2017 Singapore Grand Prix Star Performers

2017 Singapore Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton, Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jnr were F1 Fanatic’s Star Performance in the Singapore Grand Prix. Here’s why.


Nico Hulkenberg

We were denied a potentially great storyline on Sunday when Hulkenberg’s Renault power unit let him down. He’d already beaten the flying McLarens to the ‘best of the rest’ spot on Saturday, then taken advantage of the carnage at the start to rise to third. In the race where everyone expected him to set a new record for most starts without a podium finish, was he finally going to reach the rostrum?

Renault’s poor pace on the intermediates had necessitated a start on full wet weather tyres which meant Hulkenberg needed an early pit stop which dropped him back. Even so he was holding fourth, pursuing Bottas, when his power unit began playing up. He deserved more.

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Carlos Sainz Jnr

Sainz inherited the fourth place Hulkenberg vacated but saying that is no disrespect to the Toro Rosso driver who had gambled on starting the race on intermediate tyres. As the track began to dry he made his way past drivers who were beginning to struggle on full wets, and ran a single stint on super-softs to take the chequered flag in a career-best fourth place. A very timely result given the announcement of his forthcoming promotion to Renault.

Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton was in great form and got lucky
Mercedes arrived in Singapore knowing the track wouldn’t suit their car. Yet it was hard to argue Hamilton didn’t do the best with what he had: He was consistently quicker than Valtteri Bottas, to the tune of almost seven-tenths of a second in qualifying.

On race day the rain fell, Sebastian Vettel went out and Hamilton seized the initiative. He was lucky, but he also drove superbly, clearly revelling in the tricky conditions. Afterwards Daniel Ricciardo admitted he had the speed to beat Bottas but not the other Mercedes, which never put a wheel wrong in treacherous conditions.


Felipe Massa

“Not bad for the team but a disaster for me,” was Massa’s honest assessment of his Singapore Grand Prix. Starting on the wet tyres was an error and failing to pit during the second Safety Car period for intermediates made things worse. He tried to rectify that with an early switch to slicks but was still over half a minute behind when the Safety Car appeared for the final time. The only car running behind him at the flag was Pascal Wehrlein’s Sauber.

Daniil Kvyat

Once again there was a stark contrast between the two Toro Rosso drivers. While Sainz capitalised on exactly the kind of opportunity to team needs to score big points, Kvyat stuffed his car into a wall.

And the rest

The stewards correctly ruled the first-lap crash a racing incident, though under the circumstances Vettel’s decision to squeeze Verstappen as hard as he did was risky. Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso were both unrewarded for making excellent starts.

Perez sustained his 100% scoring streak in Singapore
According to Ricciardo it was a set-up choice rather than his gearbox glitch that blunted his competitiveness as he was forced to settle for a third consecutive second place in Singapore. He still led home an out-of-sorts Bottas who didn’t seem comfortably in the Mercedes whether the track was wet or dry.

In Italy Esteban Ocon led the way for Force India, this time it was Sergio Perez’s turn. He took a fine fifth, well away from his team mate, no doubt to the relief of the pit wall.

Amid widespread speculation about his future Jolyon Palmer delivered a career-best sixth place which included an opportunistic pass on Bottas on the way. He wasn’t at Hulkenberg’s level in qualifying or the race, but as in Belgium this signalled he’s raised his game since the summer break. Stoffel Vandoorne also grabbed a personal best with seventh and his fastest lap time was the same as Palmer’s.

On his Singapore debut, Lance Stroll coped with the conditions better than his more experienced team mate did to claim eighth. Romain Grosjean once again had a troubled practice but delivered points on race day. His team mate Kevin Magnussen was ill-rewarded after being the first driver to try slicks: first he had to wave Grosjean through, then his power unit failed. Massa and Wehrlein were the only other finishers.

Over to you

Vote for the driver who impressed you most last weekend and find out whether other F1 Fanatics share your view here:

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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72 comments on “2017 Singapore Grand Prix Star Performers”

  1. Totally agree with all of this, especially the assessment of Massa’s race, which was a real stinker considering that Stroll made the points. It has to be said that Stroll seems to perform fairly well in the wet conditions.

    Previously we’ve been told that the Williams is poor in the wet, but given the performance of Bottas in the Mercedes this weekend, I wonder if it was a driver problem! Certainly Massa has never been totally comfortable in the wet (Brazil 2008 as a stunning exception!) – I was at Silverstone to see him spin 4 times in 2008.

    1. @ben-n I think it’s both. Bottas certainly relatively disappointing in that Merc, but the car also look bad. Stroll, like many others who choose inters benefit largely from first 2 SC period to get track position but he can’t hold up Vandoorne if we assume the engines should favor Williams to defend if they had decent chassis in the wet. He did looks comfortable driving in the wet though, unlike Massa or Bottas.

    2. @ben-n

      Massa’s race, which was a real stinker considering that Stroll made the points.

