2018 Singapore Grand Prix team radio highlights | 2018 Singapore Grand Prix

In the team radio highlights from Singapore: Sebastian Vettel was dismayed by Ferrari’s tactics, Romain Grosjean fumes at F1’s rules, and Kevin Magnussen thwarts a cheeky effort by Fernando Alonso.

The race began badly for Force India, as Sergio Perez knocked his team mate out of the running at the start:

Ocon: I got hit by Sergio Badly. Badly, badly.
To Perez: Checo do we have any damage? Stay positive until this marshalling sector.
Perez: No I don’t think there’s any damage.
To Perez: Run switch ‘Safety Car’.
Perez: Was that Esteban?
To Perez: Esteban is out, Esteban is out. Checo you can work more on the brakes.
Perez: Sorry guys there was no room. I basically did not even see him. Just felt the contact.
To Perez: OK Checo let’s just focus now.

Sebastian Vettel has passed Max Verstappen for second place and was sitting on Lewis Hamilton’s tail while the race leader nursed his tyres. Ferrari were listening to Hamilton’s radio messages but suspected Mercedes were trying to dupe them:

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To Vettel: Hamilton reporting there is not a lot left on these tyres. Is what he’s reported.
Vettel: I don’t believe him.
To Vettel: Me too.
Vettel: I don’t believe him. He’s going very slow.
To Vettel: Copy. Watch for Verstappen he’s one second before.

Hamilton then picked up the pace and Vettel responded, heading for the pits. Ferrari thought Hamilton would come out close to their man – but it didn’t turn out that way:

To Vettel: Hamilton is pushing. Hamilton lap time 45.5. He’s pushing now. 2.1 second in front. Engine three.
To Vettel: You matched his pace 44.9. Gap to Hamilton 2.4
To Vettel: When you can just let us know for tyres. And engine 1. Hamilton three seconds. Box, Sebastian for option. Engine 1, everything you have in the out-lap. Perez in front, seven seconds, track is clear. Hamilton is coming in. All you have. K12 last corner. Use K1. Be very tight.
Vettel: Not tight at all. He’s safe.
To Vettel: Copy.
Vettel: Missing two seconds.
To Vettel: Back to engine three. And cool down the brakes, rears. Easy on brakes.

And when Verstappen pitted, it got even worse for Vettel:

To Vettel: OK push now. Close with Verstappen, close with Verstappen, he’s pitting now. K1 on the straights, fight with Verstappen, exiting the pits.
Vettel: OK, no chance, we were again too late.
To Vettel: OK, copy, easy on brakes.
Vettel: These tyres will not make it to the end.
To Vettel: Copy.
Vettel: Is there anybody else tight or that I should know about before it’s too late?
To Vettel: Not at the moment. Bottas two seconds behind.
To Hamilton: Verstappen has managed to undercut Vettel so Verstappen 5.3, he’s the car behind. Still have two cars ahead yet to stop.

Hamilton was now free to cruise to victory, though Mercedes had contingency plans to make:

To Hamilton: Lewis let us know about the tyres. We’re just thinking about late Safety Car, whether we risk a position for new tyres or stick with what we’ve got?
Hamilton: The tyres are still pretty fresh. The balance is quite [unclear], rears are OK. Right now I would stay out.
To Hamilton: Copy, we’ll keep talking to you.

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His run to the chequered flag was disrupted when he caught Romain Grosjean, who was too busy trying to pass Sergey Sirotkin to let the Mercedes by:

To Hamilton: We’re coming up against a load of backmarkers, five cars, first one Magnussen.
To Hamilton: We’re just seeing a step up on traction metrics it may just be the wheelspin that’s giving you that feeling.
Hamilton: It’s also fronts, man.
To Hamilton: OK, copy, good info. Just be careful with this lot they are racing.
Hamilton: Are the tyres dropping temperature?
To Hamilton: Negative. So the temperature is consistent but they are on the cold side so it just means there’s very little wear.
To Hamilton: Suggest strat three while we’re just getting through traffic.
Hamilton: Blue flags.
To Hamilton: Copy.
Hamilton: Blue flags, these guys aren’t moving.
To Hamilton: Copy, they should be getting them.
Hamilton: These guys are crazy.
To Hamilton: OK just be careful. Verstappen car behind. Verstappen very close behind. use overtake! Overtake is available.
Hamilton: That was ridiculous.
To Hamilton: Gap’s now out to two seconds.
Hamilton: Definitely taken a step down in grip, these tyres.

