Singapore Grand Prix, 2014

Rosberg needs reversal of fortunes at Singapore

2015 Singapore Grand Prix preview

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Track data: Singapore

Lap length5.065km (3.147 miles)
Grand prix distance308.828km (191.897 miles)
Lap record (in a race)TBC – new layout
Fastest lap (any session)TBC – new layout
Tyre compounds and
2014 Rate the Race6.43/10
2014 Driver of the WeekendLewis Hamilton

*Fastest lap set during a Grand Prix

Singapore track data in full

The championship situation after Monza was as if a pin had been pushed into a sagging balloon: what little tension there had been was deflated when Nico Rosberg parked his Mercedes at the Roggia chicane with three laps to go.

Now Lewis Hamilton has the advantage of knowing he can finish behind Rosberg in all of the remaining races and still win the championship. But thoughts of playing it safe will not deflect him from the pursuit of more victories.

Another win this weekend would be deeply symbolic. Hamilton, a lifelong admirer of Ayrton Senna,is poised not only to equal his hero record of 41 victories but do it as he draws level with Senna in terms of career starts: this will be his 161st.

Like Senna before him, Hamilton has a car of immense potential underneath him and he is exploiting it to its fullest. That’s why this weekend he could also become the first driver to equal Senna’s feat of scoring eight consecutive pole positions.

But Hamilton and his 19 rivals know they can take nothing for granted in one of the most punishing races of the year. The heat and humidity of Singapore is energy-sapping for the drivers and demanding for their power units. The stop-start course is especially tough on gearboxes and brakes. And being so slow, it’s not unusual for the race duration to hit F1’s two-hour time limit.

Safety Car, Singapore, 2014
The Safety Car has been deployed at least once during every Singapore Grand Prix.
The low-grip surface typical of a street circuit requires soft tyre compounds, and as usual Pirelli has brought its softest selection. The chance of a Safety Car period is high – there’s never been a Singapore Grand Prix without one – and if one appears around the middle of the race it can tempt teams into trying to complete the grand prix without making a further stop.

However if they push it too far they can find themselves under attack from those who stop for fresh rubber. “It starts off as an understeer circuit,” explains Rob Smedley of Williams, “which develops to include tyre degradation on the rear tyres which causes traction issues in the race.”

For the third time since holding its first race seven years ago, the Marina Bay course has been revised, this time in the hope of improving overtaking opportunities. Drivers will now use the left-hand lane as they cross the Andersen bridge approaching turn 13 giving them a straight run into the hairpin. While that may make life a little easier for the drivers, it’s not likely to prove a significant change.

Singapore Grand Prix team-by-team preview

Mercedes

A technical problem also sidelined Rosberg in last year’s Singapore Grand Prix, and realistically his best chance of getting back in contention for the championship is if Hamilton suffers a similar problem this year. Mercedes, naturally, are eager that their first technical failure this year is also their last.

Red Bull

Daniil Kvyat suffered on his F1 debut at this track last year, having to endure one of the hottest and longest races of the year without a drinks bottle. He an Daniel Ricciardo are optimistic of a stronger showing for the team on a track where downforce, traction and braking count for more than engine performance.

Williams

Williams is optimistic about reducing its deficit to Ferrari as it introduces its latest upgrade this weekend.

However they’ve only beaten them on three occasions this year, and that includes Spa where Sebastian Vettel was comfortably ahead until his late tyre failure.

Ferrari

Vettel has finished in the top two in the last five consecutive Singapore Grands Prix. However between the flying Mercedes and a potentially much stronger threat from Red Bull, he may face a stiffer task to reach the podium this weekend.

Conversely this is a venue which hasn’t been particularly kind to Kimi Raikkonen. He crashed in the inaugural race but took a gritty podium finish in 2013 despite back pain.

McLaren

The weakness of the Honda engine was exposed for all to see at Monza. Singapore marks a return to the type of circuit where McLaren expect to do better – Fernando Alonso was fifth in Hungary – and a decent result may help sooth the strained relations between the McLaren and Honda camps.

Force India

A small but significant upgrade package for the ‘B-spec’ VJM08 should help the team sustain its momentum and increase its chances of holding on to fifth place in the championship – which would be their best-ever result. Their sights are set higher at the moment, but realistically Red Bull’s 50-point margin over them is more likely to grow than shrink in Singapore.

Toro Rosso

Not for the first time this year Carlos Sainz Jnr is the only one of Toro Rosso’s rookie duo with prior experience of this circuit – he raced there in Formula BMW Pacific five years ago – and Max Verstappen will be learning as he goes. And if any circuit is going to expose any weakness in the 17-year-old’s ability to wrestle an F1 car for two hours, this is undoubtedly it.

