Raikkonen wins as Vettel keeps his championship hopes alive

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen takes his first GP victory since the 2013 Australian in an thrilling American GP. Red Bulls Max Verstappen finishes 2nd with Lewis Hamilton in 3rd as Sebastian Vettel recovers to 4th after spinning.

21/10/18

Qualifying Result

1.Hamilton  2.Raikkonen  3.Bottas  4.Ricciardo  5.Vettel*  6.Ocon  7.Hulkenberg  8.Grosjean  9.Leclerc  10.Perez  11.Sainz  12.Magnussen  13.Alonso  14.Sirotkin  15.Stroll  16.Ericsson  17.Vandoorne  18.Verstappen**  19.Gasly***  20.Hartley***

Vettel* receives a 3 place grid penalty for failing to slow sufficiently under red flag conditions.

Verstappen* takes a gearbox penalty dropping him from 15th – 18th.

Gasly*** and Hartley*** have new Honda engines this weekend so they have to take penalties dropping them to the back of the grid.

Race

Can Kimi Raikkonen lead into turn 1 by starting on the faster Ultrasoft tyre rather than the Supersoft tyre? Can Lewis Hamilton clinch his 5th World Championship today? Where will Max Verstappen finish after starting 18th after troubles in Qualifying yesterday?

The lights go out and its very good start for Kimi Raikkonen who stays to the inside and leads out of turn 1 with Lewis Hamilton 2nd ahead of Valterri Bottas. There’s contact between Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll at turn 4 and both have damage. Sebastian Vettel overtakes Daniel Ricciardo for 4th before turn 12 but runs wide and Ricciardo fights back and both go side-by-side into turn 14 and Vettel spins! The German gets back round but drops back down to 15th. Behind, Romain Grosjean locks-up and spins Charles Leclerc at turn 12.

Lap 5, Kimi Raikkonen leads by 1.2 seconds ahead of Lewis Hamilton who is 3.1 seconds ahead of Valterri Bottas in 3rd. Sebastian Vettel overtakes Kevin Magnussen for 10th down into turn 1. Lap 6, the stewards have awarded Lance Stroll with a drive-through penalty for causing the collision with Fernando Alonso at the start. Lap 8, Max Verstappen overtakes Nico Hulkenberg down into turn 12 for 5th as Vettel overtakes Esteban Ocon at turn 12 as well for 8th. Lap 9, Daniel Ricciardo slows and pulls over just after turn 11. The Virtual Safety Car is deployed.

Romain Grosjean and Fernando Alonso are out as they have sustained too much damage to continue.

Lap 11, Lewis Hamilton pits onto the Soft tyre and rejoins in 3rd. Lap 12, the VSC ends and Sebastian Vettel overtakes Nico Hulkenberg for 5th place before turn 12. Kimi Raikkonen leads ahead of Valterri Bottas, Hamilton, Max Verstappen and Vettel. Ferrari tell Raikkonen that it is likely that Hamilton is doing a two-stop race. Lap 14, Hamilton sets the fastest lap and overtakes Bottas for 2nd before turn 1. Lap 15, Hamilton has the gap to Raikkonen down to under 4 seconds as Vettel in 5th is 20 seconds off of Raikkonen leading.

It’s been a very good opening stint for Renault with Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr running in 6th and 7th. Lap 17, Lewis Hamilton has the gap down to 2 seconds to race leader Kimi Raikkonen. Lap 18, the stewards are investigating Sainz for leaving the track and gaining an advantage. Lap 20, Hamilton has caught right up to the back of Raikkonen but Hamilton can’t find a way past. The stewards award Sainz with a 5 second time penalty. Lap 21, Raikkonen pits and goes onto the Soft tyre. The Finn rejoins in 5th and just over 6 seconds behind team-mate Sebastian Vettel. Lap 22, Max Verstappen pits from 3rd and rejoins in 5th behind Raikkonen on the Supersoft tyre.

