In Formula One, the most important person to beat is your teammate. Who did just that in Singapore? Let’s go through the field and hand out the Team Mate Battle points!
1 point is awarded to the driver who sets the faster lap.
3 points are awarded to the driver who performs best in qualifying.
5 points are awarded to the driver who performs best on raceday.
Marcus Ericsson may have had no benchmark team-mate to compare against in Singapore, but there’s no denying that the Swede put in a great performance on Sunday. After a compromised qualifying with technical issues saw him almost two seconds slower than next slowest man Max Chilton, Marcus made a great start to vault up to 19th place on the opening lap, clearing Chilton easily. He pulled away from the Briton and hung gamely onto Bianchi, but wasn’t quite able to do so, falling around 16 seconds behind Jules by the time the safety car came out. After the safety car, Marcus chose to stay out on track and get to the flag, while Jules pitted for fresh rubber with 16 laps to go.
While he caught quickly back up to Marcus and was all over the Caterham by Lap 53, Ericsson didn’t lose his head and somehow held the Marussia at bay for the remaining laps and was understandably delighted afterwards:
‘What a race! One of the best of my season so far, I have no doubt about it. I’m very pleased and happy for the whole team – this result is a great way of saying thank you for all the hard work and effort they put in yesterday.’
Granted, Kamui would probably have had the upper hand as usual had his electronics not burned out on the formation lap, but that would be discrediting a great drive from a driver who had taken a lot of flak this year.
Fastest lap: Marcus Ericsson (7-6 to Marcus Ericsson)
Qualifying: Kamui Kobayashi (33-6 to Kamui Kobayashi)
Race: Marcus Ericsson (55-10 to Kamui Kobayashi)
- Caterham: 94-23 to Kamui Kobayashi (Total After Round 13)
- Caterham: 8-1 to Andre Lotterer (Total After Spa-Round 12)
- Total for Caterham: 102-24 to Kobayashi/Lotterer
A difficult race for both Marussia drivers. Max Chilton stalled in the pit lane while heading out for a reconnaissance lap prior to the race and was fortunate that the issue with his car was fixable, allowing him to take to the grid for a normal start procedure. However, despite being able to get going, his pace was very poor in the early .Sp5rl!47rs with Max falling a full twenty seconds behind Jules in the opening 12 laps. Unusually, he blamed this on Nico Rosberg’s ailing Mercedes being in front of him, something that wouldn’t be remotely believable under any other circumstances.
Max’s race went from bad to worse when he suffered a puncture just four laps after his first stop. This was due to a valve problem on his front right wheel, and this early second stop meant switching to the prime tyres earlier than Marussia would have liked. While Max was handed a lifeline by the safety car, he was never going to be able to get the tyres to last the 42 laps asked of them, and his third stop on Lap 41 just put him even further back from Jules.
Things weren’t a whole lot better for Jules, who struggled with brake wear issues in the race, something he blamed as the reason he was unable to get past Marcus Ericsson in the closing laps despite having considerably fresher tyres.
Fastest lap: Jules Bianchi (8.5 – 5.5 to Max Chilton) (after Round 14)
Qualifying: Jules Bianchi (33-9 to Jules Bianchi) (after Round 14)
Race: Jules Bianchi (55-15 to Jules Bianchi) (after Round 14)
Marussia: 94.5 – 31.5 to Jules Bianchi (Total After Round 14)
Closely matched, but it was all Felipe Massa this weekend. While there was little to separate the pair over the practice sessions, Massa always had the upper hand and out qualified Valtteri by just under two tenths of a second.
Despite losing a place at the start to Kimi Raikkonen, Felipe and Valtteri retained their starting positions during the opening laps thanks to Nico Rosberg’s demise. With Kimi unable to shake off Massa, Williams blinked first and attempted the undercut and this worked out beautifully for Felipe as he emerged ahead of Raikkonen after the Finn pitted. Valtteri was never too far away either, and while he couldn’t jump Kimi in the second stops after attempting a similar undercut, he got past when the safety car came out and Raikkonen pitted again. Williams’ strategy had also gotten both of their men ahead of Jenson Button as the McLaren also chose to pit for another set of tyres, but this would leave both Massa & Bottas vulnerable as the race wore on.
