Singapore GP analysis: The secret of balancing risk and reward in F1
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Posted By: James Allen  |  19 Sep 2017   |  2:52 pm GMT  |  325 comments

The tenth anniversary event at the Singapore Grand Prix brought its first wet race and created a whole new set of unknowns into a what is traditionally viewed as the most difficult race of the season for the race strategists.

With a 100% likelihood of a Safety Car in dry conditions, Singapore is always about managing the risk/reward profile when making decisions that will affect the race result. But this year with rain pouring down before the start of the race and the Race Control committing to a standing start (rather than a rolling start) the risk of an accident at Turn 1 increased significantly.

Here we will examine the risk/reward decisions taken by some teams and drivers, look at what went right for some and wrong for others, such as the Perez vs. Bottas Vs. Sainz battle, which was decided on strategy.

And we will explain what tactic Mercedes was trying to use in the final third of the race, which Lewis Hamilton was uncomfortable with carrying out.

And of course the risk/reward profile also applies to driving tactics, with Sebastian Vettel getting his risk profile all wrong by trying to block against Max Verstappen, who was not in the title fight with him and who therefore had nothing to lose in trying to win the hole-shot at the start.

Likewise Kimi Raikkonen’s risk/reward profile was also wrong as he made a fast start, but ultimately his responsibility was to work for Ferrari to achieve maximum championship points for his teammate Vettel against Lewis Hamilton. The outcome was the opposite.


Pre race considerations

On the grid, as the rain fell, the main decision was whether to start on the wet or the intermediate tyre. The front runners all went for the intermediate, because it is more likely to be able to run through to the point at which you can switch to slicks, which the wet is less able to do. So there is no point to risk adding in another 26 second stop from wet to intermediates into your race.

Also the faster cars have higher downforce, so can generate heat in the intermediate tyre, whereas a Sauber, for example, couldn’t and that makes it more likely that they will crash.

So the risk/reward profile for the cars further back showed that it was safer to get a clean first lap on wets and see what the attrition rate is like further forward with accidents. A safety car – or several – is highly likely and that would give a chance to switch to intermediate tyres for the cost of around 15 seconds at Safety Car speeds (rather than 26 seconds).

So that is why the grid was split 50-50 wets and Inters.

For the midfield it was a more nuanced decision, but it favoured the intermediate; one of the most interesting races was between Carlos Sainz who started on Intermediates and Sergio Perez, who started on full wets.


Chance of a podium for Hulkenberg and Perez

On a day such as this, teams like Renault and Force India can score a podium, if the decisions fall right.

Sergio Perez had a shot at it. He battled with Carlos Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg, who had a good shot at a podium after a great start, but later retired.

Valtteri Bottas scored the final podium position however, because of the decision of Force India to start both cars on wet tyres. Starting 12th on the grid, Perez was in fourth place, ahead of Bottas after the chaos of the start and had he done the race that Sainz did, running the intermediate until the ideal crossover point for slicks on Lap 27, Perez could well have finished on the podium.

Starting on wets and needing to pit for intermediates at the second Safety Sar on Lap 12 also cost track position to Sainz, which Perez was unable to recover. Analysis of the laps around the stops to switch to slicks (L27/28) showed that there was nothing Perez could have done differently there to gain that place back.

It was one of those days when everything fell into place for Sainz and the strategy was pitch perfect. But he would have been racing for positions behind Perez and Bottas if Force India had gone with the Intermediate decision at the start.

As their championship battle is with Williams, they had been thinking on the grid of covering the Williams cars that were starting behind them. But when the start gave them a shot at a podium, they were on the wrong tyre to capitalise.

It’s all about risk and reward profiles.


Hamilton helped and not helped by Safety Cars

Another interesting cameo in this race was the way the Safety Car was used. Not only was it deployed in every instance, rather than a Virtual Safety Car, but also the lapped cars were not given the chance to un-lap themselves before the final restart, which is unusual.

Although Lewis Hamilton questioned why the VSC was not used in the final instance, when Marcus Ericson spun, he later retracted it, as the deployment of marshals onto the track in a combination of wet and dark conditions without light reflective clothing was too great a risk.

The last one wasn’t helpful to Hamilton as it allowed Ricciardo to close up to him, when the track was now in slick tyre conditions. The Red Bull had been notably faster in Friday practice in the dry and the Safety Car allowed Ricciardo a chance to challenge at the restart for the lead, which Hamilton would have struggled to take back off him.