Lap 23, Valterri Bottas pits from 2nd and rejoins in 5th behind Verstappen. The under-cut has worked for Red Bull and Max Verstappen to effectively get into the top 3. Lap 25, Kimi Raikkonen has caught up to the back of Sebastian Vettel with Vettel allowing Raikkonen through before turn 1. Lap 26, Vettel pits from 4th and rejoins in 5th on the Soft tyre.

Lap 27, Lewis Hamilton leads ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, Max Verstappen, Valterri Bottas and Sebastian Vettel. Kevin Magnussen in 6th is yet to pit with Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr who have pitted in 7th and 8th. Esteban Ocon is in 9th and has pitted with Marcus Ericsson in 10th who is yet to pit. Will Hamilton’s Soft tyre make it to the end? Pirelli don’t think so which means that they think that the Brit will have to do another pit-stop.

Lap 32, Kevin Magnussen and Marcus Ericsson pit and both rejoin in 9th and 15th. Lap 33, Sauber decide to retire Charles Leclerc from the race and he becomes the 4th retirement. Lap 34, Lewis Hamilton is lapping slower than the four drivers behind and the gap which was 17 seconds, is now 12 seconds between himself and Kimi Raikkonen.

Lap 37, Lewis Hamilton pits from the lead. The Brit goes onto the Soft tyre and rejoins in 4th and only 3 seconds ahead of Sebastian Vettel. Kimi Raikkonen leads ahead of Max Verstappen, Valterri Bottas, Hamilton and Vettel. Have Mercedes left it too long to pit Hamilton? If the drivers finish where they are, the championship will go onto Mexico.

Lap 40, Valterri Bottas lets Lewis Hamilton for 3rd place just before turn 12. Lap 42, Sebastian Vettel is closing down on Bottas with the gap now being 3.5 seconds. Ferrari tell Kimi Raikkonen that Hamilton will catch within the last three laps. Lap 45, Vettel has closed down Bottas to just over a second. Behind the top 5, Nico Hulkenberg is in 6th ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr, Esteban Ocon, Kevin Magnussen and Sergio Perez.

Lap 47, 3.5 seconds covers race leader Kimi Raikkonen, Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton. Its way too close to call. Lap 51, Sebastian Vettel can’t find a way past Valterri Bottas in 4th and 5th. If Hamilton can get past Verstappen and if Vettel stays 5th, he’ll clinch the championship.

Lap 54, Max Verstappen gets a poor exit of of turn 12 and that invites Lewis Hamilton in. The pair go side-by-side with Verstappen nips ahead. The pair once again go side-bys-side through turn 17 but Hamilton backs off and runs wide. The top 3 stay as they are.

Lap 55, Sebastian Vettel overtakes Valterri Bottas as the Finn runs wide out of turn 12. The championship will continue into the next race in Mexico.

Lap 56, Kimi Raikkonen wins the American GP ahead of Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton. It’s Raikkonen’s first race win in 113 races since his last GP win in Australia 2013.

Race Result

  1. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 56 Laps (21st Career Win & 50th podium for Ferrari)
  2. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, +1.281s (Fans Driver of the Day)
  3. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, +2.342s (DHL Fastest Lap Award)
  4. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, +18.222s
  5. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, +24.744s
  6. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, +87.210s
  7. Carlos Sainz, Renault, +94.994s
  8. Sergio Perez, Racing Point Force India, +101.080s
  9. Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, + 1 Lap
  10. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, + 1 Lap
  11. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, + 1 Lap
  12. Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso, + 1 Lap
  13. Sergey Sirotkin, Williams, + 1 Lap
  14. Lance Stroll, Williams, + 2 Laps
  • Esteban Ocon, Racing Point Force India, DSQ
  • Kevin Magnussen, Haas, DSQ
  • Charles Leclerc, Sauber, DNF
  • Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, DNF
  • Romain Grosjean, Haas, DNF
  • Fernando Alonso, McLaren, DNF

 

 

Hamilton beats Vettel to Pole in the US

Mercedes Lewis Hamilton beats title rival Sebastian Vettel to Pole Position ahead of tomorrow’s USA GP.

