The Key Strategic Moment of the Singapore Grand Prix was Lewis Hamilton’s “free” pit-stop on Lap 45, as there was no threat from behind. He managed to undercut Kimi Räikkönen who also stopped to try to cover the move. Daniel Ricciardo took the opportunity to stop for new Supersofts and chase Nico Rosberg to the finish, but he would eventually fall one lap short. Hamilton’s initial stop put pressure on Rosberg; but without it the sequence of stops that followed and the thrilling finale would probably not have happened.
Formula 1 returns to the streets
Can Red Bull cause an upset?
Red Bull Racing took pole in Monaco and there is every chance they could do the same in Singapore, which is a huge advantage on a street track, especially as there were only 12 overtakes in the race last year. The circuit rewards a nimble chassis and good traction, both qualities of their car, whilst their rivals MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS have a chassis that is weak on soft tires in hot conditions. It tends to be a two-stop race and the Safety Car has featured in every one of the eight Singapore Grands Prix to date.
Red Bull mixed it up
How did they perform in Singapore?
We picked Red Bull Racing to watch at the Singapore Grand Prix and they didn’t disappoint. They tried a different strategy all weekend, which resulted in them starting the race on supersofts, as opposed to ultrasofts. Throughout the race they avoided the ultrasoft compound entirely and this led to a three-stop strategy, with Daniel Ricciardo pitting late on for new supersofts. In the laps that followed, the Australian cut @Nico Rosberg’s lead by three seconds per lap, but in the end fell just short, finishing second by just 0.48 seconds!
Race Strategy Briefing
Lots of incidents
Singapore is a long street track with barriers and uneven surfaces, which usually produces lots of incidents.
Each team will use the ultrasoft in qualifying and it should be possible to do a two-stop race. Constructors that can make the supersoft last will have an advantage.
Safety car changes the game
There has been a Safety Car in every single Singapore Grand Prix. If it comes at the wrong moment the race result could change significantly.
Trick to overtake
There were only 12 overtakes in almost two hours of racing last season. The DRS zone between turns 5 and 7 is the best opportunity to overtake.
Track improves over the weekend
The track is dirty to start with but lap times drop significantly over the weekend, as more rubber goes down on the circuit and the grip levels increase.
September 18 | 20:00 local time, 14:00 CET
In 2008, Singapore changed the look of Formula 1 forever as it hosted the first night-race around the streets of the Marina Bay. But the cooler temperatures in the night do not make life any easier for the drivers as 30°C and 70 per cent humidity is often the order of the day, not to mention it is the longest race on the calendar of almost two hours. The circuit, laid out on the streets of Singapore, runs anti-clockwise and makes for an exhausting 61-laps, with a loss of concentration quickly punished by the unforgiving barriers that line the circuit. The first race will always be remembered for Felipe Massa driving down the pitlane with his fuel hose still attached while out on track and Nelson Piquet controversially crashing his Renault on purpose, later known as ‘Crash-gate’. On a more positive note, Sebastian Vettel has been dominant around the Bay with four race wins. Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton have won it twice.
Circuit length 5.065 km
Race distance 308.828 km
Race winner 2015 Sebastian Vettel
Pirelli allocation Ultrasoft/Supersoft/Soft
Singapore is one of the best races of the year from a strategy point of view because there is always a strong element of chance. It is the longest race in the Formula 1 calendar at almost two hours and is one of the hardest on brakes because the high number of corners gives little time for cooling. Add in a 100 per cent record of a safety car, a long pit lane and a choice of the softest tires in the Pirelli range, which require a minimum of 2 stops, and it becomes clear why the Singapore Grand Prix is always a huge challenge. The undercut is a tactic that works very well here to gain places. This involves pitting before the cars ahead of you and using the performance of the grippy new tires and then gaining places when your opponent pits.
In collaboration with James Allen