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Analysis | Ferrari's best chance for 2022 Grand Prix victory is Singapore

Analysis | Ferrari's best chance for 2022 Grand Prix victory is Singapore

30-09-2022 17:03

The Singapore Grand Prix weekend is a massive litmus test for Ferrari. If this Formula 1 race weekend took place in either April or May, then the advantage would fall straight towards the Italian team without question. But the performance of the top two teams has changed throughout the season, and this weekend will show where they really are on a track that plays to the strengths of Ferrari. 

Qualifying Simulations

The first half of the 2022 season demonstrated that the two lead cars have completely different ways of achieving a fast lap time. Red Bull Racing are extremely strong on the straights, whilst Ferrari have a clear advantage in the corners. With the corners being slower, more time is usually spent in these sections and therefore on single-lap pace Ferrari have often ruled supreme. When it comes to race day, Red Bull have the advantage of making use of the powerful DRS zones, slipstreams and a car that manages its tyre better. 

This is backed up and supported by the statistics. Ferrari have scored twice as many pole positions as their rivals Red Bull Racing, whereas that advantage is flipped on Sundays. Red Bull have won 12 races, to Ferrari’s four. 

Good news for Ferrari. The Singapore circuit is absolutely littered with corners. 23 of them to be exact. The second sector contains plenty and the final sector contains a sequence of 90-degree corners that should fall into the hands of Ferrari. 

The first sector is perhaps the most questionable one. It contains the home straight and a second straight, though that does contain a kink. There’s almost a small twisty section just after turn one. If Red Bull were to be fastest in one sector, you’d say it’ll be the first. 

Driver Best Sector 1 Best sector 2 Best sector 3 Ultimate Lap time
Sainz  28.005  39.460 (fastest)  34.980   1:42.445
Leclerc   28.016 39.568  34.967 (fastest)  1:42.551
Russell  27.949  39.866  35.025   1:42.840
 Verstappen 27.928  39.672  35.326  1:42.926
 Hamilton 27.838 (fastest)  39.858  35.256   1:42.952
 Perez 28.164  40.076   35.647  1:43.887

As expected, Ferrari are the quickest overall and by a considerable margin. As predicted, Verstappen was very slightly quicker in the first sector and Ferrari really pulled away in the second two sectors. This shows that the advantage Ferrari earned in the first half of the season continues to exist. 

Ferrari's strategy decisions have been poor over most of the 2022 season. They might be favourites to get pole position for the Singapore Grand Prix. But holding onto it is another challenge for the Italian team. That being said, the pole position statistics help them. In Singapore, the driver on pole position has won the race eight out of 12 times. A 66% success rate. Monaco is known to be the most important qualifying session of the year though pole position has only won 44% of the time on that circuit. 

There are very few overtaking zones in Singapore. Again similar to Monaco but earlier this season Ferrari got the pit strategy completely wrong and let Sergio Perez take the spoils. 

Long run analysis

Driver Average Lap time long run Tyre
Hamilton  1:49.3  Soft 
Russell  1:49.1  Medium
Sainz   1:49.1  Medium

The long runs in Singapore were difficult to draw hard conclusions from. Charles Leclerc spent a lot of time in the garage and Max Verstappen didn't complete a long run at all. It seems that Red Bull are putting the focus on the qualifying simulations because they know it will be their best chance of winning. Opposite to what happened in Italy due to the straights. That being said, we can draw some conclusions from the Mercedes garage. It's interesting that Hamilton was slower than Russell on the softer tyre. This could be down to traffic, set-up and certain engine mode. However, we've seen interesting things from the Mercedes tyres all season. 

They have really struggled with tyre warm-up. Pirelli have opted to use the softest three tyres on the range. It could be that Mercedes are able to switch the medium tyres on quicker.