Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Singapore, 2017

This time Vettel must grab his chance to take points lead

2017 Singapore Grand Prix pre-race analysis

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Hamilton must seize his chance to take points lead,” was the headline for this article two weeks ago ahead of the Italian Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver duly capitalised on his opportunity to move to the top of the points table at a track which suited Mercedes. Now Sebastian Vettel has to do the same at a circuit which flatters the Ferrari.

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Singapore, 2017
Singapore GP qualifying in pictures
The Red Bull looks great here too, and it’s from there which Vettel’s biggest threat will surely come in the race. The grid is framed like a repeat of 2015, but this time Vettel faces an even stronger Red Bull contingent with both its cars immediately behind him.

In that race Red Bull expected to be stronger during a stint but never got to exploit that potential as Vettel was able to make both his pit stops during Safety Car periods. However this year Pirelli expect drivers will only need to make a single stop.

The tyre manufacturer suggests that the rate of degradation on the ultra-soft will determine how early the drivers make their first stop and that in turn will influence whether they opt for super-softs or more durable softs. But of course the circumstances of the race are bound to have an effect.

That includes the possibility of a Safety Car appearance. But while this race have never gone the distance without one, last year the Safety Car was never seen after lap two.

A common theme this year has been that as the six quickest cars draw away from the slower runners it create a substantial gap for the leaders to make their pit stops. If Vettel is ahead, will he may have to take the first opportunity to pit and come out in clear air even if it means coming in early and worry about the subsequent tyre degradation later.

However if the top three hold their positions at the start, as they did in the last two races here, Red Bull could have the option to attack Vettel by bringing one driver in aggressively early and leaving the other out late.

“If we get the start right tomorrow then we can put some pressure on him through our strategy,” observed Daniel Ricciardo after being disappointed to miss out on a front row start. ” still believe we have a good chance to win this race.”

For Lewis Hamilton the race will be a question of taking whatever opportunities arise and minimising the likely losses to Vettel in the championship fight.

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While Vettel has two Red Bulls to resist at the front, Nico Hulkenberg is in a similar situation with respect to the two McLarens, who he was very pleased to beat to seventh place. He’s not had a great record here recently, however: Last year he failed to make it to turn one and the year before that he was eliminated in a collision with Felipe Massa.

This should be McLaren’s best chance of getting a big points haul in the second half of the year but Fernando Alonso is wary about the long stints expected. “Yesterday’s long runs were not long enough,” he noted. “Added to the difficulty of overtaking on this track, positions will be more or less set after the first lap.”

Qualifying times in full


Q2 (vs Q1)

Q3 (vs Q2)
1Sebastian VettelFerrari1’43.3361’40.529 (-2.807)1’39.491 (-1.038)
2Max VerstappenRed Bull1’42.0101’40.332 (-1.678)1’39.814 (-0.518)
3Daniel RicciardoRed Bull1’42.0631’40.385 (-1.678)1’39.840 (-0.545)
4Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’43.3281’40.525 (-2.803)1’40.069 (-0.456)
5Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’42.4551’40.577 (-1.878)1’40.126 (-0.451)
6Valtteri BottasMercedes1’43.1371’41.409 (-1.728)1’40.810 (-0.599)
7Nico HulkenbergRenault1’42.5861’41.277 (-1.309)1’41.013 (-0.264)
8Fernando AlonsoMcLaren1’42.0861’41.442 (-0.644)1’41.179 (-0.263)
9Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren1’42.2221’41.227 (-0.995)1’41.398 (+0.171)
10Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso1’42.1761’41.826 (-0.350)1’42.056 (+0.230)
11Jolyon PalmerRenault1’42.4721’42.107 (-0.365)
12Sergio PerezForce India1’43.5941’42.246 (-1.348)
13Daniil KvyatToro Rosso1’42.5441’42.338 (-0.206)
14Esteban OconForce India1’43.6261’42.760 (-0.866)
15Romain GrosjeanHaas1’43.6271’43.883 (+0.256)
16Kevin MagnussenHaas1’43.756
17Felipe MassaWilliams1’44.014
18Lance StrollWilliams1’44.728
19Pascal WehrleinSauber1’45.059
20Marcus EricssonSauber1’45.570

Sector times

DriverSector 1Sector 2Sector 3
Sebastian Vettel26.751 (1)38.344 (1)34.396 (3)
Max Verstappen26.978 (4)38.362 (3)34.356 (2)
Daniel Ricciardo27.002 (5)38.357 (2)34.350 (1)
Kimi Raikkonen26.782 (2)38.512 (4)34.660 (6)
Lewis Hamilton26.937 (3)38.563 (5)34.599 (5)
Valtteri Bottas27.116 (6)38.845 (7)34.764 (7)
Nico Hulkenberg27.564 (12)38.741 (6)34.591 (4)
Fernando Alonso27.352 (8)39.015 (9)34.806 (8)
Stoffel Vandoorne27.290 (7)38.982 (8)34.898 (9)
Carlos Sainz Jnr27.453 (9)39.059 (10)35.011 (10)
Sergio Perez27.476 (10)39.337 (12)35.433 (13)
Daniil Kvyat27.504 (11)39.311 (11)35.252 (12)
Esteban Ocon27.617 (13)39.728 (13)35.246 (11)
Romain Grosjean27.702 (14)39.866 (15)35.717 (14)
Kevin Magnussen27.790 (15)39.971 (16)35.995 (15)
Felipe Massa27.867 (16)39.728 (13)36.419 (18)
Lance Stroll28.112 (17)40.161 (17)36.174 (16)
Pascal Wehrlein28.408 (19)40.460 (18)36.191 (17)
Marcus Ericsson28.374 (18)40.634 (19)36.562 (19)

