Sebastian Vettel explains that he was in control all race long at Singapore, despite having to deal with two Safety Car periods to win a chaotic grand prix.
Lining up on pole position at Marina Bay Circuit, the Ferrari driver led fellow front row starter Daniel Ricciardo into the first corner before quickly disappearing into the distance.
“First, I was trying to pull a gap on the opening laps,” said Vettel.
“I was trying to pull five seconds straight away, then eased off. Probably I was pushing a bit too hard in the beginning, which allowed Daniel [Ricciardo] to be two, three, four tenths quicker at the end [of the first stint].
“I had a bit of a margin left but the Safety Car [following a clash between Felipe Massa and Nico Hulkenberg on Lap 13] answered all the questions about the first stop. And the same for the second. I think it was pretty straightforward when to stop, because obviously you take the advantage of losing less time from the pit lane.”
Vettel stayed on Pirelli’s red-banded supersofts during his middle stint, yet adopted a different strategy to keep Ricciardo and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen at bay.
“I did pretty much the opposite in the second stint. I knew that it’s impossible for Daniel or anyone to go 40-odd laps on the prime [soft] tyre because these will fall apart in the end.
“I also knew that a Mercedes was on the prime tyre, which obviously allows them to be on the option [superfsoft] in the final stint.
“When the pit stop window more or less opened for the final stint, allowing to finish on the prime, I went for it and opened a gap. I put three or four seconds between Daniel and me, so that we could react in case he dived into the pits and tried the undercut.
“It worked pretty well. So I was controlling the pace in the second stint for a while, and went for it.”
— Yas Marina Circuit (@ymcofficial) September 20, 2015
Vettel then had to overcome one final hurdle when the race was neutralised once more on Lap 37 after a man was spotted walking on track. A bizarre incident that did not prevent the four-time world champion from picking up his third victory of the season.
“In the last stint, I knew the primes were a bit more resilient, and the Safety Car answered all the questions again. So I could maintain the gap.
“I wanted to put fairly quickly three or four seconds between Daniel and me to make sure that he does not get too excited and try an attack in the end. And It worked.
“At the end, we faced some traffic but he never really got close, so I could control the end as well.”
Know more about Sport360 Application