Driver ratings: Singapore GP

By on Sunday, September 21, 2014

We rate the drivers for their performance in the 2014 edition of the Singapore Grand Prix

Red Bull/Getty Images

Red Bull/Getty Images

1 | Sebastian Vettel | Red Bull-Renault | Q: 4th | R: 2nd | 9/10

Vettel was back on form in the first practice session as he explored the limits, but engine failure put paid to much of his second session. Scruffy qualifying lap cost him a shot at pole position and he was naturally downbeat. He made a good start to jump ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and briefly led following Lewis Hamilton’s stop. Tyre wear was ultimately too much - but improved considering he missed FP2 - so second was a fine result as he returned to the podium for the first time since June.

3 | Daniel Ricciardo | Red Bull-Renault | Q: 3rd | R: 3rd | 8/10

Ricciardo started the weekend slowly but improved with every session and came close to spoiling the Mercedes party in qualifying with a stellar effort. He didn’t make the best start and dropped behind Vettel and Alonso, but gained the place back on the Spaniard behind the Safety Car. Hung on to Vettel’s RB10 but couldn’t pass, even with slightly fresher tyres. Occasional power problems also hurt him, so he did well in the end.

44 | Lewis Hamilton | Mercedes | Q: 1st | R: 1st | 10/10

Hamilton looked to be wrestling his Mercedes W05 Hybrid throughout much of Saturday’s sessions but he recovered from a first corner lock-up to snatch pole by just 0.007s. With Nico Rosberg out of contention it was straightforward for much of the race, although he had to push after the Safety Car to build a gap. On fresh tyres his move on Vettel was always on, although he pounced quickly to ensure there would be no doubts over the victor.

6 | Nico Rosberg | Mercedes | Q: 2nd | R: Ret | 6/10

Rosberg used another set of Options to ensure his safe passage into Q3 and consequently that impacted him in the final session. He did well to manage second, but admitted pole was there for the taking. Problems started immediately when his parade lap car wouldn’t start! Steering wheel issue could not be resolved and he trailed around at the back before being forced to retire.

14 | Fernando Alonso | Ferrari | Q: 5th | R: 4th | 9/10

Scuderia Ferrari

Scuderia Ferrari

Alonso was on top in the first and third practice sessions as Ferrari’s pace appeared to be genuine. It was. Alonso might have been fifth in qualifying but it was, in his words, a much closer and competitive fifth place. He opted for the outside line at the first corner but locked up and went deep – and perhaps got a little lucky by being allowed to stay ahead of Ricciardo. He lost that position when he stopped for a third time and Ferrari was ultimately unable to fight with the cars ahead. Not that he didn’t try!

7 | Kimi Räikkönen | Ferrari | Q: 7th | R: 8th | 7/10

For the first time all season Räikkönen looked genuinely competitive and up for a proper fight, so it was a real shame that a software problem scuppered his Q3 and left him only seventh. He jumped up to fifth at the start but Felipe Massa got the undercut on him and from there he was stuck in traffic. Eighth place was not what he deserved after a genuine step forwards.

8 | Romain Grosjean | Lotus-Renault | Q: 16th | R: 13th | 7/10

Considering Grosjean’s woes this season, his outburst after a qualifying session in which another Renault problem affected his result was eminently justified. In the race he tried to make progress but conceded that being overly aggressive after the restart caused him problems at the end.

13 | Pastor Maldonado | Lotus-Renault | Q: 18th | R: 12th | 7/10

Maldonado returned to form in practice as he carried too much speed into turn 10 and consequently walloped the wall. Engine issues in qualifying left him out in Q1 but progression was always a long shot. Small pit error in the race wasn’t his fault and he briefly threatened to finish in the points, but 12th was about as good as it was going to get.

22 | Jenson Button | McLaren-Mercedes | Q: 11th | R: Ret | 8/10

Sahara Force India

Sahara Force India

A lock-up into the hairpin cost Button time and left him as a Q2 refugee, not that progression would have improved his position much. Typically, Button made progress in the race and was lurking in seventh when McLaren opted to turn up the settings to permit him to pass Valtteri Bottas. But the car didn’t respond and cut out, forcing Button into retirement.

20 | Kevin Magnussen | McLaren-Mercedes | Q: 9th | R: 10th | 7/10

Magnussen, sporting some very suspect facial hair, had the better of Button throughout much of the build-up and managed to make it into Q3. Battling first lap ultimately cost him a couple of positions but worse was to come as his cockpit overheated and caused him burns. Higher than expected degradation exacerbated matters – 10th in the circumstances was a good result.

