F1: Ferraris Crash Out, Hamilton Wins at Singapore
There are going to be a lot of opinions on Ferraris crash out at the beginning racing action at Singapore Sunday night.
In this highly technical age there are very fine margins F1 drivers deal with as they battle wheel to wheel at speeds approaching 200mph, and the split-seconds they have to make their decisions.
Those fine margins were clear at the 1st corner Sunday night on the Marina Bay circuit.
Lewis Hamilton chose the outside line, and stayed out of trouble, slotting in behind the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel and soon moving into a lead that saw him unchallenged for the entire race, giving him a commanding lead in the championship over Mr. Vettel.
Watching the tape, just behind him, McLaren’s Fernando Alonso did the same, as he was poised to slot into 3rd place behind Messers Vettel and Hamilton after a flying start, and for an instant saw his and McLaren-Honda’s 1st podium of this season. Then he was hit by Kimi Raikkonen’s spinning Ferrari and put out again.
After the race, paddock opinion was split on who was to blame for the start-line crashouts.
Some felt Mr. Vettel was too aggressive in diving across to the left to defend against Mr. Verstappen.
Others felt that Max Verstappen, as the man who had a clear view of both Ferraris, could have decided discretion was the better part of valor and backed out of it, instead, as I see it, he barged in and triggered the wrecks.
The stewards were probably right to take no action over the start-line incident, deciding that “no driver was wholly or predominantly to blame”.
Mr. Vettel was his very aggressive self in covering against Mr. Verstappen. That might have been just fine as he would have edged the young Red Bull racer to the pit wall, they would have disputed the 1st corner and moved on.
As some of my mates who watched this 1st ever wet surface Singapore F1 race saw it, Red Bull Racing’s young Turk out to curry favor with his owner, who we all know holds a grudge against the Iconic Scuderia, purposefully crashed into Kimi Raikkonen and then went for Sebastian Vettel.
Ferrari team management is holding Mr. Verstappen responsible for the crash which eliminated both its drivers on the 1st lap of the Sing. Grand Prix.
Mr. Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen made contact which sent the Ferrari into the side of team mate Sebastian Vettel.
Although Mr. Vettel was initially able to continue with damage he then spun out at turn 4 and exited the race.
Ferrari described the incident saying “Verstappen took Raikkonen out and then he went for Vettel.”
Mr. Vettel stoically told reporters the crash was “not ideal”.
Sebastian Vettel did not realize team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was on Max Verstappen’s inside and moving ahead, having made the best start of the 3.
Mr. Raikkonen kept his car straight, Mr. Verstappen went right to Mr. Vettel, but went to the left, seeing Mr. Vettel coming across and Mr. Raikkonen on his inside.
And as you can see on the tape, Mr. Vettel kept coming, and Mr. Verstappen soon had nowhere to go.
The initial touch that triggered the collision was the Red Bull’s left front tagging Mr. Raikkonen’s right rear, which spun the Kimi around into Mr. Vettel.
But by the time that touch happened, Mr. Vettel was straight in rapidly towards the pair of them and Mr. Verstappen looked like he had nowhere to go.
It was just one of those things that can happen at the start of a Grand Prix, but there was no doubt that Ferrari and Mr. Vettel were the biggest losers.
Lewis Hamilton has now won three races in a row and Mr. Vettel’s deficit is more than a clear race win. That’s quite a turnaround from the Mr. Vettel being 14 points in front after his victory in Hungary at the end of July.
Mr. Hamilton has the momentum now, and of the circuits coming up there are no major headaches for MercedesAMG of the kind that Singapore was expected to be.
How they stand now
|At Marina Bay Street Circuit|
|Lap length: 3.44 miles|
1. Lewis Hamilton, Britain, Mercedes, 58 laps, 2:03:23.544, 25 points.
2. Daniel Ricciardo, Australia, Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer, 58, +4.507 seconds, 18.
3. Valtteri Bottas, Finland, Mercedes, 58, +8.800, 15.
4. Carlos Sainz, Spain, Toro Rosso, 58, +22.822, 12.
5. Sergio Perez, Mexico, Force India Mercedes, 58, +25.359, 10.
7. Stoffel Vandoorne, Belgium, McLaren Honda,58, +30.388, 6
8. Lance Stroll, Canada, Williams Mercedes, 58, +41.696, 4.
9. Romain Grosjean, France, Haas Ferrari, 58, +43.282, 2.
10. Esteban Ocon, France, Force India Mercedes, 58, +44.795, 1.
11. Felipe Massa, Brazil, Williams Mercedes, 58, +46.536.
12. Pascal Wehrlein, Germany, Sauber Ferrari, 56, +2 laps.
Nico Hulkenberg, Germany, Renault, 48, did not finish.
Kevin Magnussen, Denmak, Haas Ferrari, 50, did not finish.
Marcus Ericsson, Sweden, Sauber Ferrari, 35, did not finish.
Daniil Kvyat, Russia, Toro Rosso, 10, did not finish.
Fernando Alonso, Spain, McLaren Honda, 8, did not finish.
Sebastian Vettel, Germany, Ferrari, 0, did not finish.
Max Verstappen, Netherlands, Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer, 0, did not finish.
Kimi Raikkonen, Finland, Ferrari, 0, did not finish.
1. Lewis Hamilton, Britain, Mercedes, 263 points
2. Sebastian Vettel, Germany, Ferrari, 235
3. Valtteri Bottas, Finland, Mercedes, 212
4. Daniel Ricciardo, Australia, Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer, 162
5. Kimi Raikkonen, Finland, Ferrari, 138
6. Max Verstappen, Netherlands, Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer, 68
7. Sergio Perez, Mexico, Force India Mercedes, 68
8. Esteban Ocon, France, Force India Mercedes, 56
9. Carlos Sainz, Spain, Toro Rosso, 48
10. Nico Hulkenberg, Germany, Renault, 34
11. Felipe Massa, Brazil, Williams Mercedes, 31
12. Lance Stroll, Canada, Williams Mercedes, 28
13. Romain Grosjean, France, Haas Ferrari, 26
14. Kevin Magnussen, Denmark, Haas Ferrari, 11
15. Fernando Alonso, Spain, McLaren Honda, 10
16. Jolyon Palmer, Britain, Renault, 8
17. Stoffel Vandoorne, Belgium, McLaren Honda, 7
18. Pascal Wehrlein, Germany, Sauber Ferrari, 5
19. Daniil Kvyat, Russia, Toro Rosso, 4
1. Mercedes, 475
2. Ferrari, 373
3. Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer, 230
4. Force India Mercedes, 124
5. Williams Mercedes, 59
6. Toro Rosso, 52
7. Renault, 42
8. Haas Ferrari, 37
9. McLaren Honda, 17
10. Sauber Ferrari, 5
Have a terrific week.