Tyre strategy played a key role in the Singapore Grand Prix, which saw Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel start from pole position and lead all the way to take the chequered flat, sealing his third win of the season.
Despite this being the longest race of the year, the vast majority of the field used a two-stop strategy, including Vettel who clinched his 42nd career win in a race, but the event was characterised two safety car periods.
The first lengthy safety car period came a third of the way into the race, which added a new dimension to the already complex strategy calculations, while the second safety car period came 20 laps from the finish. It was during this second stint that the drivers made their last stops, followed by a final sprint to the finish line which produced some thrilling battles around the floodlit Marina Bay Street Circuit.
Paul Hembery, motorsport director for Pirelli tyres, commented after the race: “Tactics and tyre management played an important role during this evening’s race. Conditions were as tough as ever in Singapore, with the heat, humidity and sheer length of the race, but Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel were able to get the very best out of the tyres and the strategy, knowing when to push and when to keep something in reserve. It was a perfect race from him.
“The strategy for every team was obviously affected by the two safety car periods, which had the effect of stretching out the stints. As a result, we saw more drivers moving towards a two-stop strategy rather than a three-stopper. All the way down the field though, there was some different thinking about which order would be the best one to use the tyres in. With such a long race distance, looking after the tyres most effectively was crucial to success, especially in the closing stages.”
Denna Bowman, Head Office