      I don’t think you’re doing him justice here. The difference between Massa’s and Stroll’s races wasn’t their driving but all about tyre strategies. Stroll started the race on what turned out to be the right tyre, and Williams and/or Massa failed to realise and correct this despite two Safety Car periods. He ended up trying to stretch his stint until the track got dry enough for slicks, which failed catastrophically, as he had to pit for Inters just 3 laps after the Safety Car came in, only to pit again 4 laps later, this time for slicks. Concerning his driving, the only reproach that’d really stand up to scrutiny might be the fact that he was overtaken by Stroll at the start.

      Certainly Massa has never been totally comfortable in the wet (Brazil 2008 as a stunning exception!) – I was at Silverstone to see him spin 4 times in 2008.

      As there aren’t many Massa Justice Warriors here, I’ll try and defend his honour. I think that the 2008 Silverstone GP has influenced the perception of his wet weather driving to a point where ‘Massa + rain = spins’ became a meme that has very little to do with his actual driving.
      There’s not only that 2008 Brazilian GP, where he was untouchable in the rain. In fact, I can think of quite a few races where he showed good or even outstanding pace in the rain:
      – Germany 2007 (started in the dry, downpour during the first lap, red-flagged shortly after):
      From third on the grid, Massa took the lead in the downpour before pitting, and drove away from Alonso on Intermediates after the race was restarted. The middle part of the race was dry, but it started raining again about 10 laps from the finish, and Massa, who complained of severe vibrations on his set of wet tyres, was caught by Alonso.
      – Monaco 2008:
      Massa lead from the start, followed by Hamilton and Räikkönen. Räikkönen quickly lost touch and dropped back by 1-2 seconds per lap, while Hamilton struggled to keep up with the pace and was around 3 seconds behind after 6 laps before hitting the wall and needing to pit for repairs. Massa did end up losing the race after the Safety Car negated his advantage, a short excursion through the run-off at Sainte-Dévote allowed Kubica through, and Ferrari’s one-stop strategy, that was based on the assumption that the track would remain wet, backfired and resultet in a second pit stop that was particularly costly, as his car had already been refuelled to go to the end during his early first pit stop.
      Be it as it may, his pace in the wet was unparalleled that day.
      – China 2009:
      While the 2014 Ferrari may be remembered as the worst prancing horse to leave the stables in a long time, the 2009 Ferrari was even worse as the season kicked off. The F60 was plagued by poor reliability and a downright lack of pace, which lead to 3 point-less races before a couple of 6th places marked the beginning of a slow upturn. That year’s Chinese GP did not get off to a good start either, but in just 10 laps between Safety Car periods in the pouring rain, Massa managed to climb from 13th on the grid to 3rd, passing, among others, his team mate Räikkönen, who had started 5 places above him. However, this is yet another story without happy ending, as a short circuit made his car grind to a halt behind the Safety Car. Nevertheless, he had been the only other driver to compete with Red Bull and Brawn, in a car that wasn’t even reliably top 10 material.
      – Silverstone 2015:
      While most may remember this race for an unusual Williams 1-2 lead from the start and Bottas’ complaints that Massa was holding him up, the latter stages were rain-hit and offered a significantly different picture. As the first drops of rain began to fall, Massa drove into the distance, creating a gap of almost 30 seconds over the last 15 laps.

      Now, don’t get me wrong, there are definitely examples for Massa under-performing in the rain. But I oppose the notion that this is pretty much a given. My impression is that he has about as many bad days as he has good days in the rain, which is the case for most drivers.

      1. +1 I dont really like Massa, but if anything was really pathetic this weekend it was clearly William strategy… We could have done better than them just using the TV feed.

        1. Sundar Srinivas Harish
          19th September 2017, 15:59

          They should’ve pit at the second safety car instead of leaving him out to get picked off by Magnussen and Ocon. Honestly, Williams’ strategy staff seems to be on vacation still.

      2. Excellent points. Nurburgring in 2007 is the big one for me, when Massa impressed most in the wet, especially as Hamilton didn’t keep it on the track – and that pass on Alonso. Monaco 2008 is generally forgotted because Hamilton won, but he did drive very well. I was at Silverstone in 2015 and remember each lap, the Williams being further and further apart once it started raining – Massa was excellent once it started then.
        And I too disagree that Massa should be a struggler, the car simply didn’t have the pace in qualifying and he still easily beat Stroll, but in the race, starting on the wets was clearly wrong, and while Renault and Force India realised and pitted, Williams left him out about 3 years too long, making it look like he drove worse than he did. Wasn’t a good drive, but not a struggle-worthy one.

        1. @hugh11

          the car simply didn’t have the pace in qualifying and he still easily beat Stroll

          Right, I almost forgot about that. 7 tenths over Stoll, even though he had massive oversteer just before the final corner, which cost him about half a second.
          And yeah, I agree that calling him a struggler seems unfair. It’s easy to reach such a conclusion by looking at the respective results of the Williams drivers, but as I said, their races were so heavily influenced by tyre strategy that I don’t think that Massa could’ve done anything to improve his result from inside the cockpit. He defended his position quite aggressively while on the wrong tyres, but with a pit stops 3 laps after the Safety Car came in, there was nothing he could do to avoid dropping to last.
          Also not much he could do after the final Safety Car. There was not a single overtake for the last 24 laps or so, and he was stuck behind Ocon, i.e. a car with similar straight line speed. Frankly, I’d say it’s impossible to tell whether Massa did an outstanding or a bad job in the race.