It was for this reason that Mercedes didn’t pit Hamilton for new Intermediates at the Lap 12 Safety Car. Ricciardo would have done the opposite and taken the track position that Hamilton would not have been able to take back.

However more interesting was the avoidance of lost time for the lapped cars un-lapping themselves. This can be a long process in Singapore; a couple of years ago the whole process took 8 laps for a relatively simple incident. And with the lower race pace caused by the rain and the three Safety Cars, the race wasn’t going to go the distance anyway; the 2 hour limit was going to be invoked.

So the unlapping process didn’t happen on the final restart this time.

Hamilton was able to get on with his programme with minimal fuss at the end. However as he streaked away around Lap 41/42 Mercedes were fearful of a Safety Car giving Ricciardo a final chance to beat him.

They radioed him and asked him to slow down, because they were worried about the gap back from Ricciardo to Bottas in third place. Hamilton pulling away allowed Ricciardo to do the same and once the gap reached 14 or 15 seconds then Ricciardo would have a safety car pit window, in other words he would be able to pit for a new set of slicks and attack Hamilton in the final laps.

So they asked Hamilton to slow down to close that window; he didn’t initially understand the request but he did then manage the situation as requested.

You can see from this detail of the race history graph what Mercedes were concerned about. Look at how the gap starts to open quickly around Lap 42 and 43 (the blue trace takes a notch upwards). If Ricciardo had gone with him, there could have been trouble. In fact the Red Bull didn’t have the pace to do that. But Hamilton backs off in any case and manages the pace to the end.

The UBS Race Strategy Report is written by James Allen with input and data from several F1 team strategists and from Pirelli

Race History and Tyre Usage Charts – Kindly supplied by Williams Martini Racing – click to enlarge

Look at the period around Lap 27-29, Red Bull were waiting until Ricciardo had a 26 second gap back to Hulkenberg to be able to pit for slicks. Mercedes as leaders have no reason to be the first to move in this situation so will always do the same as Ricciardo +1 lap.

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1

Interesting articke, but what James Allen didn’t understand is that Lewis as long as he had track position, ricciardo idle never gonna pass him. So the last part on hamilton’s refusal to listen to his team instruction shows the driver knows better doing what he does on track rather than reporters analyzing on paper.

2

Seb and Ferrari will have to try and nip Lewis’s run of wins in the bud. It had been back and forth on wins until Lewis’s hat trick. I want him to win the title, but want the run in to be closely fought. If Lewis continues his run it won’t be.

3

Thanks James for explaining why Ricciardo took a 2nd set of Inters and why Ham was left out.

One other thing that hasn’t been picked up on is that in moving across so aggressively, Vettel left a gaping hole for Hamilton to storm into and improve his grid position and so ultimately limit the points deficit in the race.
Watch it again – Ham had acres of space for turn 1.

4

Haha..that’s for laughing after Spain 2016…It really is funny when team mates wipe themselves out!

5

What a good race that was! Didn’t tune in till the fat lady was singing the anthem then saw rain falling and knew this was hammertime. Honestly thought this might be where we get the wet weather head to head with max…. being in the lead being hunted by Lewis……but dam them red cars!! Vettle knew his race was gone he is as good as rosberg in the wet but kimi is even worse …max had his car pointing at Vettles line from the start that’s how kimi got the space along side him,seeing that he was losing 2nd to kimi he tried to squeeze him out vettels chop is more exaggerated because max swoops at same time to squeeze kimi. Max too rash rain had already elevated his race chances then it would be only himself and Lewis….no one else would’ve got close to them..without sc Lewis would’ve won by nearly 60 seconds it was an outstanding drive on difficult track in a slower car with a fast red bull (bullshit on the oil whatever supposed leak). Don’t understand why only two drivers are capable of great car control and speed in wet weather…

6

rain stopped play for Ferrari and red bull…without it Hamilton wouldn’t have won.. now if it could just for the next six races….

7

Good article James.

8

Lewis: ‘God was with me’

Thor, Odin and all you German gods please help Seb to make the rest of season not so boring.
Thor. hammer time should be yours only. We don’t need a big lightning, just a little spark in the engine controlling chip at the Mercedes.
Gaia, mother of nature, do you know that Mercedes was choosing dirty engines when they could have used cleaner ones? Do you know that their sponsor is one of the biggest environment destroyers in the world?
We don’t want much, just a quick growing root out of the track to entangle the Mercedes at the start.

9

Ricciardo ran two sets of inters compared to everyone else, I assume RBR had a play around with tire pressures on the 2nd set?
I’m so curious as to know why Ricciardo’s setup was so far off pace?