Both men, after pitting twice in the opening 21 laps, were then asked to finish the almost 40 laps remaining on the one set of tyres, something Felipe said afterwards that he thought ‘a joke’. However, Felipe was able to make them last by ‘driving like a grandma’ and built up a cushion over a struggling Valtteri. Over the twenty laps after the safety car, Felipe had opened up 15 seconds back to Valtteri who was struggling to hold back the train behind him. Bottas eventually lost out when he ran out of grip at the very end, and lamented his eventual 11th place finish, saying that a lack of steering feedback had left him unable to mind his tyres and maintain his pace. Valtteri doesn’t appear to be an excuse maker, and with his pace generally very close to Felipe’s, this was probably the case. However, with such poor pace in the closing laps, and history showing that drivers rarely fare well when their tyres lose all grip, surely it would have made more sense to take a gamble on a quick tyre change with 10-15 laps to go? Bottas’s pace was so poor that he would have made back the time in around 5-6 laps, but with Williams constantly erring on the side of conservatism in 2014, the end decision wasn’t that surprising.
Fastest Lap: Valtteri Bottas (7-7 to each) (after Round 14)
Qualifying: Felipe Massa (27-15 to Valtteri Bottas) (after Round 14)
Race: Felipe Massa (55-15 to Valtteri Bottas) (after Round 14)
Williams: 89-37 to Valtteri Bottas (Total After Round 14)
Finally, Jean-Eric Vergne puts in a performance that demonstrated what he is capable of after two years of running Daniel Ricciardo close. And it was all thanks to engaging a strategy that I would have liked to have seen more of the drivers attempt, a more usual three stopper, with the third stop taking place at the 3/4 mark instead of under the safety car at the halfway point. JEV pitted on Lap 11, 24 and 44, and this more balanced strategy without being concerned about track position meant that the Frenchman ripped up the track in the closing .Sp5rl!47rs, fuelled by anger for picking up two penalties.
The penalties were for exceeding track limits, both of which were somewhat questionable, particularly the second offence while passing Pastor Maldonado. Vergne put them aside though and while he served the first penalty during his second pitstop, the other penalty was added to his race time. Due to his ability to go hell for leather in the closing laps on a brand new set of prime tyres, he was able to pull out enough of an advantage to retain sixth place ahead of Perez , after catching and passing Nico Hulkenerg, Raikkonen, & Bottas.
It wasn’t quite as smooth sailing for Daniil Kvyat. The already skinny Russian suffered a drinks bottle failure before the race began and was left completely dehydrated and struggling throughout the race, radioing in at one point ‘I’m dying out here’. Having out qualified JEV, Daniil was quickly caught and passed by the Frenchman down the pit straight and had fallen over twenty seconds behind him by the time the safety car came out, having run the prime tyre for his second stint. While Daniil was close to JEV after the safety car and attempted a similar late lap sprint by pitting on Lap 43, his pace was nowhere near as good as Vergne’s, and he was twenty seconds behind at the end. Mental and physical exhaustion probably played a large part in that, but with the form Jean-Eric was in, Kvyat looked a beaten man regardless of his hydration and fitness levels on the day.
Fastest Lap: Jean-Eric Vergne (8-6 to Jean-Eric Vergne) (after Round 14)
Qualifying: Daniil Kyvat (24-18 to Daniil Kyvat) (after Round 14)
Race: Jean-Eric Vergne (40-30 to Daniil Kyvat) (after Round 14)
Toro Rosso: 70-56 to Daniil Kyvat (Total After Round 14)
While Sauber probably didn’t end up losing out on any points after a double retirement on Sunday, it’s never helpful to end up being forced out of a race that could descend into chaos and throw up an unpredictable result. The very reason that Marussia are beating Sauber in the Constructor’s Championship is due to a somewhat lucky result at a street circuit, and the frustration of being unable to complete races must be very demoralising . So much so, that even the usually mild mannered Esteban Gutierrez was unable to hide his anger when he retired after his first pitstop with a power unit failure.
