Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

sunnuntai 21. syyskuuta 2014

Singapore GP: Drama for Rosberg, win for Hamilton!

There was drama already before the lights went out at the Marina Bay circuit. When it was time to start to the formation lap, Rosberg in his Mercedes had problems with his start system and the German couldn´t get his car out of his grid slot. When all drivers had passed him he managed to get his car moving but this meant he had to start to the race from the pit lane. Also Kobayashi in his Caterham had to stop his car on the track on the formation lap due to a technical failure.

Once the lights went out Hamilton could easily keep his lead. Vettel had an aggressive start and he made his way past his team-mate Ricciardo. Also Alonso from P5 took a stunning start and stormed past both Red Bulls at the start. The Spaniard, however, went wide in turn one and going off track meant he most likely gained advantage in terms of positions. Very shortly after that Alonso gave his position back to Vettel, which meant that Hamilton was leading the race, Vettel second, Alonso third and Ricciardo 4th. Kimi also took an impressive start and jumped two positions at the start making his way up to P5.

Rosberg´s race was a total nightmare: on lap 8 he was still in P20 stuck behind Ericsson´s Caterham. It seemed it was only a matter of time when Rosberg would have to retire from the race. On lap 11 the Finns Kimi and Bottas pitted for a fresh set of supersoft tyres. A couple of lap later both Red Bulls and Alonso in his Ferrari came in for their pit stops and the race leader Hamilton pitted on lap 14. Hamilton could easily maintain his lead but Kimi lost a position to Massa during the pit stops. Rosberg also drove to the pits and the team changed his steering wheel in order to make the car work again. That didn´t work and Rosberg had to retire because he was unable to leave the pits. That must have been a very frustrating moment for Nico!

During the second pit stops Ferrari made better job than Red Bull and Alonso was able to get past Vettel and was second in the race. These teams had chosen different tyre strategies: Red Bulls were on the prime tyres whilst both Ferrari drivers had chosen the option tyres. In the halfway point of the race it happened what was very much predicted: the safety car was deployed! Perez in his Force India ruined his front wing by crashing into Sutil´s Sauber and there was debris all over the track. Six laps later the safety car came in and Hamilton instantly started pulling a gap to Vettel. It was ridiculous how fast Hamilton was: the Briton increased the gap by almost 2 seconds a lap! This reminded me of Red Bull´s superiority last year. At Singapore last year it was Red Bull who had the ridiculous speed compared to their rivals! Things change...

Hamilton´s target was to increase the gap to at least 26 seconds as the Briton still had to pit for the third time. However, Hamilton couldn´t quite achieve such a gap as his rear tyres were gone sooner than expected. On lap 52 the Mercedes driver pitted for the last time and rejoined the track two seconds behind Vettel. The German was going till the end on his prime tyres (and with a two-stop strategy) and he had absolutely no chance to hold Hamilton behind. With 7 laps to go the inevitable happened: Hamilton moved past Sebastian and snatched his lead back.

Bottas in his Williams had problems with the steering of the car and his lap times were very slow. Bottas was driving in P6 right ahead of Ferrari´s Kimi Räikkönen. Although Kimi seemed much faster he had absolutely no chance to overtake his fellow countryman. A very frustrating race for Kimi once again. There was no doubt about who was going to win the race but there was an intense and thrilling battle for the second place. Sebastian was driving in P2 with his team-mate Ricciardo right at his tail and Alonso right behind Ricciardo. Alonso had the freshest tyres of those three but luckily overtaking was so difficult at Marina Bay! Hamilton took a dominant win and to my huge pleasure Sebastian scored his best result of the season by finishing 2nd! Ricciardo completed the podium and Alonso had to settle for P4. Massa in his Williams took an impressive P5. Bottas lost his 6th place on the final lap when he tried to prevent Perez from overtaking him. Bottas´ tyres were completely gone and he made a costly mistake which dropped him down to P11. Dropping out of points wasn´t the result Bottas was hoping for so the 2-stop strategy didn´t pay off today.

Toro Rosso´s Vergne drove a staggering race and made his way from P9 to P6 on the closing laps! The Frenchman did this in spite of the two 5-second stop-and-go penalties that were handed to him for track limit violations during the race. Perez managed to get past Kimi as well and the Mexican drove to the chequered flag in P7 ahead of Kimi in P8. Hulkenberg in his Force India finished 9th and Magnussen in his McLaren completed the top ten.

Hamilton´s win and Rosberg´s DNF meant that Hamilton grabbed the championship lead from Nico! Hamilton now has a 3-point lead but it means the Briton now has the upper hand in the championship battle. Ricciardo is now 60 points behind Hamilton. Bottas´ costly mistake on the final lap made him drop from P4 to P6 in the championship standings. On one hand it was a bit boring race as there were so few overtaking moves but on the other hand I enjoyed watching Sebastian´s driving every minute of the race! Hopefully Singapore GP was the first of the many success stories to come at the last half of the season!

I still feel gutted for Kimi. The car is getting better bit by bit but it still doesn´t bring out the best in Kimi yet. Can´t wait for the round 15 at Suzuka! People say they´re only rumours but I wouldn´t be surprised at all if I heard an announcement in Japan that Alonso will move to McLaren Honda for the season 2015!

P.S. I loved the moment on the podium when Eddie Jordan called Sebastian Night Rider because he has always achieved success in the night of Singapore. Sebastian gave another proof of his awesome sense of humor by saying thanks to "Kitt" for working so well. I love Sebastian's attitude: he doesn't take things too seriously! 😉

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