Driving a Formula 1 car is an easy task. No wonder drivers suffered from dehydration after a hard two hour race on the streets of Singapore. Under these hot conditions, five drivers stood out of the rest and made it to this list of top five drivers from the Singapore Grand Prix. Jean Eric Vergne and Sergio Perez charged their way up the field in a race that was nothing less than a roller coaster ride for the duo. At the front, Lewis Hamilton showed true pace of his Mercedes W05 Hybrid by setting lap times that were as much as three seconds quicker than rest of the field. Sebastian Vettel did a fine job by keeping his Red Bull teammate at bay to record his best result of the season in second and book a place in this list.
Until the Safety Car was deployed mid-race for marshals to clear the debris scattered on track after contact between Sergio Perez and Adrian Sutil, it seemed like an easy lights to flag victory for Lewis Hamilton. With Rosberg out of the picture following an issue with the wiring loom on his steering wheel, all Hamilton had to do was to build and maintain a decent gap over the Red Bulls and the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen with both cars much slower than Hamilton’s Mercedes. But the safety car and the subsequent decision by rivals to continue on their current set of tyres till the end of the race completely changed the scenario. Hamilton now had to build a large enough gap over the retreating pack to come out in front of them after he made his obligatory switch to soft tyres(all his immediate rivals had tried both set of compounds and need not pit again). And that’s what the Brit successfully did. Pitting with a 26 seconds gap in hand, the 2008 world champion came out in second place behind Sebastian Vettel and with much fresher tyres, he swiftly passed him in one lap to take the retake the lead of the race.
After having lost out to Daniel Ricciardo in Italy, despite qualifying higher than the Australian on the grid, Vettel desperately needed a strong result. And that’s what he got in Singapore with a measured drive to season best second place. Not only he kept Ricciardo at bay, but also made sure the duo finished ahead of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso who had much fresher tyres, having made an additional stop under the safety car.
Felipe Massa may have finished a distant 42 seconds behind race winner Lewis Hamilton, but the Brazilian needs to be given credit for driving like his grandma to complete 38 laps on a single set of prime compounds - more than any driver - to take fifth place. The result helped Williams retain third place in the constructors standing .
Jean Eric Vergne
Jean Eric Vergne delivered one of his finest drivers in his three year F1 career, not long after Red Bull announced that he’ll be axed from their juniour team in 2015. For three quarters of the race, it was nothing more than an ordinary race for the Frenchman whose future in F1 very much lies in the air. In fact, he was attracting attention for all the wrong reasons. He was slapped with a five second penalty twice for forcing a car off the track. But on much fresher tyres, he blasted past drivers on the final few laps with apparent easy to equal his career best result of sixth place. Without those two penalties, he would have been right on the tail of Felipe Massa’s Williams.
Sergio Perez was another driver who put the hammer down in the last few laps to take seventh place at the chequered flag - a result that elevates Force India back to fifth place in the constructors championship. After falling a lap down to race leaders following his collision with Adrian Sutil and the subsequent pit stop for a new nose, the Mexican benefited from the new rules. He unlapped himself and soon find himself at the back of the pace, albeit in 17th place. Force India then brought him in his pit box for the fourth time and the 24 year old, now on option tyres, took full use of others tyre woes to overtake 10 drivers in last fifteen laps - with four of his moves coming in the final two laps.