Formula 1

2019 Singapore Grand Prix – The Rookie Report

4 Mins read
Photo Credit:Octane Photographic Ltd.

The Singapore Grand Prix proved to be a slow burner of a race with the race being set alight courtesy of pit stops which kept every team on it’s toes.

For most of the rookies, it would be a great first weekend at Singapore with three out of the four scoring points with Alexander Albon sixth, Lando Norris seventh, and Antonio Giovinazzi tenth but sadly for George Russell, his perfect record of finishing every race was lost through a collision with Romain Grosjean.

Alexander Albon | Aston Martin Red Bull Racing

Qualifying: Sixth | Race: Sixth

Photo Credit:Octane Photographic Ltd.

Alexander Albon may not have had the easiest weekends in Singapore, but despite causing a headache for his Red Bull mechanics in free practice, he notched his fourth top-six finish of the season as he fights for the second Red Bull seat with Pierre Gasly.

The weekend started poorly for Albon however when the Thai-British driver slammed into the Turn 10 tyre barrier wrecking his front wing in the process which caused him to lose track time as he finished day 1, fifth in both free practice sessions.

Qualifying saw Albon secure his best ever qualifying position in Formula 1 with sixth on the grid with a lap time of 1.37.411 putting him on the third row alongside Valtteri Bottas.

At the start of the race, Albon got an average getaway, as he tried to snatch fifth off Bottas, into turn 1, but he driver came under attack from Carlos Sainz Jr. who tried pass round the outside of the Red Bull before he was hit by the Renault of Nico Hülkenberg, causing both cars to pit.

Red Bull brought Albon in for his first and only stop on lap 21, with fellow rookie Norris coming in at the same time, where he rejoined in eleventh place behind Hülkenberg.

He quickly dispatched Hülkenberg and set about chasing Bottas, but a series of safety cars put the buffers on his charge for a podium.

Albon brought the Red Bull home in sixth place ahead of Norris to be best of the rookies in Singapore.

Lando Norris | McLaren F1 Team

Qualifying: Tenth (Started Ninth) | Race: Seventh

Photo Credit:Octane Photographic Ltd.

For F1’s resident king of memes, Lando Norris, Singapore would be another good day’s work which saw the Brit score his seventh points finish of his rookie season.

It was a quiet Friday practice for Norris finished eighth in Free Practice 1 and ninth in Free Practice 2 outpaced by teammate Carlos Sainz Jr.

Qualifying saw Norris once again appear in Q3, but he suffered a disappointing qualifying where he could only manage tenth on the grid. This would later be ninth courtesy of Daniel Ricciardo‘disqualification from qualifying due to a technical infringement.

At the start of the race, Norris got an ok start, as he moved up to seventh by the end of the lap courtesy of Sainz Jr and Hülkenberg touching into turn 5, with both having to pit for repairs.

McLaren pitted Norris on lap 21, where he came out in thirteenth behind Grosjean before the Frenchman made his pitstop.

Norris then spent the bulk of the race in twelfth spot due to the cars in front of him yet to make their mandatory pitstop.

The Brit picked up a position courtesy of Ricciardo’s collision with Giovinazzi into turn 7 with Norris challenging the struggling Hülkenberg down the St Andrews straight.

After waiting patiently, Norris finally got passed Hülkenberg for seventh as the German headed in for fresh rubber and despite the Brit hanging onto the edge of the top six group in the dying laps, he could only manage seventh at the checkered flag.

Antonio Giovinazzi | Alfa Romeo Racing

Qualifying: Twelfth (Started eleventh) | Race: Tenth

Photo Credit:Octane Photographic Ltd.

The final result doesn’t really tell the full story of how Antonio Giovinazzi’s Singapore Grand Prix went. In a bizarre race, the Italian become the first Alfa Romeo driver to lead a Grand Prix since the 1983 Belgium Grand Prix and the first non Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull driver to lead a lap this year.

It had been a fairly quiet weekend for the Italian up until till race day with the Italian once again missing out on Q3 qualifying in twelfth spot before being moved up to eleventh on the grid courtesy of Ricciardo’s penalty.

Giovinazzi made a good start in the race and was up to eighth by lap one with the Italian slowly moving up the pack as the leaders pitted making him the shock race leader of the Grand Prix with former Prema F2 teammate Pierre Gasly in second place.

The Italian held the lead until lap 31 where he was passed by Vettel, with Giovinazzi’s tyres finally crying enough as the field streamed through.

But Giovinazzi would be involved in a tangle for seventh place as Ricciardo’s overeagerness got the better with him, causing the Australian to collide with the Alfa Romeo’s left front wheel; luckily for the Italian, no damage was done to the Alfa Romeo whilst Ricciardo’s Renault suffered a right rear puncture.

After finally making his pitstop, Giovinazzi fell back to fifteenth, but made his way back up into the points after both Racing Point’s, teammate Kimi Räikkönen and Kevin Magnussen all hit trouble or retired through collisions.

Despite coming home in tenth Giovinazzi was given a ten-second penalty by the stewards for failing to follow the race director’s instructions under the safety car, but happily, for him and Alfa Romeo Racing team, the penalty only reduced the gap between him and Grosjean at the checkered flag to 5.796 seconds with him retaining his tenth place.

George Russell | ROKiT Williams Racing

Qualifying: Nineteenth | Race: Did Not Finish – Retired on lap 34

Photo Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

All good things must come to an end as the old phrase goes, and for George Russell, Singapore saw the end of his perfect finishing record. This was by no fault of his own though, after being taken out of the Singapore Grand Prix early by a careless Romain Grosjean.

Russell and his departing teammate Robert Kubica once again filled the bottom of the timesheets in both free practice and qualifying. The Brittish driver once again out-qualified Kubica for the fifteenth time this season with a time of 1.40.867, just over three tenths faster than the Pole.

Despite getting promoted up to eighteenth on the grid courtesy of Ricciardo’s penalty, Russell’s quickly lost ground in the opening half of the race with the Brit only ahead of Sainz’s struggling McLaren.

He would get ahead of Grosjean following the Frenchman’s pitstop, but that didn’t last long as the Haas F1 driver tagged the left rear of the Williams sending him into the turn eight barriers. The Williams was wrecked, which put an end to the Russell’s race and with it, his hundred per cent record of finishing every Grand Prix this season.

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