Morning After: The best lap of Seb’s career

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If yesterday was all about what happened off the track, Sebastian Vettel made sure that today, the focus returned to what happened on it.

Vettel’s pole-winning time of 1:39.491 was about as brilliant a lap as you’ll ever see from the German. Nothing we’d seen up to that point suggested he had that in him, especially with as quick as the Red Bulls had been all weekend.

It might’ve been the best lap of his career – the way he was beaming afterwards, he probably thought so too.

On the other end of the spectrum, there’s no denying this was a significant setback for Mercedes. Lewis Hamilton intimated as much in his post-qualy remarks, and sitting in his presser, it was clear there’s no expectation of a revival tomorrow.

The thing for Mercedes is, they’ve gotten to this point in Singapore where they essentially accept their difficulties here as some sort of unknowable, cosmically unalterable force.

It would be easy to characterise Hamilton and Toto Wolff as disappointed, but they were more resigned than anything. For his part, Valtteri Bottas’ first Marina Bay-Mercedes experience just seemed to leave him confused.

Still, Vettel does seem to have some opposition from the Red Bull boys, and with the trigger-happy Max Verstappen lining up right next to him, there’s always the danger of a first corner incident. After all, we’ve never had a race here that didn’t feature a safety car – might as well get it out of the way early!

Quick Hits

  • Overheard from an F1 driver: “Well let me get out of this, ‘cause I’m so wet” #nocontext
  • Jackie Stewart never ceases to amaze. 78 years old, still shows up to the races, still the life of the party. Still knows how to work the young ladies, too
  • Fresh off their divorce, McLaren put on a very impressive showing with their double top-ten finish. There’s no denying the quality of their chassis
  • No place can give you quite the mix of squealing teenage girls and confused middle-aged men that you get at an F1 race featuring an Ariana Grande concert

Race Tyre-Strategy Preview, Courtesy of Pirelli

The theoretical quickest pit-stop strategies predicted by Pirelli are as follows:

  • One-stopper:1 stint on ultrasoft for 19 laps + 1 stint on supersoft to the flag
  • One-stopper: 1 stint on ultrasoft for 14 laps + 1 stint on soft to the flag
  • One-stopper: 1 stint on ultrasoft for 14 laps + 1 stint on soft to the flag

Also Intersesting:

  • Two-stopper with one stint on ultrasoft for 13 laps + 2 stints on supersoft (24+24 laps)

Different permutations of compound usage within each strategy are possible.