20/10/18

Vettel handed 3 place grid drop

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel’s championship hopes took a further hit after he was handed a 3-place grid penalty after the Stewards found the German to be going to quick under red flag conditions in FP1. The red-flag appeared in FP1 after a spin by Sauber’s Charles Leclerc, who brought gravel onto the track after coming back onto the track. Vettel did slow after the red flag was shown but he was accused of not taking off enough speed to meet the strict timing deltas the drivers must keep to.

Qualifying Report

In Q1, it was both Ferrari’s of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel out first with Vettel able to go over 3 and a half tenths quicker than his Finnish team-mate. Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly was the first driver to have is lap time deleted due to track limits. The Mercedes of Valterri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton were able to beat Vettel’s time with Hamilton setting the pace on a 1:34:176.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen hit trouble with the Dutchman crawling back to the pits. It seemed to be the right rear suspension failing over the “sausage” kerbs. Could the Red Bull mechanics fix the issue before Q2? With 6 minutes to go, both McLaren’s and both Williams along with the Sauber of Marcus Ericsson were in the drop-zone.

McLaren’s Fernando Alonso was able to improve to 13th but other drivers were able to beat his lap time and it was the Toro Rosso of Brendon Hartley who pushed the Spaniard out of progressing to Q2. Ericsson, the other McLaren of Stoffel Vandoorne and both Williams’s drivers were knocked out as well. Hamilton ended Q1 quickest on a 1:34:130 ahead of Bottas and Vettel.

In Q2, Hamilton, Bottas and Vettel opted to go out on the Supersoft tyre while Raikkonen went onto the Ultrasoft. Raikkonen was able to beat both Mercedes on a 1:32:884 with Vettel slotting in behind his team-mate in 2nd. Hamilton locked-up and lost time in the middle sector so the Brit went for a second flying lap on the same set of tyres and improved to 3rd to go nearly 6 tenths behind Raikkonen.

It was a superb first lap for Sauber’s Charles Leclerc who posted the 6th quickest time and to go just over 2 tenths quicker than Haas’s Romain Grosjean in 7th. The repair job for the Red Bull mechanics on Verstappen’s car was too extensive so the Austrian GP winner took no part in the session.

Hamilton, Bottas and Vettel headed back out on the Ultrasoft tyre. Renault’s Carlos Sainz and Haas’s Kevin Magnussen fail to make it to Q3 and are joined in the elimination zone by both Toro Rosso’s, who both didn’t set a lap time and the Red Bull of Verstappen. Vettel improves to a 1:33:079 on the Ultra’s with both Mercedes not improving which means that they’ll start on the Supersoft tyre for tomorrow’s race.

In Q3, Hamilton was able to go quickest on a 1:32:567 with Vettel less than a tenth behind in 2nd. Bottas was over a tenths behind in 3rd with Raikkonen over 4 and a half tenths back from Hamilton in 4th. Not the finest lap from the Finn who needs to be up there to help Ferrari and Vettel tomorrow.

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was on his own in 5th with Haas’s Grosjean, Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg, the Force India’s of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez and the Sauber of Leclerc, who hadn’t set a timed lap yet, in 10th.

Bottas improved but it was the other Finn of Raikkonen who went on provisional pole position on a 1:32:307. Hamilton improved to a 1:32:237 and with Vettel managing a 1:32:298 to slot in behind but because of his 3 place grid penalty the German will start 5th.

Behind the top 4, Ricciardo was 5th ahead of Ocon, Hulkenberg, Grosjean, Leclerc and Perez.

Russian and Japanese GPs Review

It’s been another two successful races for Lewis Hamilton as the Brit leads Sebastian Vettel by 67 points with just 4 races to go in this championship. Check out how the last two races have impacted the championship.

