Ferrari’s early tyre change in Singapore was one of the major topics after the 2018 Singapore Grand Prix, which took place last weekend. Formula 1 journalist Mark Hughes provides the answers:
Ferrari’s tyre strategy in Singapore
“Ferrari fitted Vettel with ultrasoft rubber rather than the soft as an attempt at an undercut on Hamilton. But once that bid had failed (because Vettel failed to get past Perez on the out-lap and also the pace of Hamilton’s in-lap), Vettel’s task was to get that ultra to the end.
Hence he couldn’t just unleash its greater grip – that would have just brought him onto the tail of Verstappen with nowhere to pass and then forced him into a second stop later. The ultra was purely to try to get the undercut (as it would have been faster initially), not because it was faster over the remaining number of laps. Track position was especially dominant at Singapore.
Regarding why Hamilton could pull away, everyone was driving whole phases of the race up to 3s off their potential pace – so it was relatively easy to do a sudden sprint MUCH faster than you were going before, as Hamilton did at one point to get himself out of undercut range. It wasn’t really to do with an engine advantage, just tyre behaviour and track position. We weren’t really seeing the true performance of the cars in the race.”