27 | Nico Hülkenberg | Force India-Mercedes | Q: 13th | R: 9th | 7/10

Hülkenberg got the better of team-mate Sergio Pérez in qualifying but with both out in Q2 was it showing that Force India was losing ground? Not in race trim. Hülkenberg performed strongly and was part of the group struggling on used tyres but ninth was still a good result.

11 | Sergio Pérez | Force India-Mercedes | Q: 15th | R: 7th | 8/10

Pérez put in another accomplished performance despite a poor qualifying lap. He defended expertly against Romain Grosjean although Adrian Sutil’s misjudgement cost the Mexican his front wing. But Force India’s decision to pit him again reaped rewards and seventh proved to be a very good recovey.

99 | Adrian Sutil | Sauber-Ferrari | Q: 17th | R: Ret | 5/10

Sauber F1 Team

Sauber F1 Team

Sutil suffered from engine issues in the first knockout segment of qualifying which made his Sauber even slower than usual. He was fortunate to escape without sanction for moving across on Pérez but a water leak put paid to his efforts anyway.

21 | Esteban Gutiérrez | Sauber-Ferrari | Q: 14th | R: Ret | 8/10

Gutiérrez has always had a knack of stringing together a lap around Marina Bay and in qualifying he managed to get into Q2 and even went as high as 14th. He battled in the race but a slow stop was followed by an electronics failure, prompting a justifiably furious reaction.

25 | Jean-Éric Vergne | Toro Rosso-Renault | Q: 12th | R: 6th | 9/10

Vergne was on form throughout practice but once it came to qualifying he was hampered by front locking and could manage only 12th. In the race he exceeded track limits a couple of times but during the final stint he went hell for leather. Moves on Hülkenberg and Räikkönen were simply exquisite while he pounced on Bottas. With a five second penalty hanging over him he hammered out an advantage which negated his sanction. Sixth was a just reward.

26 | Daniil Kvyat | Toro Rosso-Renault | Q: 10th | R: 14th | 6/10

Kvyat railed against his brakes during practice but in qualifying he was able to progress through to the top 10 shootout. Rear end was sliding around more in the race and that damaged his tyres at a rapid rate – to make matters worse, he was without a drinks bottle for the entire race. Gruelling.

19 | Felipe Massa | Williams-Mercedes | Q: 6th | R: 5th | 8/10

Williams Martini Racing

Williams Martini Racing

For a brief moment it looked as if Massa was about to repeat his heroics of Austria and claim pole position, but others improved and he was left in sixth. He lost out to Räikkönen at the start but Williams used the undercut to get him ahead – from there he had a lonely run to fifth.

77 | Valtteri Bottas | Williams-Mercedes | Q: 8th | R: 11th | 6/10

Bottas never quite had the speed of Massa across the course of the weekend but a lock-up in qualifying compromised his efforts and left him eighth. Fared well in a frantic scrap at the start but late on his steering issues on used tyres compromised his performance and he tumbled to 11th. Only his second non-score of the year.

17 | Jules Bianchi | Marussia-Ferrari | Q: 19th | R: 16th | 7/10

Bianchi was enjoying a fairly decent race as he was hanging onto the very back of the midfield group until the Safety Car period wiped out his advantage over Marcus Ericsson. From there, Marussia struggled on the Prime tyres and brake concerns meant that he ultimately finished behind his Caterham rival.

4 | Max Chilton | Marussia-Ferrari | Q: 21st | R: 17th | 5/10

Turbo problems halted Chilton in second practice while the incorrect settings for his first qualifying run left him down on power. He was passed by the wounded Rosberg at the start of the race before a puncture left him further adrift. Safety Car helped him close the gap but it wasn’t his best showing.

10 | Kamui Kobayashi | Caterham-Renault | Q: 20th | R: DNS | 7/10

Caterham F1 Team

Caterham F1 Team

Kobayashi has had a woeful campaign – through little fault of his own – but while he at least got the call up to race in Singapore, he didn’t actually make it to the start after an oil pressure problem.

9 | Marcus Ericsson | Caterham-Renault | Q: 22nd | R: 15th | 8/10

Missing his first qualifying run due to an electrics issue put him on the back foot but even so, his deficit to Kobayashi was embarrassing. However, he ultimately redeemed himself in the race as he perfected his strategy, made no errors and managed his tyres well to collect a highly creditable 15th place.

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