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F1: Vettel slings away victory in Singapore

Publication: 
Bryan Edwards
chiefofficersnet

It's easy to blame Sebastian Vettel for so many incidents, especially where he collides with another car. He's a horrible person and he's aggressive when he shouldn't be. But for once, although he was highly aggressive in the first corner of this year's Singapore Grand Prix, and he caused a crash which took out his team-mate Raikkonen, Verstappen and Alonso and himself and put Hamilton into the lead, it wasn't entirely his fault.

The Singapore Grand Prix started in the wet. On the warm-up lap, heavy rain not only dumped water all over the track, which we now know doesn't drain brilliantly, but knocked buckets of leaves onto corners under trees.

It's the first time that F1 cars have ever run around Singapore in the wet and it's almost as if the weather was celebrating the signing of deal for another four years F1 in the Lion City. No one knew what tyres to use and no one had any idea what grip levels would be, how long tyres would last, etc.

The race was started properly, from a standing start, but the first corner incident resulted in an immediate safety car so the race proper began, effectively, under the safety car. Hamilton shot off then after Kvyat hit the wall and another safety car came out, his lead evaporated even faster than the surface water. The race began again, then there was another safety car. Again, Hamilton's lead was negated. This time he moaned but the fact is that a car parked in the middle of the track, facing the wrong way, is a pretty good reason for the safety car.

The race lasted two hours and the distance was cut short.

Hamilton won. Vettel is now 28 points behind in the Championship. Palmer, who found out by reading the news on the internet that his seat for next year had been taken by Sainz, proved that, if Renault had given him a car that lasts a whole race, he's quite able to deliver, came high in the points.

That's pretty much everything that matters for the race. Except for one thing: the conditions resulted in multiple strategies and except for Hamilton whose primary objective was not to hit anything and to avoid being hit by anyone else, there was actually some racing. It was far from a procession, which the SIN race is the norm.

Was it exciting? Not really. Was it interesting? Yes, on a level far above that which we have seen in SIN before and, even more, above that which we've seen in F1 recently.

The safety cars are boring but the rest of the two hours was actually fun.

And as for the first corner incident, Verstaapen in P2 moved to the centre of the track to line up for the corner. Raikkonen had a blistering start from P3 and was alongside, almost behind the front wheels, of the Red Bull. Vettel scorched off the line and moved across to the left aggressively which put Verstaapen in a vice-like squeeze between the Ferrari pair. Should Vettel have moved so aggressively? It was hard but fair taking into account what he knew which was that he needed to make Verstaapen move off the racing line into the first corner. In the spray, hiding behind the engine cowling of the Red Bull and with near pointless mirrors, Vettel could not know that Verstaapen had nowhere to go because the Ferrari was taking up the whole of the track to the left of the Red Bull.

The stewards will investigate after the race but a home-made slow-mo show that it was simply a case of three cars not fitting into one space and each one of them being proper racing drivers.

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