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Vettel wins in Singapore

NEWS STORY
20/09/2015

British readers of a certain vintage will be familiar with the term 'to put the mockers on'. Whilst its origin is unclear, it is defined as meaning: "To thwart someone's efforts or cause them to have bad luck. Also, to have the mockers on - to be cursed with bad luck."

One of those who regularly used to "put the mockers on" people was Murray Walker, who would advise viewers that X, Y or Z was cruising to victory only for the hapless driver to retire moments later in a cloud of smoke.

Consequently, one wonders whether all the reports about Lewis Hamilton equalling his hero Ayrton Senna's victory tally this weekend conspired against the Mercedes driver, for ahead of this afternoon's race it looks unlikely.

On the other hand, and without wishing to "put the mockers on" Sebastian Vettel, a win would see the German move ahead of the legendary Brazilian.

Whatever happens, yesterday's pole lap, not forgetting Ferrari's qualifying at Monza, gives us hope that there is still much to fight for, indeed at least two of the remaining circuits should suit the red cars and their rivals from Milton Keynes.

Thoughts that Mercedes was sandbagging on Friday turned to dust in FP3 and trampled into the ground in qualifying, both silver cars over 1.4s off the pace. Still playing around with set-up in the moments leading up to qualifying, Nico Rosberg appeared to be at sixes and sevens, highly unlikely to close the gap to his main championship rival.

Of course, as all the Mercedes teams struggled, it was ironic to see the Renault-powered Red Bulls and Toro Rossos looks so competitive, the French manufacturer surely allowing itself a wry smile at session end.

With two wins under his belt already, Vettel will have every right to feel confident today, if nothing else he can close the gap to Rosberg, thereby making up for the disappointment of Spa. Hopefully, teammate Kimi Raikkonen will keep his pinky under control at the start and not repeat his Monza madness.

One driver who really deserves some credit is Romain Grosjean, the Frenchman putting his Lotus tenth on the grid, despite the package's weakness here, not to mention his team's off-track 'issues'.

With the Mercedes teams on the back foot, McLaren could also spring a surprise, whilst Alexander Rossi will be keen to merely bring the car home safely on his debut.

Between two and three stops are expected, with three stops being theoretically the quickest option, depending on traffic.

However, an important factor to bear in mind is the fact that there has been a safety car at every race held since Singapore made its debut in 2008.

This means that any strategy has to be flexible. The quickest three-stop strategy is to start on supersofts, change to the supersofts again on lap 16, supersofts once more on lap 31, then softs from lap 46.

Some teams may attempt to manage their pace in order to achieve a two-stopper. The quickest two-stopper would be to start on supersofts, supersofts again on lap 16, then softs from 43. This could reduce the risk of hitting traffic at the end of the race.

There are two DRS zones, the first detection point is at the exit of turn 4 and the first activation point is after turn 5. The second detection is before turn 22 and the activation point after the turn 23

Furthermore, since 2014 the track has been re-aligned between turns 10 and 13 and now uses the left hand side of the Anderson Bridge. Arrangements for cars to re-join the track having gone into the run-off at turn 1 have also been made, Felipe Nasr's failure to adhere to these rules costing him a reprimand on Friday.

Drivers have had issues at a number of corners, with T17 proving to be a thorn in the side for most of them at one time or another. Again, we remind you that there has been a safety car every year.

The pitlane opens and one by one the drivers head to work, pole-man Vettel among the first.

With seven minutes before the pitlane closes, Rosberg grinds to a halt halfway down the pitlane and has to be 'rescued' by his crew. "My engine has gone off," he says. They get him going only for him to stop again. He finally gets going but will his race start be impacted?

Raikkonen reports his car is feeling much better than yesterday.

Air temperature is 29 degrees C, whilst the track temperature is 36 degrees. Humidity is 73%.

They head off on the warm-up lap, everyone on the option rubber, Hulkenberg, Perez, Button, Nasr, Ericsson, Maldonado, Stevens and Rossi all on brand new tyres.

The grid forms behind Vettel, the first time since Germany 2012 that a Ferrari has started a Grand Prix from the coveted position.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Jigsaw, 21/09/2015 13:05

"Don't know if Seb will win the championship but I'm sure he'll make Lewis sweat."

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2. Posted by Yeyox02, 20/09/2015 21:48

"Well done Seb, you will be world champion this year."

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3. Posted by RDFox, 20/09/2015 17:32

"Of *course* the day that I forget to set my alarm for the race, we get one filled with mayhem. Happened at Hungary, and happened again today.

(And here comes the wave of comments begging me to never bother to set my alarm and sleep through every GP!)"

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4. Posted by markscottuk, 20/09/2015 16:44

"MOcha, just use AdBlock in Firefox and read away"

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5. Posted by Mocha, 20/09/2015 15:55 (moderated by an Adminstrator, 20/09/2015 16:13)

"This comment was removed by an administrator as it was judged to have broken the site's posting rules and etiquette."

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6. Posted by scf1fan, 20/09/2015 15:41 (moderated by an Adminstrator, 20/09/2015 16:13)

"I thought the "Team Orders" issue was put to rest long ago?"

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