A laser message projected onto the pit buildings says: ‘First F1 Night Race. Thank you for being a part of history.’
History indeed, but F1 people should be thanking the Singapore organisers for a simply superb job. And, just to round off an exceptional weekend, we had an exceptional race.
It may be true that the race came alive because of a crash and the subsequent safety car laps but that is the nature of a track such as this. The whole thing was turned on its head when Nelson Piquet crashed on lap 14 and, by a bizarre coincidence, handed the race to his team-mate. Had this not happened, Fernando Alonso would have finished about 10th or 12th.
In fact, the seeds of his first win since Monza last year (and the first for Renault since Japan 2006) can be traced back to a fuel feed problem which relegated a very unhappy Alonso to 15th on the grid. That led to an adventurous nothing-to-lose strategy of running light at the start, fitting soft tyres and making up as many places as possible.
Which is what Alonso did as he moved to 12th and was then perfectly poised after his early stop to move to the front as the order sorted itself out. Alonso then put his mark on this race with some blistering laps when the safety car, which had been called out for a second time after a crash for Kimi Raikkonen, was called in. Luck may have come his way but the twice world champion was going to make the most of it.
In the meantime, here’s some questions for you to consider:
Alonso overtook at least one car by cutting inside at the first corner on the first lap and there was no penalty (possibly because the stewards didn’t think he could possibly be in the reckoning?).
Why did the stewards take so long (10 laps) to issue Rosberg with his stop-go penalty, during which time the Williams driver built up an incredible lead of 20 seconds while the one-stopping Trulli and Fisichella held everyone else up? (Part of the answer is the stewards were focusing on what to do about Massa’s unsafe release instead of dealing with Rosberg’s – and Kubica’s – clear-cut penalty after they’d had no alternative but to stop for fuel when the pit lane was closed.)
Why, as Jamie rightly asks in his blog, did Massa receive a drive-through this time and yet the team got away a financial penalty in Valencia?
According to another team member, Ferrari contravened the rules by having personnel (one of whom was the team’s chauffeur!) not dressed in flame-proof gear remove the hose from Massa’s car at the end of the pit lane.
Answers on a post card to the FIA, Place de la Concorde. Paris.
Oh, and when are Ferrari going to get rid of that system of lights during a pit stop? The final irony here is that they actually switched off the sensors because it was too complicated to quickly re-set the system while two cars were stacked up in the pits. So they relied on a human to operate the lights – and he got over-excited and threw away what should have been a certain podium for Massa.