Grand Prix of Singapore – Qualifying

Two weeks (since the GP of Italy) can be a long time in F1!

  • RAI announced he’s leaving Ferrari at the end of this season (not completely unexpected) … and he’s moving to Sauber (ok, that’s a surprise) – back to where he started his F1 career [F1]
  • The empty seat at Ferrari will go to LEC [F1]
  • 18 year old Lando Norris will take VAN’s place at McLaren [F1]
  • Which leaves OCO pretty much out in the cold [F1]
  • (I’ve already mentioned that RIC is moving to Renault and GAS is taking his place at Red Bull) [F1]
  • “Formula 1 has revealed plans to improve the quality of racing with a new car design to be introduced in 2021” [BBC]
  • “Wolff sure Lauda will make F1 return” after his lung transplant [grandprix.com]

Phew! Oh, and don’t forget GRO (who finished P6) was “disqualified from the Italian Grand Prix after the floor of his Haas Formula 1 car was deemed to not be in compliance with the rules” [F1], which meant the revised result was: HAM, RAI, BOT, VET, VER, OCO, PER, SAI, STR, SIR.

HAM goes into this weekend 30 points clear of VET, and Mercedes are just 25 points ahead of Ferrari.

On to Free Practice:

  1. FP1: RIC (1:39.711), VER, VET, RAI, HUL
    ALO has a bandage on his right hand; apparently it’s a hangover from the lap 1 incident at the Belgian GP
    Quite a few spinners and people running wide as the cars clean up the dusty track
    VAN lost hydraulic pressure and ALO complained of low power
    LEC touched the wall and damaged his front right suspension
  2. FP2: RAI (1:38.699), HAM, VER, RIC, BOT
    More track cleaning; HAM locks up and almost rear-ends VET
    VET clipped the wall, throwing sparks from both right wheels; looks like pink fluid leaking too
    STR’s brakes got so hot there were flames
  3. FP3: VET (1:38.054), RAI, HAM, BOT, RIC
    Ferrari mechanics fixed VET’s leak after he hit the wall in FP2
    OCO was released into the path of a Haas in the pit lane – stewards are investigating the incident (update: Force India were fined but OCO not penalised)

Tyre choices for the weekend are: soft (yellow), ultrasoft (purple), and hypersoft (pink).

15 minutes before Q1, Ferrari mechanics are working on a battery-related problem on VET’s car
5mins to go; looks like VET’s car is fully reassembled

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
It’s 9pm local time; air temperature 29°C; track 33°C
LEC, MAG and GRO are first out of the pit lane
MAG 1:39.817
LEC 1:39.119
RAI 1:38.534
GRO runs wide
HAM goes P7!
RIC 1:38.153
STR crossed the yellow line (Turn 7) and his time is deleted
3mins left; bottom 5 are VAN, ERI, HAR, STR, SIR
HAM down to P10 but he’s in the pits
Chequered flag
LEC to P9; HAM now down to P13
VAN tagged the wall (SIR had clipped it too)
ERI P12; MAG to P16
Back of the grid: MAG, HAR, VAN, SIR, STR
HAM was P14!
Replay of radio from HAM – “Rears are done man – you guys need to listen more, I told you I couldn’t go any faster”

Qualifying session 2
RAI on ultrasofts; HAM on hypersofts
RAI tried to start a quick lap but his tyres just didn’t want to play
HUL 1:38.630
HAM 1:37.344
(BOT P2)
(RIC P2)
VER 1:37.214
Radio from RAI – “it’s way too slow”; “Kimi, box”
LEC taps the wall
Ferraris are now going out on hypersofts
5mins left of Q2; bottom 5 are: GRO, LEC, ERI, GAS, RAI
Only VER and RIC in their garages with 3mins to go
RAI 1:37.194; ironically that bumps VET to P11
VET catches GRO in the chicane
VET goes P5; ALO to P11
Chequered flag; bottom 5 are ALO, GRO, LEC, ERI, GAS
LEC P11
ALO P10; SAI P11
GRO P8; ALO P11
Middle of the grid: ALO, SAI, LEC, ERI, GAS

Qualifying session 3
Top 10 shootout is between RAI, VER, BOT, HAM, RIC, VET, PER, GRO, HUL and OCO
Only GRO stays in the pits
OCO 1:39.157
RAI 1:37.403
HUL P2
PER P4
HAM 1:36.015
BOT P2
VET P2
RIC P5
VER P2
After first run, order is: HAM, VER, VET, BOT, RAI, RIC, HUL, OCO, PER, GRO
Radio for HAM – “Pretty epic lap, Lewis!”
Radio from VET – “Next time give me a good out lap and notice that Mercedes are a lot slower than us” (ouch!)
4mins left; cars are prepped for a final run
GRO P7
Everyone on track now
Chequered flag
PER P7
RAI P5
HAM abandons his lap and heads for the pits
BOT P4
OCO P9
RIC P6
VET P3
VER P2
Front of the grid: HAM, VER, VET, BOT, RAI, RIC, PER, GRO, OCO, HUL

Provisional grid: HAM, VER, VET, BOT, RAI, RIC, PER, GRO, OCO, HUL, ALO, SAI, LEC, ERI, GAS, MAG, HAR, VAN, SIR, STR

HAM: “That was a hard qualifying session!”
VER: “This feels like a victory”; “To be second is unbelievable”
VET: “Not ideal, obviously”; “Bit of a messy qualifying session”

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