Race forecast: Is there a laughing third party in Singapore?

Ferrari pilot Sebastian Vettel has secured the pole position in the qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix. Unusual image: Mercedes is only in series three at 14am today (live at RTL) behind Vettel’s mate Kimi Vrikkunen and the two Red Bulls. Thus the fans can look forward to an exciting race and a hard fight between Ferrari, Red Bull and the silver arrows.

Hidden Mercedes something?

It had already been anticipated in advance, that the great advantage of the Mercedes drive on the Marina Bay Street Circuit will be significantly less to bear. It is surprising, however, that the delay is more than a second. Apparently, the World Championship team had problems with tyre temperatures and vehicle balance. But Williams also had similar difficulties to silver and was still quite close to Mercedes. So is there another reason for the hopelessness of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, which we do not know?

The chance for Red Bull

The long runs on Friday also spoke more for Scuderia and the Red Bulls. The Italian GP in Monza two weeks ago showed that Ferrari could not keep up with his performance from qualifying in the race track. This could be the chance for Red Bull. It is doubtful whether Mercedes will be given an opportunity here, given the long delay. After all, the silver arrows in terms of top speed in the Quali were at the very top. This could prove to be an advantage in overtaking, which is extremely difficult in Singapore because of the track characteristics.

What strategies are conceivable?

Strategically, both two and three stops are conceivable in the race. For a 3-stop strategy, the first pit stops in round 10 or 11 are to be expected, for a 2-stop strategy probably more in round 15. The soft tire was on Friday at the 2nd free training about 1,4 seconds slower, in the 3rd session it was still 1,1 seconds. This value usually halves in the race. p>

A safety car phase, and this is as safe in Singapore as the Amen in the Church, forces the teams to react quickly and change their “roadmap”. So the races have to be prepared for flexible options in advance. p>

The loss in a pit stop is very high in Singapore with 26 to 27 seconds (including tyre change). The maximum permitted speed in the boxing alley is 60 km/h. So you have to wait a long time for the field to pull apart. This is especially true when teams think about tactical games such as an undercut. Because of the overtaking problem, it would be a disaster to get into traffic after a pit stop.

What plan is Vettel pursuing?

If Pole-Setter Vettel cannot pull out at the top of the field, the four-time world champion is in danger of being ambushed by an undercut. To counteract this, he himself could stop early and pursue a three-stop strategy. This option only exists if traffic in the tracking field also allows.

However, if the Ferrari star should perform well in the first rounds, a two-stop strategy would probably be the better option. With all these strategic games, there can quickly be a smiling third party that no one at first has accounted for. Who knows, maybe at the end we’ll see Daniil Kvyat cheering on the winning podium?

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