Lotus

At Monza Lotus lost both its cars on the first lap for the second time this year – Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado also retired early at Silverstone. This was the last thing the beleaguered team needed given its ongoing financial problems. “There was some choice language for a little while after that,” team boss Federico Gastaldi admitted.

Sauber

Sauber finally has its aerodynamic upgrade ready for this weekend. Head of track engineering Giamapolo Dall’Ara describes it as a “a rather significant” development, but cautioned that it will have to be “validated” first in testing – never an easy thing to do at a track with such short straights. It may be that it’s not until subsequent races that the true worth of the upgrade becomes clear.

Manor

Roberto Merhi is now fully committed to his Formula One programme having cut ties with the Pons Formula Renault 3.5 team. However as both he and Will Stevens have no prior experience of this circuit, it will be an especially challenging weekend for the F1 minnows.

Update: Manor has announced Merhi will be replaced by Alexander Rossi this weekend.

2015 driver form

DriverGrid averageRace averageRace bestRace worstClassifiedForm guide
Lewis Hamilton1.081.831612/12Form guide
Nico Rosberg2.253.6711712/12Form guide
Daniel Ricciardo8.587.7031310/12Form guide
Daniil Kvyat10.507.5021210/11Form guide
Felipe Massa6.836.6731512/12Form guide
Valtteri Bottas6.086.5531411/12Form guide
Sebastian Vettel4.833.6711212/12Form guide
Kimi Raikkonen7.005.00289/12Form guide
Fernando Alonso16.0011.505186/11Form guide
Jenson Button16.8312.298167/11Form guide
Nico Hulkenberg10.839.786159/12Form guide
Sergio Perez11.429.2751311/12Form guide
Max Verstappen12.1710.254178/12Form guide
Carlos Sainz Jnr11.6710.298137/12Form guide
Romain Grosjean9.588.133128/12Form guide
Pastor Maldonado10.7510.757154/12Form guide
Marcus Ericsson13.3311.4581411/12Form guide
Felipe Nasr13.0810.9151611/11Form guide
Will Stevens17.7315.7813179/10Form guide
Roberto Merhi18.0915.40121810/11Form guide
Kevin Magnussen17.000/0Form guide

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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25 comments on “Rosberg needs reversal of fortunes at Singapore”

  1. Yeah Nico needs the reversal of fortune of a dnf for LH to balance that aspect out, but what he really needs is a reversal of performance and to stamp his authority on the rest of the season. I don’t see that happening and it would be the only way LH would not be seen as the sentimental favourite, or the ‘rightful’ winner, is if NR simply outperformed him from here on in and took it away from LH with some stellar performances. But there’s no evidence that that’s about to happen, and right now I would think most think LH has already earned this years title, not mathematically yet, but sentimentally.

  2. When you look at the very top drivers, they all seem to have this ability to break their teammates. Schumacher, Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton. All of them have performed so utterly dominantly that their poor teammate can only watch and scratch their heads. Imagine poor Rosberg, with his data analysis and his breathing techniques. Someone who puts a huge amount of time and energy into being as good as he possibly can be. He goes out for qualifying and nails it – hits every apex, nails every braking zone, gets the maximum out of the car and the tyres. ‘Fantastic’ he thinks ‘that has to be pole!’ and then he looks at the timing sheets and somehow, inexplicably, Hamilton has found two tenths. Imagine that, over and over, for years.

    Rosberg is beaten. He’s beaten in his head before he even gets in the car. That’s the effect that the very best drivers have.

    1. Yeah well said. It’s Nico’s lot in life right now, and it happens to athletes in all sports every day. Sometimes your best is just not good enough. All Nico can do is to continue doing his best so he at least knows in his heart of hearts that he indeed did everything he could. Meanwhile he’s wealthy, famous, a new husband and dad, and doing what he loves, and I realize that for him all that still does not include a WDC yet, but he has nothing to hang his head about as long as he continues to just bear down and do his best…there’s really no other option, if for nothing else than his own psyche. He’ll be reminding himself that the new PU would likely have put him ahead of the two Ferrari’s on Saturday at Monza, and the lack of a dnf on Sunday would have kept things more within reach, so was not beaten by LH at the last race, but by technical bad luck. That’s racing and his only option is to keep on it and keep trying different things.

    2. “this ability to break their teammates” – very well said.