10

I believe he had a gearbox problem early in the race so had to take it easy

11

Honestly, I’ve never liked the Virtual Safety Car, I much prefer an actual safety car.
I like that it backs the pack up again.

12

The crash at the beginning was a racing incident. If you want to lay blame, you could say all drivers are ‘guilty’ of following their racing driver instinct. Vettel simply had the most to lose and Vers knew and probably expected Vettel to maybe play it a little safe.

13

At last safety car, if teammate Bottas stays close to Ricciardo that conversation would not arise (hard to imagine losing track position for a better tire) and with only about 20-25 min to go in race…it just reflects poorly on Bottas.

14

Regardless of Danny Ric’s gearbox problems, I still think Lewis would have won. Danny said it himself. He didnt have the car.

15

Great analysis as always James. I can’t help but feel though that the first corner incident robbed us from a far more interesting race. If an accident wipes out RAI, VET, VER and ALO in one go, 20% of the field in fast cars, it’s a shame. Add in RIC with car trouble and well that’s that. It was good to see the midfield was very racy because we saw some very good scraps there (Sainz/Perez but also Magnussen was awesome).

16

the race was made more interesting because of vettel’s actions. i anticipated a procession until then.
the entire internet lit up because of it.

17

Sometimes things like this are good for F1 as it allows drivers and teams in the smaller teams to shine and have some of the limelight. I found the midfield battles good, also they weren’t far away from Bottas throughout the race.

18

Can you confirm Ricciardo had car troubles?

My understanding from his own post-race interview was that his ‘setup’ simply didn’t match the track conditions on Sunday.

19

Can you confirm Ricciardo had car troubles?

I think there might have been a problem with the nut holding the wheel 🙂

20

C63

“I think there might have been a problem with the nut holding the wheel”

In that case it’s the mechanics fault. But wait, I didn’t hear Teddy Bair’s Picnic or the Human Talk Fest Crofty mention it so it can’t be true. Right?

21

That went right over your head -like an aeroplane.
It’s a play on words Adrian – think about it.
The nut holding the wheel is the driver……

22

C63

Would you like me to give you a +1 for self amusement when no one else has?

23

To be completely honest with you Adrian I’m not bothered either way. It was just a little joke – why you’re getting so vexed over it is anyones guess.

24

C63

Mate, the banter works both ways. At least I thought it did. Have a read of my message to Dean if you have the inclination and/or the time. 🙂

25

Sorry for delayed reply – emails not coming through. Where’s your reply to dean ?

26

C63

No problem. Look it’s really no big deal but my reply to Dean is post number 32 (as it stands now) dated 22 September on this article above.

Further to our discussion regarding tobacco and cigarettes you might be interested to know that Australia has plain packaging laws which contain warnings, both in words and in grim pictures, of the dangers/outcomes of tobacco smoking. The packaging is completely devoid of any promotional material. It’s also illegal to sell tobacco (cigarettes) to persons under the age of 18 years.

I learnt only yesterday about two tobacconists in Sydney, New South Wales, who were fined a total of $72,000 (Aust) for selling 36 packets of cigarettes which weren’t plain-packaged. I guess the fine was $1,000 per packet.

The government here highly taxes the sale of tobacco hence, as I said in a previous post, holiday makers getting in on the act and packing their bags with cigarette packages with the aim of selling them illegally. They hope that they are not targeted in random checks as they go through customs. Quite often they get caught because of pro-filing by custom officers.

Hey mate, lets assume for a moment that Dan and Max go to either Ferrari or Merc in 2019. Who do YOU think they will go to and for what reasons?

27

It sounds like the UK and Australia have very similar laws regarding the sale of tobacco – we have the plain packaging with horrible pictures on them, high taxes etc. The vendor is also not allowed to have the goods on display – they have a sliding door which covers them so the punters cannot even see the disgusting things!