Having out qualified Adrian, Esteban lined up in 13th spot to Adrian’s 16th, and was slowly easing away from his team-mate when technical gremlins hit. Adrian continued on in 14th spot following his first pitstop, but was forced to retire himself on Lap 40 after suffering a water leak within the power unit. This was after Adrian caused an idiotic crash when he moved across on Sergio Perez and damaged the Force India. Adrian was unrepentant, saying: ‘Regarding the contact with Sergio (Perez), there is not much to say besides that suddenly he drove into the back of the car. Luckily the car was not damaged.’
Not too sure many would agree with that version of events.
Fastest Lap: Adrian Sutil (8-6 to Esteban Gutierrez) (after Round 14)
Qualifying: Esteban Gutierrez (24-18 to Adrian Sutil) (after Round 14)
Race: Esteban Gutierrez (45-25 to Adrian Sutil) (after Round 14)
Sauber: 75-51 to Adrian Sutil (Total After Round 14)
A poor qualifying meant that the Force Indias started considerably lower than they’ve possibly come to expect in recent times. Nico lined up in 13th spot, while Sergio claimed 15th, but their luck was to change on race day. Both held their ground at the start but moved up a spot when Rosberg fell by the wayside, and Nico gradually opened up a gap to Sergio, around 3 seconds when the German driver was one of the first men to stop on Lap 9. Sergio stayed out longer for his opening stint, pitting on Lap 15, and falling to around 30 seconds behind Nico by Lap 24.
Nico had retained his track advantage over Sergio after pitting for a second time, and was slowly pulling away from the Mexican when Sergio got swiped by Sutil. The Hulk was around 18 seconds ahead of Sergio after both had stopped for a second time before Perez was forced to stop yet again for a new front wing one lap later. Disaster for Sergio, but the resulting safety car wiped out Nico’s advantage.
After the safety car, Sergio spent the next 7-8 laps loitering around 4 seconds behind Nico, separated by the likes of Maldonado, Grosjean, Sutil & Kvyat, but an inspired stop for another fresh set of tyres on Lap 44 saw Sergio steam up and pass loads of cars, including Bottas, Raikkonen & his now helpless team-mate.
Despite the result, race points go to Nico Hulkenberg, as he looked to have Sergio beaten comfortably until Perez’s incident, regardless of the Mexican being blameless for the contact.
Fastest Lap: Sergio Perez (8-6 to Nico Hulkenberg) (after Round 14)
Qualifying: Nico Hulkenberg (30-12 to Nico Hulkenberg) (after Round 14)
Race: Nico Hulkenberg (40-30 to Nico Hulkenberg) (after Round 14)
Force India: 78-48 to Nico Hulkenberg (Total After Round 14)
A great drive by Jenson Button came to a frustrating and abrupt end on Lap 52, just as the race was starting to come to him. Having been out qualified by Magnussen on Saturday, Jenson used his first lap wiles to go from 11th place to 7th by the time the field crossed the start/finish line for the first time. This included weathering a wayward braking moment from Magnussen that almost cost both men dearly as they were pushed wide and perilously close to the barrier. Luckily, no damage was done to either and Jenson didn’t seem to view it as a malicious move from Kevin afterwards. Patience was the name of the game as Jenson then worked his way slowly up to the back of Felipe Massa’s Williams, but a later than most first pitstop on Lap 14 meant Jenson fell behind Valtteri Bottas and down into 8th place.
However, the later stop meant that Jenson made his second stop under the safety car and jumped ahead of Kimi Raikkonen when the Finn made his third stop at the same time. Now being required to only run 29 laps to the finish, as opposed to the 38 laps Bottas was being asked to achieve, Jenson played the long game and minded his tyres well. He stalked the Williams for the next 20 laps and says that he was just starting to line up the now struggling Williams on Lap 52 when his car died crossing the bridge. A power box failure meant that the car just cut out, and Button was left helpless at the side of the road.
