Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Singapore, 2018

How Singapore showed F1’s problem with processions again

2018 Singapore Grand Prix stats and facts

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In Singapore the top six drivers on the grid were all in the same order when the chequered flag fell.

That’s only happened on one other occasion in Formula 1 history. That was at this year’s Monaco Grand Prix.

These were also two of the three races so far where Pirelli’s hyper-soft tyre has made an appearance. Neither it, nor F1’s complex tyre rules, appear to be generating the kind of unpredictability and intrigue it was hoped they might.

Mercedes has referred to Singapore as its ‘bogey track’, particularly after its weak 2015 showing. But their record since then stands at two poles and three wins from three races, so it’s probably time to revise that view.

Lewis Hamilton is now a four-time winner on the streets of Singapore, equalling Sebastian Vettel’s record. The 11 Singapore Grands Prix to date have only had four different winners so far: these two plus Nico Rosberg and Fernando Alonso (though Felipe Massa might have something to say about how he lost the inaugural race to the latter).

Hamilton is in a fine streak of form. He’s only dropped seven points from a potential haul of 125 over the last five races. Vettel has been the next-highest scorer in that time, but Hamilton has out-scored him by 118 to 70.

As a result Hamilton now leads the points race by 40. Unless Vettel makes inroads into Hamilton’s lead at the next race, Hamilton could finish second to Vettel in all the remaining races and still take the title. His position of strength in the championship comes despite Vettel having a better average qualifying position (2.13 to 2.87) and having spent more laps in the lead than anyone (341 to Hamilton’s 299).

While Hamilton added to his career totals for pole positions (79) and wins (69), Kevin Magnussen and Haas broke new ground by setting their first fastest laps. Magnussen is the 130th driver to do so (his father Jan never did during his F1 career) and Haas the 34th different team.

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Singapore, 2018
Raikkonen will become F1’s longest-running driver
For the ninth year in a row a Red Bull finished on the podium and for the fourth year running it was in second place. It wasn’t Daniel Ricciardo this time, however, but Max Verstappen.

Fernando Alonso gave McLaren their best result since the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. It was also only the second time since that race he’s finished on the lead lap.

Nico Hulkenberg marked his 150th start but his wait for a first podium appearance goes on. Meanwhile Kimi Raikkonen is now on course to break Rubens Barrichello’s record for most race starts.

Raikkonen has 285 to his name so far but his new two-year deal with Sauber should propel him past Barrichello’s tally of 322 at some time during the 2020 F1 season. Had Raikkonen not spent two years out of the sport from 2010-11, missing 38 races, he could have broken the record last weekend.

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Review the year so far in statistics here:

Have you spotted any other interesting stats and facts from the Singapore Grand Prix? Share them in the comments.

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2018 Singapore Grand Prix

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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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34 comments on “How Singapore showed F1’s problem with processions again”

  1. Small typo, Keith. Jan is Kevin’s father, not Jos

    1. Jos is also a father of a F1 driver being Max Verstappen.

      1. Wow, I never knew that… lol

  2. Don’t you mean Kevin’s dad is Jan, not Jos?

    1. I think we have to ask Mrs Magnussen ;)

      1. Hahaha! So naughty, @coldfly!

  3. Upon reading the headline my first reaction was we didn’t need Singapore for us to see processions again, for they have been happening for years, but reading that twice this year the top 6 did something never before done in F1 history, finishing the race in the order they started, is so very telling. Wow.

    1. @robbie Yes and no. There were overtakes within the top 6 (Vettel overtook Verstappen in lap 1), but he retook the place with an overcut. So yes, the top 6 finished in the same order as they started, but there were overtakes (albeit only one on track).

      1. @matthijs Oh for sure, but as you point out the majority of running was in single file. In the MS/Ferrari era things were moulded so that MS could do much of his passing through pit strategy so he didn’t have to pass cars on track, but rather through the undercut. But even then there was some passing. And they didn’t have drs of course. I just find it amazing that something that has never happened in F1’s history has happened twice this year (so far, lol).

        1. @robbie I didn’t know either that it was extremely rare. But I don’t feel that there is less overtaking than in the MS-era (maybe less close racing). But I assume that many processional races in the past had at least one DNF high up the order, so that people ended higher up than they started, without having to pass anyone. Reliability is really strong nowadays.

    2. @robbie Agreed. I like a good telling stat.

    3. The fact this is only the second time in F1 history for this to happen, and the fact both occasions were this season makes one wonder what’s unique about this season, and if there is will it continue into next season.
      When I checked the actual start and finish placements for all the drivers it turns out there were 9 drivers who finished the race in the same position as they started. The other 3 drivers were Hulkenberg, 10; Hartley, 17; and Sirotkin, 19.
      In the case of the Monaco GP there were actually 7 drivers who finished the race in the same place they’d started in: Ricciardo, 1; Vettel, 2; Hamilton, 3; Raikkonen, 4; Bottas, 5; Ocon, 6; and Stroll, 17.
      My guess as to what factors encourage this to happen include power unit reliability, air turbulence behind a car, and converging power unit performances. Looking at the tyre strategies, the front 6 drivers started the race on the same tyre as well, so presumably that meant similar tyre strategy as well.

  4. I don’t get this whole thing with Massa and 2008, yes it is obvious that Renault engineered getting Alonso to the lead by arranging for Piquet Jr. to crash, but Massa lost the race when the fuel hose was stuck to his car. That would have happened regardless of Renault’s “tactics”… no?

    1. Ferrari / Massa have often claimed that the rush of the SC caused that mishap. Ie. they panicked; I have to agree with you that isn’t a super strong claim to the win.

