Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Singapore, 2014

Hamilton quickest but rivals’ true pace is concealed

2014 Singapore Grand Prix Friday practice analysis

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Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Singapore, 2014Lewis Hamilton may have been the quickest driver around the streets of Singapore on Friday, but this was very much a case of the lap times not telling the whole story.

To begin with, Hamilton didn’t actually set the quickest time through any of the three sectors which comprise the Marina Bay street circuit. Fernando Alonso, for example, was three-tenths quicker through the middle of the lap, and his combined best sector times were fractionally quicker than Hamilton’s.

But Ferrari have flattered to deceive on Fridays before. And as always Hamilton’s biggest rival is found within his own team. Nico Rosberg looked the quicker of the two in the second session but had to abort his run on the faster super-soft tyres due to the red flag caused by Pastor Maldonado.

With the tyres offering a huge lap time boost of around 2.5 seconds per lap, but surrendering that pace very quickly, Rosberg was never going to be able to bounce back from that. But before the session was stopped he set fastest time through sector one.

Hamilton suspected he might have gone in the wrong direction on set-up after the first session. “We made some changes between P1 and P2,” he said, “and whether it was those changes or the track itself, the balance didn’t feel right. It felt like we lost a bit of performance.”

Hamilton is especially keen to secure pole position on a track where overtaking is difficult. “Pole here has always been very important. The right side of the grid, for example, always seems to get the better starts.”

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Singapore, 2014The Red Bulls, too, showed decent pace on Friday. Sebastian Vettel’s progress was badly disrupted by an engine failure which meant he only managed five laps in the second session. He was most likely running with more fuel on board than several of his closest rivals when he set his best time, and is one to keep an eye on in qualifying.

Team mate Daniel Ricciardo, however, is doubtful they will be able to get on terms with Hamilton and Rosberg. “I’ve got a feeling Mercedes probably have a bit more in the bag,” he said.

“I saw Hamilton is about three tenths up the road and Rosberg was improving and then he caught the red flag so I don’t know, I think they’ve got a bit more in the tank.”

After a couple of very difficult races Lotus look on course for a better weekend – Maldonado’s crash notwithstanding. “The car performed well today,” Romain Grosjean agreed, “better than previous races which is something we expected to happen, but nevertheless is good when it goes the way that has been predicted”.

Grosjean said the car suits the high downforce level required at Singapore – which of course also negates their Renault engine’s straight-line speed deficit. He added some of the team’s latest upgrades “worked really well”.

On the flip-side of that one team who expected to have a difficult weekend in Singapore are finding it more of a challenge than they expected: Williams. “It was a very difficult day,” Felipe Massa admitted.

“We were struggling a lot to balance the car and we need to resolve this tonight otherwise it will be a tough weekend for us. We saw some improvement between FP1 and FP2, but we need to find more gains in FP3 if we are to have a qualifying that would satisfy us.”

One of the major theme’s of today’s track action was what effect the new restrictions on team radio would have. In Jenson Button’s view “the situation has ended up without much being taken away”.

“They’ve stopped the engineers from coaching the drivers, but I’ve never been coached around a lap to go quicker, so not much has changed for me personally.”

Longest stint comparison – second practice

This chart shows all the drivers’ lap times (in seconds) during their longest unbroken stint:


Sebastian Vettel108.115129.825108.041
Daniel Ricciardo112.515112.495113.291122.703112.849112.907116.771113.46123.26113.362113.789114.786114.941
Lewis Hamilton112.239117.613112.962117.68112.513112.66121.956112.883113.696
Nico Rosberg119.987116.838112.661112.899113.207113.357120.274112.838113.386113.815113.483113.518113.676113.822
Fernando Alonso112.526113.196113.116118.356116.211112.205113.401113.715114.363115.214
Kimi Raikkonen113.446114.702115.191115.484114.481115.243114.396114.716116.886116.798118.576126.916
Romain Grosjean109.062124.823114.374113.384114.145114.397114.858117.309117.612115.508115.816116.632119.349
Pastor Maldonado112.284120.811112.509
Jenson Button114.07113.439113.78115.798113.55
Kevin Magnussen108.358112.514112.393113.845113.884114.966114.531114.448116.625
Nico Hulkenberg113.711115.471114.26113.863114.116114.024114.679115.791122.273115.382
Sergio Perez113.673113.622114.293126.158122.449114.194117.013119.528114.152
Adrian Sutil113.43114.406115.345115.502115.043114.841115.875115.954116.661116.638
Esteban Gutierrez114.592114.287114.638115.879116.154115.926115.617115.965115.954118.465
Jean-Eric Vergne113.534113.286113.221116.432114.087112.825114.134115.872115.124117.776115.535114.56114.957
Daniil Kvyat114.287114.444114.399114.393115.092133.596115.684115.6117.701
Felipe Massa114.817115.137115.605118.114117.682115.641115.917116.282117.276
Valtteri Bottas114.53115.259115.059115.329117.103124.623115.984119.314117.261
Jules Bianchi115.324121.869116.354118.542116.495125.319116.973
Max Chilton117.723117.948121.225121.919119.749124.727
Marcus Ericsson119.73118.865119.393121.981121.764127.004119.751122.569119.984
Kamui Kobayashi117.358116.417120.236117.952117.763117.769119.246118.091123.675122.926121.304119.233