Who do I think will go where in 2019 – crikey that’s a tricky one and I am only guessing like anyone else. But for me, I cannot see Vet and Ves working together very well – sounds like a recipe for disaster. Ves is a young man in a hurry and Vet won’t like him snapping at his heels. However, by the same token Ric showed Vet the way home when they were paired for a season. I know unreliability exaggerated things but still – Vet should have wiped the floor with him as the reigning 4 x WDC. So if Vet is still at Ferrari in 2019, I cannot see him exactly laying down the welcome mat and throwing his arms round either of them.
So I guess that leaves Merc – assuming Ham renews at the end of 2018 that leaves 3 drivers competing for 1 seat. I guess it well depend on the relative competitiveness of the car – if it’s still as good as it currently is then I would retain Bottas. He’s a very good number 2 driver and won’t rock the boat as much as either Ver or Ric would and the team will still score as many points with Bot as they would with Ric or Ver. In all honesty I think the clock is ticking quite fast for Ric – I’m not saying that to wind anyone up – I just think it’s getting quite late in his career – there’s too many young guns on the way up and the TP’s will be starting to look past him at who is next in the queue.
But, as I’ve said already – I’m just guessing – in truth I’ve no idea what will happen 🙂

28

C63

Thanks for your response. Appreciated. Yes, businesses selling cigs here also have those little cabinets which ‘hide’ or ‘secure’ from gullible people those horrible things.

My take on the DR and MV movements for 2019 (providing they don’t stat with RB):

DR to Ferrari If Vettel doesn’t come through with a WDC either this year or next. This year is just about done and as I may have said to you previously under the current regulatory regime Vettel will always come up short against Lewis. Marchionne will be saying to Vettel ‘Sorry, you can’t get the job done so we have to put someone similarly competitive as yourself in the team and allow you both equal status.’ Vettel won’t like it but he’ll have no choice. This will give at least give Ferrari two drivers that can equally compete for a WDC.

Max to Mercedes. Because they would not want to pass up on a future WDC. He’s extremely talented but just needs to iron out a few rough edges. I think Jos’s friendship with Toto may also be a factor. Very interesting that Bottas only got a one year extension and I think that if Merc stay in F1 they will want someone with Max’s talents to maintain the team’s competitiveness into the post Lewis era.

Interesting though Renault have stated that they will be targeting the best available for 2019.

I agree with you, and DR has stated it himself, that time is not on his side. Since Singapore he’s actually been in Perth visiting papa Giuseppe and mama Grazia and doing promotional work.

Gotta go FP1 is just about to start – Malaysia being on the same time zone as Perth.

29

Common trait of world champion. They are master in wet.

30

vettel eaikkonen alonso are all champions.

31

Singapore was a race Vettel needed to win (or score heavily) to pull some of the momentum back from Hamilton. He wasn’t fighting Verstappen or Ricciardo or Raikkonen for the WDC and Lewis was down in P5. He’s a 4 x time WDC and should know the inherent dangers emanating from drivers jockeying for position at race starts. We can show and dissect, until the cows come home, all the different camera angles but the inescapable fact is that he contributed massively to his own demise. And he knew it given his profuse apologies to his Pit Wall. IMO he got spooked by the possibility of Verstappen taking the lead of the race and was far too aggressive in covering him off.

As Singapore was a track that heavily favoured Ferrari over Mercedes there would have been an expectation that he should/would win it especially after the euphoria of getting pole. On the back of this there would have been expectation to bounce back from his subpar performance in Monza and Marchionne’s comments. But once again Vettel has shown that he doesn’t react well to pressure. When a more considered and circumspect response was required in Singapore he failed. It would have been far more productive to concede a place (or two) than bomb out completely. As JA said: “Sebastian Vettel [got] his risk profile all wrong by trying to block against Max Verstappen….”.

32

Some good points Adrian – in general I agree with your assessment of the start.

33

I have a feeling something is about to “happen” that will bring Vettel back into it as well as Bottas maybe. F1 wants a showdown, at some of the best tracks coming up and season wraps up. I’m thinking Bottas will win Malaysia, Vettel P2, Lewis DNFs. That would bunch it up a bit more and achieve that goal.

Otherwise, Lewis will walk to the goal and people will tune out. Not good for F1, not good for Mercedes on their “glorious” 50th anniversary. They want as many people watching their victory as possible. And that requires a close contest. Everyone knows that.

34

i have a very different feeling. when hamilton launched that project one car, he didn’t only say he helped develop the engine and chassis of that car, he also said he’s going for wins at all the remaining races…the guy stood next to him with the curly moustache questioned him and he affirmed that was what he’s aiming for…the guy is in a class all by himself!

35

@ Adrian…you may well be right but after watching the opening sequences a myriad of times i would suggest this. In the first few seconds, from a 45deg overhead frontal view Verstappen veers right momentarily. This may have been the point at which Vettel veered left, if he’d seen that in his mirrors. If so then he was provoked into a reaction. I simply don’t believe that Vettel was the devil incarnate as he’s being characterised by so many. Yes, he was aggressive and that is fine by me but surely there is an onus on those behind to exercise some caution when attempting to overtake in conditions such as these.