      1. yep and it should be noted Massa drove terribly after the incident. With all the SC etc he could of got himself back in with at least a shout of some points but his pace was no where.

  5. I’m not sure I’d call it a procession as we usually think of it. There wasn’t much competition among the top six. Third place was thirty seconds back and IIRC you could have microwaved your water for tea by the time Ricciardo came around to take the flag. And the leaders lapped up to, what, 7th place? So I don’t think the problem was the track per se. This snoozefest was due to the combination of tires, the cars, and the strategies the rules compel. I think you also saw some curious, extraordinary under-performance among the top six, by Bottas, Ricciardo and Raikkonen. They were so far off their team leaders they were just never a factor from lights out. Combine that with the Q2 tire penalty and you had a huge spread by the end.

    1. Alonso was the last person(7th) on lead lap with nearly 103sec behind leader and Sainz 1st on lapped lap(8). Also 3rd place car was 39.9sec behind leader more than a pit stop window behind.

  6. @dmw They lapped everyone up to 8th place (Sainz) to be precise. 7th-placed Alonso is the only driver outside the top-3 teams who managed to remain on the lead-lap till the chequered flag.

  7. I wrote this as a reply to someone earlier this week – apologies for repetition, but it fits here.

    I was looking at the “rolling average” values over 3 races for Seb and Lewis.
    Seb’s worst average over 3 sequential races is 9.3 points per race and his best so far is 18.3 points per race.
    Lewis has a worst of 11.7 points per race and a best of 22.7 per race.
    So, if Seb continues scoring at his best rate of the season and Lewis at his worst, they end up tied on 351 points each…

    Note that Lewis has a 12.55 points-per-race career average, according to the driver profiles on GPToday.
    Also, stats don’t predict the future. But they can be fun.

  8. Ricciardo is now mathematically out of WDC contention.
    Though I don’t expect him to become Verstappen’s wingman ;)

  9. You raise a good point: For Max to win this year’s WDC he needs to win all of the remaining 6 races while Hamilton only scores a total of 15 points in the remaining races, so if he scores 16 or more points at the Russian GP then Max is out of contention for the WDC. .
    If Valtteri or Kimi won all 6 of the remaining races, that would give one or the other a total of 321 or 324 points at the end of the season respectively, giving a difference of 40 and 43 points to where Hamilton is now. So if Hamilton maintains an average finish place of 6th (8 points) or better in the remaining races he will still finish ahead of at least those two in the WDC.

    1. In other words we have known for a long time already that the odds are favouring this to be a LH/SV WDC duel, with now the potential for an LH slam dunk.

  10. Singapore, and Monaco, lend themselves quite well to processional races. Not to overstate the obvious, but any new street courses being considered should take note of this. Monaco should never go away, but having a newer race at a track as tight and difficult to pass on as Singapore will lead to more processions. It’s not clear what kind of tire regs or other similar devices could solve this. Even with better aero regs passing will still be difficult at courses like Singapore.

    1. @bullmello True, and I’m fine with that. I don’t mind that some tracks are different than others and that some are just so narrow and tight with few long straights that passing is always going to be difficult. As long as the racing becomes much closer much more of the time throughout the season, then it’s all good and we should all revel in the variety of tracks we get to see them race on. It’s ok if pole position is a little or even much more important at some tracks than others. That makes Saturdays a little more important and therefore tense, and when pole isn’t as important for a successful weekend then we can revel in several drivers having a more realistic shot at a win in spite of their starting spot.

      1. @robbie – Well said and very much agree. The variety of tracks and how the cars and drivers may perform at each track is the beauty of F1 in a nutshell.

    2. Baku gives us a template for how a street circuit can be “improved” to allow overtaking. Basically Singapore should put in a longer straight on the track.

  11. That fastest lap by K Mag might be held for a very long time.

  12. Since we are talking statistics, total of nine drivers finished in a position they started from…not sure if this has happened before. And, I would argue that Barrichello had 323 GP starts…

  13. 169th win for Mercedes engines – moves them ahead of Renault (excl Tag Heuer).

    Hamilton keeps alive his record of only finishing in odd numbered positions in Singapore.

    First fastest lap for both driver and team – last time this happened was Spain 2016 (Daniil Kvyat for Toro Rosso).

    First laps Ricciardo has led since he led every lap in Monaco.

    First time since Azerbaijan that Alonso has reached the chequered flag in a position other than 8th.

    First time Raikkonen has finished 5th this year – no driver has finished 5th more than twice this year.

    Thanks to statsf1.com for some of these.

  14. Processional it may have been but what made the race even more boring at the trackside was the staggeringly stupid decion to omit timing of any sort from the big screens. Without my timing app I wouldn’t have had a clue as to relative positions, gaps, etc. And the screens only display the first 12 places, ignoring the fact that there’s some pretty decent competitions further down the order at times.

    1. +1

      The only thing we could do at the trackside was look at the visual gaps of the cars as they passed. Was the timing missing from the world feed too or just the feed at the track?

    2. I was at the Hungarian gp, no timing there either. It wasn’t so difficult to follow, but I imagine in the case of Singapore with all the lapped cars and the long lap it was tougher.

  15. It is the second time that kimi is dropped from Ferrari. And the Xth driver to return to his freshman team.

  16. Even though what the article says is correct, let’s not forget abu dhabi 2017: if it weren’t for ricciardo’s DNF, all 6 first drivers would’ve ended where they started, imo one of the worst races in recent years, and not only, I think out of the first 12 places there were only 1 or 2 who got further or lost places during the race!

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