Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Singapore, 2018

2018 Singapore Grand Prix team radio highlights

2018 Singapore Grand Prix

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In the team radio highlights from Singapore: Sebastian Vettel was dismayed by Ferrari’s tactics, Romain Grosjean fumes at F1’s rules, and Kevin Magnussen thwarts a cheeky effort by Fernando Alonso.

The race began badly for Force India, as Sergio Perez knocked his team mate out of the running at the start:

Ocon:I got hit by Sergio Badly. Badly, badly.
To Perez:Checo do we have any damage? Stay positive until this marshalling sector.
Perez:No I don’t think there’s any damage.
To Perez:Run switch ‘Safety Car’.
Perez:Was that Esteban?
To Perez:Esteban is out, Esteban is out. Checo you can work more on the brakes.
Perez:Sorry guys there was no room. I basically did not even see him. Just felt the contact.
To Perez:OK Checo let’s just focus now.

Sebastian Vettel has passed Max Verstappen for second place and was sitting on Lewis Hamilton’s tail while the race leader nursed his tyres. Ferrari were listening to Hamilton’s radio messages but suspected Mercedes were trying to dupe them:

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To Vettel:Hamilton reporting there is not a lot left on these tyres. Is what he’s reported.
Vettel:I don’t believe him.
To Vettel:Me too.
Vettel:I don’t believe him. He’s going very slow.
To Vettel:Copy. Watch for Verstappen he’s one second before.

Hamilton then picked up the pace and Vettel responded, heading for the pits. Ferrari thought Hamilton would come out close to their man – but it didn’t turn out that way:

To Vettel:Hamilton is pushing. Hamilton lap time 45.5. He’s pushing now. 2.1 second in front. Engine three.
To Vettel:You matched his pace 44.9. Gap to Hamilton 2.4
To Vettel:When you can just let us know for tyres. And engine 1. Hamilton three seconds. Box, Sebastian for option. Engine 1, everything you have in the out-lap. Perez in front, seven seconds, track is clear. Hamilton is coming in. All you have. K12 last corner. Use K1. Be very tight.
Vettel:Not tight at all. He’s safe.
To Vettel:Copy.
Vettel:Missing two seconds.
To Vettel:Back to engine three. And cool down the brakes, rears. Easy on brakes.

And when Verstappen pitted, it got even worse for Vettel:

To Vettel:OK push now. Close with Verstappen, close with Verstappen, he’s pitting now. K1 on the straights, fight with Verstappen, exiting the pits.
Vettel:OK, no chance, we were again too late.
To Vettel:OK, copy, easy on brakes.
Vettel:These tyres will not make it to the end.
To Vettel:Copy.
Vettel:Is there anybody else tight or that I should know about before it’s too late?
To Vettel:Not at the moment. Bottas two seconds behind.
To Hamilton:Verstappen has managed to undercut Vettel so Verstappen 5.3, he’s the car behind. Still have two cars ahead yet to stop.

Hamilton was now free to cruise to victory, though Mercedes had contingency plans to make:

To Hamilton:Lewis let us know about the tyres. We’re just thinking about late Safety Car, whether we risk a position for new tyres or stick with what we’ve got?
Hamilton:The tyres are still pretty fresh. The balance is quite [unclear], rears are OK. Right now I would stay out.
To Hamilton:Copy, we’ll keep talking to you.

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His run to the chequered flag was disrupted when he caught Romain Grosjean, who was too busy trying to pass Sergey Sirotkin to let the Mercedes by:

To Hamilton:We’re coming up against a load of backmarkers, five cars, first one Magnussen.
To Hamilton:We’re just seeing a step up on traction metrics it may just be the wheelspin that’s giving you that feeling.
Hamilton:It’s also fronts, man.
To Hamilton:OK, copy, good info. Just be careful with this lot they are racing.
Hamilton:Are the tyres dropping temperature?
To Hamilton:Negative. So the temperature is consistent but they are on the cold side so it just means there’s very little wear.
To Hamilton:Suggest strat three while we’re just getting through traffic.
Hamilton:Blue flags.
To Hamilton:Copy.
Hamilton:Blue flags, these guys aren’t moving.
To Hamilton:Copy, they should be getting them.
Hamilton:These guys are crazy.
To Hamilton:OK just be careful. Verstappen car behind. Verstappen very close behind. use overtake! Overtake is available.
Hamilton:That was ridiculous.
To Hamilton:Gap’s now out to two seconds.
Hamilton:Definitely taken a step down in grip, these tyres.