36

you may be right kenneth but there is no way vettel meant to crash into any one or have anyone crash into him. so those who characterise him as overly aggressive are not being serious..

37

Ken

Like you I believe that it was a racing incident. The context of my posts regarding this matter relate more specifically to Vettel’s role in relation to his fight with Hamilton for the WDC not to apportion blame to any one driver. Vettel’s first priority was to drive safely in the run-down to and negotiation of the first corner and secure track position. To do everything possible to stay out of trouble even if it meant losing a place)s) because he needed maximum points to get the lead back off Lewis. Did he do everything he needed to do to achieve this?

I think there is a danger of over analysing what occurred. We can cherry pick images to substantiate a particular interpretation of what occurred and that’s fine as we all have our own opinions but it’s only when we watch the whole sequence of events in real time that we get a picture of what actually happened. For me two things stand out. Firstly, the amount of room Vettel had to his right and secondly the overly aggressive manner in which he moved to his left and the ensuing contact with Verstappen. I’m still of the opinion that he was spooked by the presence of Verstappen and the possibility of being overtaken for the lead of the race. So the pressure was on. If he was “provoked” into a reaction as you say then I would say he overreacted in response to that provocation.

Usually Vettel is pretty vocal and animated on the team radio when he believes he was unfairly/illegally taken out by another driver. However on his occasion there was no hint of blaming Verstappen or another driver just the words in a depressed tone: “ Sorry guys, sorry, I’m so sorry.” Was this an admission of guilt? Probably not because F1 drivers don’t like to admit to anything that might damage their reputation but for me it was a window into his thinking that he did something that could have been avoided. He had options, for example not moving so aggressively to his left or using the space to his right. He may have lost a place(s) but he may have also survived and that’s all that he needed to do at that stage of the race.

So instead of being a points plus on Lewis he’s a massive 28 points in deficit from which he may not recover considering that the remaining circuits, to my knowledge, favour Mercedes.

38

very well summarised adrian. vettel didnt break any rules but had his tail firmly between his legs because he knew who caused what.

39

Thanks aveli. We agree on something.

40

there must agree on a lot more than one.

41

Does the fact that so many ex F1 drivers disagree with your view on this give you any cause for doubt? Brundle, Webber (particularly clear on who was at fault) Coulthard all say Max did nothing wrong.

42

@ C63…Not in the slightest. What appears to be irking all you ‘experts’ is that the stewards, you know, the people with the knowledge and all the relevants facts/data at their disposal have ruled it a ‘racing incident’. Now you and a lot of others don’t like it…that’s tough. Suck it up. At the end of the day only Vettel knows why his did [legally] what he did and why. If he messed up then he’ll have to live with it. End of story. I just happen to think that it is not as simplistic as you maintain. That’s my opinion…right or wrong.

43

What’s that expression you like? Ah, yes, that’s it; no cigar for you I’m afraid. I have never once said that I thought Vettel deserved a penalty and it doesn’t worry me that he didn’t. The stewards have tended to shy away from penalising drivers for first corner incidents of late and Vettel has taken far more punishment than they would likely dish out.

On a different note – I see you are back to referring to the stewards as experts with all the info etc . Do you not see the contradiction in your position on this matter? One minute you claim the stewards are the experts and therefore should be listened too and the next you are saying they don’t always get to it right – generally when you think Hamilton got off lightly. Do you not feel any discomfort at the duality of your argument? Even just a little bit of awkwardness?

Finally – if Vettel could wind the clock back and take the start again. Do you think he would do things differently? I think he would. That being the case – if he would do it differently – it’s difficult to make the case that he got it right the first time. Or put more simply, if he didn’t get it right – he must have got it wrong…..

44

Some days, maybe for a moment, I think it would be nice to live in kenneth’s world, free of any restrictions like logic, facts, and cognitive harmony. Then I run it through to its inevitable conclusion – ending up as an emotional weathervane shell of a person with zero credibility – and I quickly snap out of it.

You have it spot on C63 … it’s a start line incident, but Vettel’s move over is the one that allows it all to happen, and was a serious misjudgement.

45

I can’t decide whether kenneth is aware of his contradictory stance on the stewards and just doesn’t care. Or if he genuinely doesn’t see it.

46

C63

“if Vettel could wind the clock back and take the start again. Do you think he would do things differently?”

Vettel has admitted that he could have done things differently.