Grosjean’s messages suggest there may have been times when he left his broadcast channel latched ‘open’, preventing his team from communicating with him, which could explain how he managed to ignore the blue flag warnings for so long:

To Grosjean: Gasly behind will have Hamilton for blue soon, then we’ll have Hamilton for blue.
Grosjean: Mate he’s doing the same as fucking Monza. Come on.
To Grosjean: OK so blue flag Hamilton, blue flag Hamilton, Hamilton behind.
To Grosjean: OK now Hamilton behind, blue flag Hamilton.
To Grosjean: Blue flag Hamilton.
Grosjean: What’s behind?
To Grosjean: That’s a blue, yeah, blue.

The Haas driver was one of four midfield runners who made it into Q3 and therefore had to start on used tyres, which he believed ruined his race:

Grosjean: What’s the race situation?
To Grosjean: BC3. Race situation not great. The guys who didn’t have to start on hyper have jumped us. They were able to go very long…
Grosjean: Fuck.
To Grosjean: ..and then we were stuck behind Sirotkin. So we are where we are right now. Everyone’s stopped, 13th.
Grosjean: That quali rule is stupid.
To Grosjean: Yep, understood.

Grosjean’s mood did not improve when he was penalised for holding up Hamilton:

To Grosjean: Just keep pushing to the end we have a penalty, five second, we have to overcome behind.
Grosjean: Why is that?
To Grosjean: It’s for blues with Hamilton. Just push to the end.
Grosjean: Ha ha ha ha.

Another driver who lost out from starting on worn tyres was Perez, who also got stuck behind Sirotkin:

Perez: I don’t know why you have dumped me into this traffic, man.
To Perez: Understood Checo, but people were going to undercut us. Understood.
Perez: Man Sirotkin is moving so much under braking. Come on Charlie. Too much, man.
To Perez: Understood Checo, Sirotkin moving a lot under braking, understood.
To Perez: Checo we can go -1.5 to help the fronts.
Perez: The problem is the rear, man, the problem is the fucking rear.

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FIA race director Charlie Whiting was unimpressed by Perez’s claims that Sirotkin was driving dangerously:

To Perez: Checo for your information Gasly P9 back still in your Safety Car window.
Perez: Man it’s a joke, he’s moving under braking. We’re going to crash, really.
To Perez: Understood, Sirotkin is moving too much under braking, understood, Charlie is aware and Charlie is looking into it.
Perez: What did you say about Gasly?
To Perez: Gasly in P9 and the cars behind are all in your Safety Car window.
To Perez: But Alonso and Sainz they are inside our pit window right?
To Perez: Checo they are now outside our pit window. They have increased their pace and are now outside our pit window. But Gasly back is well inside, inside your Safety Car window.

Perez forced his way past Sirotkin but tangled with the Williams as he did:

Perez: Charlie’s not doing anything about him, eh? He really wants me to crash?
To Perez: Understood Checo, we’re working on it. Checo ACS off.
Perez: This is a joke, really. You saw how he is moving to braking?
To Perez: Checo Charlie says you’ve got to be closer to him, pushing him harder, before he’ll do anything. Leclerc is three seconds a lap quicker, 10 seconds inside your pit window. Hulkenberg car behind.
Really?
To Perez: Left-rear puncture. box, box. Diff mid six. Raikkonen passing, Ricciardo last corner. You’re on soft. Ricciardo five seconds behind.
Perez: So now what is the game? We save the tyre a bit?
To Perez: ACS on and you can push the tyre.

But it earned him a penalty:

To Perez: Checo drive through the pit lane. We have a drive-through penalty. We’ll serve it this lap, straight away. Watch the speed limiter.
Perez: Why drive through?
To Perez: Checo drive through, it’s for the incident with Sirotkin. Watch the white line.
To Perez: Checo tyre update this tyre will be fine to push. We have an increased aero balance from damage, it’s equivalent to two turns of front wing.

One of the drivers who capitalised on Grosjean and Perez’s troubles was Leclerc. But early in the race he was concerned he was using his tyres too quickly:

Leclerc: Guys there’s no point putting pressure like this.
To Leclerc: Brake bal plus one.
Leclerc: We are destroying all the job that I’ve done to keep the tyres at the beginning of the race.
To Leclerc: Understood, Charles. It’s OK to keep a bit of a gap to Gasly. The pace is good at the moment we are P11.
To Leclerc: Consider brake bal plus one.
To Leclerc: Spark 2 and overtake button is available if needed. Try to increase the pressure.
To Leclerc: If you can pass, back to spark four.
To Leclerc: All good Charles at the moment, we are P10.
To Leclerc: Gasly ahead seems to struggle with tyres, overtake button and spark two still available.
To Leclerc: There might be a few drops of rain but no rain clouds around, just a few drops.
To Leclerc: Use overtake if needed.
To Leclerc: Well done Charles, good job, well done. Currently P9, we have Sainz ahead on older soft, 18 seconds.