14/10/18

Round 16 – Russian GP

  1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 53 Laps (49th win for Mercedes)
  2. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, +2.545s (DHL Fastest Lap Award)
  3. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, +7.487s
  4. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, +16.543s (200th time finishing in the points)
  5. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, +31.016s (Fans Drivers of the Day)
  6. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, +80.451s
  7. Charles Leclerc, Sauber, +98.390s
  8. Kevin Magnussen, Haas, + 1 Lap
  9. Esteban Ocon, Racing Point Force India, + 1 Lap
  10. Sergio Perez, Racing Point Force India, + 1 Lap
  11. Romain Grosjean, Haas, + 1 Lap
  12. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, + 1 Lap
  13. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, + 1 Lap
  14. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, + 1 Lap
  15. Lance Stroll, Williams, + 1 Lap
  16. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, + 2 Laps
  17. Carlos Sainz Jr, Renault, + 2 Laps
  18. Sergey Sirotkin, Williams, + 2 Laps
  • Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso, DNF
  • Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, DNF

Drivers Championship

1.Hamilton 306pts  2.Vettel 256pts  3.Bottas 189pts  4.Raikkonen 186pts 5.Verstappen 158pts

Constructors Championship

1.Mercedes 496pts  2.Ferrari 442pts  3.Red Bull 292pts  4.Renault 91pts  5.Haas 80

Round 17 – Japanese GP

  1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 53 Laps (50th win for Mercedes)
  2. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, +12.919s (8th podium of the season)
  3. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, +14.295s
  4. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, +19.495s (Fans Driver of the Day)
  5. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, +50.998s
  6. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, +69.873s (DHL Fastest Lap Award)
  7. Sergio Perez, Racing Point Force India, +79.379s
  8. Romain Grosjean, Haas, +87.198s
  9. Esteban Ocon, Racing Point Force India, +88.055s
  10. Carlos Sainz Jr, Renault, + 1 Lap (Renault’s first point in Japan since 2011)
  11. Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso, + 1 Lap
  12. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, + 1 Lap
  13. Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, + 1 Lap
  14. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, + 1 Lap
  15. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, + 1 Lap
  16. Sergey Sirotkin, Williams, + 1 Lap
  17. Lance Stroll, Williams, + 1 Lap
  • Charles Leclerc, Sauber, DNF
  • Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, DNF
  • Kevin Magnussen, Haas, DNF

Drivers Championship

1.Hamilton 331pts  2.Vettel 264pts  3.Bottas 207pts  4.Raikkonen 196pts  5.Verstappen 173pts

Constructors Championship

1.Mercedes 538pts  2.Ferrari 460pts  3.Red Bull 319pts  4.Renault 92pts  5.Haas 84pts

 

 

 

 

F1 2018 in the old points system – Part 4

After winning the Japanese GP, Mercedes Lewis Hamilton’s lead has grown to 28 points over chief rival Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. Meanwhile, Mercedes lead in the Constructors Championship has grown to 35 points over Ferrari.

14/10/18

The points system Formula One currently uses has been used since 2010 allows for the top 10 finishers to claim points and as follows: 1st – 25pts, 2nd – 18pts, 3rd – 15pts, 4th – 12pts, 5th – 10pts, 6th – 8pts, 7th – 6pts, 8th – 4pts, 9th – 2pts and 10th – 1pt.

The points system used in Formula One between 2003 to 2009 was as follows: 1st – 10pts, 2nd – 8pts, 3rd – 6pts, 4th – 5pts, 5th – 4pts, 6th – 3pts, 7th – 2pts and 8th – 1pt.

Japanese GP Result

  1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 10pts
  2. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, 8pts
  3. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, 6pts
  4. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 5pts
  5. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 4pts
  6. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 3pts
  7. Sergio Perez, Force India, 2pts
  8. Romain Grosjean, Haas, 1pt

Carlos Sainz Jr and Pierre Gasly who finished in 9th and 10th are not awarded points

Hamilton pulls clear after 4th consecutive win

Mercedes Lewis Hamilton heads into the final 4 races of the season with a lead of 28 points over Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. With Hamilton winning in Russia and Japan and Vettel finishing in 3rd and 6th, the gap at the top has grown significantly but there are still 40 points up for grabs in the final 4 races. Even if Vettel fails to finish in the US and Hamilton wins, his gap will be 38 points heading into the 3 remaining races.

