By Alex Kapadia
Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel took his second win of the season after a tense duel at the Singapore Grand Prix where he opted for a two-tyre strategy.
The Red Bull racer started from third on the grid with the P Zero Red supersoft tyres and then completed two stints on the P Zero Yellow soft tyres.
Vettel’s winning margin was nine seconds over McLaren’s Jenson Button, who adopted the same strategy, pitting four laps later for his first pit stop than Vettel.
The race was the longest of the year, running to the two-hour limit two laps before the scheduled 61 laps were completed.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli’s motorsport director, commented: “A lot came down to the timing of the safety cars. If the safety car had come out in the first 10 laps, then it would have been an automatic two-stop race for everyone.
“That did not happen so Red Bull set out to do three stops: a strategy that was then copied by everybody else – although McLaren could have gone with two stops. As it was the safety car appeared later, halfway through the race, which meant that most of the teams were able to revert to a two-stop strategy.
“The rear tyres are worked particularly hard here, because of the traction required out of all the slow corners. With a significant time difference of around 1.5 seconds between the two compounds – the biggest we are likely to see all year – and a performance crossover point of approximately 10 laps, driving style played a significant part in tyre management, particularly at the beginning of the race when the cars were very heavy on fuel.
“With no safety cars in the first half of the race, the teams had to remain flexible with their tactics and so we saw a very wide mix of strategies as they kept their options open.
“Once the safety car did come out, it dictated the strategy to some extent, as the drivers who had stopped for the second time needed to manage their tyres all the way to the end, although they were definitely helped by the second safety car period.
“Once more in Singapore we saw a very tough, spectacular and unpredictable race where the tyre strategy really made a difference.
“Congratulations to Paul di Resta who took his best-ever finish in fourth for Force India and also to Marussia, who have taken their best finish thanks to 12th for Timo Glock.”