Singapore Grand Prix 2015 Recap

Sebastian Vettel won his fourth Singapore Grand Prix title in a very impressive way. He recorded the fastest time in qualifying to start at the pole. Then, he led the race from start to finish. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo spoiled the chances of a possible Ferrari one-two after he finished second. Vettel’s teammate, Kimi Raikkonen claimed the last podium spot. For Mercedes, Hamilton had a miserable time here and was forced to retire. Rosberg was able to finish on fourth place to give his team some consolation points.

Qualifying

Suspicions about Mercedes’s use of illegal tyre pressures loomed further as both Lewis Hamilton and teammate Nico Rosberg both recorded slower times during the qualifying in Singapore. The Mercedes duo usually finished first or second in the qualifying sessions, but this time they only finished fifth and sixth respectively. Sebastian Vettel claimed the pole in this time after he finished 1.5 seconds faster than Hamilton.

Racing Conditions

The hot and humid weather makes this race one of the most challenging for the drivers. Aside from that, it’s also the longest race with 61 laps which always take more than two hours to complete. This year, the weather is a little bit cooler than usual and there is also no threat of any rain. This makes a perfect setting for the first night race of the season.

The Grid

The Race

Vettel had a great start and was able to get away cleanly. On lap 1, he was able to establish a 3 second lead over Ricciardo who is on second place. He further extended his lead to four seconds on lap 3. On this lap, the race leaders are as follows: Vettel, Ricciardo, Raikkonen, Kyvat and Hamilton.

Some cars started to show a number of problems on lap 9. Button complained about his rear overheating whenever he brakes while Grosjean’s left front tyre is also having a bit of a problem. Then on lap 13, Massa and Hulkenberg collided against each other. The virtual safety car is now on. Some drivers used this opportunity to make their first trip to the pits.

The race is on again on lap 19 as the virtual safety car is now off. On lap 24, the stewards confirmed that Hulkenberg is to blame for the crash and he will be given a 3 place grid penalty in Suzuka. On lap 27, Hamilton’s car is having problems at its slowly losing pace. He’s overtaken by Rosberg on lap 28. Then on lap 29, he further went down to 9th place. On lap 34, he finally retired from the race. Massa and Hulkenberg are also both out already. McLaren’s Fernando Alonso also retired after Hamilton due to a gearbox issue.

On lap 38, something odd was spotted on track. A man was seen walking on the side of the track. The safety car is now on the track. It’s race time once again on lap 41. Also on this lap, Button and Maldonado’s cars clipped each other. Button was forced to enter the pits again after that incident. But eh worst isn’t over on him yet. On lap 53, his team notified him over the radio that he needs to retire his car due to a gearbox issue. Button became the fifth retiree on this race and only 15 cars remain on the track.

On the front, Vettel continues to cruise ahead of Ricciardo, Raikkonen and Rosberg. The first two drivers are now way ahead from the rest. Vettel leads Ricciardo by 3 seconds while Ricciardo has a 13 second advantage over Raikkonen. Rosberg who is in fourth is also seconds away from Raikkonen.

Vettel finally wins the Singapore Grand Prix for the fourth time. He’s followed by Ricciardo on second and his teammate, Raikkonen on third. Many experts say that Ferrari’s engine upgrade was key in their victory here.

After Thoughts

Hamilton’s 53 point lead over Rosberg before this race is now chopped down to just 41 points. Vettel is now also seen as a legit title contender and is just 49 points behind Hamilton. After Monza, it looked like Hamilton was about to secure the title very early this year. But after all the events here in Singapore, it’s now obvious that the title race is still far from over.

The Japanese Grand Prix will take place next week. Many experts say this race is very crucial for Mercedes because it will determine whether the momentum is still on their side or it has already shifted to Ferrari’s side.