Grosjean’s messages suggest there may have been times when he left his broadcast channel latched ‘open’, preventing his team from communicating with him, which could explain how he managed to ignore the blue flag warnings for so long:

To Grosjean:Gasly behind will have Hamilton for blue soon, then we’ll have Hamilton for blue.
Grosjean:Mate he’s doing the same as fucking Monza. Come on.
To Grosjean:OK so blue flag Hamilton, blue flag Hamilton, Hamilton behind.
To Grosjean:OK now Hamilton behind, blue flag Hamilton.
To Grosjean:Blue flag Hamilton.
Grosjean:What’s behind?
To Grosjean:That’s a blue, yeah, blue.

The Haas driver was one of four midfield runners who made it into Q3 and therefore had to start on used tyres, which he believed ruined his race:

Grosjean:What’s the race situation?
To Grosjean:BC3. Race situation not great. The guys who didn’t have to start on hyper have jumped us. They were able to go very long…
To Grosjean:..and then we were stuck behind Sirotkin. So we are where we are right now. Everyone’s stopped, 13th.
Grosjean:That quali rule is stupid.
To Grosjean:Yep, understood.

Grosjean’s mood did not improve when he was penalised for holding up Hamilton:

To Grosjean:Just keep pushing to the end we have a penalty, five second, we have to overcome behind.
Grosjean:Why is that?
To Grosjean:It’s for blues with Hamilton. Just push to the end.
Grosjean:Ha ha ha ha.

Another driver who lost out from starting on worn tyres was Perez, who also got stuck behind Sirotkin:

Perez:I don’t know why you have dumped me into this traffic, man.
To Perez:Understood Checo, but people were going to undercut us. Understood.
Perez:Man Sirotkin is moving so much under braking. Come on Charlie. Too much, man.
To Perez:Understood Checo, Sirotkin moving a lot under braking, understood.
To Perez:Checo we can go -1.5 to help the fronts.
Perez:The problem is the rear, man, the problem is the fucking rear.

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FIA race director Charlie Whiting was unimpressed by Perez’s claims that Sirotkin was driving dangerously:

To Perez:Checo for your information Gasly P9 back still in your Safety Car window.
Perez:Man it’s a joke, he’s moving under braking. We’re going to crash, really.
To Perez:Understood, Sirotkin is moving too much under braking, understood, Charlie is aware and Charlie is looking into it.
Perez:What did you say about Gasly?
To Perez:Gasly in P9 and the cars behind are all in your Safety Car window.
To Perez:But Alonso and Sainz they are inside our pit window right?
To Perez:Checo they are now outside our pit window. They have increased their pace and are now outside our pit window. But Gasly back is well inside, inside your Safety Car window.

Perez forced his way past Sirotkin but tangled with the Williams as he did:

Perez:Charlie’s not doing anything about him, eh? He really wants me to crash?
To Perez:Understood Checo, we’re working on it. Checo ACS off.
Perez:This is a joke, really. You saw how he is moving to braking?
To Perez:Checo Charlie says you’ve got to be closer to him, pushing him harder, before he’ll do anything. Leclerc is three seconds a lap quicker, 10 seconds inside your pit window. Hulkenberg car behind.
To Perez:Left-rear puncture. box, box. Diff mid six. Raikkonen passing, Ricciardo last corner. You’re on soft. Ricciardo five seconds behind.
Perez:So now what is the game? We save the tyre a bit?
To Perez:ACS on and you can push the tyre.

But it earned him a penalty:

To Perez:Checo drive through the pit lane. We have a drive-through penalty. We’ll serve it this lap, straight away. Watch the speed limiter.
Perez:Why drive through?
To Perez:Checo drive through, it’s for the incident with Sirotkin. Watch the white line.
To Perez:Checo tyre update this tyre will be fine to push. We have an increased aero balance from damage, it’s equivalent to two turns of front wing.

One of the drivers who capitalised on Grosjean and Perez’s troubles was Leclerc. Early in the race he was concerned he was using his tyres too quickly, but it paid off when he passed Pierre Gasly:

Leclerc:Guys there’s no point putting pressure like this.
To Leclerc:Brake bal plus one.
Leclerc:We are destroying all the job that I’ve done to keep the tyres at the beginning of the race.
To Leclerc:Understood, Charles. It’s OK to keep a bit of a gap to Gasly. The pace is good at the moment we are P11.
To Leclerc:Consider brake bal plus one.
To Leclerc:Spark 2 and overtake button is available if needed. Try to increase the pressure.
To Leclerc:If you can pass, back to spark four.
To Leclerc:All good Charles at the moment, we are P10.
To Leclerc:Gasly ahead seems to struggle with tyres, overtake button and spark two still available.
To Leclerc:There might be a few drops of rain but no rain clouds around, just a few drops.
To Leclerc:Use overtake if needed.
To Leclerc:Well done Charles, good job, well done. Currently P9, we have Sainz ahead on older soft, 18 seconds.

