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GP Week : Issue 190
With their eye firmly fixed of the rear end of sebastian Vettel's RB9, Mercedes failed to see the wood for the trees during sunday’s race around the streets of singapore, allowing their immediate opposition to undercut both of their drivers. Nico Rosberg nailed the start perfectly and was careful to match Vettel under braking at the first chicane, but lost out when the Red Bull driver stuck out his elbows, leaving Rosberg hung out to dry. While unable to match the initial pace of Vettel, Rosberg stroked the Mercedes with deft brake application and eventually began to take small bites out of the defending champion’s lead. Believing they were well and truly in the game, Mercedes ignored the chance to pit when a Safety Car was brought out by Daniel Ricciardo. At the restart, Vettel was able to pull out a three-second gap on Rosberg, who was by that point holding up Webber and teammate Lewis Hamilton. By the time all three had pitted, they had all lost valuable track position. A fight-back in the dying stages might have netted Rosberg and Hamilton fourth and fifth respectively, but it also allowed Kimi Raikkonen to steal any hope of a podium. Speaking to the media after the race, Rosberg blamed an aero abnormality for his drop in performance. “I had some rubber trapped in my front wing after the Safety Car period, which cost me quite a lot of performance for some laps and had an impact on my race because the tyres suffered more than would be normal,” he said. “We could perhaps have been second today but events in the race just didn't go our way.” Hamilton was equally disappointed with his race, but was pragmatic in his belief that the pace of the Mercedes wouldn't have necessarily yielded a different result even without the Safety Car. “While the timing of the Safety Car definitely didn't help us, we need to go back through our strategy and see what we could possibly have done differently in that situation,” he mused. “I'm not sure we could have done what Fernando [Alonso] and Kimi [Raikkonen] did by staying out on that set of tyres for so long.” Mercedes have now dropped seven points behind Ferrari in the constructors’ standings, putting the Brackley racers in third place. Mercedes (not) in the pits 35 GPWEEK.com // 35 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> SINGAPORE