in four years - to take a stranglehold on the championship on his way to a fourth world title.

    His team-mate Valtteri Bottas this week described the Singapore circuit as "super twisty where the walls are close so as a driver you cannot make any mistakes".

    A Formula 1 race has been held in the country in every year since 2008 at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, which is 5.07km long and one of the most physically demanding for the drivers.

    The temperature often exceeds 30C and with 80% humidity, and race suits on, the drivers have to endure temperatures of about 50C in the cockpit.

    Stoffel Vandoorne, who is set to leave McLaren at the end of the season, has described it as the 'Singapore Sauna', while Bottas said a driver can "lose three and a half kilos" during the race.

    With Vettel needing a win to keep his hopes alive of denying Hamilton a fifth title, we could be all set for another thrilling weekend this weekend.

    Swami
     
  2. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

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    Singapore GP: Kimi Raikkonen top as Sebastian Vettel hits wall
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    By Andrew Benson

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    Text and audio commentary of final practice and qualifying is on the BBC Sport website
    Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen led Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes by just 0.011 seconds in second practice at the Singapore Grand Prix.

    Hamilton's title rival Sebastian Vettel was ninth after hitting the wall and damaging his car's right rear corner.

    Vettel was one corner from the end of a lap that looked set to put him up with Raikkonen and Hamilton.


    The German was able to get the car back to the pits but the extent of the damage ended his session.

    Vettel slid sideways into the wall on the exit of Turn 21, at the end of what would have been his fastest lap of the season, catching it with his right rear wheel.

    It was a glancing blow and the wheel stayed attached to the car but he immediately felt damage and pulled straight into the pit entry.

    As he parked in the Ferrari pit, hydraulic fluid was pouring from the back of the car.

    Vettel is 30 points behind Hamilton with seven races to go.

    "The bad was the touch to the wall, which made the session come to an end. We lost some time, which is not ideal but nevertheless the feel I had for the car was all right and we should be fine for tomorrow.

    "It was very close and I expect it to be very close tomorrow."

    Ferrari came into the weekend as favourites on a track where Mercedes have traditionally struggled.

    Hamilton said on Thursday that he "hoped" Mercedes would be competitive but that "Ferrari should have the upper hand".

    Ferrari have ended the day quickest, but the Mercedes is much closer to it on pace than had been expected - both in qualifying trim and later in the session on race fuel loads.

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    It's been an up and down week for Raikkonen, but he finishes on top in the second practice session
    Raikkonen and Hamilton were very evenly matched on their race simulation runs. Hamilton ended his run on the hyper-soft tyres on which teams are likely to start the race with a slightly quicker average lap time than the Finn.

    But it was difficult to be absolutely sure of the relative pace of the cars because Hamilton punctuated his run with a number of slow laps that might have helped the longevity of his tyres.

    Max Verstappen was third fastest for Red Bull ahead of team-mate Daniel Ricciardo. The Dutchman was 0.522secs off the pace but Red Bull appeared to be much closer on race pace, Ricciardo setting an average 0.064secs quicker than Hamilton but on a slightly shorter run.

    The second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas was off the pace - 0.669secs off the Briton's pace.

    Best of the rest was Renault's Carlos Sainz, ahead of Haas' Romain Grosjean and the McLaren of Fernando Alonso, an encouraging start for the Spanish double world champion on a track where he has always excelled.

    Swami
     
  3. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

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    Lewis Hamilton takes surprise pole for Singapore Grand Prix
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    By Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer in Singapore



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    Sunday's race is live on radio 5 live and the BBC Sport website at 13:10 BST
    Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton produced one of the best laps of his career to take a surprise pole position for the Singapore Grand Prix.

    Hamilton's first lap in final qualifying, described by his race engineer as "epic", was enough despite failing to improve on his second run.

    "That lap felt like magic," the world champion said. "I don't know where it came from. I am overwhelmed."


    His title rival Sebastian Vettel was third behind Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

    Hamilton excels; Vettel struggles
    Hamilton said his lap was "one of the best I can remember".

    It came out of the blue - he was 1.3secs faster than his own previous best lap of the weekend, and the scale of his achievement became clear as his rivals crossed the line.