      3. @nase +1000000000

      4. I didn’t say he was/is always hopeless in the rain, as you say, there are some very good examples of Massa performing well as you’ve mentioned (not sure I’d count Monaco 2008 as a good one personally).

        My point is just that when it rains you envisage drivers like Hamilton, Verstappen and some others rubbing their hands excitedly, whereas for drivers like Massa and Grosjean, they’re just hoping it’ll get dry soon.

        1. Grosjean had a solid race

        2. @ben-n
          Caution, selective quoting ahead:

          not sure I’d count Monaco 2008 as a good one personally

          Why not? Because of the Sainte-Dévote incident or the outcome of the race?

          My point is just that when it rains you envisage drivers like Hamilton, Verstappen and some others rubbing their hands excitedly, whereas for drivers like Massa and Grosjean, they’re just hoping it’ll get dry soon.

          Well, that’s pretty much the point I’m arguing against. I really don’t think Massa or Grosjean are afraid of underperforming in the rain. And if a lot of fans do think so, it’s pretty easy to pinpoint the origin of this preconception: Silverstone 2008. And that race stands out as the one rotten wet race Massa has had during his most competitive time (2007-2009).
          According to this in-depth analysis by f1metrics, Massa is even more likely to win a wet than a dry race, and has, on average, scored more points in wet as well. I think this tells us a lot about how reliable the public opinion on drivers is.

  2. Bottas should have been on the struggles IMO. 0.7 tenhts behind in qualy,just in front of Hulk & McLarens.In the race,he just kept out of trouble & benefited from the mistakes other teams & drivers did.

    1. Can’t really disagree with this. He finished 3rd in what ended up being a three horse race, was a long way behind Hamilton in qualifying and the race (in wet and dry conditions) and was overtaken by a Jolyon Palmer on the less favourable wet tyre at one stage.

      Flattered by the podium finish and lucky to be in the Mercedes in all honesty, or he would likely have struggled to get points.

      1. Couldn’t agree more. Bottas was very disappointing.

    2. While I somewhat agree, Bottas did manage what only about 50% of the field did – finish. He did so without hydration too. All in all, he kept his cool which is no small feat in this race. Can we expect more? Yes. Does it make him a struggler? Barely.

      1. Good point re: the water bottle I had forgot that.

      2. @chrischrill Well not having water definetely played an important role,but his qualy deficit was the 2nd biggest on the grid & he was nowhere near the pace of the leaders.If those 4 cars that DNFed at the start were in the race,he would have an extremely difficult time.

    3. @miltosgreekfan
      I think that Bottas wasn’t quite bad enough to be counted as a struggler. Hamilton was just far better. Bottas didn’t do what a lot of other drivers did this weekend which is crash or make a mistake. His pace just wasn’t that good. Although it was reasonable towards the end. I also think Bottas did a good job to keep calm and focused in this hot conditions considering his drinking water system had failed. Not being able to drink for virtually the whole race must be a bit unpleasant and this is one of the worse places for it to go wrong.

      Although as we often agree with, I think Massa has been under rated again. He didn’t have a good race, but he didn’t have a bad one. While I don’t think Bottas was bad enough to be a struggler, he was closer to one than Massa. Massa’s strategy was a complete mess. So was Wehrlein’s. Both of them were on full wets for far too long. In my opinion, Massa put up a good fight with some excellent defending at times and managed to hold several drivers behind him for a while that were clearly quicker. He made one slightly unreasonable move when Magnussen was passing him, but other than that, I wouldn’t say he’s been bad at all. Virtually all the blame for his result was the strategy. But I certainly can say Stroll did better this weekend. But the points gap between Massa and Stroll being just 3 isn’t at all realistic. I have a feeling that some people will soon start to say that Massa is worse than Stroll overall now. I don’t think that is the case. I actually think that without Massa’s bad luck this year, he could potentially be over 40 points higher than he currently is.

      1. @thegianthogweed Well said.Especially the part about Massa-Stroll difference & the opinion of fans…Massa has lost more than 40 points & i really wonder that the public could think of Felipe,if he had finished P1 or P2 in Baku…Lance is rapidly improving,he had a good Sunday but he has still many things to improve.

  3. Sauber:
    Ericsson crashed twice this weekend. In between, he ran close to Haas and ahead of Massa. During the race, he was on course for points for a bit before crashing out. Utterly dominated Wehrlein before, indeed I repeat, crashing again.

    Somehow, Ericsson should be a star and a struggler at the same time!

    1. Didn’t he have inters on like the rest of the field why Wehrlein was stuck on wets for far too long?

      1. *while not why

    2. @chrischrill

      Utterly dominated Wehrlein before

      Erm, no. Ericsson did overtake Wehrlein after pitting for Inters behind the Safety Car, while Wehrlein continued on Wets, at a stage where it became increasingly obvious that Inters were indeed the right tyre. But it took Sauber 4 more laps to react – 4 laps during which Wehrlein was on average 10 seconds off the pace. If that’s considered domination, then I’d like to add that it’s nowhere near as dominating as scoring 106 points against a wheelchair basketball team. So, not dominant enough for my taste.

