Report – Fernando Alonso finished just off the podium in fourth place after a great battle with the two Red Bull drivers, while his Scuderia Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen finished eighth, losing two places on the last two laps having to deal with seriously worn out tyres.
There was drama before the start, as Nico Rosberg failed to get off the grid on the formation lap and had to start from pit lane. When the lights went out, Alonso got away very well, going second in the first corner. However, the Spaniard overshot as the track went left and therefore had to cede the place to Sebastian Vettel.
Before half-distance, Fernando’s situation improved as he moved up to second behind Hamilton, the clear leader. However, after a collision between Sergio Perez and Adrian Sutil brought out the Safety Car, this worked against the two Ferraris, who unlike the Red Bulls, were still on the Supersofts and had to bring forward their stops to make the most of the situation.
For the final 24 laps, Fernando found himself between Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo, with no way of getting past them. Further back, Raikkonen moved up to sixth before being overtaking by Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso) and Sergio Perez (Force India) who were on fresher tyres. The Finn therefore came home eighth. Lewis Hamilton took the 29th win of his career and thus moves into a 3 point lead over Nico Rosberg. The next race is in Japan in a fortnight’s time.
|2||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||13.534s|
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||14.273s|
|6||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||56.801s|
|7||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||59.038s|
|9||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m01.661s|
|14||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m12.008s|
|17||Max Chilton||Marussia/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|-||Kamui Kobayashi||Caterham/Renault||Not started|
Raikkonen rues “fucking up my tyres” – “Most of the race I got stuck behind the Williams. It was mainly Massa but then in the end with Bottas. I think we had a bit more speed than them but obviously you can’t get past and then just driving behind it seems to affect us a lot. We even noticed in the past races that when you get close you lose all the downforce at the rear and you just destroy your tyres. First of all you can’t get close enough at the faster places to try to attack and then it ruins your tyres. I just kept following the Williams the whole race – first [Massa] and then the other one – just f***ing up my tyres so that was quite disappointing. It’s hard to overtake them. I got close to them a few times but coming out of the faster corners I just lost the grip. If you don’t get the proper jump on them you will never pass them in a straight line. It’s a strong point of their car and here when you only have a few places to overtake it’s very hard to get past them.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “Today’s race was really frustrating, because despite the fact we were quick, we weren’t able to finish where we wanted. My start was good, I moved up a few places and everything was working perfectly. After the first stop, I lost a place to Felipe and from then on, I found myself stuck behind a Williams for the entire race. Unfortunately, every time I managed to get close, I lost aero performance on the rear and on top of that, tyre degradation was very high. It’s a real shame I was never able to run my race, even if we already knew that straightline speed is our opponents’ strong point. I’m not happy with eighth place, but on the positive side, we have seen improvements this weekend. I’m sure that if, from now on, we don’t have problems, things will go better.”
Pat Fry: “Here in Singapore, the performance of the two F14 Ts was a pleasant surprise, as we have never been as close to the front runners this season. The technical characteristics of the track, our development work, the talent of our drivers and the way our car worked on the softer tyres are just some of the elements that explain our good form this weekend. While very encouraging, it was still not enough to achieve the team’s objectives and it was a real shame to see second place slip from our grasp with Fernando because of the Safety Car. Unfortunately, with Kimi we didn’t manage to get the most out of the car: he had the potential to get a better result, if hadn’t been for Massa undercutting him and then, even though he was on fresher tyres, he did not have the top speed to pass Bottas on the straight. Like Monaco, this is a track where it’s hard to overtake and the arrival of the Safety Car can jumble up the order. Now, in Suzuka, we will have another opportunity and once again, we will try and fight the Red Bulls and especially the Williams in the Constructors’ Championship.”
Marco Mattiacci: “Today’s race could have delivered us a better result, because thanks to a quick response from the team after the disappointing outcome of the Grand Prix in Monza, we were competitive all weekend long. Our pace was good and thanks to the strategy, with Fernando we managed to run second, but it later slipped from our grasp during the course of the race. Kimi was held up by traffic and slowed with tyre degradation and, although he got a good start, he was unable to retake the places he had made up. The variable of the Safety Car altered our strategy projections, affecting the outcome of the race. Nevertheless, I firmly believe that the only strategy for winning is to be able to count on a competitive car. Now we leave Singapore having shown signs of progress: on this front, Suzuka will provide a very interesting test bench, because it will allow us to go deeper into our development work in areas in which we want to improve.”