Sector times and ultimate lap times – second practice

PosNo.DriverCarS1S2S3UltimateGapDeficit to best
114Fernando AlonsoFerrari28.832 (3)41.008 (1)37.564 (3)1’47.4040.219
244Lewis HamiltonMercedes28.787 (2)41.320 (3)37.383 (2)1’47.4900.0860.000
33Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-Renault29.066 (8)41.378 (4)37.346 (1)1’47.7900.3860.000
41Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault28.998 (6)41.310 (2)37.720 (6)1’48.0280.6240.013
57Kimi RaikkonenFerrari28.927 (4)41.442 (5)37.662 (4)1’48.0310.6270.000
620Kevin MagnussenMcLaren-Mercedes29.196 (14)41.485 (6)37.677 (5)1’48.3580.9540.000
76Nico RosbergMercedes28.702 (1)41.861 (15)37.865 (11)1’48.4281.0240.647
822Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes29.130 (10)41.551 (7)37.754 (8)1’48.4351.0310.000
911Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes29.019 (7)41.642 (8)37.992 (13)1’48.6531.2490.000
1025Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Renault29.158 (12)41.798 (12)37.731 (7)1’48.6871.2830.113
1127Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes29.135 (11)41.829 (13)37.787 (9)1’48.7511.3470.000
1226Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Renault29.190 (13)41.764 (10)37.813 (10)1’48.7671.3630.003
138Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault29.117 (9)41.876 (16)37.934 (12)1’48.9271.5230.135
1421Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari29.210 (15)41.778 (11)38.089 (15)1’49.0771.6730.213
1599Adrian SutilSauber-Ferrari29.244 (17)41.856 (14)38.019 (14)1’49.1191.7150.051
1619Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes28.989 (5)41.958 (17)38.190 (16)1’49.1371.7330.224
1713Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Renault29.240 (16)41.668 (9)38.231 (17)1’49.1391.7350.000
1877Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes29.341 (18)42.002 (18)38.356 (18)1’49.6992.2950.272
1917Jules BianchiMarussia-Ferrari29.686 (20)42.192 (19)38.734 (19)1’50.6123.2080.000
204Max ChiltonMarussia-Ferrari29.702 (21)42.606 (20)39.250 (20)1’51.5584.1540.000
2110Kamui KobayashiCaterham-Renault29.883 (22)42.893 (21)39.277 (21)1’52.0534.6490.022
229Marcus EricssonCaterham-Renault29.656 (19)43.027 (22)40.103 (22)1’52.7865.3820.150

Speed trap – second practice

#DriverCarEngineMax speed (kph)Gap
119Felipe MassaWilliamsMercedes302.5
227Nico HulkenbergForce IndiaMercedes300.81.7
311Sergio PerezForce IndiaMercedes300.81.7
46Nico RosbergMercedesMercedes300.71.8
520Kevin MagnussenMcLarenMercedes299.53
677Valtteri BottasWilliamsMercedes299.53
744Lewis HamiltonMercedesMercedes297.15.4
825Jean-Eric VergneToro RossoRenault2975.5
926Daniil KvyatToro RossoRenault296.95.6
1014Fernando AlonsoFerrariFerrari296.65.9
1121Esteban GutierrezSauberFerrari296.26.3
1222Jenson ButtonMcLarenMercedes296.16.4
138Romain GrosjeanLotusRenault2966.5
1410Kamui KobayashiCaterhamRenault295.47.1
157Kimi RaikkonenFerrariFerrari295.27.3
169Marcus EricssonCaterhamRenault2957.5
1717Jules BianchiMarussiaFerrari294.58
1899Adrian SutilSauberFerrari294.18.4
1913Pastor MaldonadoLotusRenault293.78.8
203Daniel RicciardoRed BullRenault293.59
214Max ChiltonMarussiaFerrari292.99.6
221Sebastian VettelRed BullRenault292.510

