Prototype tire running limited due to weather

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Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery has spoken of his frustration following Friday’s free practice sessions where the prototype compound brought to the race failed to be evaluated due to the weather.

The first session on Friday morning was almost a complete washout, with times being set in the final fifteen minutes of the session only. As a result, the teams had to squeeze three hours worth of work into just ninety minutes, leaving little time for the prototype tire to be used extensively during FP2.

“Because of the rain, it meant that the drivers didn’t get as much running as they would have liked on the two sets of new prototype tyres that we brought here for free practice only, which is actually the same prototype hard tire that we brought to Spain last month,” Hembery said in a statement from Pirelli.

“On that occasion the running on this tire was curtailed again due to rain during free practice. So that was frustrating but not all together surprising this time, given that we’re in England!”

Even when the traditional British weather did subside and dry running was possible, the conditions were still not suitable for collecting data.

“This afternoon’s session finally had some running on the prototype tires but we did not gain a lot of data because of a lack of track time this morning,” Hembery explained.

“The medium and hard race compounds so far show a difference in lap time of around one second, but we still have plenty of data to analyse. With tomorrow and Sunday expected to be dry, it will be interesting to see how the teams adapt their strategies.”

Additionally, the FIA confirmed yesterday that in 2014 teams will be giving one extra set of tires that can only be used during the first thirty minutes of FP1.

Sergio Perez wins rain-delayed race in Singapore over Leclerc; Verstappen seventh

Sergio Perez Singapore
Clive Rose/Getty Images,
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SINGAPORE — Max Verstappen’s Formula One title celebrations were put on hold after the Red Bull driver placed seventh at a chaotic Singapore Grand Prix, won by his teammate Sergio Perez on Sunday.

Perez’s second win of the season saw him finish 7.6 seconds ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, with Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. in third place.

Perez was investigated for a potential safety car infringement but still kept the win after a 5-second time penalty for dropping too far back after being warned.

Verstappen had won the past five races but needed to win here and finish 22 points ahead of Leclerc to be crowned champion for a second straight season. That could happen next weekend at the Japanese GP.

Verstappen made a mistake after the second safety car restart, following AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda’s crash on Lap 36. When Verstappen tried to overtake Lando Norris’ McLaren, he locked his tires and needed to pit again.

Leclerc started from pole position with Verstappen going from eighth after a team blunder in qualifying.

The race start was delayed by more than an hour to clear water off the Marina Bay Circuit track following heavy rainfall. Drivers had to finish the 61-lap race within a two-hour window; 59 laps were completed.

Tricky conditions saw the virtual safety car deployed three times and DRS was allowed with about 30 minutes remaining.

Perez made a good start and jumped past Leclerc while Verstappen dropped several places. The first safety car was on Lap 8 when Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo was cut off by Nicholas Latifi’s Williams.

Perez got away cleanly at the restart, while Verstappen climbed into seventh behind Fernando Alonso – whose 350th F1 race ended disappointingly when his engine failed on Lap 21, bringing out the first VSC.

With the track still damp, drivers decided against changing to quicker tires – apart from Mercedes’ George Russell, who struggled for grip.

Hamilton made a rare mistake on Lap 33 and thudded into the crash barrier. Soon after, the leading drivers changed tires in a flurry of stops. They did so just before the safety car was deployed again following Tsunoda’s error.

Verstappen overtook Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin right at the end for seventh place.