Sirotkin’s eventful race continued when he out-braked himself while scrapping with Hartley, picking up a penalty:

Hartley:Yeah he just drove me off the road into the wall.
To Sirotkin:And box this lap Sergey, box.
Sirotkin:Copy. box.
To Sirotkin:OK Sergey we have a five-second penalty.

Both Mercedes drivers had trouble with traffic. For Valtteri Bottas the problem was he was unable to get close enough to Nico Hulkenberg for the blue flags to be shown:

To Bottas:At the moment the gap to Hulkenberg 1.7.
Bottas:I just can’t get any closer, I lose so much grip.
To Bottas:Copy that. At the moment Charlie’s saying we need 1.2.
Bottas:That 1.2 is fucked up in a track like this.

Other drivers were getting incorrect blue flag signals:

To Leclerc:Charles at the moment you will see blue flags you can ignore at the moment I’ll let you know when you have the first one.
Leclerc:I don’t understand.
To Leclerc:You might see blue flags, you can ignore at the moment, I’ll let you know when you have to let past Vettel, OK?
Leclerc:Copy. Are the marshals having a little bit of fun waving the blue flags or what?
To Leclerc:Yeah they have, Charles. Just ignore at the moment, just ignore.

The biggest winner in the midfield was Fernando Alonso. After cementing a ‘best of the rest’ spot of seventh, and being surprised that his pre-race prediction at least one of the ‘big six’ drivers would hit trouble did not come true, he entertaining himself by going after the fastest lap, over the objections of his team:

To Alonso:We are box this lap.
Alonso:Yes, OK, box.
To Alonso:Stay left of white line, limiter.
To Alonso:Fernando we will just be careful of Sainz.
To Alonso:Launch map, launch map. Sainz is across the line now. The car directly behind you is a Sauber that is Ericsson.
Alonso:We are in front, good job guys.
To Alonso:Yeah Fernando excelled job, well done mate. Leclerc has also pitted so this is P78 now. Maximum pace to the end. Head down, concentrate, follow the dash.
Alonso:No action in front of us with the top six?
To Alonso:Fernando they are going through traffic, they are going through backmarkers at the moment so there might be.
Alonso:This race we are seventh, nothing happened.
To Alonso:Fernando there are 21 laps to go. Sainz is still stuck behind Ericsson, we want to keep this up.
Alonso:What time is the fastest lap?
Alonso:What time is the fastest lap, mate?
To Alonso:OK Fernando it is a 43.8 but come on, we’re P7. Head down, concentrate.
To Alonso:OK Fernando Sainz is now through on Ericsson he is 14 seconds behind you.
To Alonso:For information the lead car, Hamilton, is six cars back, he is 35 seconds behind us.
To Alonso:And 17 laps to go.
To Alonso:OK Fernando that is the fastest lap so far.
Alonso:Not bad with G8.
To Alonso:Yeah Fernando, very good lap, nice work, well done mate. OK on a serious note Sainz is 17 seconds back, we want to keep this gap for a Safety Car window.
Alonso:Yep. We probably don’t need to take it, car feels very good.

Kevin Magnussen had the last laugh, however:

To Magnussen:You’ve done the fastest lap of the race. PC1.

Even after 61 gruelling laps of Singapore, Hamilton’s didn’t forget to stay on-brand:

Hamilton:I need a cold Monster Energy after this thanks.
To Hamilton:Yeah we’ll have one on standby for you.

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But Grosjean was still fuming:

To GrosjeanThat’s chequer, OK.
GrosjeanThey’re taking the piss so much.
To GrosjeanYeah, yeah.
GrosjeanSo much. What did they want me to do, to stop racing?
To GrosjeanYeah, yeah. It’s just really hard to understand how to manage that any better. Anyway really hard day out there I’m sure. Sorry for the result we couldn’t really make the hyper work. So Hamilton won, Verstappen…
GrosjeanJust tell me where Kevin is.
To GrosjeanKevin also had a bad day he’s 18th.
GrosjeanShit, shit.
To GrosjeanYep.
GrosjeanBut mate you drive your arse out, you do everything you can… is there anyone who started between 7th and 10th who finished made it to the top 10?
To GrosjeanHulkenberg finished 10th.
GrosjeanYeah he got lucky with Sirotkin.
To GrosjeanCorrect. Otherwise, no, it was totally dominated by the people who could go long on the other tyres.
GrosjeanThey need to do something about it. It’s not fair.
To GrosjeanYeah it’s absolutely frustrating for you and for everyone, for all the work in this hot weekend. Anyway, thanks for bringing it home.
GrosjeanYeah some interesting stuff from the race. Anyway I’ll tell you. But good job everyone.
To GrosjeanCopy that, good job.