Speed trap

PosDriverCarEngineSpeed (kph/mph)Gap
1Lewis HamiltonMercedesMercedes308.3 (191.6)
2Sebastian VettelFerrariFerrari308.0 (191.4)-0.3
3Esteban OconForce IndiaMercedes307.7 (191.2)-0.6
4Valtteri BottasMercedesMercedes307.4 (191.0)-0.9
5Lance StrollWilliamsMercedes307.0 (190.8)-1.3
6Sergio PerezForce IndiaMercedes306.9 (190.7)-1.4
7Felipe MassaWilliamsMercedes305.7 (190.0)-2.6
8Kimi RaikkonenFerrariFerrari305.6 (189.9)-2.7
9Romain GrosjeanHaasFerrari303.8 (188.8)-4.5
10Kevin MagnussenHaasFerrari303.2 (188.4)-5.1
11Daniel RicciardoRed BullTAG Heuer303.2 (188.4)-5.1
12Carlos Sainz JnrToro RossoRenault302.7 (188.1)-5.6
13Daniil KvyatToro RossoRenault302.4 (187.9)-5.9
14Max VerstappenRed BullTAG Heuer301.9 (187.6)-6.4
15Stoffel VandoorneMcLarenHonda301.0 (187.0)-7.3
16Fernando AlonsoMcLarenHonda300.6 (186.8)-7.7
17Pascal WehrleinSauberFerrari297.5 (184.9)-10.8
18Marcus EricssonSauberFerrari297.0 (184.5)-11.3
19Nico HulkenbergRenaultRenault296.1 (184.0)-12.2

NB. Data for Jolyon Palmer is not currently available

Lewis HamiltonMercedes101004
Valtteri BottasMercedes101004
Daniel RicciardoRed Bull011004
Max VerstappenRed Bull011004
Sebastian VettelFerrari011004
Kimi RaikkonenFerrari011004
Sergio PerezForce India101023
Esteban OconForce India101023
Felipe MassaWilliams011032
Lance StrollWilliams011023
Fernando AlonsoMcLaren101004
Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren101004
Daniil KvyatToro Rosso101004
Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso101014
Romain GrosjeanHaas101014
Kevin MagnussenHaas101032
Nico HulkenbergRenault101004
Jolyon PalmerRenault101014
Marcus EricssonSauber101023
Pascal WehrleinSauber101041

Over to you

Will Vettel resist Red Bull again to take his fifth Singapore Grand Prix win? And how many times will we see the Safety Car on Sunday?

Share your views on the Singapore Grand Prix in the comments.

2017 Singapore Grand Prix

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    Author information

    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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    23 comments on “This time Vettel must grab his chance to take points lead”

    1. Is it just me or is this race one to miss – on TV at least?

      I expect being in Singapore on the GP weekend is quite a place to be, but watching the race on TV, all I can see is barriers, concrete, walls, fences. I’m reminded of the dreary Valencia concrete canyon, except this time it’s at night. The cutaways to glamorous Singapore offer some relief, but really… The contrast with Spa, Monaco, or Monza could scarcely be greater.

      1. It’s funny… I was just watching the on-board from Vettel’s pole lap & thinking how dreary the circuit looks. Just concrete walls & catch fences.

      2. I disagree, I love watching this race, but I do wish they didn’t light the track so brightly. If you consider the city is lit at a normal level but the F1 cameras show it as almost pitch black because of how bright the track is (and drivers have previously complained there is too much light). I think if they dimmed the track and showed off the backdrop and surroundings it would appear very different (less concrete walls, more of the city).

        Sadly (for me) though, I won’t be able to watch this race tomorrow and I don’t think it’s going to be possible to avoid the result online :(

      3. @rsp123 I like this race. It throws surprises… with the arrival of the Virtual Safety Car, tho, that might not be the case anymore, as we usually saw a good number of SC periods, but now they can live with just a short VSC to sort out any problem… plus we have 6 cars less than we used to have, so it’s always going to be less chaotic.

