The Singapore Grand Prix has become the one round of the season where F1’s strategists can almost take it for granted that the Safety Car will play a role. This was the seventh running of the race, and as in the six previous events the Safety Car played a role.
For most of the teams it was a question of trying to make it to the end of the race without a further pit stop. Some such as Red Bull had already put their drivers on the harder soft tyres for what was supposed to be their second stop of three – instead it became their last.
“We went onto the [super-soft] tyre at the first stop,” explained Red Bull team principal Christian Horner. “By the time we got to the second, Fernando [Alonso] had got the undercut on us, so we went onto the different tyre to change the strategy.”
This was the logical thing for Red Bull to do. Had the Safety Car not come out, they would have been able to attack Alonso at the end of the race by switching back to the super-soft tyres while he was on softs.
But as it turned out the Safety Car was needed, and Ferrari were forced to sacrifice Alonso’s track position to get him on a set of tyres he could run to the end of the race with.
Williams began the race using an aggressive three-stop strategy for Felipe Massa which jumped him ahead of Kimi Raikkonen. He made his second pit stop on lap 23, earlier than anyone else last year, and having switched to the soft tyres he was able to run to the end of the race, which proved handy when the Safety Car came out.
“The grip levels were very low in the final few laps,” said Massa, “but I had a big enough gap to sixth place to ease the car home”.
Massa’s strategy was bad news for Raikkonen. “From then on I found myself stuck behind a Williams for the entire race,” he said.
“Unfortunately, every time I managed to get close, I lost aero performance on the rear and on top of that, tyre degradation was very high.”
The team who impressed most in the pits was McLaren, who set the four fastest pit stop times of the race, and all five of their stops ranked inside the top seven.
Singapore Grand Prix tyre strategies
The tyre strategies for each driver:
|Stint 1||Stint 2||Stint 3||Stint 4||Stint 5|
|Lewis Hamilton||Super soft (13)||Super soft (13)||Super soft (26)||Soft (8)|
|Sebastian Vettel||Super soft (12)||Super soft (13)||Soft (35)|
|Daniel Ricciardo||Super soft (12)||Super soft (15)||Soft (33)|
|Fernando Alonso||Super soft (12)||Super soft (12)||Super soft (7)||Soft (29)|
|Felipe Massa||Super soft (10)||Super soft (12)||Soft (38)|
|Jean-Eric Vergne||Super soft (11)||Super soft (13)||Super soft (20)||Soft (16)|
|Sergio Perez||Super soft (15)||Soft (14)||Super soft (1)||Soft (14)||Super soft (16)|
|Kimi Raikkonen||Super soft (11)||Super soft (14)||Super soft (6)||Soft (29)|
|Nico Hulkenberg||Super soft (9)||Super soft (16)||Soft (6)||Soft (29)|
|Kevin Magnussen||Super soft (13)||Soft (13)||Super soft (20)||Super soft (14)|
|Valtteri Bottas||Super soft (11)||Super soft (12)||Soft (37)|
|Pastor Maldonado||Super soft (11)||Super soft (12)||Super soft (7)||Super soft (1)||Soft (29)|
|Romain Grosjean||Super soft (10)||Super soft (12)||Super soft (8)||Soft (30)|
|Daniil Kvyat||Super soft (10)||Soft (13)||Super soft (20)||Soft (17)|
|Marcus Ericsson||Super soft (12)||Super soft (18)||Soft (30)|
|Jules Bianchi||Super soft (15)||Super soft (15)||Soft (15)||Super soft (15)|
|Max Chilton||Super soft (16)||Super soft (2)||Soft (23)||Super soft (18)|
|Jenson Button||Super soft (14)||Soft (17)||Soft (21)|
|Adrian Sutil||Super soft (8)||Super soft (16)||Soft (7)||Super soft (9)|
|Esteban Gutierrez||Super soft (15)||Soft (2)|
|Nico Rosberg||Super soft (13)|
|Kamui Kobayashi||Super soft|
Singapore Grand Prix pit stop times
How long each driver’s pit stops took:
|Driver||Team||Pit stop time||Gap||On lap|
|5||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||28.733||0.106||25|
|14||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||29.113||0.486||27|
|18||Sergio Perez||Force India||29.339||0.712||44|
|19||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||29.362||0.735||25|
|22||Sergio Perez||Force India||29.502||0.875||29|
|28||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||29.761||1.134||12|
|30||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso||29.806||1.179||11|
|35||Sergio Perez||Force India||29.979||1.352||15|
|36||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||29.987||1.360||9|
|37||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||30.089||1.462||10|
|38||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso||30.111||1.484||44|
|40||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||30.147||1.520||12|
|41||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||30.188||1.561||23|
|46||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||30.415||1.788||31|
|50||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||31.092||2.465||43|
|52||Sergio Perez||Force India||35.289||6.662||30|
|53||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso||35.309||6.682||24|
2014 Singapore Grand Prix
- Frustrating year led to Singapore outburst – Grosjean
- Hamilton beats Vergne to Driver of the Weekend
- Singapore GP falls short of high 2014 standard
- “Contamination” caused Rosberg’s Singapore failure
- 2014 Singapore Grand Prix fans’ video gallery
Image © Singapore GP/Sutton
18 comments on “Safety Car causes strategic shuffles in Singapore”
22nd September 2014, 9:26
Yep, I bet they take great pride in that. Shame about the rest of the car not being quite up to speed!
