Hard to beat a rejuvenated Ferrari
Lewis Hamilton believes that Mercedes are going to find it “hard to beat” a rejuvenated Ferrari in the upcoming races, but has backed the world champions to rise to the renewed challenge.
Ferrari scored a one-two finish in Singapore against all expectations despite their perceived weakness they scored a one-two and extended their wining runs to three, there best since 2008. Meaning, Mercedes have lost three consecutive race-day defeats for just the second time in the last six seasons.
With Ferrari now seemingly having found a breakthrough with their car on tracks which do not simply require horsepower – the SF90’s established strength, Hamilton is expecting a more consistent fight.
Following the race, he told Sky Sports “I’m a realist so I see the situation we’re in and they’ve just come up with some sort of upgrade that’s perhaps put their car… maybe they’ve had a good car all year and it just wasn’t working in the right window.”
“ho knows, because it’s unlikely they’ve brought a massive, massive upgrade that’s brought 20-30 points [of downforce] to something which performance-wise is probably what you’d expect they’ve taken here.” Hamilton believes that Ferrari has a car which has proven to work well.
Despite Ferrari’s winning run, Hamilton and Mercedes’ consistent winning form before the August summer break means they remain firmly on course to defend their world titles.
Hamilton has extended his lead despite not winning a race since the summer break. He still believes not having the best car is not a barrier, saying it’s about how the team delivers over the weekend.
Leclerc frustrated by lack of information
Charles Leclerc says that he will seek more information from his Ferrari team in future races and understood his “very frustrating” Singapore Grand Prix defeat “a lot more” afterwards.
Leclerc missed out on his third straight win after Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel made an almost four-second gain to jump him. The Monacan admitted that Vettel’s one-lap “undercut” was not planned before the race and this “will be one of the discussions too, to try and understand why we didn’t speak about that situation before”.
In the future, he has already said he will make sure he is better informed during races. He says in Singapore he couldn’t have done much differently, but the strategy was more about him.
He told Motorsport.com “I was not aware [Vettel was going to pit earlier], so I don’t know if I should have pushed a bit earlier during my first stint. I don’t know, we have plenty of data anyway and I will analyse it.”
Leclerc stressed that it was unlikely he would have been able to react with a faster in-lap had Ferrari predicted he would be racing his teammate for the lead.
Adding “At that time obviously the tyres were quite dead but probably before I had quite a lot of margin. In the first few laps, obviously we wanted to go as slow as we possibly could for the guys behind to not have the window to pit.”
“In that period I could have done a much better job but I stick to the plan and I think that’s what helped us to do one-two today.” During the race, he described the situation as “unfair” during the grand prix.
In the official FIA press conference after the race that although he had started to “see things maybe a bit differently, I still need some explanations just to understand fully why this decision was taken”.
Leclerc accepted Ferrari’s admission that it was “surprised by how powerful the undercut was” for Vettel, as Ferrari expected Leclerc to rejoin in the lead.
Red Bull’s wakeup call – Verstappen
Max Verstappen has described Red Bull’s Singapore Grand Prix as “not good enough” and a “wake-up call” after the team failed to live up to expectations.
The team had targeted Singapore as a winnable race, taking tactical engine penalties in Spa and Monza to put them in contention in Singapore. While Verstappen secured a podium, he was never in contention for victory and team-mate Alex Albon finished sixth.
It was the first time in ten years that Red Bull finished on the podium in Singapore, which favours downforce and suits their chassis-reliant package, outside the top two since 2009.
when asked about his weekend, said Verstappen, “Not good enough We came here to win and clearly didn’t. I would say it’s a little wake-up call.” The Dutchman benefited from Mercedes’ strategy in Sunday’s race with the who has also claimed unexpected F1 2019 victories in Germany and Austria, finishing ahead of faster car of Hamilton.
Verstappen added, “From Austrian onwards, it’s maybe our worst race in terms of performance, where we expected to be really good. I have a few ideas why it went wrong so we will analyse all of them.”
“I think here, clearly, in too many corners the car was not working like I wanted it to. We’ll go home and see what we can do better.” He suggested to Sky Sports that there was work to do and they know that.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner admitted that, after a disappointing qualifying that left Verstappen fourth, the race turned into “damage limitation”.
Alfa loses appeal over penalties
Alfa Romeo has lost its appeal to the FIA to overturn penalties from the German Grand Prix overturned.
Both Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi from seventh and eighth to twelfth and thirteenth, for a breach of Article 27.1 of F1’s Sporting Regulations which states: “The driver must drive the car alone and unaided.”
In theory, they got off lightly as the most severe penalty could have seen them disqualified from the race. However, the stewards took the decision that the benefit that the drivers got was more akin to a false start – which normally earns a driver a time penalty rather than exclusion from the results.
So rather than Raikkonen and Giovinazzi being thrown out, they were handed a 10-second stop-and-go penalty.
The team argued that the setting of the clutch, which effectively outside Alfa’s control.
Fred Vassuer explained, “The situation arose during the laps we spent behind the safety car ahead of the standing start – we suffered a dysfunction of the clutch that was beyond our control and we will further investigate the issue,” he explained.
Perez engine saved by retirement
Racing Point believes that Sergio Perez’s retirement and his abrupt stop because of an oil leak during the Singapore Grand Prix has saved his engine, meaning he will not face grid penalties in Russia.
The Mexican had a slow leak, which led to engine supplier Mercedes asking the team to retire on lap forty-three, triggering the second safety car. Perez took the latest spec Mercedes engine in Spa, only to suffer a failure with it in practice.
As there were no spares available, he was obliged to switch to a new example of the earlier spec, which means that he has been slightly down on performance relative to the other Mercedes users for the last three races.
The team were looking to avoid penalties at Perez’s home race in Mexico at the end of October. Team principal Otmar Szafnauer told Motorsport.com. “We had an oil leak and had to pull the car over,We stopped it in time.”
“The Mercedes guys had been tracking it during the race, because sometimes you get something that weeps and it stops, and it doesn’t matter. Because it was a slow-ish leak they could track it to the point of criticality and then say pull over now, otherwise, we are going to get a penalty.”
Singapore saw Racing Point introduce their last aero update, however, Perez could only manage eleventh but a five place grid penalty dropped him to seventeenth.
Ricciardo “disgraced” by qualifying exclusion
Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo says his disqualification from qualifying was a “disgrace” and made his Singapore Grand Prix weekend a “waste of time”. The FIA excluded him from the session after he exceeded the 120kW limit on one lap in Q1 and excluded him from qualifying, in which he had been eighth fastest.
Asked by Autosport, how he took it, he said: “Disgracefully. I had a very restless night’s sleep trying to go through in my head why a penalty would be so harsh.”
“It happened on one occurrence on one lap – if it was happening on the same corner every lap for the whole session I would not complain at all.
But it’s like track limits – you go off, gain an advantage, delete that lap.”
“We didn’t even gain an advantage from this yet they delete the whole session – so, no, I was disgraced by that. And voiced my opinion – I’ll keep voicing it.”
Ricciardo suggested that the stewards did not want to listen to the defence offered by representatives of Renault, which said on Saturday evening that the power spike had been caused by a kerb strike.