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Team-Mate Wars: Singapore GP

Wednesday 25th September 2013

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Another candidate for Start of the Year

Another candidate for Start of the Year

Because in F1 the first person you have to beat is your team-mate...

Red Bull Racing
Race: Vettel
Season: Sebastian Vettel 12 - Mark Webber 1
Had qualifying been done on the Medium tyre then Webbo would have been able to push Seb a lot harder, but it was no contest on the SuperSofts. Vettel, as all the commentators have noticed, was in a class of his own in Singapore, and as usual, the God of F1 sent the gremlins to the wrong Red Bull. Right now, if we're not going to have a repeat of 2011 and 2013 in 2014 we need a Ferrari or a Mercedes mole placed in the engine unit at Renault's Viry-Chatillon engine HQ, with access to all Vettel's engines for next year. What's Nigel Stepney doing these days?


McLaren
Race: Button
Season: Jenson Button 10 - Sergio Perez 3
Jenson is racking up a considerable number of slight victories over Sergio. The team-mate score looks a lot more clear-cut than it is in the races and this grand prix was typical with Checo probably finishing closer to Jenson than he would be in the post-race driver debriefing. Thanks to Paul diResta sending his Force India into the wall, McLaren edged clear of them in the Constructors' table but it's still uncomfortably close.


Mercedes
Race: Rosberg
Season: Lewis Hamilton 8 - Nico Rosberg 5
Considering how well Hamilton has gone in Singapore in the past, it was surprising to see Nico three places in front of Lewis on the grid. Rosberg got off the grid in a hurry, something that couldn't be said of Hamilton, whose laggardly start made Alonso's (directly behind) look even better, but after that he didn't look super-confident and on the radio he seemed very reluctant to push. One of the criticisms of Vettel in the past was that he could qualify well but he couldn't overtake. That one's been firmly put to bed, but Rosberg seems to have inherited the mantle. He looked far more hesistant trying to pass the struggling Perez in the closing stages and began to hold Hamilton up. To the extent that Massa almost got past. With the race for P2 in the Constructors' table likely to go down to the last race, Merc can't afford the luxury of unbruised egos when points are at stake.


Ferrari
Race: Alonso
Season: Fernando Alonso 11 - Felipe Massa 2
Alonso was his brilliant best in the race, providing yet another chapter in the argument that he doesn't need another top driver in the team to give him extra motivation. Obviously he could have qualified better than 7th, but from the moment the red lights went out it was pedal to the metal and two hours of total concentration. Evidence from the past has shown that Fernando doesn't thrive when team-mates are faster than him or in the way. Giancarlo Fisichella was rarely faster than him, but in one Australian GP, Fernando was following his team-mate and complained on the radio that he was quicker than Fisi. The implication was that Giancarlo should be asked to move over. The reply he got back from the no-nonsense Enstone team was: "If you're faster, overtake him then." This is the same team who once locked an angry Jean Alesi in one of the trucks when he was getting a bit Sicilian. Lotus's Alan Permaine has already said that he believes Fernando is fooling himself if he thinks Ferrari are in with a shout for 2014 - Red Bull are just too far ahead. Alonso will certainly be aware that if Raikkonen is competing with him for the top points in races, that it's going to help the Scuderia but it won't help him. It would be interesting to work out how many times in the last four years that Felipe has actually taken points away from Fernando (particularly when Felipe has finished just in front) . You'd imagine not many.


Lotus
Race: Grosjean
Season: Kimi Raikkonen 9 - Romain Grosjean 4
Raikkonen's 2001 Sauber back injury came back with a jolt and severely hampered his qualifying, but it was Grosjean who stole the show. Only a pneumatic leak stopped the Frenchman scoring a podium at Marina Bay.

Force India
Race: Sutil
Season: Paul Di Resta 6 - Adrian Sutil 7
Paul di Resta only just lost out to Sutil in qualifying, but made up for it with a fantastic start. DiResta had the right strategy and Sutil looked as though he was heading for 11th when his team-mate car decided to prod the TechPro barrier at Turn 7, leaving Paul mystified: "I'm still not sure what happened, but I took the corner the same way as I had done the previous lap and the car went straight on and wouldn't stop. The team is investigating what happened." It may have been a fault with the car or it might have been a Schumi-JEV kind of thing - a quick excuse to brush it under the carpet.


Sauber
Race: Hulkenberg
Season: Nico Hulkenberg 12 - Esteban Gutierrez 1
Gutierrez was the unexpected star of qualifying, making it into Q3 while Nico Hulkenberg sat it out. In the race, the normal Sauber order was restored, plus a very funny reaction from Nico when told he had to give a place back to Perez. "What-?" he yelled, and you thought that there might be two words to follow. He was better than Gutierrez in Singapore but not outstanding.


Williams
Race: Maldonado
Season: Maldonado 10 - Bottas 3
Williams's strategy managed to pull Pastor Maldonado through to 11th but it was a pale shadow of the performance we saw last year. Bottas is not making the most of what might be a very short opportunity. With rumours that Massa's engineer Rob Smedley might be on the way to Williams in 2014 could the door also be open to a Rubens-Barrichello-like Brazilian in his later career...?


Toro Rosso
Race: Vergne
Season: Daniel Ricciardo 7 - Jean-Eric Vergne 6
Daniel was ahead of JEV in all departments until Lap 25 when he ran out of road and nerfed the barrier. JEV wasn't exactly on fire but managed to avoid all the obstacles.


Marussia
Race: Bianchi
Season: Jules Bianchi 13 - Max Chilton 0
Bianchi actually finished behind Chilton this race, but he had a number of issues with his Marussia that put him there.


Caterham
Race: Pic
Season: Giedo van der Garde 5 - Charles Pic 8
Van der Garde is getting his act together on track as well as sending out alluring tweets before he races. Before Singapore he wanted people to know: "Will sweat like a pig. Looking forward to it."


The Kimi is Disappointed File: "It's not the first time I've driven with a problem and it probably won't be the last time either ."

Star of the Race
Vettel 3, Alonso 2, Hamilton 2, Sutil 1, Brawn 1, Perez 1, Rosberg 1, Grosjean 1, Hulkenberg 1

Overtaking Move of the Race
Raikkonen 4, Vettel 2, Grosjean 2, Alonso 1, Button 1, Bottas 1, Webber, Hamilton 1

Dull vs Exciting GPs
Exciting 10 - Dull 3

Sat on the Naughty Step
Van der Garde 2, Sutil 2, Maldonado 1, Vettel 1, Red Bull 1, Gutierrez 1, Hulkenberg 1, Grosjean 1, Hembery 1, Stewards 1, Webber 1

Media Watch
James Allen: "The spine is a fundamental part of a driver's anatomy."*
Gary Anderson: "Yes, you have to feel the track through the seat of your pants."

James Allen: "We saw Ron Dennis winking at the television camera earlier, and anybody who knows Ron, knows that's not the kind of thing he does."

James Allen: "All these buildings lit up spectacularly at night. It puts Blackpool to shame..."

Eddie Jordan
You kind of knew where EJ was going with this question to Christian Horner, even though he left out some vital words: "Christian, this puts a big daylight in terms of the championship."

Jenny Gow: "Have you been to an F1 race before?"
Sir Tom Jones: "Not in person, no."

* because without them it would be jellyfish F1.

Andrew Davies

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