47

You don’t need to convince me Adrian – perhaps you could send the link to kenneth. He might find it interesting, but I doubt it…..

48

If he knew the post race facts he would tell Kimi to hold his line and doing the same driving to the left himself. Kimi would still have been in front of Max without driving to the right.

BTW: Lewis supports environment terrorists by driving a Mercedes. I think the word of a 3 time WDC should have a bit weight in the public to stop it.

49

environment terrorists

Seriously ? I appreciate english is not your first language, but I can’t help but think you might have chosen your words more carefully.
However, if you want to play Top Trumps on who’s sponsor is the worst I’ll be happy to accommodate you. How many millions (maybe evens tens of millions) of people has the delightful product that Philip Morris peddle to the masses killed? Don’t you think it immoral that Vettel doesn’t speak out against the tobacco industry and that he is happy to get rich off the back of others misery? You’d think a 4 xWDC would take a stand on something as serious as tobacco advertising – yet he stays strangely quiet and just banks the cash.

50

Smoking or not, drinking or not, no one forces you. But none of the people in South Sudan who have their water poisoned has much of a choice, or?
But you are right, the tobacco industry is a close second and we all know about the dangers and if it should be allowed in F1 was discussed a lot. But the ways oil is pressed out of the ground in areas people live is ignored. And Mercedes has house rules which would normally not allow to work with companies which bring illness to people by the thousands.

51

I’m no apologist for the oil industry seifenkistler, but I would say you are on mighty shaky ground trying to make a claim that it is more immoral than the tobacco industry. Since you started this conversation just yesterday, I wonder how many people have died or if they were ‘lucky’ maybe they only had their foot amputated or their larynx removed as a consequence of their addiction to tobacco?
It may be a free choice, but they try to get them hooked when they are young and too naive to make sensible choices – also what about the people who are affected by second hand smoke – is it their free choice to suck that in? All in all it sounds pretty immoral to me – selling a product which is proven to be highly addictive and incredibly harmful to it’s consumers. It raises the question; just how immoral is a person who wears that company logo and who is paid by that same industry to do so? Paid handsomely I might add. Do you think Vettel gives any thought to that when he pulls on his overalls and then banks his £25million (or whatever it is)?

We have a saying here in the UK – people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones and I think it might have been wise for you to have done a little research before you started throwing accusations around. . Take a quick look at Shells record and you will see they are very far from squeaky clean – bribing officials and widespread pollution in Nigeria for starters – pollution taking place over decades – court action ongoing right now. I’ve no doubt Petronas are no angels but Shell sure as heck aren’t either.
Want to keep going – or would you rather quietly drop the subject?

One final thought. Do you drive a car or use any product that is made in the petrochemical industry ? If you do then you don’t get to complain about the pollution caused by the oil companies – you’re part of it.

52

C63

You’re right tobacco is highly addictive and causes thousands of deaths and sickness and yet it would be a brave government to try and ban it. The manufacture and !supply would only go underground and millions of dollars would have to spent trying to police it. As you said so many diseases (not just lung cancer) result from this dirty habit. Governments here and in the UK (because we both have national health systems) will just have to live with the enormous cost of treatment for people’s poor choices which could have been avoided. In reality it’s the tax payer that pays.

Every year organized criminals try to smuggle millions of dollars worth of cigarettes through Australia’s borders. Even people returning from holiday get caught by not declaring hundreds of packets of cigarettes concealed in their unaccompanied baggage. They don’t care. It’s worth the try. Why not risk paying a couple of hundred bucks in fines and forfeiture of the stuff when you can make thousands on the black market. Risk V Reward!

53

causes thousands of deaths….

Try millions – estimates put it around 6 million deaths per year and that is set to rise to something like 8 million a year in the next 15 years or so. I bet seifenkistler is glad he started this debate !

54

James, maybe I missed it in the reading but I think its worth mentioning that in F1 the cars are considered to be in parc ferme from the start of qualifying until the start of the race. When we have a situation like Singapore where it’s dry, fine and hot on Saturday and supposed to the same Sunday, but it’s cold, wet and overcast instead, the parc ferme limitations can have a quite dramatic effect. Plainly the RedBulls had a close to perfect dry set up for the Saturday conditions and the Mercedes were not so perfect. With the cold, wet and overcast conditions on Sunday this seems to have turned around and the RedBull’s (at least one of them anyway) dry set up just didn’t suit the conditions. In contrast it fell into Mercedes set up window, not perfect but for sure closer than if it had been dry and hot as expected.