      1. Oh Kanye. 🤣

      2. Well IT took Sauber 10 sec at pitstop to realize they put the wrong tires on Marcus car (soft instead of Ultrasoft), send him out seriously struggling a couple of laps so they can get the right ones ready, then pit again and STILL be ahead of Wehrlein, so yes… he dominated Wehrlein in pace before the crash.

        1. It’s hardly domination when you’re both on separate poorly executed strategies is it. People throwing the D word around for fun now.

        2. @ Johan z
          He didn’t. Or rather: Please show me when Ericsson supposedly ‘dominated’ his team mate on merit. I’m almost 100% sure that there wasn’t a single phase in the race during which their lap times can be compared in a useful way because they weren’t decisively affected by circumstances outside the drivers’ control.

          Like I said: Ericsson and Wehrlein were neighbours on the track for the first 16 laps, but only on the same tyres for the first 13 laps (laps 1-4 and 11-14 were Safety Car periods). Wehrlein was a tiny bit faster than Ericsson from lap 5-10, building a gap of 2 seconds until the Safety Car went out on track again. But that’s a very faint indication of their respective performances, as 2 seconds can be plausibly explained by hanging back a little and waiting for an opportunity to push.
          Then, Ericsson pitted for Inters while Wehrlein continued on Wets. Typical split strategy by Sauber, makes sense when you want to increase your chances of getting one of your cars into the top 10.
          At that stage, Inters quickly established themselves as the faster tyre, and Ericsson had little trouble getting past Wehrlein and driving away from him. That was the stage when Sauber seemingly forgot or ignored Wehrlein on the track, as they left him out despite being 10 seconds off the pace (and that’s not even an exaggeration), and when his tyres were finally changed, he emerged a full minute behind Ericsson.
          But with no-one in front of him, surely that’s the time when we can finally draw a direct comparison of their lap times?
          Wehrlein emerged from the pits just ahead of Hamilton. The first thing he had to do was to move over to be lapped, and that’s the story of his next laps and the rest of his race from then on.
          Then, Ericsson’s pit stop went wrong on lap 27, and he spent 50.6 seconds in the pit lane. That’s a massive amount of time lost, indeed. Wehrlein’s pit stop two laps later was 19 seconds quicker.
          But does the fact that Ericsson still emerged way ahead of his team mate not make his performance all the more impressive, downright dominant? Well, no. Like I said, Wehrlein had already lost 60 seconds due to his tyre strategy (or complete lack thereof), and, to add insult to injury, didn’t really get a free lap due to being lapped by the leaders. 60 seconds lost (plus x due to being lapped, the gap grew to 68 seconds by lap 26) vs. 19 seconds – it’s not really a surprise that Ericsson emerged ahead with a healthy gap of circa 50 seconds.
          As for Ericsson’s stint on the yellow-marked tyres: That was definitely not ideal, but at least they gave him dry tyres. I think there’s a huge difference between leaving a car out on track with tyres that can’t really cope with the conditions, losing 10 seconds per lap, and choosing the wrong compound. Judging from the race history chart, Ericsson’s troubles were compounded by the fact that he emerged in traffic, just like Wehrlein a few laps earlier, and had to move out of the way to allow the leaders through, which didn’t help his tyre temperatures at all. Still, the gap between the Saubers stagnated at circa 50 seconds, so it’s not surprising that Ericsson stayed ahead.
          Just a few laps later, Wehrlein had to move over again to allow Hamilton to lap him for the second time, and one lap later, Ericsson crashed.

          I find it terribly hard to find any signs of ‘domination’ by either driver in this race. They both had terrible races, and Wehrlein was never able to show his pace after an early, incomprehensible strategy gaffe, losing massive amounts of time while on the wrong tyres and in traffic, while Ericsson had a somewhat more enjoyable race despite never being able to fight for positions, until he suffered a terrible pit stop and had to pit again shortly after that. Then he binned his car.
          Considering all these adverse circumstances, I think we could run a simulation of that race with two radio-controlled robots replacing the Sauber drivers, theoretically able of lapping at exactly the same pace, and have them suffer all the problems the Sauber drivers experienced during the race. I bet the outcome would be exactly the same (well, minus the Ericssbot crashing, probably).

          1. Ericsson was ahead due to the better start as i recall It so i dont know about Wehrlein building up a gap of two seconds as you mentioned. Ericssons racepace were better until the spin but maybe dominate was to strong Word to use

          2. @ Johan z:
            Ah, damn it. You’re actually right, Ericsson was indeed ahead of Wehrlein from the start, so it was him who built a gap of up to 2 seconds. But then again, my words are still aplicable the other way around:

            But that’s a very faint indication of their respective performances, as 2 seconds can be plausibly explained by hanging back a little and waiting for an opportunity to push.

