Singapore Grand Prix Review
It wasn’t too long ago the critics of Formula 1 were growing in numbers and the old and tired accusations of a boring sport resurfaced. Lewis Hamilton was seemingly easing his way to yet another world title and would claim the prize almost unchallenged. The main rival, Sebastian Vettel, was out of form, driving a car not fit for purpose and fans were losing interest on a weekly basis.
Of course, as is often the case with opposition to F1, many of those accusations were built on sand and came tumbling down quite quickly. Things turned around during the summer and following a brief break in the schedule, it’s difficult to remember a time when things have been as competitive as they are now. Lewis Hamilton remains on top of the leader board but there are now snipers coming at him from all angles. He’s a man there to be shot at and the attacks are coming from his teammate as well as a few ambitious young drivers.
Lewis Hamilton now has a challenge on his hands and knows there will be no easy wins between now and the end of the season. He can no longer rely on his skill and a superior car to get him through. The Briton must, like he did in his prime, really push himself to his limit to hold off the challenges. Does he have what it takes to hold onto his prized possession? Bookmakers think so but there’s an increasing number of value hunters out there eager to take him on.
Vettel Finally Gets off the Mark
The Singapore Grand Prix took place on Sunday 22 September and it was a day that saw Ferrari crush Mclaren with a one-two result. Sebastian Vettel ended a painful 13-month wait for a Grand Prix win when showing his rivals the way home, boosting his points tally in the process and giving his championship challenge the kiss of life it needed. Will he now go on to push Hamilton and the main drivers? Not from here, but another two or three Grand Prix titles and he could go very close.
Vettel was followed home by teammate Charles Leclerc who has been utterly impressive in the second half of this season. He is a driver with the world at his feet and many in the know believe he will have no problems dominating when Lewis Hamilton decides to retire. That’s great news for Ferrari as the team have been battered from pillar to post in the press for much of this campaign. A first and second in Singapore helped silence the critics and remind everyone just what the red fury is capable of when everything goes to plan.
The Ferrari team had Red Bull driver Max Verstappen back in third and that helped their outright constructors’ championship chances. The damage has already been done in that race but an afternoon without McLaren on the podium served as a reminder that we can take nothing for granted in this sport. It was a day to remember for Ferrari, but followers of F1 know nothing is ever simple with the red team, and they managed to take the shine off their own win.
Leclerc Thought it was Unfair
Charles Leclerc, who is fast becoming a fans’ favourite, was asked by his pit team to play tactically and allow Seb Vettel to pass him into the lead. The driver did as instructed but informed handlers over his radio he thought it was unfair. Tensions were already simmering behind the scenes on that one and they now appear to be reaching boiling point. Leclerc is a talented and ambitious driver who will believe he has already proven himself the future of the team. To be asked to allow Vettel, a man without a Grand Prix title to his name this season, to pass whim wouldn’t have done anything for his confidence or team morale.
Vettel started third on the grid that day and was allowed to improve to first in a tactical move aimed at hurting Ferrari’s opponents. Charles Leclerc began from pole position but was asked to drop back a position at a vital time in the race when he believed he was on course for yet another Grand Prix victory that would have further boosted his stock in the sport. He’s the next best thing it would appear and that stands regardless of Sunday’s result. Having said that, it’s unlikely we have heard the last of this debate between driver and team. It will surely come to a head before the end of the season and F1 fans will wait patiently to see how things pan out.
Hamilton Remains Top of the Tree
Lewis Hamilton, despite a poor effort on Sunday, remains top of the tree in the driver’s championship. The British pilot has a tally of 296 points achieved thanks to eight Grand Prix wins. That leaves him ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas in second on 231 wins and two Grand Prix golds.
Next, we have Charles Leclerc in third on 200 and two wins. The third would have surely made more sense for both driver and Ferrari. Max Verstappen is fourth with 200 points and two wins, Seb Vettel now back in fifth. The German finally got off the mark and his points tally was moved to 194 as a result of the victory at the Singapore Grand Prix.
What’s next in this Formula 1 season? The Russian Grand Prix takes place at Sochi on 29 September and is followed by the Japanese Grand Prix on 13 October and Mexican Grand Prix on 27 October. The season ends on the opening day of December when the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be settled as Yas Marina and fans hope we have a title race to be sorted that day.