I can’t recall another racing series where there is such drastic parc ferme limitations. There is discretion allowed for a change in conditions where the FIA Stewards can give the teams permission to make appropriate changes on their cars. So the question is, given the uncertainty of the conditions, was that permission given in Singapore? If so, then what teams took advantage of it? To what extent?

To have not done so in this case really rewards good luck (with the weather) rather than good set up (on the car). Secondly there was undoubtedly increased danger when the cars are far from ideal in its set up. Particularly relevant to F1 were the set up windows are very small and the cars very fast.

55

They all would’ve had a dry setup.

56

changes are often made after qualifying because drivers often mention how much work they have to do to improve their cars for the race the next day after qualifying.

57

Lewis tell you this?

58

‘we’ll see if we can improve the car overnight but it looks like it’ll be a 10th or within a 10th’
this was said during a post qualifying interview.

59

changes are often made after qualifying

That’s not correct. This is what the sporting regulations say:
The cars are deemed to be under parc ferme conditions from the time they first exit the pits during qualifying until the start of the formation lap immediately prior to the race.
Under these conditions, the work teams may carry out on their cars is limited to strictly-specified routine procedures, which can only be performed under the watchful eye of the FIA Technical Delegate and race scrutineers. Fuel may be added to the cars, tyres changed and brakes bled. Minor front wing adjustments are also allowed, but little else. These controls mean that teams cannot make significant alterations to the set-up of a car between qualifying and the race.
The only exception to this is when there is a “change in climatic conditions”, for example a dry qualifying session followed by a wet race, or vice versa. In this case the FIA will give the teams permission to make further appropriate changes to their cars.

61

Sorry Aveli – you’ve sort of lost me here. The link you have chosen is for an interview with Hamilton after first practice for the Canadian GP – first practice is on Friday, the day before qualification and when Parc Ferme conditions start.
Re-read the article and while you’re at it read the sporting regulations.
They are both quite clear.

62

so it is. will find another..

63

@ Gary…A very good point and one which i feel is due for change. Given that the weather is taken into account by way of specifying tyre changes surely the same re set up could also be allowed.

64

one which i feel is due for change

No need for change, there is already provision for this in the sporting regulations. I don’t know whether the FIA granted the teams permission to make changes due to the weather on this occasion but the regulations certainly allow for this. Whatever the ruling it would have been the same for everyone.

65

The question I was asking James was whether or not the FIA Stewards gave permission, it is rather important and I haven’t seen it mentioned.

Whilst it may be the same decision for everyone, it has not necessarily the same effect. For example, a team may well have done a good job in setting up for the dry (RedBull in this case) which by its very nature is not a very good set up for the wet. Compared to another team (say Mercedes) whose dry set up was not optimal but closer in nature to their wet set up.

If in the above case the FA Stewards didn’t relax the parc ferme requirements then it would disadvantage RedBull and advantage Mercedes. Whereas if they did relax the parc ferme requirements then all teams would have the same opportunity to change their cars’ set up.

As a result the question as to whether they did or didn’t is important in the context of the race. It may also have had some effect on the “urgency” expressed by 3 drivers off the start.

66

Having given the matter a little thought I think the FIA must have declared a wet race as none of the teams started the race on the same tyres which they set their fastest lap in Q2 – they would only be allowed to do so if the race was wet. However, as it didn’t start raining until the cars were on the grid (as I understand it none of them had been able to complete even a single lap in the wet conditions) I doubt there was sufficient time to make any significant changes to the set up’s – a bit more front wing maybe but not much else.
As for which teams benefitted – surely that’s just the way the cookie crumbles. I’m not sure that the Merc dry set up is closer to their wet set up than the Red Bulls but if it is ,then that’s just a sign of a well designed car – if it has a wider operating window. However, there was nothing to stop Red Bull from gambling and going for a compromise set up if they felt so inclined – if they chose to go for 100% dry set up and it stayed dry their gamble would have paid off. It didn’t stay dry and they lost out. You often hear of teams setting their car up for the race rather than quali – they take a hit in quali hoping to benefit in the race. I don’t see this situation as any different.