    Team-mate Valtteri Bottas was 0.7secs behind, Vettel 0.6secs off and Verstappen, surprisingly pipping the Ferrari, 0.3secs.

    Vettel, who is 30 points behind Hamilton in the championship and came into the weekend as favourite, was downcast.

    "We wanted to get pole and we didn't," the German said. "It was a bit of a messy qualifying session, there was too much time missing."

    Hamilton could not improve on his second run - and aborted his final lap before it was even halfway through.

    But although Vettel set a faster first sector than anyone on his final attempt, neither he nor Verstappen could improve and the positions were set.

    Bottas took fourth, slightly improving on his final lap to end the session 0.687secs slower than Hamilton, with the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen fifth and Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo sixth.

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    Light show: It's not just the skyline which is spectacular in Singapore
    Mercedes overcome Singapore slump
    The result was a huge surprise. Mercedes have traditionally struggled at Singapore, and Ferrari came into the weekend as strong favourites.

    Mercedes' form on Friday suggested they were in better shape this year, but no-one - not even the team - expected Hamilton to do what he did.

    There were nervy moments early in qualifying, when Mercedes chose to use only the ultra-soft tyre - the middle of the three compounds - in the first session, and Hamilton was only two places clear of being knocked out as a result.

    Mercedes were competitive in the second session, Hamilton ending it fourth, just under 0.2secs off pace-setter Raikkonen, but there were no indications of the time that was to come.

    When Hamilton reeled off his lap of one minute 36.015, engineer Peter Bonnington came on radio and said: "That was a pretty epic lap."

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    Hamilton secured the 79th pole position of his career
    More questions for Ferrari
    Ferrari had their own problems in qualifying. They tried to use the ultra-soft tyre in the second session but had to abort the plan when it emerged they would not be quick enough to make it into the top 10.

    And in the final session, Vettel was a bit short with his team after the first run, saying they had not put him out in a good place on track for traffic, which had affected his preparation.

    "Qualifying wasn't as smooth as it should have been," he said. "Difficult to get a rhythm, difficult to get a feel for the car. The gap is quite big but I am not worried about that. I don't think we got the most out of our car."

    Vettel acknowledged Hamilton's lap was strong but said he did not feel it was unbeatable.

    Verstappen said he felt he had done the best qualifying session of his career and he could have been even faster had it not been for drivability problems with his engine which have been afflicting him for most of the weekend.

    But he doubted he could have beaten Hamilton's time.

    The final places in the top 10 were taken by Force India's Sergio Perez, Haas' Romain Grosjean, the second Force India of Esteban Ocon and Renault's Nico Hulkenberg.

    McLaren's Fernando Alonso was just pipped by the German and will start 11th, but was pleased with that result because it gives him free tyre choice for the start of the race.

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    Hamilton's pole is the 200th for an English driver in F1 history. The first? Stirling Moss at the 1955 British Grand Prix. Source: Forix
    'Maximum on every corner'
    This was the 79th pole of Hamilton's career.

    "I was a bit nervous going into qualifying because I didn't think we had the pace," he said. "We were half a second behind these guys. Then the real challenge on the ultra.

    "We got into that last session and it was about pulling all the bits from free practice and trying to put it into a perfect puzzle. 99.9% of the time it doesn't go right, and that lap I didn't have any wheelspin, any snaps, it was pretty much maximum on every corner.

    "I didn't think I could do any more. The second lap I tried to go that little bit more, braking half a metre later but the car wasn't going to have it.

    "I was nervous at the end but I am so grateful."

    Swami
     
  4. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

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    Lewis Hamilton wins in Singapore with Sebastian Vettel third
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    By Andrew Benson

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    Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton cruised to victory in the Singapore Grand Prix to strengthen his hold on this year's World Championship.

    Hamilton's controlled drive from a pole position won brilliantly on Saturday was helped by the latest in a series of questionable strategy calls from Ferrari.

    It dropped Hamilton's title rival Sebastian Vettel from second to third behind Max Verstappen, throwing away a position the German had earned by overtaking the Red Bull driver on the first lap.


    While Vettel was left to question his team once again this season - and for the second time this weekend after a less-than-perfect qualifying session - Hamilton's only worrying moment was caused by back markers at about two-thirds distance.