            As for your assessment of Ericssons race pace:

            Ericssons racepace were better

            When was it better? Okay, there’s the first stint, but as I said, two seconds are nothing and do not necessarily mean that the other driver did not have the pace to the car in front.
            And as I said, the rest of the race was characterised by terrible strategy, bad pit stops, and having to move out of the way for lapping cars. There simply wasn’t any stage of the race during which both Saubers were able to show their potential without being massively affected by something out of their control, so that a meaningful comparison is impossible. I simply can’t see how you can the conclusion that Ericssons pace was better.

  4. Kimi made the best start and seemed to have more momentum than Seb at the moment of collision. What could have been……

    1. It’s a shame in a way that the first lap collision happened. I always feel that a first corner crash borrows excitement from the rest of the race! Thoroughly exciting though the contact is, there are then less cars in the mix to get excited about later on…

      As you say, what could have been! To my mind, if Vettel hadn’t cut across but held his line, we’d have been looking at Raikkonen, Verstappen, Vettel in that order as the top three to begin with, which would have made for an enticing Grand Prix.

      A shame, but the controversy more than makes up for it!

      1. @ben-n With how superb Hamilton pace in the wets, he’ll still a major favorite to finish in podium or even win the race nevertheless. Judging from his great start, he at least in 4th after turn 1, probably can go up to 2nd, if Kimi, Max or both forced to run wide in first corner. Mercedes forced to play conservative during SC car period because he’s leading, but they could put fresh inters during Kvyat SC and put the pressure on Ferraris. Or maybe he could be the first man to call in slicks.

        It is indeed one of the most interesting what-if scenario.

        1. I assure you he can’t put fresh new inters if Max and Kimi was behind him at that point as they would have gained track position. Singapore is also a hard track to overtake so he might be good but not that good. The top drivers are no slouch in the rain either.

          1. @sonicslv, sorry. Forgot to tag you in.

          2. @siegfreyco That if he in front of them when SC happens. I think he could be anywhere between 1st and 4th if no front runners retired yet by that point. Also damp conditions means overtake can happen anywhere, especially if someone has much more confidence with their car.

            Also it’s nice to see some people still using tag so we can get those notifications!

          3. @sonicslv yeah. It would be nice if you can get a notification for every reply your comment/reply gets. Make it happen @keithcollantine !

            I don’t get your first statment. For your second statement. Others were having the need to have multiple cracks at wet tyre runners despite having the inters. It would be doubly so if they will be on the same tyres and the top cars have more turbulence than midfield cars. You can compare it to wet Monaco although to a much lesser extent

          4. @siegfreyco What I meant is Hamilton will hesitate to pit for new inters if he in front of Max or Kimi when SC happens, which he might or might not be. Practically the last guy behind the leader group can have free pit stop although it depends if Vettel or whoever leading can run fast enough to open the gap so they can slot back in still in top 8 (I assume Merc, RBR, and Ferrari strategist at that time will be confident their drivers can go past a Renault, McLaren, or Force India quite easily).

            For overtaking, I think damp Singapore is way easier to overtake than in damp Monaco. Wet overtake usually happens because you can throw away the optimum dry racing line. Monaco street is only 2 car wide so there’s just not enough space. Singapore, however, has some wider parts, and longer straight compared to Monaco’s tunnel.

          5. @sonicslv Ricciardo would surely been 5th at that time and it’s unlikely he would be much slower than the top 4 to give them a free pit stop. I think he would only pit if all the top 4 stays out.
            As I said, Monaco to a much lesser extent, so we both agree that it’s much easier than Singapore but it will still be difficult as all the top guys are good in the rain.

  5. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    19th September 2017, 14:00

    Hulkenberg may not have a podium but he has a pole position which is much harder to accomplish for a driver without a podium:-)

    To put things in perspective, even Ricciardo only has 1 pole position.

    For comparison, here are some fast drivers without a pole position:
    Bottas (Williams stint)

    It’s probably one of the toughest accomplishments in F1 for a driver without a podium.

    1. I’ll probably get some stick for this, but I don’t actually think that Hulkenberg’s pole position was particularly impressive. Yes, it was a very good lap with lots of confidence, but if memory serves, the track was drying out at quite a rate and (almost) whoever came across the line last would have set pole position. If anything, it was very well timed.

      I do rate Hulkenberg very highly and I really hope that the Renault comes good next year (or the year after) as I think he deserves podiums and wins… and Sainz should be fairly close in performance.

      1. @ben-n About that…If my memory serves, Hulkenberg had set a another lap prior to his final one, which was still good enough for pole. I’m not sure whether that lap was set just prior to his final lap or in a previous stint, but either way, I think it was when others were setting laps too.

        It was very long ago though, so I may be wrong. I hope someone can confirm.

      2. @ben-n On a side note, I remember that after qualy, Webber said something like: – “He gave us all a driving lesson today” and Alonso said: – “Only Nico got a perfect lap today.”

        Regardless of timing of his final lap, I do think it was a special performance, especially if the championship contenders thought the same back then. I hope to see Hulk perform like that again someday. He has come close to that level since in a few of his performances, but has never really reached it.

