Question marks over Ferrari, Mercedes strategies

Mark Scott
Ferrari in the lead

Ferrari in the lead

Ferrari and Mercedes took very different approaches to their strategies at the Singapore GP. Charles Leclerc questioned the Scuderia’s plan, Mercedes got theirs wrong…

Here is how race night unfolded in Singapore…

Carlos Sainz was keeping cool, he even had his rubber duck for company.

If Carlos or anyone else needed something to help them wind down, then the national anthem was doing just that…

Daniel Ricciardo wasn’t a happy Honey badger going into the race. He started from the back after being DQ’d from qualifying for a breach of the rules on power output from the MGU-K.

Daniel Ricciardo wants to sign with Renault for 2021 and beyond if they are title challengers.

The top three stayed the same out of Turn 1 but Sebastian Vettel was all over Lewis Hamilton on the opening lap.

Further down the field there was contact for Nico Hulkenberg, Sainz, George Russell and Ricciardo.

Hamilton shook off the attention of Vettel and began to make gains on Leclerc. But action was minimal as the pack crawled around Marina Bay to save their tyres. George Russell was the fastest man on track.

Luckily we had Danny Ric to provide some thrills. Sergio Perez was dispatched and Daniil Kvyat was next as he improved to P12.

With Leclerc going so slow at the front it made pitting impossible for the rest of the top six – doing so would put them well down the order.

Just outside the points we had a battle between Romain Grosjean and Hulkenberg. This one had some background.

Vettel and Verstappen were the first of the top runners to blink and pit on Lap 20. Hard tyres for both of them but the results couldn’t have been more different.

Vettel was able to get out ahead of Hulkenberg and into nice clear air, but Verstappen wasn’t so lucky.

Leclerc was in on the next lap to fit the hards, but it was disaster for the youngster as Vettel sailed past – the undercut had worked.

In came Bottas as everyone was left scratching their heads as to why Mercedes weren’t pitting Hamilton.

On his current pace Hamilton would be lucky to come back out ahead of Albon.

The Ferraris were now closing in on Lance Stroll – Mercedes were hoping that the Canadian and Ricciardo, Pierre Gasly and Antonio Giovinazzi ahead would hold up the leaders.

Wingman alert for Valtteri…

Hamilton finally pitted on Lap 26 as Giovinazzi went into the lead of the Singapore GP – the first time an Alfa Romeo had been in the lead of a Formula 1 race since Belgium 1983.

Out Hamilton came just ahead of Bottas as planned.

Lewis Hamilton's impeding of Valtteri Bottas in qualifying for the Singapore GP was down to a "miscommunication".

Lap 31 and Vettel moved into the lead of the Singapore Grand Prix.

Ricciardo’s wild side finally turned around and bit him as he went for a lunge on Giovinazzi.

Speaking of wild, seriously Romain? Out came the Safety Car. That was Williams’ first DNF of 2019.

With the SC gone Leclerc set about taking back that P1 which he felt was rightfully his.

It wasn’t long though until the SC returned when Perez’s SportPesa Racing Point ground to a halt. Moments before Stroll had hit the wall and picked up a puncture.

As the racing resumed Leclerc was giving Ferrari a mild heart attack.

A third Safety Car of the night briefly cooled any potential battle though…

It would be Vettel who kept it clean and claimed victory – a record fifth win at the Singapore GP and his first in 392 days! Oh boy did he need that.

No Mercedes on the podium.

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