Hamilton Wins for Mercedes with 1 Hypersoft-Soft Tire Change in Singapore

Sept. 17, 2018

Mercedes Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton won the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, having stopped just once. Like all of the top 10 on the grid, Hamilton started on the P Zero Pink hypersoft tire, which on Friday and Saturday had proved to be more than a second and a half quicker than the ultrasoft tire.

He made a single stop for the soft tire compound on lap 15 and then maintained his lead advantage right to the finish, thanks to a faster pace compared to those drivers who changed onto the ultrasoft tires instead. Like all those who started on the hypersoft, Hamilton benefitted from four laps under the safety car at the start of the race, which prolonged the life of the softest tire compound.

A number of other strategies were tried, including a hypersoft-ultrasoft one-stopper used by Sebastian Vettel to finish third, behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen – who used the same strategy as Hamilton. Verstappen’s Red Bull team mate Daniel Ricciardo also used a hypersoft-ultrasoft strategy to good effect, showing plenty of speed at the end of the race. The highest-placed driver to begin the race on the ultrasoft tire was McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, who finished seventh after starting from outside the top 10 on the grid. The fastest lap of the race was set by Haas driver Kevin Magnussen, beating the previous race lap record by more than three seconds.

Singapore kept up its 100% safety car record with an early appearance: because of this it did not substantially affect race strategy.

Mario Isola – Pirelli's Head of Car Racing:

“As expected, Singapore was a very long, complex, and demanding race, while the 100% safety car record was maintained. This added another strategic element to what was already a tactically complex race. We saw a number of different strategies at work and a varying number of stops, with the top 10 on the grid all starting on the hypersoft tire that gave them extra speed at the very beginning of the race but left them open to the possibility of losing track position to those who completed a longer opening stint on a harder tire or operated using an alternative strategy.”

The winning strategy

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton won the race using one pit stop, which we predicted as the optimal strategy, going from the hypersoft to the soft tire on lap 15. On paper, the quickest one-stopper was actually ultrasoft to soft, which was used by Alonso to claim seventh.