        1. @freelittlebirds Nico is probably my second favorite driver (don’t know if it will still be true when Charles comes) and I feel sorry about his luck sometimes. For example, had force India done the exact opposite with him and Checo last Monaco 2016, he would have gone to the podium. He could have gotten a win too on Brazil although that was his mistake. To find himself in that position in the rain though is something not many drivers of midfield teams can claim to (realistically having a Chance to win and not 1st due to others pitting first)

      3. @ben-n you strike me as an impartial chap with some good observations but I have to disagree with you on this one. If I recall correctly he had the balls to put dry tyres on before anyone else and then set pole on his 2nd consecutive lap while the others only had time for 1. And the title protagonists of the time gave him his dues for a brave call when they all thought the track was still too wet.

        1. @offdutyrockstar, @neutronstar – I shall back down if my memory has served me badly!

          I by no means meant that he didn’t deserve the pole position, just that on a drying track getting faster by the second, I don’t recall being as impressed as I was with say, Vettel taking pole at Monza in 2008.

          A quick glance at Wikipedia shows me that he was over a second quicker than the next best (Vettel, incidentally), so fair play. I stand corrected and will let Hulkenberg enjoy his career highlight in peace!

          I’ve probably been a little unfair to him recently with his unwanted starts/podiums record cropping up and I do think he’s a very good driver. I hope he soon has the car to deliver the results to match his reputation.

      4. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        19th September 2017, 16:24

        @ben-n yes I agree, the conditions were favorable no doubt for him to get pole that day. Otherwise, he would not have gotten it. The car was generally not considered the fastest car on track and it took luck, timing, and a bit of skill to pull it off.

        Of course, it was also Brazil with rain which somehow tends to bring out the best in drivers like Monaco with rain.

        I think the general consensus (and I could be wrong) for Vettel’s pole in the Toro Rosso was that it was the fastest car that day.

  6. Michael Brown (@)
    19th September 2017, 14:24

    Carlos Sainz! Boomshakalaka!

  7. I used to be quite a Daniil Kvyat fan. But now I’m really scratching my head as to why TR haven’t dropped him already.

    1. @shimks who does red bull has aside from gasly?

      1. @siegfreyco, according to Wikipedia:
        – Pierre Gasly
        – Niko Kari
        – Richard Verschoor
        – Dan Ticktum
        – Neil Verhagen

        I only follow F1, so I cannot comment on how highly these drivers are rated. But I believe Red Bull does not (usually) waste much time with incompetents.

        1. @shimks I follow the news of other junior formulas (the ones higher in the ladder) and their names do not crop up on the winners or podium that i can remember. Funnily enough, if you think that Kvyat is a crasher, wait till you google Dan Ticktum. It will put what Vettel did in Baku to shame. While they may come good, Kvyat is still the superior option to all of them currently. Btw, Niko Kari will be dismissed from the junior program after 2017.

        2. Nobahuru Matsushita too since Toro Rosso will be honda powered in 2018

          1. @kimiraikkonen1207 his career ain’t exactly stellar

            @shimks @kimiraikkonen1207 btw, all these driver do not have the necessary license points yet to race in f1 so our argument was pointless hahaha

          2. @shimks @kimiraikkonen1207 Gasly would of course (95%) be on the other seat that would be vacated by Sainz

          3. @siegfreyco true about the superlicense points! But I do think that Honda would hold some influence in putting its junior drivers into one of their cars.

          4. @kimiraikkonen1207 who can they put though?

  8. Kvyat doesn’t help himself, does he?
    48 to 4 points! unbelievable! the guy isn’t even trying anymore.

    Gasly and the japanese choice are the way to go for 2018. Kvyat has experience? Well, i can’t see a newcomer doing worse than what he is doing going into his fifth season.

    1. There still have been several races where Kvyat has looked better than Sainz. And many have said Sainz is far better than Kvyat the whole season.

      A comparison of the season with the team mates:

      Australia, Kvyat was much better. The team ordered Sainz to let Kvyat through. He then pulled away from Sainz pretty quickly. He had issues on lap 50 and had to pit. even after this, he didn’t finish far behind Sainz.

      China, we don’t really know how good he could have done as Kvyat soon had to retire. But after the 1st lap, Kvyat was 6th and Sainz was last. Sainz did take a risk that payed off by starting on slicks, but his start was a right mess. He went wide and spun, which was sort of understandable, but in a desperate rush to get going, he spun and hit the barrier and was incredibly lucky to get away with it. The rest of his race however was flawless. I think Kvyat did miss some good points though, just not as many as Sainz.

      Bahrain, although Sainz was at first doing better he had a silly incident resulting in a couple of penalty points and a 3 place grid drop as well as a double retirement. Kvyats race was out of the points, but he did several impressive overtakes and had a good scrap with some other drivers further back.

      Russia, Sainz managed to be a fair bit ahead in the middle of the race but Kvyat was closing in near the end. The end result, Sainz was 2 places behind but only about 5 seconds off. Sainz was better, but not by much.

      In Spain, Sainz did much better in qualifying, but the fact that Kvyat managed to finish the race within 5 seconds of Sainz makes me wonder if Sainz’s race was nothing special, or Kvyat’s recovery was outstanding.