Complete practice times

PosDriverCarFP1FP2Total laps
1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’49.1781’47.49048
2Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’49.0561’47.62344
3Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-Renault1’50.1221’47.79049
4Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’50.7831’48.03148
5Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’49.8741’48.04132
6Kevin MagnussenMcLaren-Mercedes1’51.2171’48.35857
7Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’50.9221’48.43551
8Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’51.1311’48.65353
9Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’51.6041’48.75154
10Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Renault1’50.9901’48.77057
11Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Renault1’50.5391’48.80044
12Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’52.9061’49.06259
13Nico RosbergMercedes1’49.2051’49.07554
14Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Renault1’52.1251’49.13938
15Adrian SutilSauber-Ferrari1’52.2371’49.17056
16Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1’52.1711’49.29052
17Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’51.9531’49.36149
18Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1’52.1461’49.97147
19Jules BianchiMarussia-Ferrari1’54.1131’50.61239
20Max ChiltonMarussia-Ferrari1’55.1701’51.55838
21Kamui KobayashiCaterham-Renault1’54.6071’52.07554
22Marcus EricssonCaterham-Renault1’54.4751’52.93657

2014 Singapore Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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13 comments on “Hamilton quickest but rivals’ true pace is concealed”

  1. Rosberg’s long run pace is ominous. He’s always been good around Singapore.

    1. I seem to remember Hamilton in the consistent 52’s while Rosberg was hovering around the 53’s.

      Hamiltons run was a bit shorter, but i cant imagine he would have been doing a lighter fuel run, i dont know what he would gain from that

      1. also what keith said was only half true about nico being quicker on his flying lap.nico was only a 5th of a tenth quicker in sector 1,but lewis was quicker in sector 2.also dont forget nico was quicker in sector 1 2 weeks ago,so you cant say overall he would have been quicker coz he was quicker in sector 1.plus we know lewis was struggling with the car in p2 anyway,so he can definitely go faster.and i doubt merc were showing their true pace,so i expect a merc 1-2.

        1. Lewis’ lap wasn’t the neatest lap and lets not forget that he lost time in the middle sector trying to get passed the caterham

  2. Could be bad news for one of the Merc drivers if Alonso and/or a Red Bull gets between them on the grid

    1. Also I usually do my predictions after FP2, but I’m not going to bother until after FP3 this time, it’s so close (hope I remember!)

    2. If a Ferrari or Redbull gets between them on the grid it would only mean both Merc’s start on the clean side of the track….

      If you can’t get first then third is preferable over second place on the grid

  3. Hamilton’s SS lap looked dreadful, amazed it turned out as quick as it did.

  4. Vergne’s long stint pace is surprisingly very good.

  5. Jueta (@eljueta) said on 18th September 2014, 13:06


    After a difficult weekend in Monza, Singapore should prove a better venue for Lotus. With Renault having identified Singapore as a race where their engines should be closer in performance to the Mercedes, Romain Grosjean will be looking to maximise the E22′s performance at a circuit where he achieved his best qualifying result of 2013.

    Maldonado: most likely will crash so no bother mentioning.


    1. Renault having identified Singapore as a race where their engines should be closer in performance to the Mercedes

      Haha, they mean “where the disadvantage of having a Renault engine is offset by the nature of the track”

  6. Andrew Benson tweeted the average lap times of the drivers during their long runs on super softs yesterday:

    HAM – 1:52.83 (9 laps)
    ROS – 53:33 (13 laps)
    RIC – 53:44 (13 Laps)
    ALO – 53:47 (10 Laps)

    1. Rosberg needs to make sure he gets pole.

      Half a second faster per lap is not enough to overtake around Singapore, so he has a chance to keep HAM behind him all race like in Monaco.

      That or be dependent on a faillure for HAM like in 2012 when he retired from the lead with a gearbox faillure.

      Rosberg probably would be content with second here though if he has too, he’d still have a 15 point lead.

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