Rating the drivers for their performance in the Singapore Grand Prix
Sebastian Vettel | Infiniti Red Bull Racing | 1st | 10/10
There’s still six races remaining in the season and there’s the very serious problem that we’re going to run out of superlatives for the four times champion-in-waiting. He never looked in danger of being headed all weekend and crushed his rivals, eventually coming home 32 seconds ahead. It could, so easily, have been more.
Mark Webber | Infiniti Red Bull Racing | 15th | 7/10
Since the last time Webber won a race, his team-mate has climbed onto the top step of the podium 11 times. It’d be ace to see Webber win before he heads off to the World Endurance Championship, but he has to deal with the bloke in the other car first. Webber was set for a podium when misfortune struck; a bitter blow so close to the chequered flag.
Fernando Alonso | Scuderia Ferrari | 2nd | 10/10
The car looked a handful compared to how it was performing at Spa and Monza but he once again finished as runner-up to Vettel. The foundation for his podium came courtesy of an electric start in which he rose from seventh to third and he built on that by preserving his tyres and consolidating his position. He won’t win the title, but he won’t give up either.
Felipe Massa | Scuderia Ferrari | 6th | 7/10
Massa was struggling throughout practice as his Ferrari F138 was handling like a shopping trolley, nearly leading him to an early exit in qualifying. He rallied round and beat Alonso in Q3 but couldn’t progress at the start of the race. He ran well early on and was one driver to pit during the caution period, battling back to a fine sixth place.
Jenson Button | Vodafone McLaren Mercedes | 7th | 8/10
1980. The year that Jenson Button graced the world for the very first time and the last year in which McLaren failed to score a podium all season. Button came agonisingly close in Singapore as McLaren opted to pit him during the safety car period and run a 36 lap stint on primes. He held out for the majority but tumbled down the order late on, coming home in seventh.
Sergio Perez | Vodafone McLaren Mercedes | 8th | 7/10
Martin Whitmarsh’s comments across the weekend were hardly a glittering approval of Perez’s form in 2013 and the Mexican responded by being fairly dismal in qualifying. But he bounced back from that particular woe to finish right behind team-mate Button, having run identical strategies. He dedicated his performance to the people of Mexico, with deadly storms having battered the nation.
Kimi Raikkonen | Lotus | 3rd | 10/10
Raikkonen spent much of the weekend struggling with back pain, which is never ideal but even less brilliant when you’re going to spend two hours thrown around on bumpy roads. He missed parts of final practice due to the pain, which lost him data and left him stranded in Q2. But the Finn fought back during the race, pulling off a couple of sublime moves on Pastor Maldonado and Button, both around the outside of turn 14, to record his first Singapore podium.
Romain Grosjean | Lotus | Ret | 9/10
With Formula 1 silly season in full swing, this was perhaps not the time to suffer a retirement. But it was not of Grosjean’s doing after a weekend in which he was fabulous, despite a plethora of issues. Three separate problems in practice limited his running, but he still qualified in third place and was set for a podium when the car failed. Tone of his voice over the radio and his demeanour in the garage demonstrated his dejection at the missed opportunity.
Nico Rosberg | Mercedes AMG Petronas | 4th | 8/10
It was a bit of a missed opportunity for Rosberg as the safety car scuppered his hopes of a podium. Rosberg challenged Vettel for the lead at the start but ran too deep and was forced to play second fiddle. He then picked up rubber on his front wing, which induced understeer and resulted in his tyres wearing at a quicker rate than usual. He fought through the midfield and nonetheless claimed a strong fourth place.
Lewis Hamilton | Mercedes AMG Petronas | 5th| 7/10
It was another underwhelming weekend for Hamilton as he struggled to match team-mate Rosberg. He was edged out wide at the first corner and dropped back to seventh place, behind the Ferrari of Massa. He jumped his rival in the stops but elected to stay out when the safety car was deployed. Once he pitted, he was right behind Rosberg as they carved their way through the midfield and even had a look at getting past the sister car.