      In Monaco, Sainz got the Maximum out of his car in qualifying and the race. He was about where that car was performance wise. It was very solid, but it is where I expected Toro Rosso to be. Kvyat looked very strong in practice and was 3rd or 4th one time i think, but failed to deliver at the right time in qualifying. His race pace didn’t look that far off Sainz, but he then got taken out by Perez.

      In Canada, Both drivers made mistakes. Sainz much worse though. Kvyat’s was unlucky to have reliability problems yet again. He did ask if he could go back to his position. His did did say “copy copy”. He maybe should have known that he shouldn’t have done what he did, but the fact he got the same about of penalty points for this as Sainz got for taking himself, Massa and nearly Grosjean and possibly Alonso out seems unreasonable. I think it should have just been a penalty during the race if he was able to continue. But he had to retire again with issues.

      In Baku, Kvyat had a poor start and went wide at the first corner. He’d looked better than Sainz so far this weekend. He didn’t really have any other choice but to come on track anywhere other than where he did and if it was unreasonable, it will ahve been investigated. Sainz just overreacted too much and ended up spinning. Kvyat then had to retire with issues out of his control again. I personally think he will have managed a better result than Kvyat this weekend.

      In Austria, all I can say was Kvyats just misjudged his braking and took Alonso and Verstappen out. That wasn’t good at all. Sainz had to retire with reliability problems. I clearly can only say Sainz did better here.

      In Britain, Kvyat has another poor race resulting in it taking out Sainz. His recovery was nothing special and he then had to retire with reliability problems again. Can’t really predict who would have done better here had this not happened but obviously Sainz was much more deserving of a good result.

      In Hungary, qualifying is really important. Kvyat failed to get a good starting position and Sainz got a very reasonable one. This was pretty much the same story for the race. Sainz was a fair bit better here.

      In Belgium, Sainz was quite a bet better, but Kvyat was closer than he had been in recent races. His pace overall wasn’t much worse and he was about 10 seconds behind Sainz in the end. He’d been stuck behind Stroll for quite some time near the end and that didn’t help as he was catching Sainz until he got close behind Stroll.

      In Italy, Kvyat looked better than Sainz pretty much the whole weekend. He managed to both qualify ahead and keep ahead in the race, but I think Sainz was only about 2 seconds behind. Although it also was 2 places.

      In Singapore, this track should suit the Toro Rosso pretty well. Kvyat certainly should have managed to get through to Q3 like Sainz did but he couldn’t manage it. In my opinion, Sainz’s Q3 run wasn’t very good. He was over 6 tenths of a second off the next best time in 9th which was set by a McLaren. But his race pace made up for it. He managed his best ever result. But a fair few retirement helped out. Still a great race by him though. Kvyat looked reasonably strong at the start, but his overtake failed badly and he didn’t make the turn.

      In qualifying, the gap the stats on this site showed mid season proved that in qualifying, relating to the times these 2 drivers set, Kvyat was actually on average quicker by a tiny margin. Since then Sainz has beten him a couple of times but Kvyat was quite a bit quicker in Italy. They still are pretty close when it comes to difference in qualifying times.

      I think that Kvyat would probably have around close to 20 points now if he’d been a bit less unlucky and I also think Sainz would have marginally less than he currently has. Still a massive difference but I still don’t think Kvyat is quite as bad as many point him out to be. He’d have got 4 not 2 points in the first race if not for his problems and Sainz will ahve lost a couple. Then I think Kvyat will have managed at leased 8th in China. Another 4. 9th in Monaco I think but Perez took him out. 2 points. In Baku, I think he’ll have managed 8th and got 4 points. This may only result in 16, but at leased it shows that he wouldn’t be behind Palmer and Wehrlein in the driver standings. The other thing that I think Kvyat has been a bit unlucky with is that when he’s retired due to reliability it is usually a race where the car looks to be capable of a good result. He has also some looked better than Sainz on tracks that don’t suit the car and this often means that points are not really on offer.

      Although many may disagree, I still think he is good enough to remain with the team next year. The team seem to say many positive things about his season still. Something I find a bit strange though is that Horner defended him quite a lot when he his Verstappen and Alonso and said it wasn’t anything that bad. And also, the team boss at Toro Rosso blamed both drivers for the collision at Silverstone.

      The main thing I am trying to point out is although Kvyat isn’t having a good year, his reliability has really affected his score. If Sainz had had retirements in several raced that it looked like he was going to get at leased a decent result, I think he would have a lot less than he does now. Before people have a go at me, Sainz has had a much better season, but in my view, not by as much as most think.

      1. Whenever talk of Kvyat (and Ericsson to a lesser extent) comes up, I always expect a lengthy comment from Ben – the lone Kvyat superfan. I think almost all other Kvat fans (me included) gave up on him already – watching him is just painful now. It simply doesn’t matter if Sainz had some poor races – at the end of the day, you can simply see which one of them consistently raises their game in races, which obviously reflects on the points chasm.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          20th September 2017, 8:58

          I bring it up because people say he’s been poor all season. That is incorrect. He still is better than Sainz at times, such as recently like last race. I am not a fan of either but Kvyat gets too much criticism.

