Formula 1 | The ups, the flops and the questions after the Singapore Grand Prix

After each Grand Prix, Nextgen-Auto.com invites you to find the tops and flops identified by the editors. Who deserves applause? On the other hand, who should be criticized? Finally, what are the question marks or ambiguities that should be followed with interest at the next Grands Prix? Check it out below!

tops.

Top #1: Pérez, the best Grand Prix of his career?

Since 2011, no driver has managed to complete the Monaco-Singapore doubles in the same season: a Red Bull driver (Sergio Pérez) follows another Red Bull driver (Sebastian Vettel) in the doubles. A double that confirms Checo’s excellent control on street circuits and even more so in difficult and wet conditions (like in Monaco last May).

In Singapore, Sergio Pérez initially built his success on a narrowly won 2nd place, a few thousandths ahead of Lewis Hamilton – and with a last sector that could cost him dearly. The other crucial point of his weekend was of course the start: Sergio Pérez jumped to eat Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari to put himself in the lead at a circuit where track position is crucial. He was then able to control his pace and, above all, his intermediaries, although Charles Leclerc put him under heavy pressure for a few more laps. Sergio Pérez, however, showed a healthy resilience to pressure, especially to exhaust the Ferrari Pirellis: at the end of the race he had no trouble opening a lead of more than 5 seconds should he receive a penalty.

In the end, this Singapore Grand Prix saw Sergio Pérez silence most of the critics who, after a period of silence, hammered out his recent record at Red Bull. Admittedly, the changes benefited Max Verstappen more to the Milton Keynes car, which explains the retirement in pure performance from Sergio Pérez; But the Mexican proved once again he could be a date when leader Max Verstappen wasn’t around. Isn’t that expected of him?

Top #2: Unexpected jackpot for McLaren

Here’s a surprise! McLaren expected one of the worst Grands Prix of the year and yet it was the best (along with Imola). With 22 points scored in a single day, the orange team overtakes Alpine again to 4th in the Constructors’ Championship. Of course, as always, the most welcome rider is Lando Norris: the Brit achieved an excellent qualification, just behind Fernando Alonso’s Alpine; passed the Spaniard at the start; and then showed excellent pace – so excellent that by the end of the race Carlos Sainz was worried about 3rd place.

As far as Daniel Ricciardo is concerned, he can consider himself more fortunate than he deserves: after being more than 3 tenths down in qualifying, the Australian benefited above all from a safety car with unexpected timing. He was one of the few drivers (along with Lando Norris) who was able to switch Pirellis under the safety car and suddenly jump into the peloton. On the other hand, his pace was on the brink, especially at the restart, compared to that of Lando Norris. At least he had the merit of not making a mistake. So Daniel Ricciardo isn’t necessarily doing better, but Lando Norris is still doing very, very well!

Top #3: Aston Martin F1 wins thanks to Stroll and Vettel in the peloton

The other team to have had a successful Mid-Grid Grand Prix weekend is undoubtedly Aston Martin F1. On Saturday, Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll qualified just outside the top 10, also benefiting from George Russell’s penalty. On Sunday in particular, the two drivers had the merit of making virtually no mistakes (a small one for Sebastian Vettel) and capitalizing on each other’s. The pace of the green cars also seemed to be far superior to that of Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri.

While Singapore Lion Sebastian Vettel confirmed his mastery of this thorny event, Lance Stroll meanwhile confirmed that with sparks still too scarce he could be a reliable and quick driver in tricky conditions such as his maiden pole in F1 Istanbul . Thanks to the safety car, the Canadian also benefited from happier timing than his team-mate at the stop; but that doesn’t detract from its very solid performance. He achieved his best result of the year (6th place) after a streak of 10th places with little pay!

The flops

Flop #1: Double breakdown and double flop for Alpine F1

Alpine’s black spot since the beginning of the year – reliability and more specifically engine reliability – hit the French team in one of the worst Grands Prix this year – that is to say, a Grand Prix with many retirements. and where McLaren did particularly well. Not one, but two critical engine failures wiped out the races of Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon. Of course, the most expensive thing is not to give up the first, who was just behind Lando Norris and could have signed a top 5. Which provokes the annoyance or even anger of the Spaniard, who, without his reliability problems, estimated that he would have as many points as the Mercedes drivers, or almost…

The only good news is that, according to team manager Otmar Szafnauer, it is a priori the same problem for the two Renault V6s: “It looks like we had an identical problem with the powertrain on both cars, which we will analyze thoroughly. It is important to identify the origin of what happened and take preventive measures to prevent it from happening again.” he confided after crossing the finish line.