Sirotkin’s eventful race continued when he out-braked himself while scrapping with Hartley, picking up a penalty:

Hartley: Yeah he just drove me off the road into the wall.
To Sirotkin: And box this lap Sergey, box.
Sirotkin: Copy. box.
To Sirotkin: OK Sergey we have a five-second penalty.

Both Mercedes drivers had trouble with traffic. For Valtteri Bottas the problem was he was unable to get close enough to Nico Hulkenberg for the blue flags to be shown:

To Bottas: At the moment the gap to Hulkenberg 1.7.
Bottas: I just can’t get any closer, I lose so much grip.
To Bottas: Copy that. At the moment Charlie’s saying we need 1.2.
Bottas: That 1.2 is fucked up in a track like this.

Other drivers were getting incorrect blue flag signals:

To Leclerc: Charles at the moment you will see blue flags you can ignore at the moment I’ll let you know when you have the first one.
Leclerc: I don’t understand.
To Leclerc: You might see blue flags, you can ignore at the moment, I’ll let you know when you have to let past Vettel, OK?
Leclerc: Copy. Are the marshals having a little bit of fun waving the blue flags or what?
To Leclerc: Yeah they have, Charles. Just ignore at the moment, just ignore.

The biggest winner in the midfield was Fernando Alonso. After cementing a ‘best of the rest’ spot of seventh, and being surprised that his pre-race prediction at least one of the ‘big six’ drivers would hit trouble, he entertaining himself by going after the fastest lap, over the objections of his team:

To Alonso: We are box this lap.
Alonso: Yes, OK, box.
To Alonso: Stay left of white line, limiter.
To Alonso: Fernando we will just be careful of Sainz.
To Alonso: Launch map, launch map. Sainz is across the line now. The car directly behind you is a Sauber that is Ericsson.
Alonso: We are in front, good job guys.
To Alonso: Yeah Fernando excelled job, well done mate. Leclerc has also pitted so this is P78 now. Maximum pace to the end. Head down, concentrate, follow the dash.
Alonso: No action in front of us with the top six?
To Alonso: Fernando they are going through traffic, they are going through backmarkers at the moment so there might be.
Alonso: This race we are seventh, nothing happened.
To Alonso: Fernando there are 21 laps to go. Sainz is still stuck behind Ericsson, we want to keep this up.
Alonso: What time is the fastest lap?
Alonso: What time is the fastest lap, mate?
To Alonso: OK Fernando it is a 43.8 but come on, we’re P7. Head down, concentrate.
To Alonso: OK Fernando Sainz is now through on Ericsson he is 14 seconds behind you.
To Alonso: For information the lead car, Hamilton, is six cars back, he is 35 seconds behind us.
To Alonso: And 17 laps to go.
To Alonso: OK Fernando that is the fastest lap so far.
Alonso: Not bad with G8.
To Alonso: Yeah Fernando, very good lap, nice work, well done mate. OK on a serious note Sainz is 17 seconds back, we want to keep this gap for a Safety Car window.
Alonso: Yep. We probably don’t need to take it, car feels very good.

Kevin Magnussen had the last laugh, however:

To Magnussen: You’ve done the fastest lap of the race. PC1.

Even after 61 gruelling laps of Singapore, Hamilton’s didn’t forgot to stay on-brand:

Hamilton: I need a cold Monster Energy after this thanks.
To Hamilton: Yeah we’ll have one on standby for you.

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But Grosjean was still fuming:

To Grosjean That’s chequer, OK.
Grosjean They’re taking the piss so much.
To Grosjean Yeah, yeah.
Grosjean So much. What did they want me to do, to stop racing?
To Grosjean Yeah, yeah. It’s just really hard to understand how to manage that any better. Anyway really hard day out there I’m sure. Sorry for the result we couldn’t really make the hyper work. So Hamilton won, Verstappen…
Grosjean Just tell me where Kevin is.
To Grosjean Kevin also had a bad day he’s 18th.
Grosjean Shit, shit.
To Grosjean Yep.
Grosjean But mate you drive your arse out, you so everything you can… is there anyone who started between 7th and 10th who finished made it to the top 10?
To Grosjean Hulkenberg finished 10th.
Grosjean Yeah he got lucky with Sirotkin.
To Grosjean Correct. Otherwise, no, it was totally dominated by the people who could go long on the other tyres.
Grosjean They need to do something about it. It’s not fair.
To Grosjean Yeah it’s absolutely frustrating for you and for everyone, for all the work in this hot weekend. Anyway, thanks for bringing it home.
Grosjean Yeah some interesting stuff from the race. Anyway I’ll tell you. But good job everyone.
To Grosjean Copy that, good job.

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