Nico Hulkenberg | Sauber | 9th | 8/10
His confusion at being ordered to concede the position to Perez was matched on armchairs across the world. Perez put his nose up the inside of the Sauber, with the two making minimal contact and Hulkenberg narrowly exceeding track limits. Had the German not taken evasive action, there probably would have been a silly collision and a different sanction applied. There needs to be some consistency…
Esteban Gutierrez | Sauber | 12nd | 7/10
On paper, twelfth place hardly looks like an improvement for Gutierrez, but this appeared to be the weekend where everything started to click. He built on progression made across the last three events to qualify in tenth place, but was ultimately unable to score that elusive first point. Nonetheless, Gutierrez is now demonstrating what is expected of a Formula 1 driver and that will ultimately help his 2014 chances.
Paul di Resta | Sahara Force India | 20th | 5/10
The ‘breakthrough’ season takes another turn for the worse. Di Resta couldn’t get enough grip in qualifying and was condemned to starting near the back of the midfield. He stayed out for a long first stint, running as high as third before pitting near the end for a fresh set of options. He was right behind Massa when he locked up under braking for turn seven and wedged his Force India into the barriers.
Adrian Sutil | Sahara Force India | 10th | 6/10
Sutil claimed the final point despite declaring that racing his Force India around the streets of Singapore was like “driving on ice.” Sutil raced a three stop strategy as he had no fresh option tyres left after qualifying and was therefore the only driver to start on primes. He caught the back of the battle for seventh place during the final few laps but didn’t push too hard as his tyres were also fading rapidly.
Pastor Maldonado | Williams | 11th | 8/10
The Williams is a dog of a car this year but Maldonado was able to extract the maximum out of the car in the race, finishing just five seconds behind seventh placed Button. The Venezuelan made up two places at the start and managed his tyres well throughout the 61 lap race to come home in eleventh place
Valtteri Bottas | Williams | 13th | 6/10
Bottas meanwhile endured a troublesome race and finished 17 seconds behind his team-mate. The Finn had a clutch problem at the start, which left him stuck behind the Caterham of Giedo van der Garde through the first stint of the race. He then picked up debris in the front wing, which affected his pace and left him down in thirteenth place.
Jean-Eric Vergne | Scuderia Toro Rosso | 14th | 6/10
Vergne dropped back at the start which forced him to switch from a two to a three stop strategy. Even so, he struggled just to keep the car on track and almost ran into the back of Gutierrez down at turn 18. Tyres were completely shot by the end of the race and his woes were compounded by an overheating issue that forced him to back off.
Daniel Ricciardo | Scuderia Toro Rosso | Ret | 4/10
Ricciardo dropped down several places at the start and from there his race was doomed. He was told to push by the engineers and he obliged, only he locked up and ran wide at turn 18. He was never going to make the corner and nudged the barrier, destroying the front right of the car. He claimed responsibility for the incident but it was an embarrassing moment.
Charles Pic | Caterham | 19th | 6/10
Pic had to take evasive action at the start to avoid Bianchi, which left him struck behind the slower Marussia throughout the opening stint. He passed him in the pit stop phase and decided to switch to a two stop strategy. His tyres, however, refused to play ball and he bailed out with six laps remaining, tumbling behind Bianchi once again.
Giedo van der Garde | Caterham | 16th | 8/10
The Dutchman bogged down at the start but was able to fight his way past Pic, Bianchi and Bottas, even managing to keep the Williams at bay. He was even hanging onto the back of Sutil’s Force India throughout the first stint of the race. Bottas eventually got through, but it was a commendable performance from Van der Garde.
Jules Bianchi | Marussia | 18th | 7/10
It was a difficult race for Bianchi as what he believed was a gear selection issue necessitated a lengthy steering wheel change in his first stop. This left him out of sequence with the blue flags, although the safety car enabled him to join the back of the pack. He tried to pass Chilton, but the extra effort destroyed his tyres.
Max Chilton | Marussia | 17th | 7/10
Chilton struggled with the balance of the Marussia during the early sections of the race but that improved as the event progressed. He did well to preserve his tyres, finishing ahead of rivals Pic and Bianchi. A good result for the rookie.