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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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40 comments on “2018 Singapore Grand Prix team radio highlights”

  1. Ah, very nice to see these radio highlights, with the annotated commentary for each block.

    1. Yep, glad these are back. Cheers Keith.

    2. great to see them back – especially in this format.

      1. Another happy reader here. Great to have this back.

        1. Indeed, I liked them too, good to have them back, even though a bit different from the past, when we had all the drivers’ ones and with lap counter, but it’s so hard to find team radios this is already an improvement.

  2. Be very tight.
    Vettel: Not tight at all. He’s safe.

    To Vettel: OK push now. Close with Verstappen, close with Verstappen, he’s pitting now. K1 on the straights, fight with Verstappen, exiting the pits.
    Vettel: OK, no chance, we were again too late.

    Vettel: Is there anybody else tight or that I should know about before it’s too late?

    LOL, hard to read that last one as anything but sarcasm.

    1. Sarcasm, all boosted by a good shot of frustration.

      He’s going through a lot of what Alonso went through in his Ferrari years (And then has subsequently gone through more recently with Mclaren), that knowledge that the chances are there, but circumstances are conspiring against him.

      With Alonso, it was knee jerk sackings causing development and team upsets. With Vettel it’s strategy cockups. Sooner or later, it’s going to come to a head.

      1. yeah, it looks like what Alonso mentioned sometime last year about how it grew more and more frustrating at Ferrari when they kept being close with a lot of work but just never really be there – when asked whether it wasn’t frustrating for him to see Vettel being so close now.
        Last two years seem to point to that being true.

  3. OK, no chance, we were again too late.

    That “again” hurts

  4. “I need a cold Monster Energy” said no-one ever. Impressive he has capacity to think of these things at race speeds though…..

    1. Impressive, but also slightly sickening. I wonder how much money was exchanged for him to use that phrase. I like this format of the highlights, it’s easier to read than the old one. and good to see it back as a feature.

    2. Mayeb he likes it.

  5. I understand this is probably a lot of work, but it’s one of the reasons that got me into f1fanatics. Nice to have it back.

  6. I have to admit that I genuinely found Checo’s complaint about Sirotkin’s driving rather amusing (So amusing that I even laughed to it a bit like was also the case with Alonso’s radio messages in Monza last season) given that he did nothing wrong in their long-lasting battle.

  7. For me, the most surprising part of the transcript is that Grosjean appears to be genuinely upset about Magnussen’s race being even worse than his. The team spirit is apparently intact at Haas.

    1. That put Grosjean in much better light as a team player.

      1. *paints instead of put

    2. reapersandhawks
      20th September 2018, 0:03

      I listen to all of Grosjean’s radio messages post-race, he’s always asking about how Kevin did. When he finished P6 in Germany, he immediately asked how Kevin did and if they were able to get a double points finish, and was bummed to hear Kevin finished P11.

  8. Perez: Charlie’s not doing anything about him, eh? He really wants me to crash?

    It says everything. Deliberate crash. In this context there should be reevaluated if punishment shouldn’t n be similar like in Ferrucci´s case. 3 penalty points means nothing.

    1. Maybe if you try to put that in context and fully understand the sequence of events you would have a different opinion. I know cherry picking facts and using them out of context is very 2018, but try to avoid it if you can.

      1. @dusty
        But then again, if you watch how the contact with Sirotkin was made, it doesn’t sound that cherry-picky.
        The only other plausible explanation for his sudden direction change would have to be a penny he spotted, about 5 metres to the left of the racing line …

    2. @dumir311 – that’s how I read it, too.

    3. Also the Ocon contact:

      I basically did not even see him

      Hmm. Didn’t see him or ‘basically’ didn’t see him. Maybe a little glimpse but ‘basically’ not? A ‘sorry guys, didn’t see him’ would be more convincing.

      1. If we penalise this like Ferruci’s action, for how many races should we ban Vettel for crashing Hamilton on purpose under Safety Car conditions last year?

