Vettel topples the rest

Vettel singapore 2016

Brought to you by TJ13 contributor @F1TheaJ

TJ13 Singapore GP Poll results

Race mean reader score: 6.77

This is the best score for this race in recent years: 2013 received a paltry 5.62, as Vettel (driving for Red Bull) completely dominated the race leading every lap from pole and coming home 32.6s ahead of Alonso (Ferrari) with Raikonnen in 3rd (Lotus).

2014 scored slightly better, (5.65) being won convincingly by Hamilton, 13.5s ahead of Vettel in 2nd and Ricciardo in 3rd (both Red Bull).

2015 saw the score creep up to 6.56 with Vettel winning, this time for Ferrari 1.4 s ahead of Ricciardo (Red Bull) and Raikonnen coming home 3rd for Ferrari.

Notice anything about these results? One name keeps popping up and it is none other than the quadruple world champion and 42 GP winner Sebastian Vettel. Sebastian Vettel is the most successful driver at this track, having won 4 of the 8 races previously held here. In fact, this race had only ever been won by drivers who have also won the championship: would this year be any different?

Well if qualifying was anything to go by it looked as if Vettel’s chances of lifting the trophy (or getting on the podium) had been scuppered, as with a broken rear roll bar, he didn’t make it beyond Q1: in fact he registered the slowest qualifying lap and started from the last place on the grid. On the upside, he had lots of sets of tyres and with the track having a 100% record of safety car sessions; he would probably get the chance to use them. Strategy is an important factor at the Marina Bay circuit as overtaking is deemed ‘difficult.’ Did anyone actually remind Vettel of that? If they did I think we can safely assume he ignored it as he went on to make up somewhere in the region of 17 places during the race, which is (presumably) why he won our Driver of the Weekend award.

Driver of the Weekend: Sebastian Vettel: 27.57% of reader vote

Well, relying on taking advantage of safety car periods to catch up on the front runners didn’t really work for Vettel this time around. Having started on new softs he could have (theoretically) moved ahead of the front runners as they came in to pit from their less robust (or older) tyres and that way moved up through the field: ditto with safety car periods. HOWEVER, the first (and only) safety car period came only seconds into the race and (apart from those whose tyres were actually damaged during the incident) not many needed to pit (even though all the drivers were directed through the pit lane while the debris along the start-finish straight was cleared.)

So much for that: Vettel would have to do it by good old fashioned hard work, skill and excellent driving skills, which he did. Driving like a champion, he fearlessly cut a swathe through the field (overtaking two at a time on occasion) ending up in fifth place. Probably his best drive of the season (so far.) Oh what might have been if he’d started higher up the field, still, Malaysia next.
p.s. the race was actually won by Nico Rosberg, being the first non WDC to lift the trophy.

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