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Singapore Start

I simply cannot stop wondering about the start at Singapore. Not from the point of view of who was at fault, but about how things played out. I watched a few dozen times to watch each of the players; how they started and how they reacted, going back as far as Alonso.

Kimi, Max, and Hamilton clearly got away better than Vettel. Of those three, only one, Hamilton avoided an accident. Hamilton happened to be on the very outside of the track, and so never had his line impeded until Vettel came across to change his line into the first corner. If you watch Ricciardo and Hulkenburg you can see that they did not get away spectacularly, but also changed their line and did some early braking to both avoid the accident, and to position themselves for the first corner as the damaged vehicles ploughed their way across the track. Alonso on the other hand just kept it flat in the hope that he would be in the right place when it was all sorted out. As it was, this unsighted him (as he was outside of Ricciardo) to the trajectory of Kimi's sled, and what would then ensue. It is rather ingenuous of Alonso to say that he would have been on the podium if the accident didn't happen, because from what I could see, if Ric and Hulk had not braked, and the others had got away cleanly, Alonso would have entered the first corner in 7th.

I really wonder if Hulkenburg, and Ricciardo, and Hamilton all had a first corner incident in mind in their start tactics. I would easily be convinced that this was the case. Here is why:

Hamilton - Went down the outside. If everyone had got away cleanly, the chances of him losing a lot of places in the first two corners was very high. But if you look at his start, he heads straight to the outside, and does not waiver one inch from that line.

Ricciardo - When he gets an average getaway, he most often goes to the outside to stay clear in a contested corner. This time, he stayed much closer to the middle of the track and both lifted and then braked.

Hulkenburg - Initally reacted much like Ricciardo, but also had an aborted dodge for an inside line as the accident developed, which if he had not abandoned it, would have resulted in him getting in front of Ricciardo.

Could it be that each of these drivers had a plan? I know that when I looked at the pre-race before going to bed and noticed the weather that was in Singapore, I made a note to self that with Vettel & Max on the front row, an accident was more likely than not likely. I think it must have been a discussion among drivers and strategists as well. Watching Max's start, he looks a bit undecided. First he heads right, but then straightens before moving a little to the left (presumably after seeing Kimi pop into the mirror). After the contact his car attitude indicates that he doesn't know what to do. Again, could it be that he had been warned, and having failed to jump Vettel, tries too little too late?

Honestly, the dumb move was Alonso. Could he not see the speed that he was passing people was unrealistic? That there was a reason why they were going slower? Perhaps all that time with the Honda has dulled his racing mind to what actually happens at THE FRONT?


  • I actually thought Alonso's move was inspiring given his age, he really went for it. A few tenths of a second later and he would have made it through that first corner.

    I felt for Max. He had quite a few incidents in the past that were his fault but he just went straight here and wasn't shot down by one but three cars. Shame after a strong qualifying session.
  • 1) Alonso maybe a bit naive but as usual unlucky. Had he passed half a second later he would have avoided kimi's car and he would have been 3rd at the second corner after lewis and daniel, and we would be speaking about one of the greatest starts in history.
    2) Vettel, on a night start under rain on a street circuit and with the world championship at stake, simply took a risk he shouldn't have and rightly paid for it. He had started badly so he had to accept he could lose one or even two position. he had the strongest package on this track and two hours to recover. Very stupid move to try to close Max when it was late. But of course it is a matter of tenths of second, easier for us to talk while sitting at our computer.
    3) No fault for max (he was closed towards left by Seb) and no technical faults for Kimi (we may argue that in this situation, and with Vettel aroung, he could have just thought about staying ahead of lewis rather than trying to take the lead, but this leads us to the Ferrari team and the traditional lack of strategy by italians......)
  • Another unlucky weekend for TOIT in Sepang (and, again, would have been Kimi's day......). Sensation, though, is that TOIT sacrificed some reliability to get speed, and is at the moment faster than Mercedes. If they are lucky in Suzuka, they title may still be open.....Lewis wisely administered the race in Sepang, and congrats to max and Vettel for great performances.
  • Now it's over. in order to close the speed gap with Mercedes Ferrari clearly enacted modifications that overstressed certain external supply components that were obviously not reliable enough. Worth a try anyway 9otherwise Lewis would have won anyway), hopefully will be a good lesson for next year to really challenge Hamilton.
    That, hopefully, Red Bull will be able to do as well. And with Dan&Max involved in the championship fight we would see some serious stuff.....
    Alonso should have let Max go immediately, I did not like him this time.
  • TO IT Are their own worst enemy again. Hamilton had a nice day out though. Max made Dan look a bit ordinary again. If Ricciardo doesn't learn how to get an advantage in these starts he is going to fall into the young gun's shadow.

    And so we see the end of Palmer junior. Fairly humiliating for him it has to be said. Kubica is and then is not going to get a start with Williams or Toro Rosso; so confusing. Sainz in loan to Renault, so does Kvyatt end up as the last man standing again and keep his seat???

    It all seems to be getting a bit silly.
  • What did we make of the Verstappen penalty? I thought he was still very much on the kerbs
  • I'm against the boy on this one. I'm also against the people who design these tracks because there is no kerb, and add to that that the FIA (race stewards) were ridiculously inconsistent in applying the rule. Hamilton's pole lap and Botass's effort in turn one against Ricciardo being two game changers where a complete off track excursion affected the outcome.

    Back to Max though, and my biggest problem is that what he did by cutting the corner was to give himself the opportunity to carry more speed through that part of the corner, without compromising himself on the second apex. I reckon that if you could see every lap that he did in practice, you might even see some practicing of that move.

    So whilst it was ridiculous to single him out, he done wrong, and that should not be rewarded with a podium. This circuit and others like it have to modified in some way to penalise this off track nonsense. In this case, why on earth you need a paved area on the inside of a corner I don't understand.
  • Motorcycles are the reason. Damn nuisance.
    I agree with you, though - put gravel or grass there. If MotoGP doesn't want to race there then fine.
  • Kvyat out, finally. Don't think we will ever see him again in F1.
  • Pretty easy for TOIT to win in Brazil with Hamilton starting last.......
  • well... if the race had lasted for a few more laps :)
  • Now let's support Kubica, if he returns in decent form it would be good for F!. However really Abu Dhabi should not be the season's final event........the most incredibly boring track ever, even worse than Budapest!!!
  • Unfortunately Williams chose Sirotkin. Shame. Would have been a great challenge and a great concentration of media on Williams as well. But money is money......
  • You can't be out that long and get back in. It is tragic that his career was interrupted just as his talent was being honed to a peak, but that is how it is.
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