        1. @esmiz good point. deliberate crashing should be a race ban. they set a very poor precedent when schumacher did it in jerez in ’97 (and arguably in adelaide ’94). ok, he got his points stripped for that year but as a meaningful punishment that was no punishment at all given the season was over and he’d lost the title already.

  9. The Q2 tyre rule certainly didn’t help anyone here, seems harsh to be penalised for making it to Q3.

    Maybe they could extend the tyre rule so:

    Everyone who makes it to Q3 starts on the Q2 tyre they set their fastest lap on (as now)
    Everyone who makes it to Q2 but no further starts on the Q1 tyre they set their fastest lap on
    Everyone who goes out in Q1 gets free choice

    Not sure if that is helping the people who make it to Q3 or just extending the pain to those knocked out in Q2. At the very least it will solve the issue of qualifying 11th actually being a better result than qualifying 10th.

  10. I don’t know if Sirotkin out-braked himself with Hartley… or just forgot to turn the steering wheel

    1. He said his car was damaged after Sergio hit him. Maybe it was because of that

  11. I don’t get point of any of these weird rules. It improves the racing how, exactly?

    Everyone should have a free choice of what tires to start the race with, as in most categories. Then we would get some variation of strategies, instead of “I’m using hypersoft because it’s the only tire that I could qualify with”.

    By the way, if Vettel had managed to qualify using ultrasofts, he might had a chance.

    1. @afonic However, then, most races since forever would just all be 1 stops and even more boring than they already are. The more interesting thing to do would be for everyone to start on the tyre they qualified on in Q2 (or Q1 if they were knocked out then), all the way through the field, so everyone starts on used tyres. But then maybe it would still be just a formation as everyone is as quick as they are. It is definitely unfair though that starting 11th is 100x better than starting 10th.

      1. @hugh11 most races are one stops anyway in the past couple of years. Besides, the number of stops doesn’t really make the race more interesting, unless you count the safety car roulette as “fun”.

        At this point I don’t know that starting the race by using your Q2 quali tires is supposed to do. It just makes sure that everyone in the top 10 does the exact same change and they race with the same compound. If they had free choice we could have different strategies inside the top 10, depending on how each car works with each tire type.

  12. Some gold here. Better job than F1tv and their censured and selected team radios. Thank you very much RaceFans team, it made my day (off).

  13. Thanks for the radio highlights making their return @keithcollantine! I know it must be a huge amount of work, but i really enjoy reading them – especially in this format giving context etc to the most interessting points in a race where the radio clearly was a large point of interest with not too much actually going on on track.

    I hope we will see more of this for races where there is enough interesting radio to make it worthwhile.

  14. To Grosjean: OK so blue flag Hamilton, blue flag Hamilton, Hamilton behind.
    To Grosjean: OK now Hamilton behind, blue flag Hamilton.
    To Grosjean: Blue flag Hamilton.
    Grosjean: What’s behind?
    To Grosjean: That’s a blue, yeah, blue.

    Oh dear… Was told 3 times and he still didn’t get out the way, and then said it was ridiculous when he got a penalty


    Grosjean So much. What did they want me to do, to stop racing?

    Yes, that is exactly what they want you to do, as far as I’m aware from the regulations.

    1. Did you read the sentence in the article right before those radio messages?

    2. @hugh11

      Yes, that is exactly what they want you to do, as far as I’m aware from the regulations.


  15. To Leclerc: Charles at the moment you will see blue flags you can ignore at the moment I’ll let you know when you have the first one.

    Leclerc: I don’t understand.

    To Leclerc: You might see blue flags, you can ignore at the moment, I’ll let you know when you have to let past Vettel, OK?

    Leclerc: Copy. Are the marshals having a little bit of fun waving the blue flags or what?

    To Leclerc: Yeah they have, Charles. Just ignore at the moment, just ignore.

    Where the marshalls trying to help Seb in the race here? Sounds a bit fishy to me, or im just over analysing?

    1. @lums I think you are.

      However it’s worth noticing how calm and collected Leclerc sounds each time he is in the radio. He sounds like he is doing this for ever.

    2. Yes, Marshalls are often very over eager waving blue flags, especially when there’s a group of cars out of sequence and one amongst them is a lap or 2 down, if a leader is approaching often they’ll all see the blue flag early not for them because the one in front is getting them for the cars behind rather than the cars behind getting them for the leader even further back.

  16. So glad to see the “team radio highlights” is back.

    Is there any possible to update the “team radio highlights” every Grand Prix?

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