Pirelli report: Singapore Grand Prix
Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel has sealed his third victory of the season for Ferrari, using a two-stop strategy at night on the streets of Singapore to clinch his 42nd career win.
The race was characterized by a lengthy safety car period a third of the way into the race, which added a new dimension to the already complex strategy calculations, followed by a second safety car period 20 laps from the finish. During the second safety car, the drivers made their last stops, with a final sprint to the finish that produced plenty of entertaining battles.
The entire field started the grand prix on the P Zero Red supersoft tire, nominated together with the P Zero Yellow soft this weekend. But there were already some different ideas about strategy from the first round of pit stops onwards. Some drivers – including the top three – stuck with the supersoft, while both Mercedes drivers switched to the soft tire for the second stint. The same strategy was used by Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen, who went from a lap down at the beginning, following a problem at the race start, to a points-scoring eighth. The 17-year-old then used the rapid supersoft at the end of the race to make up positions. The fastest lap was actually set on the soft tire on lap 52 by Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, who finished second.
Singapore kept up its 100% record of having at least one safety car during the race, going to the full two-hour time limit for a grand prix. Despite this being the longest race of the year, the vast majority of the field used a two-stop strategy. The highest-placed three-stopper was Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz, who ended up ninth at the finish.
The Singapore Grand Prix was run in hot and humid conditions, with ambient and track temperatures of 30 and 33 degrees respectively, which fell gradually as the race went on.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “Tactics and tire management played an important role during this evening’s race. Conditions were as tough as ever in Singapore, with the heat, humidity and sheer length of the race, but Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel were able to get the very best out of the tires and the strategy, knowing when to push and when to keep something in reserve. It was a perfect race from him. The strategy for every team was obviously affected by the two safety car periods, which had the effect of stretching out the stints. As a result, we saw more drivers moving towards a two-stop strategy rather than a three-stopper. All the way down the field though, there was some different thinking about which order would be the best one to use the tires in. With such a long race distance, looking after the tires most effectively was crucial to success, especially in the closing stages.”