        But you never know… it’s one of those races I’d not miss (if I wasn’t a F1Fanatic and didn’t watch every single one of them like I do, of course…)

      4. I disagree. As someone who has been to this GP 7 years in a row now, I have to say I am impressed every single time. Usually at most circuits there are “prime locations” and then some others. At this one, the experience you get at the Paddock Club (which I have been a couple of times and haven’t really been impressed given it is full of suits who are simply networking and not much interested in the race rather than the start) is pretty much the same with a simple walk-about ticket. Simply because you are so close to the track and the cars no matter where you may be. The cars look beautiful under the dark skies (because of the superb lighting of course) and the backdrop is simply stunning. You’ve got the Singapore Flyer at one end (if you are at one end of the pit grandstand), the CBD (padang), the Marina (Bay grandstand) and the whole start finish straight with the Flyer (turn 1 and 2 grandstand). Also, the live commentary and the TV screens are pretty good too! For a viewer physically present, it is a treat to the eyes if not as much to the viewer at home. I’d take that any day over staying at home and catching the race on TV!

        1. Since I mentioned the Paddock Club, I am reminded of my first experience there in 2014. My Wife and I are big fans and were provided Paddock Club tickets two years in a row by a very generous Friend. The first time we went, we were in shorts, team gear (Red Bull, given we were massive Vettel fans) and a massive flag. The minute we entered we had no idea that it wasn’t the way this was supposed to be. We were sat at a table with free flow of champagne and food, surrounded by people in suits just wanting to network). My job is such that I need to do this quite often but I was definitely not up for leaving the race aside and soon something I did pretty much every day of my life. We simply sneaked out to the outside Paddock Club area (there wasn’t anyone there because, you know, the rich and famous cannot bear the heat) and watched the whole race from there shouting like idiots and cheering the Drivers on! The next year, we just went straight to that place foregoing the delicious food and unlimited drinks (and were rewarded with a Sebastian Vettel victory).

      5. I really enjoy watching this GP on TV, the cars are almost iridescent under the strikingly bright lights and the race is usually very good. Compared to watching other city circuits like Monaco, your right it is mostly concrete barriers and fencing that you see. I do have a large TV and undoubtedly that helps the spectacle.

      6. Couldn’t disagree more.

        When I was a kid this is what I imagined F1 of the future looking like, I also like the layout of the track and it usually throws up a few safety cars. What’s not to like?

        1. i don’t like any of these modern St circuits, the walls are nearly claustrophobic there is a severe lack run off and no spectator access or involvement..
          They are relatively cheap to set up and sometimes have good access to transport. But overall I much prefer a well designed and maintained full time race track.

          1. Each to their own, but on balance I would say Singapore has given us much more exciting races than Monaco over the last decade and on the strength of this year, Maybe Baku will start to do so as well.

            I don’t believe in writing something off simply because it hasn’t been around that long.

          2. modern St circuits

            the walls are nearly claustrophobic

            What street circuit <10km isn't like that apart from Spa (or I guess Albert Park)?

            Long beach, Monaco, Dallas, Las Vegas wasn't exactly modern I'd say

        2. the layout is so bland… even after 10 years when i see the onboards i have no idea where on the circuit the cars are

    2. Pretty dramatic headline. The article implies that Hamilton had to do the same when he grabbed the lead. That’s all well and good but he did not have two good cars starting next to him that are pretty much equal in their performance.

    3. Yes, he will resist if it stays dry. Ferrari will just cover off the first RB and the second RB won’t be able to overtake Vettel on the straights even if it runs longer and they switch positions. Ferrari’s battery deployment is superior. The S tyre benefits from the conditions in Singapore and will not be overcut. The SC only can cause havoc is it falls between Seb and probably Ricciardo’s stop, and even then Seb needs to have passed the pit-lane entry already.

      The only chance for RB is the chance of rain. Then they will form the good old Trulli-Train as they would gain on Vettel in S3 and into the long straight and even then he just needs to hold the outside into Nicoli Highway as T8 is right again so he could push the outside car into the wall with ease, but does he want to win at all risky costs? That would be the deciding question then. Normally no, but I think he still holds a grudge against Verstappen for some things, so this could turn ugly then.

      1. I have to agree unfortunately, there will probably be a safety car from Max’s car breaking down at some stage though..

        1. Max’s car breaking down at some stage though

          And if the telemetry then says otherwise…..

          Oh wait, Flavio’s not in RBR? I guess we needn’t expect that to happen then

          1. Haha. No conspiracy, just a comment on the kid’s mechanical hex this year. I sincerely hope he gets to show us what he can do.

            1. Come to think of it though is Flavio still ALO’s manager? I mean, McLaren might want to win again for once :p @offdutyrockstar

            2. @davidnotcoulthard he is indeed. I know because I asked him that in person a couple weeks ago! I already knew the answer but just wanted something interesting to say. 😂

    4. So much depends on the start. The dirty side of the grid has usually been an extremely bad place to start, so instead of two Red Bulls pressuring Vettel they might have one of their cars behind a relatively slow Hamilton, for example.

      And the last twenty or so laps will probably throw some surprises again, if we get a late safety car or someone in the midfield decides to go for another set of ultra softs.

    5. Will Vettel resist Red Bull again to take his fifth Singapore Grand Prix win? Yes
      And how many times will we see the Safety Car on Sunday? At least once as has been the case all the time so far. I’m sure that someday we will finally get a SC-period less Singapore GP, but still not this time around.

    6. WET START! Finally!

      1. Well that didn’t disappoint. 😁

    Comments are closed.