I stayed in Singapore until Tuesday night, mainly because I was making an appearance for a personal sponsor, Richard Mille. I was pleased to stay on, because I enjoy visiting Singapore as the people are very welcoming and also the city is developing very quickly so there is always something new to see. I then returned home to Monaco and later this week, I will spend some days there just relaxing, after which it will be time to head off for Suzuka and the next important round of the championship.
As the Singapore Grand Prix was one of the races I had to miss last year, recovering from my accident, I was really looking forward to this year’s race, as a chance to try and get the result that escaped me in 2008. Two years ago, I produced what I consider one of my best ever qualifying performances to take pole position with a very big gap to the second placed man. Then, in a chaotic race, there was that infamous mistake at the pit stop, when I ended up driving down pit lane with the fuel hose still attached to the car.
Unfortunately, there was to be no making up for that unlucky weekend this time. Pole in 2008 was replaced with last on the grid and effectively my weekend was pretty much over from Saturday afternoon, when a problem on the car left me stuck out on track without even having completed one flying lap. But I’m not the sort to give up and in the debrief with the engineers on Saturday, we decided to go for a similar strategy to the one used by my team-mate Fernando in Monaco this year when he could not qualify either: as Marina Bay is also a street circuit, we felt there was a good chance that a Safety Car could come into play and at least let me move up a few places through a strategy gamble. That gamble did not pay off on Sunday evening, because having come in immediately to switch to the hard tyres, the Safety Car did come out, but really it was too early by maybe just one or two laps. Without that, I might have got in front of Hulkenberg and had a different sort of race. But, as it turned out, I had a rather boring, but very tough race. I was stuck in a train of slow cars with no possibility of overtaking and the heat and humidity feel even worse when you are in someone’s slipstream all the time. On top of that, I had to do almost the whole race on the one set of tyres, so that in the later stages, I really had to concentrate just to keep the car on track. You only had to see how fast Kubica was going after he switched to fresh tyres, to understand how difficult it was on the old ones.
In the end, I made up a few more places thanks to a couple of Stewards decisions after the race and although personally, it does not mean much to me, given that obviously my own hopes in the Drivers’ championship have gone, it did mean I got a couple more important points for Ferrari in the Constructors’ classification.