We've had Safety Car periods in each and every Singapore Grand Prix held so far and this time we didn't have one but two Safety Car periods. The mid race timing and number of laps spent under Safety Car forced teams to change their strategies. We tell you how.
Three stoppers forced to make two tops
Like last year, it was expected that the majority of drivers will be opting for three stop strategy with only a few drivers gambling on one requiring two stops(Like Di Resta in 2011). And it was gonna turn out to be that way - most drivers making their first stops during lap 10-14. Most drivers made their second and final stop under the Safety Car which came out on lap 33. Notable exception was Fernando Alonso who had already made his stop of lap 29. Marshals took their time to remove Karthikeyan's car from the track and Safety Car went in only on lap 38. On the very same lap, Schumacher missed his breaking point crashing heavily into the back of Jean Eric Vergne bringing out the Safety Car again.
In total, over 10 laps were spent under the Safety Car. Tyre wear during this period is very low as drivers aren't required to push. This allowed drivers to stretch the tyres till the end. Moreover, drivers switched to soft prime tyres in the end which are more durable than super softs. Had a top-runners made a 3 pit stop and come out of ahead of traffic, story could have been different.
Drivers who had planned for a two stop suffered
While three stop seemed to be the default strategy, many drivers had planned to go on a two stop strategy, notably Hulkenberg and Perez. They were running in 5th and 6th place respectively under the first Safety Car period. However, the timing of the second Safety Car which came out right after the first one hurt their strategy. The gap between drivers closed under the first Safety Car and when they both pitted under the second one, they lost hell lot of positions. Further they were struck in traffic, and Hulkenberg collided with Kobayashi forcing him to make another stop.