22nd September 2014, 17:09
Isn’t it ironic that when they did have the car to challenge it was the opposite with all the botched stops.
Formula Indonesia (@)
22nd September 2014, 9:42
Alonso could have salvaged Podium, but did Lewis saved a lot of tyres in his first 2 stints???? i think he could lapped 2nd place after looking at his pace after SC
22nd September 2014, 11:07
They didnt needed to go that fast before SC. We all know how Mercs can just turn up their engine power and boom, they are gone away from eyesight. May be it is still a bit unreliable for them to run 100℅ race distance at that power, thats why they only use it when it is truly needed.
Its amazing how fast their car can go, he was almost 8.5 secs up on Vettel within 3 laps after SC, whereas last year Vettel blitzed through the field at about 2 secs/lap speed.
22nd September 2014, 15:53
Vettel was saving his tires, and on the harder tire, so it’s not an apt comparison per se. I think one interesting data point is how far ahead on fuel consumption Hamilton was in the later stages, according to the FOM graphic. This suggests that Hamilton was able to use a lot of coasting and keep the engine turned down throughout the race, and still control things easily. This is a mark of a superior chassis, not just engine, because MB is not just turning up the wick to make pace.
22nd September 2014, 20:56
Hamilton was on the Supersoft during SC while the rest, practically from 2nd to 10th were on soft tyres.
Does it even makes sense for Vettel trying to catch Hamilton?
22nd September 2014, 10:22
I am bemused Alonso did not follow Hamilton’s strategy.
He’d have had clear track ahead of him, and on the supersofts – based on the early stints – he could’ve more or less been able to keep Lewis’ pace. Even if, say, he’d have got 10s less in the bag, he’d come out behind Massa and no straightline speed difference would’ve kept the Williams in front, not to mention the Red Bulls.
This was clearly the better strategy option as underlined by the excellent pace and progress of others, who chose it – Vergne and Pérez. (Magnussen and Kvyat did so as well, but they had issues, so their pace was not representative.)
This all sounds like a ‘Monday morning quarterback’, but considering even I realized the softs are not much more durable than the super-softs (Pirelli indicated that on Friday), surely they should have known it as well.
Even if not, it still bugs me that even in retrospect, Alonso & Co. says that they think their strategy was good when it clearly wasn’t.
22nd September 2014, 13:59
Agreed, Ferrari was “happy” with 4th , don’t get the tire stagy unless they were hoping for ANOTHER safety car.
Seems to me as the number of cars retire and laps decrease so do the ODDs of a safety car coming out-just a guess on my part no hard numbers
22nd September 2014, 19:03
Same with Hulkenberg. I guess Force india decided to split the strategies and gave Perez the one which was the biggest gamble, but by now they should have learned that these “gambles” usually work out best anyway.
22nd September 2014, 12:40
I think it was very impressive by Merc and Lewis to make the SS last for 26 laps with that pace. for others it fell off around lap 18 – 20 and these 6 laps made the difference – because I’m not so sure if the result would have been the same if he came out behind ALO.
Mike Dee (@mike-dee)
22nd September 2014, 14:12
8 out of those 26 laps were behind the safety car though, where they would have degraded very little.
22nd September 2014, 14:21
@mike-dee I was comparing it to guys like Vergne /Magnusson who spent the same amount of time behind the SC with the SS but theirs really fell off a cliff by lap 20.
Mike Dee (@mike-dee)
22nd September 2014, 14:26
I see, yes. If you listened to Hamilton’s radio, you would have thought that his tyres had also gone completely off (but he was still pulling a gap on Vettel so it couldn’t have been that bad…).
22nd September 2014, 14:17
Wow at Massa’s 38 lap stint on the softs and still managing to come in 5th. We saw what Bottas’s tyres were doing after 37 so it’s pretty impressive that Massa managed an extra lap whilst maintaining his position.
22nd September 2014, 15:33
It could also be said that Bottas defense up until the last lap helped Massa because while he was busy defending, Massa was managing his tyers and putting some good gaps between them. If the pack had overtaken Bottas in time, they might have caught Massa
22nd September 2014, 15:05
think i’ve spotted an error:
‘for what was supposed to be their third stop of four – instead that stint became their last of three.’
I think the plan was always a 3 stop, not a 4. But instead it became a 2 stop due to the safety car.
Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine)
22nd September 2014, 18:31
@sato113 Yeah I’ve got stints and stops mixed up there – have fixed it now.
Paul A (@paul-a)
22nd September 2014, 16:25
Two drivers (Perez and Maldonado) had one-lap stints — obviously something wrong was detected (slow puncture?) straight away. You’d think that Pirelli could do a better job of quality control, either in manufacturing or mounting the tyres. Not sure about Chilton’s two-lap stint (was it mentioned in the commentary?), but it could have been the same scenario (or the safety car?)
Comments are closed.