          I won’t bother doing the same with Ericsson, but I will say now that Wehrlein has been better this season, but only by a very small margin overall. Even though Wherlein has been better in qualifying, as in got better positions, the difference between their qualifying times overall this year has been tiny, resulting in the mid season average qualifying times hardly being any different between the two. And then in the races, one or other of them often out perform each other. They are pretty close, but people don’t seem to want to believe that Ericsson is actually decent. The same with Kvyat, not that good, but I am certain he will be better than bringing in a new driver. I think he may be able to have a better season if he gets another chance with better reliability which I somehow think will happen. Both 2016 and this year, Kvyat has suffered far more reliability problems than team mates. But that isn’t the main reason why his points are low.

          1. @thegianthogweed @siegfreyco @kimiraikkonen1207 @zimkazimka

            Wow, what an amazing report, Ben! Kudos to you from a fellow Genesis fan. Let’s see, then. I felt so bad for Kvyat when he was demoted and deep down I do hope he starts to really shine.

          2. @shimks
            Unrelated, but I am indeed an early Genesis fan.

            But back on topic, I do think Kvyat is having another weak year, but his bad luck is making him luck much worse. But the fact that everyone considers Sainz to be so much better and then the fact that Kvyat looked better all weekend as recently as Italy shows Kvyat still has some good form in him. I don’t know how many will agree, But I think Toro Rosso would be much better off keepig him rather than bringing in 2 new drivers. And I think they will do this. As far back as Austria, Horner did say he would be with Toro Rosso next year. It is maybe a bit much to trust him as there has been no official news anywhere but I think it would be the most sensible option. He makes mistakes but other than his penalty points, I think he has been at leased marginally better overall than last year. And as he is still very young, I think he can still improve. I’d say if he isn’t noticeably better next year, it is then he should get kicked out.

      2. Ben do not try to tell think that are not true!!!
        A lot of part in your comment are totally wrong.

        1. And I make a lot of effort to show what I think with a very detailed description. I often do this on drivers that I think have been under rated (even if I still think they are not that good) The guessing where Kvyat could have finished could maybe be incorrect. He could have done better or worse, but I don’t think there is a lot that is actually incorrect. You say a lot is wrong. Well that is just your opinion and you haven’t pointed out anything against it.

          If ever I disagree with someone, I make my point. A lot of people who disagree with me just seem to think “it is totally wrong” without describing why at all.

          At leased someone seems to respect the effort I went to to write this. So before you criticize my opinion, you should maybe make a bit more effort to express your own.

  9. “Renault’s poor pace on the intermediates had necessitated a start on full wet weather tyres ”

    How did they know? There was no wet tire running ever on this track until 15min before the start.
    IMO they simply bungled their strategy, more so by failing to react to Ric’s free pitstop when the SC came out.
    He wouldve been sitting third until his engine ultimately failed him.

    1. They remembered the poor pace on intermediates tyres from monza. But yeah i agree with you, if they put them on by the start of the race, and pitted him on the same lap of ricc he would’ve been sitting in third position and who know, maybe his engine would last untill the end of the race

  10. If there was one driver who impressed me, it was MAG!!!

    Those overtakes and first change to dry was sticky hard balls!!!

    Unlucky with a motorunit and giving way for faster teammate on new tires…anyway think the boy is rising and getting mature…like to see him rise further next year – he is only 24 – same age as GIO stealing his FP1’s..

  11. Although this was a wet race it played out much like a dry race on a street track. Not many overtakes, pitting under safety cars. When they did pit for slicks it seemed easy enough and there was only a bit of an undercut. I think Ocon should have been a loser. 9th out of 12 finishers when his teammate was 5th and beaten by Palmer, Vandoorne and Stroll. He’s generally been much stronger than this

  12. RIC drove around a gearbox issue, no?

  13. I have been lurking here for a couple of years, reading articles and – something I do on hardly any other website – the comments. I have been watching F1 since about 1980, after my parents gave me a Corgi Hunt Hesketh and Fitipaldi Lotus, but I have learned a lot about the sport here. So first of all: thanks for that, Keith and all you knowledgeable commenters.

    I am Belgian and have always had a thing for McLaren, so I may be a bit biased but shouldn’t Stoffel Vandoorne get a mention here? I thought he did very well with that … well … car. He outqualified his team mate, a double world champion, in very difficult conditions on Saturday. And on race day, he never put a foot wrong, deftly avoiding the havoc in turn one and at one point even setting a fastest lap. In THAT McLaren. I think he was outstanding, given the material he has.

    He’s been very unfortunate coming to McLaren just when they have probably their worst car ever. I hope they stick with him – and there is nothing indicating the contrary, so far – because with a decent car, Vandoorne will score points, podiums and wins.

    1. FYI, Stoffel (P9) didn’t outqualify Fernando (P8) as he qualified one position behind his team mate.

      1. @kart1131, thanks for pointing that out. Not sure how I managed to mis-remember that. However, I think he had an excellent weekend. With a better car, I’m sure we’ll see good things from him.

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