Almost a week after the Singapore Grand Prix, former team owner Gian Carlo Minardi has admitted to being mystified by certain aspects of Sebastian Vettel's dominance during the race.
"Waiting for the Korean GP, I would like to bring back all the wonderful memories linked to my experience at the Marina Bay Street Circuit and make some remarks about the Singapore GP, which I'd like to share and try to find some answers," writes the Italian.
"I was enthralled by Singapore," he continues. "It was a brand new experience, which was completely different from any other experience I was used to.
"I had the chance to monitor all drivers' on-track deeds from a suite located at the end of the pit straight (which leads to the first chicane). The monitor I used to watch the race displayed also all drivers' lap times. Since I left Singapore however, I've been keeping in my mind the 2.5 sec advantage of Vettel over his teammate Webber and the other drivers.
"It's not my intention to devalue Sebastian Vettel, who always manages his Red Bull the best way and I don't want even to jab at anyone, I just want to tell what I personally saw and heard during that three-day-event.
"According to my experience, I think that a 2.5 sec advantage each lap is really too much. It's like a three-generation development gap, it's a huge gap. Furthermore, the time gap between Vettel and Grosjean in FP3 and the Red Bull driver and Rosberg in qualifying was only few tenths. The German driver could have played cat and mouse on Saturday, anyway, something is still not clear for me.
"From my suite, I chose some mainstays as a reference point in order to monitor and compare the drivers' way of driving. My mainstays were the kerbstones located on the corner which leads to Republic Boulevard. Their function is to avoid passing on the kerb. I was impressed by Vettel's neat way of driving on that stretch of the track. He was able to drive all that stretch without making any corrections, unlike all his rivals (also his teammate). His lap time was also remarkable in T3, which is the track's sector with the highest concentration of corners.
"On the same stretch, Sebastian was able to speed up 50 m before any other driver, Webber included. Whilst all the other drivers speeded up on the same stretch, Vettel was able to speed up before them. The thing that surprised me the most was the engine's output sound. Besides speeding up 50 m before any other driver, the Renault engine of the German's car grinded like no other French engines on track, neither like Mark's. That sound was similar to the sound made by the engine when the traction control system got into action in the past seasons.
"Furthermore, that sound was only heard when Vettel chalked up his excellent performances. For example, after the safety car went off, he took a great re-start and chalked up many excellent laps, gaining a 32 sec. gap over Alonso, then he leveled off, taking precautions in the case he would have had to pit one more time. In those moments the Renault engine was more powerful than any other engines (Renault and other brands).
"There are some aspects, Vettel's very neat way of driving, Vettel's speedup 50 m before the other drivers, the abnormal sound of the Renault engine and Vetter's more than 2 sec. advantage over his rivals that make me think and I would like to have some answers.
"All those doubts are even more serious if we consider that Webber wasn't able to do that, since he's a common human being… I don't want to blame anyone , I just would like to get into the deep of the matter."