Reverting back to 2018, Hamilton’s lead increased to 67 points over Vettel.

Mercedes extend their comfortable lead over Ferrari

With Hamilton and team-mate Valterri Bottas securing 1-2 finishes at the Russian and Japanese GPs, the German team picked up 36 points to increase their over Ferrari to 35 points. While Mercedes scored 36 points in the past two races, Ferrari only picked up 18 points in total. While Mercedes have secured four 1-2 finishes, Ferrari have yet to do this.

Reverting back to 2018, Mercedes lead Ferrari by 78 points.

Four points separate 6 drivers

Nico Hulkenberg, Kevin Magnussen, Sergio Perez, Fernando Alonso, Esteban Ocon and Romain Grosjean are separated by just 4 points from 10th to 15th. Hulkenberg and Magnussen are tied on 18 points while Perez is on 17 points and Alonso on 16 points. Ocon and Grosjean are also tied on 14 points each. It just shows how competitive the mid-field is as the 6 drivers are from 4 different teams.

Reverting back to 2018, Perez, Magnussen and Hulkenberg are tied on 53 points from 7th to 9th. Alonso and Ocon are in 10th and 11th on 50 and 49 points each while Grosjean is in 13th on 31 points.

Drivers Championship

After Japan D

Constructors Championship

After Japan T

What happened in September – F1 News #13

September was an eventful month for many of the F1 drivers as they decided where they will be racing next year including one of F1’s most popular drivers who made a surprise switch with a young star. Read on for all the latest news stories that happened in the month of September.

03/10/18

September 5th – Fry returns to McLaren Technical team

McLaren have added Pat Fry to their technical team as the team continue to overhaul its structure. Having worked with Benetton before joining McLaren from 1993 to 2010, it’s understood that Fry will take on the role of engineering director.

After McLaren, Fry joined Ferrari as a deputy technical director from 2010 to 2014 before he left the Scuderia as part of a restructuring decision by the Italian team. This year, McLaren have let go of a number of senior members which include: Eric Boullier, Tim Goss and Matt Morris. Its also understood that Toro Rosso’s technical director, James Key, is also to join the team after he is released from his current contract.

September 8th – Todt: F1 will never go fully-electric in the future

There has been a growing interest in Formula E, the electric racing series, with cars manufacturers such as Jaguar, Nissan and BMW already committing to the series. This has lead to claims that F1 may need to consider its approach if the future is to be electric.

FIA president Jean Todt does not see an issue though, as he cannot imagine F1 will ever go entirely electric. “It is true that we have an exclusive agreement on single-seaters for a certain amount of years with the promoter in FE, but it would be a nonsense to say that in the future Formula 1 is going to be electric,” said Todt.

September 25th – Giovinazzi to partner Raikkonen at Sauber

Sauber F1 Team have announced that Ferrari reserve driver, Antonio Giovinazzi, will partner 2007 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen for the 2019 Season. As Charles Leclerc gets promoted to Ferrari, in an effective switch with Raikkonen, Sauber chose Giovinazzi over long-term driver Marcus Ericsson to partner the Finn for 2019.

Ericsson will remain with the team as third driver and a brand ambassador. Giovinazzi made his F1 debut at the 2017 Australian GP deputising for the injured Pascal Wehrlein. He finished 12th and raced at the following round in China.

“The decision to elect Antonio Giovinazzi is particularly significant in the scope of the project that this season saw the return of Alfa Romeo to the pinnacle of motorsports after a hiatus of more than 30 years,” said Sauber.

September 28th – Haas retain Grosjean and Magnussen for ’19’

Haas Formula One team have announced that both Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean will be staying with the American outfit for the 2019 Season. Grosjean, joined Haas when the team entered the sport in 2016 and has been with them since while Magnussen meanwhile joined last year.

“From the very beginning, we needed experienced drivers to hasten the development of our car and our team, and we have two very good and experienced drivers in Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen,” said team boss Gunther Steiner in an interview with Autosport. Haas currently occupy 5th in the Constructors Championship in 80 points.