    3. @mazdachris There’s RIC but yeah……

  3. It’s been an anticlimactic season. The great tracks haven’t produced great shows, I hope the show that is Singapore, materializes. I’m hoping to have a great end of championship, this season is awfully similar to 2011.

    I can’t see how the track change will improve anything.
    The new look is an marked improvement on the mobile platform.

  4. Regarding Rosberg, I don’t think that he will be able to win the WDC unless Hamilton encounters at least 3 DNFs. I know, it is a bold statement to make but this year Rosberg has been poor when compared to Hamilton. He only beat Hamilton once in qualifying, and three times in the races out of the 12 races so far, which is quite bad.

    1. Stating that Rosberg wont win the WDC by his own hands is the opposite of bold.

    2. Hmmm – most people would agree he really was gifted two wins this year. The most obvious being Monaco where he frankly did not deserve it. The other, well he won in Austria but without that clutch issue and poor start – being faster on occasion may well have not done the job…

      So one GP he can reliably say he won on merit (I am not taking the others away – just there was one on merit and not other factors providing the opportunity to win) The rest – wow – he got mullered and that’s hard

      1. Preach…I actually think the points are exactly where they should be given what has happened. Nico was given Monaco and Lewis should have won Malaysia

        1. So true Jay, so true!!

    3. Yeah but to be fair to NR, LH was always going to be a tough teammate to beat, and coming off the momentum of a WDC last year, virtually nobody around here gave NR much of a chance this year. So I don’t think he has done a poor job…he’s just run into a mountain that’s near impossible to climb. I certainly think he is not the equivalent of MW to SV…he’s kept LH way more honest than that. I don’t think there are many drivers this year who could have gotten much closer to LH, especially when even LH himself learned what it was like to be NR when he did trail NR and couldn’t get close either without screwing up his front tires. LH is simply more at one with the best car on the grid than NR is.

    4. @ultimateuzair

      I know, it is a bold statement to make

      It’s not bold at all, it’s painfully obvious, and what basically everybody has been saying for the past couple of weeks (if not more).

    5. The standings may say 3 but in Rosberg’s head he knows it has only been twice, he said as much after the race. He took the points but he knew how badly he had been beaten during the race.

  5. oh don’t worry its all part of Bernies script to take it to the wire

  6. I still find it difficult to bet against Rosberg this weekend. This is one of his best tracks, which also often produces unusual results.

    1. especially with alonso around

    2. While I tend to agree you cant write any driver off, I don’t think people are writing the chance off Rosberg picking up the odd win in closing stages of the season but the uncomfortable truth for him is that he has been well and truly outperformed all season. A race win does not make a season or a championship.

      I honestly think the best shot Rosberg had of beating Hamilton was in 2014 with the unreliability and lets call them “tactics” that tested Hamilton mental performance. Unfortunately for him unlike in previous season Hamilton was just as strong mentally as he was in the races. Rosberg is a good driver but he is missing those final couple of tenths that the great drivers can go out and find, that the difference between the two, for me at least.

    3. I always hear people say that, “this is one of Rosberg’s favourite tracks”….

      Based on what? And it’s even more puzzling when you look at his records at these ”tracks” compared to his team-mate.

      1. Based on the fact that he dragged a Williams FW30 on the podium here. Yes, the safety car helped, but nevertheless it was still a great achievement since that car should have never been on the podium anyway (it was a terrible car, 8th best on the grid that year).

      2. I think of last year at Singapore, whereas Lewis put in an incredible performance to pull off the win.

  7. I find it interesting that Rosberg and Vettel have the exact same race average result (3.67). Given they both “retired” (still classified but no points) once because of technical issues, I think it says a lot about Rosberg lack of results this year, seeing how far ahead the Mercedes is.

    1. Rosberg’s poor average is also down to his somewhat unlucky 8th place in Hungary. Discount the last 3 races and Rosberg was slightly more than one place ahead of Vettel, which is about expected.

      1. Rosberg was arguably to blame for not finishing at least 2nd in Hungary though. And you can then point to the places Vettel lost through shoddy pitwork & mechanical issues in Canada & Austria.

  8. Kudos to Rosberg for not giving up but I doubt there is anything that is going to stop the hammer-machine from breaking down. Hamilton is driving almost perfect this year and Rosberg has been on the back foot from the get go. So I don’t expect anything from him.

    Yes, this is probably a race he could win because he’s always been good here, but so is Hamilton so it could go either way. Then there are the Ferrari’s. I think Rosberg’s vice-title is under serious pressure from Vettel, who will show no mercy if he sniffs a chance to grab 2nd in the WDC.

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