Well, if we didn’t know before, the night race around the Singapore streets tends to be somewhat processional, to put it mildly, and the 2016 version was to be no different.
What we also learned was that Pirelli are running out of names for their tyres, with softs, super softs and ultra softs all being used to produce a non-racing element of chance, even more than the artificial DRS.
Having said all that, Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) produced another of his lights to flag drives, with no mistakes, and endured a final lap where his sh*t-soft tyres were no longer working, while second placed Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) had just enough grip in his marshmallow softs to claw back Rosberg’s lead, to be beaten by four tenths at the finish.
I have always said that you don’t win the race at the first corner, you only lose the race at the first corner, but you can add to that, you can lose the race on the way to the grid (Grosjean’s Haas with no brakes) and on the starting grid (Hulkenberg’s FIndia in a collision with Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso).
The Safety Car came out while the track marshals cleaned the track of debris and went in when the clean-up squad was finished, unfortunately leaving one chap emulating Usain Bolt sprinting across the track in front of the field at full noise.
After the field settled down again (and Usain caught his breath) it was Rosberg out front and going away from Ricciardo, who in turn was leaving Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) being chased by Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari). With one error by Hamilton, Raikkonen was through and into 3rd. However, with a quicker pit stop, Hamilton regained third, the position he was to hold till the end climbing on to the podium with an unhappy face, having lost the lead in the world championship, but there are 125 points still up for grabs, so no need for the glum looks at this stage with only an eight point deficit.
The processional nature of Singapore was at least broken up by Vettel (Ferrari) who went from grid 22 to 5th, and by Verstappen (Red Bull) who pulled himself up to 6th after a very poor start saw him down around 10th.
Ferrari did as best they could to get 4th and 5th and were a long way clear of Verstappen in 6th.
A quiet mover was Alonso (McLaren) up into 7th spot, but his team mate Button retired with assorted maladies.
Last car on the same lap as the leader was Magnussen (Renault), to give the Renault team their best finish to date.
1 Rosberg Mercedes 1:55.48.950
2 Ricciardo Red Bull 0.488
3 Hamilton Mercedes 8.038
4 Raikkonen Ferrari 10.219
5 Vettel Ferrari 27.694
6 Verstappen Red Bull 71.197
7 Alonso McLaren 89.198
8 Perez Force India 111.062
9 Kvyat Toro Rosso 111.557
10 Magnussen Renault 119.952
Did Not Finish
Bottas Williams mechanical issues (seat belt problems)
Hulkenberg Force India crash
Did Not Start
Grosjean Haas brakes
The next race is in Malaysia October 2, and will be at 2 p.m. As always there is a distinct possibility of rain, and if so, Ricciardo will record the win. There are plenty of Aussies in Pattaya waving the flag for him.