 

 

Hamilton extends Championship lead with faultless Singapore GP win

Mercedes Lewis Hamilton extends his championship advantage to 40 points by winning the Singapore GP ahead of Red Bulls Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel as Fernando Alonso scores McLaren’s best finish since the Azerbaijan GP.

16/09/18

Grid Formation

1.Hamilton  2.Verstappen  3.Vettel  4.Bottas  5.Raikkonen  6.Ricciardo  7.Perez  8.Grosjean  9.Ocon  10.Hulkenberg  11.Alonso  12.Sainz  13.Leclerc  14.Ericsson  15.Gasly  16.Magnussen  17.Hartley  18.Vandoorne  19.Sirotkin  20.Stroll

Race

The top 10 will start on the Hypersoft tyre while Brendon Hartley will start on the Hypersoft tyre as well as Lance Stroll will start on the Soft tyre. Everyone else will start on the Ultrasoft tyre. There has been a safety car featured at every Singapore GP, will there be one today?

The lights go out and its a good start by Lewis Hamilton as Sebastian Vettel pressures Max Verstappen but Verstappen stays ahead. Esteban Ocon is in the wall and is out after making contact with team-mate Sergio Perez. Vettel overtakes Verstappen for 2nd into turn 7 as the Safety Car is brought out. Its been a good start by Pierre Gasly, who is now 12th, after starting 15th and Fernando Alonso, who started 11th, is now 9th and ahead of both Renault drivers.

Sergey Sirotkin pits during the Safety Car period as the Russian had sustained damage to his front wing. He swaps to the Soft tyre as the Stewards declare that there will be no further action between the lap 1 incident between Ocon and Perez. Lap 5, Racing resumes as Lewis Hamilton leads the way. Max Verstappen is still complaining of engine problems in which seemed to hamper the Dutchman yesterday during qualifying. Lap 9, the top 3 of Hamilton, Vettel and Verstappen are starting to pull away from the rest as they are separated by just over 2 seconds.

Lap 12, the top 6 are staying on the track at the moment as they try and build a gap so for when they come in, they won’t encounter as much traffic. Lap 13, the top 6 are starting to spread out as Lewis Hamilton now leads by 2.1 seconds ahead of Sebastian Vettel who is 2.4 ahead of Max Verstappen. There are spots of rain in the paddock. Lap 15, Vettel pits, goes onto the Ultrasoft tyre and rejoins in 7th. Will Hamilton pit? Yes, Hamilton pits on lap 16. The Brit goes onto the Soft tyre and rejoins in 5th and ahead of Vettel.

Max Verstappen now leads ahead of Valterri Bottas, Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo. Lap 17, Bottas pits, goes onto the Soft tyre as well. Sebastian Vettel is now able to overtake Sergio Perez for 5th but has lost time to Lewis Hamilton ahead. Lap 18, Verstappen pits, goes onto the Soft tyre and rejoins side-by-side withy Vettel. Verstappen inches ahead and has made the over-cut work. Raikkonen and Ricciardo are now 1st and 2nd but are yet to make their first pitstops. Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg and Romain Grosjean have already made their first pitstops and are in 16th, 17th and 18th.

Lap 22, Kimi Raikkonen pits from the lead. The Finn goes onto the Soft tyre and rejoins in 6th. Daniel Ricciardo now leads. Lap 27, Charles Leclerc overtakes Pierre Gasly, who is struggling on his tyres, for 9th before turn 13. Gasly and Kevin Magnussen pit and are now 18th and 19th. Ricciardo pits, goes onto the Ultrasoft tyre and rejoins in 6th. Lewis Hamilton now re-takes the lead ahead of Max Verstappen, Sebastian Vettel, Valterri Bottas, Kimi Raikkonen and Ricciardo. Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz Jr are 7th and 8th but are yet to pit. If they keep going at a reasonable pace they’ll be able to jump Sergio Perez who is still behind the Williams of Sergey Sirotkin.

