Pit Stops & Patience – Vettel Takes Fifth Win in Singapore

Ferrari has had success in its last few Grand Prix’s, but not all of them from the same source. At the Grand Prix in Singapore, a new driver on the second place team took first place for the full 25 points in the drivers championship.

The Marina Bay Street Circuit was an unorthodox race because of narrow straightaways and 23 corners. The race totaled 61 laps with an average of 1:45 per lap.

Lecrec sat pole for the night race and Hamilton sat second after the qualifiers on Saturday. This was Lecrecs’ third pole in his last three races and when the fifth light blinked red, he got away to a clean start.

It was strange that drivers out of scoring position like Hulkenberg in 18th place were winning the fastest lap point. Red Bull Principal Christian Horner stated the men were, “cruising saving tires.” This was mainly due to the sharp turning and the extended time needed for pit stops.

After tire conservation, the pit stop strategy began in lap 20. With lecrec leading the race for 20 laps, Vettel and Verstappen went into the pit lane for a tire change and the undercut. Hamilton was pleading with Mercedes to allow him into the pits to use the undercut strategy, but Mercedes declined the offer.

The pole sitter was clearly discouraged when Ferrari called his teammate in for the undercut strategy first. When Vettel re-entered the track, he had 8 cars to navigate through to regain his position. This type of patience and execution showed Vettels’ experience in Singapore.

Half way through the race, something magical happened for Ferrari: a collision. The collision came in the 36th lap and called for a safety car. With the safety car leading the pack, Ferrari was able to manage their tires without causing ample degradation. Then another safety car and another safety car after that. The slow down in the track was a bonus for Ferrari as they were able maintain their positions while maintaining their tire preservation.

The length of time 3 safety cars took to remove cars and debris from the track, almost caused the race to end early reaching the two hour time limit.

Race Finishes:

  • Ferrari – Sebastian Vettel
  • Ferrari – Charles Lecrec
  • Red Bull – Max Verstappen
  • Mercedes – Lewis Hamilton
  • Mercedes – Valtreri Bottas
  • Red Bull – Alexander Albon

Drivers Championship Points

  • Lewis Hamilton 296 points
  • Valterri Bottas 231 points
  • Charles Lecrec 200 points
  • Max Verstappen 200 points
  • Sebastian Vettel 194 points

The next race on the F1 schedule will take place next weekend on Sunday September 29, 2019 in Russia. Hamilton has a 65 point lead over second place, and 96 point lead over third. In order for any other driver to take the driver championships, they would have to take first place in the majority of the next six races. Next Sunday, we will see how Mercedes adjusts to pit stop strategies and how Red Bull does in the qualifiers.

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