Pirelli: We saw plenty of pace management

For the third race in a row, a Ferrari won – this time with Sebastian Vettel, from third on the grid. The German used pit stop strategy to get ahead of his pole-sitting teammate Charles Leclerc, who finished second.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen completed the podium, with the top seven all using the same tyre strategy in a tactically complex and physically demanding race, slowed down by three safety car periods.

Key Moments

The top nine on the grid all started on the soft tyre, with everyone else on medium, apart from Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly who started from P11 on the hard and eventually finished eighth.

Vettel took advantage of an ‘undercut’, stopping before his teammate to move into the effective lead of the race. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton – who was jumped by Verstappen at the pit stops – adopted a different strategy, with a longer first stint and carefully-controlled pace to the finish, where he was classified fourth.

Pace management was seen in the first half of the race, which meant that the outcome was only finally decided in the closing stages of the grand prix.

Singapore kept up its 100% safety car record, with three safety car periods in the second half of the race influencing the action.

Both Renault drivers were forced into alternative strategies, with Daniel Ricciardo starting from last on the grid, and Nico Hulkenberg pitting for hards on the opening lap after some contact. McLaren’s Carlos Sainz was in a similar situation, also switching to hards on lap one.

Although the frontrunners adopted the same strategy, there was a very big variety of tactics in the midfield, with a number of different one-stoppers and two-stoppers used.

How Each Tyre Preformed

  • HARD C3: Every driver used the hard, which proved to be a crucial race tyre that enabled some very long stints, especially with Gasly, Hulkenberg and Sainz.
  • MEDIUM C4: Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi completed a long first stint on this compound to move into the race lead as those ahead of him stopped.
  • SOFT C5: The longest first stint on this compound was completed by Hamilton, with some degree of management needed on them in the first part of the race.

Mario Isola, Head of F1: “It was a really interesting grand prix, with tyre strategy a key element. We saw plenty of pace management in the first half of the race, with drivers saving fuel and tyres for later in this very long grand prix: especially as the safety car wipes out any big advantage instantly.

“Managing the tyres in anticipation of the safety car proved to be a key element of the race, and the three safety car periods also had the effect of minimising tyre wear and degradation. With Singapore being a track that requires a lot of traction from the rear tyres, the set-up tends to place big demands on the front of the car, in order to protect the rear. In spite of that, we’re happy with the levels of wear and degradation seen today.

“For the frontrunners, soft-hard turned out to be the optimal strategy, used by the top seven, but all three compounds played an important role in the race today and there were plenty of different strategies. Congratulations to Sebastian Vettel, Charles Leclerc and Ferrari for a spectacular double podium at a spectacular race.”

BEST TIME BY COMPOUND

HARD MEDIUM SOFT
Bottas
1m43.534s
Hulkenberg
1m45.765s
Magnussen
1m42.301s
Leclerc
1m44.723s
Gasly
1m45.769s
Kvyat
1m44.371s
Vettel
1m44.802s
Sainz
1m45.969s
Stroll
1m44.896s

LONGEST STINT OF THE RACE

COMPOUND DRIVER LAPS
HARD C3 Vettel, Verstappen 42
MEDIUM C4 Giovinazzi, Ricciardo 34
SOFT C5 Hamilton, Grosjean 26

PIT STOP SUMMARY

CAR DRIVER START PIT 1 PIT 2 PIT 3
5 VET C5u C3n (19)
16 LEC C5u C3n (20)
33 VER C5u C3n (19)
44 HAM C5u C3n (26)
77 BOT C5u C3n (22)
23 ALB C5u C3n (20)
4 NOR C5u C3n (20)
10 GAS C3n C4n (32)
27 HUL C5u C3n (1) C4n (36)
99 GIO C4n C3n (34) C5n (36)
8 GRO C4n C3n (23) C5n (35)
55 SAI C5u C3n (1) C4n (35)
18 STR C4n C3n (31) C5n (41) C5n (44)
3 RIC C4n C3n (34)
26 KVY C4n C3n (12) C5n (36)
88 KUB C4n C3n (21) C4n (44)
20 MAG C4n C3n (18) C5n (56)
7 RAI C4n C3n (15)
11 PER C4n C3n (13)
63 RUS C4n C3n (1)

C3 = Hard C3 | C4 = Medium C4 | C5 = Soft C5
n = new | u = used