Magnussen was one of the other drivers to suffer due to the physical demands of the race. Reporting a burning hot seat, Kevin could be seen trying to cool himself down under the safety car, although he denied reports that he required medical attention after the race. Kevin’s own race had been solidly steady by comparison to Jenson’s. Falling behind Jenson at the start, Kevin was always within a handful of seconds of Jenson throughout the first half of the race. His strategy of stopping three times on Lap 13, 26 & 46 meant that he would have been very close to Jenson towards race end as his fresher tyres allowed him to haul Jenson back in, but there’s no way of telling how quickly he may have succeeded. A thirteen second gap between the two on Lap 51 was down to just 9 seconds on Lap 52 when the other McLaren was forced to stop, but Kevin then only managed to bring home the car in 10th spot, utterly exhausted from his exertions and discomfort.
If Alonso does move to McLaren for 2015, will it be Kevin that loses out on a spot after a very decent rookie season? Where could the Dane end up, or might he be relegated to reserve driver? If it was to happen, would Fernando accept another Ron Dennis protege as a team-mate at McLaren? So many rumours about what may come to pass at McLaren, let’s just hope that another excellent driver doesn’t lose out on a seat as a result.
Fastest Lap: Kevin Magnussen (9-5 to Kevin Magnussen) (after Round 14)
Qualifying: Kevin Magnussen (24-18 to Kevin Magnussen) (after Round 14)
Race: Jenson Button (50-20 to Jenson Button) (after Round 14)
McLaren: 73-53 to Jenson Button (Total After Round 14)
After giving his mechanics yet another headache on Friday night after another unnecessary crash, Pastor made his very best efforts to make up for it for the remainder of the weekend. 1.2 seconds slower than Romain Grosjean in Q1 meant that he didn’t get that many attempts to ruin his E22 on Saturday, but with such a long and tough race ahead, surely it was only a matter of time before the Venezuelan’s car would be left in pieces buried in a wall somewhere?
Not only did he finish the race unscathed, Pastor ended up beating Romain home. Employing an almost identical strategy of three stops apiece at almost the same time on each occasion, Romain was leading Pastor by around 13 seconds when the safety car came out and bunched up the field. Romain held 13th spot, Sutil 14th, and Pastor 15th when racing resumed on Lap 37, but an error on Lap 38 meant Romain fell behind both men. While Sutil retired shortly after, Grosjean wasn’t able to pass Pastor again and he finished the race just one second behind him.
Not a whole lot of pace to feel happy about, but at least both cars finished with no problems. While Romain was on course to finish ahead of Pastor without a safety car, points go to Maldonado for not making the crucial error to hand position to his team-mate.
Fastest Lap: Pastor Maldonado (8-6 to Romain Grosjean) (after Round 14)
Qualifying: Romain Grosjean (36-6 to Romain Grosjean) (after Round 14)
Race: Pastor Maldonado (40-30 to Romain Grosjean) (after Round 14)
Lotus: 84-42 to Romain Grosjean (Total After Round 14)
As an unhappy Kimi Raikkonen said after the race ‘my pace was not as bad as it looked’. There is some truth to that. Raikkonen was slowly but surely suffocated out of the race, thanks to a mixture of poor pitstops from Ferrari and an inability to pass the Merc powered Williams in front. After Fernando got ahead of the Red Bulls by completely disregarding the ‘slowing down’ part of Turn 1 and faded out to only allow Vettel back through, the gap back to Kimi grew consistently over the opening laps. Raikkonen had managed to jump Felipe Massa but as he remained stuck behind Ricciardo, Kimi was 7 seconds behind Fernando Alonso by the time he made his first pitstop on Lap 11.