Sergio Perez has had enough and overtakes Sergey Sirotkin but Sirotkin fights back. There’s contact and Perez pits as Nico Hulkenberg overtakes Sirotkin round the outside of turn 5 for 13th place. Replay shows that Perez moved to the left and hit Sirotkin before turn 18. Lewis Hamilton is now encountering lapped drivers and Max Verstappen is closing the gap. It was 4.5 seconds, its now 2.8 seconds. Romain Grosjean and Sirotkin battle and Hamilton has to back off. Verstappen is all over the back of him and Sebastian Vettel isn’t far back as well as Valterri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen. Grosjean and Sirotkin are under investigation for ignoring blue flags as Fernando Alonso and Charles Leclerc pit.

Lap 40, Sergio Perez has been handed a drive through penalty for the contact with Sergey Sirotkin. Fernando Alonso is still in 7th after making his pit-stop with Marcus Ericsson in 8th having not pitted yet. Carlos Sainz is 9th with Stoffel Vandoorne, yet to pit, in 10th. Alonso went onto Soft tyres while Charles Leclerc, who is in 11th, is on the Hypersoft tyre. Lap 41, Perez takes his penalty as Lewis Hamilton has extended his gap to over 3 seconds ahead of Max Verstappen. Romain Grosjean has been handed a 5 second time penalty for ignoring blue flags as Sainz overtakes Ericsson for 8th. Ericsson pits on lap 46 and that allows Leclerc to get into 9th and Nico Hulkenberg into 10th. Sirotkin is also given a 5 second time penalty for forcing another driver off the track.

Lap 49, everyone has now made their pit-stops as Stoffel Vandoorne pits and rejoins in  12th just over 3 seconds behind Marcus Ericsson in 11th. Daniel Ricciardo has set a new lap record and is closing in on Kimi Raikkonen and Valterri Bottas in 4th, 5th and 6th. Lap 61, Lewis Hamilton wins the 2018 Singapore GP ahead of Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel.

Race Result

  1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 61 Laps (7th wins of the season & 69th career win)
  2. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, +8.961s (Fans Driver of the Day)
  3. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, +39.945s
  4. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, +51.903s
  5. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, +53.001s
  6. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 53.982s
  7. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, +1:43.011
  8. Carlos Sainz Jr, Renault, + 1 Lap
  9. Charles Leclerc, Sauber, + 1 Lap (First points since Austria)
  10. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, + 1 Lap (150th GP start)
  11. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, + 1 Lap
  12. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, + 1 Lap
  13. Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso, + 1 Lap
  14. Lance Stroll, Williams, + 1 Lap
  15. Romain Grosjean, Haas, + 1 Lap
  16. Sergio Perez, Racing Point Force India, + 1 Lap
  17. Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, + 1 Lap
  18. Kevin Magnussen, Haas, + 2 Laps (DHL Fastest Lap Award)
  19. Sergey Sirotkin, Williams, + 2 Laps
  • Esteban Ocon, Racing Point Force India, DNF

Drivers Championship

  1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 281pts
  2. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 241pts
  3. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 174pts
  4. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, 171pts
  5. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, 148pts

Constructors Championship

  1. Mercedes, 415pts
  2. Ferrari, 390pts
  3. Red Bull, 248pts
  4. Renault, 86pts
  5. Haas, 76pts

 

Hamilton takes unexpected Pole in Singapore

Mercedes Lewis Hamilton takes Pole Position ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Championship rival Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel for the Singapore GP.

15/09/18

On a track where Mercedes have tended to struggle in the past couple of years, pole position today was unexpected. Lewis Hamilton and Valterri Bottas ended FP3 3rd and 4th behind both Scuderia cars and over half a second adrift. Things at one point looked bleak for the Silver Bullets. They opted to run on the Ultrasoft tyre in Q1 and were close to being knocked out with Bottas 12th and Hamilton a whisker from being out in 14th. Bottas and Hamilton got back to normality by ending Q2 in 3rd and 4th with the possibility of a car on the front-row.