67

wow I love this website because of reports like this, without this I wouldnt understand things like this “Hamilton slow down” to hold Ric to help Bot to Help Him situations, its fascinating… thank you….

and this:

Ultimately his responsibility was to work for Ferrari to achieve maximum championship

that’s a really important point, because Kimi lose in what he suppose to be, sadly 2nd driver as he is, he fail to protect his teamate, and as was mention in other article in your site, the WDC would be decide by 2nd drivers…

although I still think the maneuver btwn VET and RAI that ultimately end in the VER crash, was planned, they though Kimi being 2nd will be able to hold the RBR’s and with that keep HAM away… and VET wouldn’t need to fight with VER all the race since that will be RAI job while VET will be able to open a gap… of course that went terribly wrong.

68

Off topic but can someone tell me why Williams are considering DeResta? Nothing against the guy but he’s not been in F1 for a number of years now

69

who did william call when they needed a driver to replace their sick massa?

70

He’s their reserve driver though. He’s never lit the grid on fire. They should use Pascal and use him as leverage to negotiate cheaper engines

71

Too young for their Martini sponsorship deal.

72

This may be pedantic, but I do wish James and other F1 commentators would stop saying things like “There is a 100% chance of a safety car at this circuit”. No there isn’t, there has been a safety car in 100% of previous races, which is not the same thing. It certainly indicates it is very likely that there will be a safety car, but you can’t just use take the percentage of previous of races to be the chance of a car this time round.

73

this sounds a bit pedantic…

74

They said this on Sky as well, but they did correct themselves and clarify that it was a historic fact.

75

Interesting learning regarding the wet tires on the crappier cars… surprised to hear that at this level.

Also interesting to read more about Hamilton backing off to thwart any plan for Ricciardo to change strategy.

My last thought in reading this article, and I don’t know why I just thought of it today: does anyone else feel that Raikkonen was the one who got the blame by the time they debriefed in the Ferrari motor home? I just can’t help but feel that the corporate view of his maneuver would be anything but a dim one… even though racing people almost universally wouldn’t pin the blame on him for the incident.

76

Nico Hulkenberg, who had a good shot at a podium after a great start,

Just for being in P4?
I think realistically he could never have overtook Bottas or Ric and got the podium…

77

Palmer passed Bottas……..
Never say never
🙂

78

SAI started 10th and 5 cars ahead of him dropped out. VET, VES, RAI, ALO, HUL, so he made up one place over a Honda with a rookie driving.

79

Looks like lady luck favored Merc.

80

The criticism of Kimi’s risk/reward decision making is harsh – even as #2, surely his role is to get into the best position possible at the start. If he was starting alongside Vettel, then fair enough, he needs to be careful. But by going down the left side of the track he should have been well clear of Vettel – he can hardly have expected Vettel to swoop all the way across the track and spook Ver into the fatal wobble.

I’d be interested to know whether Vettel had predetermined the chop, or whether it was a spur of the moment thing when he saw VER get a good start. James, do the teams discuss start strategies and coordinate between their drivers?

81

That’s another valid point that has been overlooked in all this.

People keep slamming Vettel, but all he was doing is going from Pole starting box on the RIGHT side of the track to the inside line for the first turn, a left hander. And that was his dorect straight path to it the ideal line. Nothing unusual about it. It wasn’t a chop, it was going for the inside line from pole.

82

Sebee, you might want to look again at the racing line into turn one….

83

It’s a lovely line.

100% legal.

Didn’t hit anyone either, unlike Max.

84

Sebee, you may like his line, but it is nowhere near the racing line as you claimed. The inly reason Seb didn’t hit anyone is because Max lifted.

85

Yes, it is frustrating when people say it was Vettel’s fault when it was just a racing incident with a lot edge case scenarios coming true.

i. Kimi’s blinding start
ii. Max’s better than Vettel but worse than Kimi’s start
iii. Vettel’s worse than Kimi and Max’s start

If either of the above had some variation, then all three would’ve made the first turn in some order. Instead it put them 3 abreast for a brief moment and contact was inevitable. On a dry track maybe things pan out a bit differently, even with Max and Kimi touching but it was all down to circumstances and luck.

And Lewis was lucky not to have gotten tangled like Alonso. He also was so close behind Vettel after the 1st sequence but didn’t get into the coolant leak of Vettel which took the latter out. Unbelievable bad luck for Ferrari and the opposite for Merc.

Clearly Lewis is very very good in the wet, so I don’t know what Ferrari should hope for in Malaysia. They’re not fast enough in the dry on a power circuit and Lewis is just too fast in the wet

86

Seabee, that was a chop all day long. Go and look at Vettels start from the 2015 Singapore he actually moves to the right first before swinging in at the last minute to take turn 1.
Nothing unusual.!! 🙂
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsecU-hNkmA

87

Yes endlessly!

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