Hamilton wins first battle of Pirelli wet tyres at Singapore
The first ever wet Singapore Grand Prix saw the top six starting on Pirelli’s Cinturato Green intermediate tyre and a mixture of Cinturato Blue wets and intermediates further down the grid. the early safety car periods provided the opportunity for some drivers to change from wet to intermediate tyres, while Daniel Ricciardo, who had started on intermediates, opted to change to a fresh set of intermediates. The Red Bull driver finished the grand prix second, behind the Mercedes of race winner Lewis Hamilton.
The track eventually dried out after the restart, with the first drivers to change onto Pirelli P Zero slicks being Haas’s Kevin Magnussen and Williams’s Felipe Massa on lap 24. Once the crossover point had been reached, all the frontrunners switched to slicks with most opting for the Purple ultrasoft, although Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz went for Red supersofts – claiming his best career result of fourth at the finish. Jolyon Palmer (Renault) and Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren) also took their best results in Formula 1, while Hamilton set a new race lap record of 1m45.008s on the ultrasoft: more than two seconds faster than last year’s fastest race lap. The highest-placed driver to start the race on the full wet was Force India’s Sergio Perez, who finished fifth.
Mario Isola, head of car racing, stated: “The start of the race was unknown territory for everyone, with no wet weather running during the weekend up to now. This tactical uncertainty was compounded by the first of three safety cars, immediately after the start, meaning that strategy was mainly a question of reacting to changing circumstances on track. Intermediates were generally the best choice for the conditions during the first half of the race, although the full wets also performed strongly on a track that was only drying out very slowly. Once the surface was dry, track evolution happened quickly, with everyone apart from Carlos Sainz – who drove a fantastic race – opting to finish the grand prix on the ultrasoft.”