Hamilton’s first lap was legendary and will go down as one of his best qualifying performances. A one minute 36 dead was over 3 seconds quicker than Vettel’s pole lap from last year. Bottas however was disappointed with 4th and to be nearly 7 tenths behind Hamilton. The Finn, who has yet to secure pole position this year, is seemingly going to play rear-gunner to Hamilton.

One of the Ferrari drivers should have been on Pole. Sebastian Vettel, who has gone well round here in the past, dominated FP3 after a great comeback after he damaged his Ferrari during FP2. Both Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen looked to be in trouble however in Q2 as they both ran the Ultrasoft tyre. They quickly found out that they could not get enough heat and time out of the purple marked tyres and swapped to the Hypersoft tyre which saw them safely through to Q3. Vettel repeatedly hit traffic on his out laps and bemoaned a “messy” qualifying session while Raikkonen, who was on Pole in Monza, struggled and ended Q3 5th after topping Q2.

Close but not close enough for Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. It was a great lap by the Dutchman to beat both Ferrari’s, the Mercedes of Bottas and his Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo to 2nd. Verstappen qualified in 2nd last year but was caught in a Ferrari-sandwich which resulted in contact. A clean start is crucial if he wants to challenge for the win. Ricciardo, who topped Q1, will line-up in 6th but will be baffled to how he ended up over 6 and a half tenths off of Verstappen.

Apart from Hamilton and Verstappen, Force India’s Sergio Perez was the star of qualifying as the Mexican claimed “best of the rest” spot in 7th. Perez admitted that they weren’t expecting this pace but was very happy with 7th. Esteban Ocon confirmed that the major update that Force India had brought to this weekend had worked by qualifying in 9th and ahead of the Renault of Hulkenberg.

Romain Grosjean has been on good form of late and that seems to be helping his chances of staying with Haas for next year. 8th on the grid will please the Frenchman and what will please him more is that he out-qualified team-mate Kevin Magnussen who was knocked out in Q1.

Renault seem to be struggling for pace this weekend and will hope that they will be leaving Singapore on Sunday night with a handful of points as Nico Hulkenberg, who qualified in 10th, and Carlos Sainz, who qualified in 12th, look to be right in the middle of the mid-field pack.

It was another valiant effort by Fernando Alonso drag his McLaren to 11th place. The Spaniard had hoped that Q3 could have been on the cards but just missed out. It was another tough day for Stoffel Vandoorne who was out-qualified for the 15th time this season by Alonso. Having missed much of FP1, Vandoorne claimed that his last Q1 lap was “such a messy lap” with the Belgian tapping the wall at turn 22.

It was a solid performance by Sauber with both Charles Leclerc and Marcus Ericsson progressing to Q1 and qualifying in 13th and 14th. Although, tapping the wall at turn 22 as well, Leclerc was able to put his drama in FP1 behind him which left the Sauber team with a bit of rebuilding to do around the front-right corner.

If it had not been for Magnussen’s Q1 elimination, Pierre Gasly would have found himself out in Q1. Gasly was 2 and a bit tenths off of Ericsson’s time but he would have to settle for 15th in the end. Brendon Hartley was a casualty of Q1 despite being just under 2 tenths slower than Gasly in Q1. Management at Toro Rosso have told the New Zealander to pick up the pace or he’ll be out of a seat for next year.

It was yet another frustrating session for Williams as both Sergey Sirotkin and Lance Stroll found themselves 3 seconds off of the pace of Ricciardo who ended Q1 quickest. After leaving Monza on a high with both drivers in the points, the team have been brought back down to earth with a bang with the team locking-out the back row of the grid.

Qualifying Results

1.Hamilton  2.Verstappen  3.Vettel  4.Bottas  5.Raikkonen  6.Ricciardo  7.Perez  8.Grosjean  9.Ocon  10.Hulkenberg  11.Alonso  12.Sainz  13.Leclerc  14.Ericsson  15.Gasly  16.Magnussen  17.Hartley  18.Vandoorne  19.Sirotkin  20.Stroll