    Haas driver Romain Grosjean and Williams' Sergey Sirotkin ignored the closing Hamilton in the heat of their battle for position and cost him his five-second advantage over Verstappen.

    Hamilton had to fend off an attack from Verstappen into Turn Seven as a result, which he just managed to do, and Grosjean was later given a five-second penalty for his misdemeanour.

    Hamilton's victory, with Vettel third behind Verstappen, extended the Briton's advantage over the German in the championship to 40 points with six races and a maximum of 150 points remaining.

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    Esteban Ocon was the only retirement - pushed into the wall on the first lap by team-mate Sergio Perez
    Ferrari make it too easy for Hamilton
    Hamilton and Mercedes' main concern in this race was to ensure they retained the lead at the first corner, with a feisty Verstappen with nothing to lose behind them, and then to avoid being passed by Verstappen or Vettel during the pit-stop period.

    Vettel's pass on Verstappen into Turn Seven on the first lap came just before a safety car was called after Force India's Sergio Perez pushed his team-mate Esteban Ocon into the wall on the exit of the first chicane.

    The move put Vettel in the position he wanted from which to attack Hamilton after a disappointing qualifying session for Ferrari, but the team blew it.

    They brought Vettel in on lap 14 and switched him on to the ultra-soft tyres, hoping to benefit from the rubber's extra pace on its initial laps.

    But Hamilton followed him in next time around, fitting the more durable soft tyre, and rejoined ahead of Vettel, who had soon found himself held up behind Perez when he came out of the pits.

    Vettel immediately questioned the decision, saying: "There is no chance. We are again too late. The tyres will not make it to the end."

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    Light show: It's not just the skyline which is spectacular in Singapore
    Unintentional kidology by Mercedes
    Ferrari needed to try for the so-called 'under-cut'. But there will be questions as to whether their decision to pit Vettel when they did was based on their mishearing a radio call from Hamilton to the pits.

    Hamilton had said: "There's a lot left of the tyres. But shortly afterwards Vettel's race engineer told him: "Hamilton reports there's not a lot left of his tyres."

    Vettel replied that he did not believe him, and he engineer agreed.

    Ferrari said the pit stop was not based on the radio call, and said they went aggressive because it was their only hope of beating Hamilton. Either way, Vettel was right in his assessment of the situation following his stop - his hopes were over. He now had to manage his tyres to the end in the hope of preserving a podium position, with no chance of attacking Hamilton.

    The result was a fourth win in five races for Hamilton, arguably all of which Vettel could and perhaps should have won himself.

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    That's 69 career victories for Hamilton - only Michael Schumacher has more
    Not a classic
    At the front, there was a distinct lack of tension, as the drivers spent the vast majority of the race lapping seconds off their maximum potential to ensure they made the appropriate stint lengths.

    It was a similar story to Monaco in May, when the hyper-soft tyre tyre was also used and teams were similarly trying to eke their tyres out to do a one-stop strategy.

    Once he had fended off Verstappen's attack, Hamilton cruised to victory, the Dutchman held at arm's length, and Vettel cruising similarly behind.

    Their team-mates Valtteri Bottas, Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo were playing a similar game of cat and mouse as they took the remaining positions in the top six.

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    All around the world: Liam Gallagher's current tour included a gig in Singapore as part of the F1 weekend
    Perez and Sirotkin provide the entertainment
    It is not a recipe for excitement and what drama there was in the race was provided by also-rans.

    Perez was in the wars again, driving into Sirotkin after getting alongside him between Turns 17 and 18 following many laps held up behind the Williams, and earning himself a drive-through penalty.

    Fernando Alonso drove an excellent race, starting 11th, passing Renault's Nico Hulkenberg at the start and using a long first stint on the ultra-soft tyres to move into the position of best of the rest - a rare fillip for McLaren as their season collapses around them with a car the team have admitted is "poor".

    Driver of the day
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    Perez. Only joking... Hard to pick one on the basis of a race dominated by tyre management, but Hamilton gets it for his superlative performance in qualifying, which put him into the position to control the race
    What happens next?
    There is a two-week break before the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi, with the Japanese Grand Prix at superlative Suzuka a week later. Vettel needs to start beating Hamilton fast, but it is looking more and more like the Englishman's season.

    Swami
     

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