As Felipe Massa had attempted the undercut to gain track position on Kimi, it was crucial that Ferrari gave Kimi their best possible pitstop to come out ahead of the Williams. Instead, Kimi’s first stop was almost a second slower than Fernando’s, and Kimi got shuffled behind the Williams. Raikkonen then spent the next 8 laps dancing around behind the Williams but unable to pass. When Felipe pitted again on Lap 21, Kimi’s lap times matched Fernando’s before the Finn pitted himself on Lap 25. He emerged in the same position, but the pitstops under the safety car undid Raikkonen yet further. Kimi’s stop was 3.8 seconds, against Fernando’s 2.4 seconds. With Kimi appearing cautious to adhere to safety car delta times, it meant that he came out behind Valtteri Bottas & Jenson Button, and he remained stuck to the Williams’ gearbox for almost the entire second half of the race unable to go anywhere, and chewing up his tyres.
Fernando drove a typical canny race. He was lucky to avoid being told to hand 3rd place back to Daniel Ricciardo in the early .Sp5rl!47rs after gaining the position in a rather brazen way, and eased his way up to the back of the struggling Sebastian Vettel towards the second stop. He used the undercut well to get ahead and into second spot and got as close as 4.6 seconds on merit to Lewis Hamilton before the safety car came out and made life difficult. Ferrari opted to pit him again to ensure he would have superior tyre life towards race end, but with the Red Bulls choosing to only two-stop, they held track position and Fernando never found a way past. Any other strategy from Ferrari probably would have gotten Alonso the second position, as choosing not to pit would have kept him ahead of Vettel and on the same tyre life. Likewise, another stop for fresh tyres with 15 laps to go (a la Perez) would probably have given Fernando the high ground to pass in the closing laps. A slightly messy race from Ferrari threw away better results for both drivers. The TMB points are not flattering Raikkonen, whose performances are far closer to Fernando’s now than the points suggest.
Fastest Lap: Fernando Alonso (10-4 to Fernando Alonso) (after Round 14)
Qualifying: Fernando Alonso (36-6 to Fernando Alonso) (after Round 14)
Race: Fernando Alonso (62.5 – 7.5 to Fernando Alonso) (after Round 14)
Ferrari: 108.5 – 17.5 to Fernando Alonso (Total After Round 13)
Six months on from Lewis Hamilton’s retirement from the opening race, we finally get the moment that removes the caveat of unreliability from a potential Rosberg championship. In one of the most prolonged and agonising retirements from a Grand Prix ever, Nico did his living best to keep his W05 circulating but it just wasn’t to be after an electrical loom failed between the steering column and ECU. He will have nightmares about the entire evening, everything from the initial bad news being broken and the agonising wait to see whether it was fixable. Failing to get away on the formation lap and watching every single car stream past into Turn 1 would have been bad enough, but the flash of joy he must have experienced when he got the car going in the race was just cruelty from the racing gods.
It was very obvious that Nico wasn’t going to be able to continue once he got stuck behind Marcus Ericsson and was clearly unable to overtake. Something that would have been very interesting, and almost morbidly voyeuristic, would have been to have the ability to remotely open the microphone in Nico’s helmet and listen to what went on under the helmet as he realised that the entire advantage he had was about to be wiped out through no fault of his own. Finally, to put the poisoned icing on the cake, having to weigh up whether to attend the celebratory photo for Lewis’s win afterwards. Don’t show up? Then suffer the backlash of the public still further. Show up? No one believed his sincerity (and why would they?) and he inflicted yet more psychological trauma as everyone celebrated his direct opponent’s win.
How many times did Nico enquire as to the health of Lewis’s car throughout the race? How many times did he have to pretend to be concerned about the prospect of a badly timed safety car ruining Lewis’s run to victory? How many times did he have to stop himself from vocalising his desire for someone (anyone!) else to win the race? Nightmare fuel.