So it should be easier for Viry to spot that critical mistake: But time is running out with Suzuka just days away and another double retirement will allow McLaren to close the gap to 4th in the Constructors Championship – the Alpine proved – to enlarge from Silverstone… It’s not only in the engines that the engines burn!

Flop #2: Hamilton and Verstappen, unusual mistakes by champions

Once is not common, the two references of the board are in the “Flops” section at the same time. First off, Lewis Hamilton probably missed a good opportunity to get on the podium. His departure, in which he was surprised by a very (too?) offensive Carlos Sainz, is certainly questionable. Above all, however, his two misjudgments: his crash in the barriers in the middle of the race, which could have cost him his retirement; and his utterly failed overtake to Sebastian Vettel at the end of the race, allowing Max Verstappen to pass.

The Red Bull driver also made two expensive mistakes. One in qualifying: The Dutchman missed turns 16-17 on his penultimate fast lap (before the lap was aborted due to extreme lack of fuel) and suffered mainly from understeer. Without this mistake he could have taken pole and avoided the dispute over the abandoned lap. In the race he was far too optimistic about his tire temperatures at the restart after the safety car period to try to overtake Lando Norris and ended up on the escape route.

In short, the Singapore challenge trapped Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen: it says everything about the incredible difficulty this event presents for the 20 drivers!

Flop #3: An FIA that’s still questioning

No weekend, or almost, is without controversy for the FIA. This time it was necessary to raise two of them at once! The first concerns the five-second penalty given to Sergio Pérez. We’ll ignore the immensely long delay in knowing the name of the eventual Grand Prix winner – but we can’t help but know that more than one Asian fan has gone to bed frustrated at not knowing if Sergio is penalizing Pérez for 10 would be or not seconds. Above all, it should be noted that the FIA ​​engages in acrobatics in justifying its decision and conveys the feeling that it does not want to gamble away the winner a posteriori. In fact, the commissioners initially point this out “not accepting” that Sergio Pérez did not respect a distance of 10 cars between his Red Bull and the car. Then the FIA ​​entrusts in the following paragraph anyway “consider” extenuating circumstances such as driving on a wet track.

In other words, the FIA ” not accepting “ something… that she accepts the next paragraph. Sergio Pérez’s two similar mistakes behind the safety car didn’t result in two penalties… That certainly raises questions.

The other worrying fact happened after the straight of Alexander Albon, who landed in the guardrail leaving a piece of the front wing there. The safety car was deployed while the marshals removed the Williams’ front wing… but while the marshals were still working at the trackside, the FIA ​​again raised the green flag on the TecPro – in the presence of marshals on the track. A mistake that could have been very, very expensive: beware of professional misconduct.

We therefore understand better why Mohammed Ben Sulayem chose the duo Eduardo Freitas-Niels Wittich as a “pad”. But a bandage should alleviate the evil, not worsen it…

We want to see…

Tough battle for 7th place… or even 6th place in the Constructors’ Championship?

There is a change in the second half of the Constructors’ Championship in Singapore. Thanks to the 12 points reported by the city-state’s Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll, Aston Martin F1 gained two places, overtaking Haas and AlphaTauri.

With 37 points, Aston Martin F1 is only 3 points ahead of Haas and 4 points ahead of AlphaTauri: So it’s going to be hot between these three teams for 7th place in the constructors’ championship! However, Aston Martin F1 seems to be on a higher dynamic: The team has a much more offensive development plan than Haas and AlphaTauri, who have long stopped their development…

If this positive momentum continues for Aston Martin F1, we could even see the green team catching Alfa Romeo in 6th place in the Constructors Championship: Alfa Romeo is 15 points behind Aston Martin F1 and has not scored any more points, most notably Canada. The Hinwil team is still alive from the start of the season, but this catastrophic series could logically cost them a place in the table in the end.

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