Lewis, on the other hand, had only Lewis Hamilton to worry about for the 60 laps. Consolidating his pole position into an early lead over the slower Red Bulls meant that only unreliability or a mistake could stop him, and almost two hours of tooling around at the front might just have brought on a lapse in concentration (think Schumacher at Indianapolis 2000, or Raikkonen at Melbourne 2007). The safety car at the halfway mark was probably a godsend in disguise, as it allowed Lewis to focus his mind on opening up a gap, setting quick laps and then catching and passing Vettel. Something he achieved with ease.
A case of what might have been for Nico.
Fastest Lap: Lewis Hamilton (8-6 to Lewis Hamilton) (after Round 14)
Qualifying: Lewis Hamilton (21-21 to each) (after Round 14)
Race: Lewis Hamilton (42.5 – 27.5 to Lewis Hamilton) (after Round 14)
Mercedes: 71.5 – 54.5 to Lewis Hamilton (Total After Round 14)
Sebastian Vettel said after the race that there had been little point in trying to race Lewis Hamilton, which was obviously the mature, level headed logical Seb that is usually prevalent. We still caught a glimpse of feisty, racey Seb after the safety car, when Rocky radioed him to tell him to hold onto his tyres as they were running to the end. Instead of blindly accepting it, Vettel retorted ‘I don’t think that’s my plan’, implying that he wanted to attack and make another pitstop, before Rocky clarified the situation to make him see that second place was worth settling for.
While second was undoubtedly the best result possible for the slightly inferior Red Bull, Vettel’s desire to continue a proper race as opposed to a conservation run has to be commended. Sebastian acknowledged afterwards that another stop wouldn’t have helped him win the race, but it may have helped him put more pressure on the Merc. The fact that Vettel managed such a good race despite a broken monkey seat on the RB10 (apparently it broke on Lap 10) showed that Seb appeared to be a lot happier with the brand new chassis supplied to him especially. However, Vettel was still lucky to finish second. Having been overcome by Fernando Alonso at the second stops, it was only thanks to Red Bull’s conservatism that he got back ahead and held on, finally appearing to be able to make the tyres last. He was similarly fortunate in that while he himself struggled with a slight loss of rear downforce, Ricciardo was suffering from battery issues that saw intermittent power delivery problems.
The only reason that Ricciardo was even that near to Vettel in the second half of the race was due to the safety car. Having been out dragged by Sebastian into Turn 1, and then passed by Alonso in a move that the Spaniard couldn’t have made stick had he slowed down properly, he probably felt a bit aggrieved to be ten seconds behind Sebastian after the first half of the race. Getting back past Alonso thanks to the extra Ferrari stop meant Daniel was able to act as a buffer between Sebastian and Fernando, as Daniel never really was in a position to attack Sebastian properly.
Will Red Bull regret not asking Sebastian to swap places towards race end? No-one would have thought any worse of Sebastian had he moved aside for Ricciardo. In fact, the years of damage done to Sebastian’s public likability by his dominance and relationship with Mark Webber would probably all have been forgiven in one fell swoop had Vettel sacrificed a meaningless second place to Ricciardo at the end. Sebastian made his point by beating Daniel over the race distance, but that doesn’t mean he needed to cross the line ahead. Christian Horner claims that there is no point to issuing team orders when Merc are so far ahead, but Daniel is actually closer in the chase then he was prior to Singapore. It could have been closer still.
Fastest Lap: Sebastian Vettel (9-5 to Daniel Ricciardo) (after Round 14)
Qualifying: Daniel Ricciardo (21-21 to each) (after Round 14)
Race: Sebastian Vettel (60-10 to Daniel Ricciardo) (after Round 14)
Red Bull: 90-36 to Daniel Ricciardo (Total After Round 14)
- Team Mate Battles – Italian GP
- Team Mate Battles – Belgian GP
- Team Mate Battles – German GP
- Team Mate Battles – British GP
- Team Mate Battles – Austrian GP
- Team Mate Battles – Canadian GP
- Team Mate Battles – Monaco GP
- Team Mate Battles – Spanish GP
- Team Mate Battles – Chinese GP
- Team Mate Battles – Bahrain GP
- Team Mate Battles – Malaysian GP
- Team Mate Battles – Australian GP