Grand Prix 2017 Singapore Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

So every year I write the Singapore intro thread. I have concluded from this that I am the only person who actually likes the Singapore Grand Prix. I know it’s a hastily put together micky mouse street circuit in a country with no fan base, but I can’t help it, I think it looks amazing under the lights and I love the closed in walled racing. I know Bahrain and Abu Dhabi do night racing now but just something about Singapore that gets me excited. I guess it’s a bit like the way Monaco gets me excited. I know we’re not going to get a lot of overtaking and the race might have some very dull moments but I can’t help but enjoy it. I think its just something about the tension of street circuits I like. The fact that it could all go wrong at any moment is just good watching.

This is the 10th Singapore Grand Prix and all 9 previous races have talking points. The most notorious one of course was the very first race in 2008 where the result was Nelson Piqueted after a conspiracy to fix the result. Pat Symonds is back now days so I’m hoping Sky will go over to him live on the pit wall and ask “So Pat is now a good time to get one of your drivers to deliberately crash?” – I doubt they will though as the whole thing has been brushed under the carpet. The driver the result was fixed to please was of course Fernando Alonso, although he knew nothing about it. Apparently. For legal purposes that's all I'm saying. Alonso was at the time in a team that used to be a front runner but had slipped to the back and not getting results. Alonso has been increasingly frustrated all season, sounding off in the press and the media and saying he was leaving to join a competitive team to get his third title. How times change huh?

For a change I thought I’d do a team by team look through:

Mercedes:

Thanks to a combination of engine jiggery pokery with the rules and some great form by Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes have powered their way back to the front through the high speed circuits. Singapore is a very different kettle of fish though and will certainly pull them back to the rest of the grid. Their saving factor will of course be Lewis Hamilton’s good form and he is pretty nifty round Singapore even if he hasn’t got the results he sometimes deserved. Bottas was obviously told during the summer that he is a number 2 driver and has slipped into the background and I expect that to continue.

Ferrari:

Ladies and Gentlemen we are now entering the Vettel zone! Yes the back end of the season (excluding the US and Brazil) has always been a sweet patch for Seb and I fully expect that to continue. He has always been top notch around Singapore and I think he’s probably favourite to win. His team mate on the other hand has an awful record at Singapore. I expect him to hit a wall or another car and then complain about it on the radio.

Red Bull:

This track has to be viewed by Red Bull as somewhere they can win. Ricciardo jokingly said he expected to lap the whole field in Singapore. He is pretty sharp round here like all street circuits and if he sniffs a win or a podium he usually goes all out. As does his team mate Max Verstappen. Usually I’d make a comment about Max, street circuits and walls but he is much improved on that front this year. I imagine he’ll be able to compete for the win as long as his car holds together. Everyone seems very keen to have a Ricciardo vs Verstappen fight (as long as Verstappen wins)

Force India:

Apparently the two Force India drivers aren’t allowed to race anymore. We never got to find out if either of them agreed to that as Ocon was away in the distance from Perez. This is a trend I expect to continue. I’m pretty sure Perez has brought a safety car out at every single Singapore Grand Prix he has raced at.

Williams:

Everyone is praising Williams return to form and coming back to the front. They were on high speed circuits though. Back to the back here, do not pass go, do not collect £200

Haas:

Haas seem to be on an upward spiral at the moment but this hasn’t stopped Grosjean complaining about everyone and everything. Magnussen has impressed me with his resolve and attitude this year and seems to be a match for Grosjean most of the time. I’m hoping he’ll have some close combat with Hulkenberg and talk about balls again.

Torro Rosso:

Has anyone seen Torro Rosso recently? Do they still race anymore?

Renault:

There are signs that the Renault could be a competitive car but they are very fleeting. Hulkenberg is pretty much just going about his business but even he has struggled to get results. Palmer has so many car issues even his transponder has stopped working and was shown as 4 laps down in monaza at one point despite running 13th. Palmer has found himself in an intense unlikely rivalry with Alonso in the last couple of races. Basically Palmer came on the radio in Spa and complained that Alonso ran him off the road. Everyone knows complaining on the radio is Alonso’s thing so its no wonder he is annoyed. Palmer actually has good form round here. I remember him winning the GP2 race, held in the searing heat of the day back then, by a country mile. He certainly needs to start clocking results.

Sauber:

Sauber like Torro Rosso have gone MIA but we do see them on occasions because their drivers like to collide with each other at least once a race. Marcus Ericson (This will be his 70th Grand Prix by the way which seems crazy) is allowed to hit Wehrlein as much as he likes because he owns the team. Wehrlein is very gloomy as he’s gone from being about to jump into a Mercedes seat to not being in F1 next year. When he and Ocon tested for Force India they were very evenly match but Force India took Ocon because the mechanics got on with him better. If only someone had told Wehrlein being nice to people would get him places! I've never really been able to decide whether I rate Wehrlein or not but being made to go back and race DTM does make me feel sorry for the lad.

Mclaren:

What to say about Mclaren? Well Singapore should even things out engine wise for them and as they are meant to have one of the best chassis should put them in the mix. This is assuming of course that the cars keep running. Its not being talked about much but Vandorne is pretty much keeping pace with Alonso – certainly within in the last few races. He was 10 seconds ahead in Monza before his engine packed up. Vandorne vs Alonso would be a fight well worth watching. Lets hope the engines hold out. On a serious note though I expect both Mclarens to have top 10 finishes and Alonso could even come alive and push close to a podium - lets hope its not after a safety car caused by this team mate though.

So that’s the scene for Singapore. It could be a classic or it could be dull as dishwater. Whichever it is it will certainly look good!
 
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marksawatsky

Podium Finisher
Contributor
I noticed during this weekend that nearly all the drivers have a press agent following them around with a microphone in their face while being interviewed by the media, and the cameramen are usually getting them in the shot. Seems like there could be a better way of doing this
 

vintly

Mostly bacon
Premium Contributor
I wouldn't be surprised to see an attempt to amend the rules regarding weaving off the start, especially or only at street races where there is no run-off into turn 1. It would be wrong and futile, but wouldn't be surprised.
 

TR

Rookie
[QUOTE="F1Brits_90, post: 328045, member: 4479]... but where did red bull pace go every time pack was closed up Lewis pulled away. which is strange as red bull were thrashing mercedes all weekend by constant 6/7tenths.[/QUOTE]

I think that in part this was a consequence of the engine power deficit. Red Bull's pace advantage was set in mostly free air, allowing them to maximize their aero advantage. At the restarts, RIC was obviously in Hamilton's dirty air. At same time, HAM probably had his engine turned up to 11 at the restarts to pull out a lead.
 

F1Brits_90

Champion Elect
i am fan of Lewis. but im gutted about vettels idiocy squeezing max. has ruined the championship & has robbed the fans of what was looking a fantastic title showdown in abu dhabi. like 2010 or 2014. instead barring mechicical issues will be realistically over by mexico & offically interlagos where a 6th place will be good enough
 

RasputinLives

Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Contributor
Interesting comments from Lewis about the start line crash. He was saying that when you go off the grid from pole that you can't initially see the guy in 2ND place. He says your natural instinct is to come across and cover your ground and it's only then you can see them. He suggests that's what Vettel did and by the time he could see where everyone was it was too late.

It's an interesting view and if you do look at Hamilton's starts he does move across as well (maybe not as much as Vettel) so makes sense.

In all the big start line crashes I can remember there has always been a fast starting car coming down the far side of the track to where the pole man sits (perfectly fairly) that has caught people out.

As much as people like to have a bad guy for every incident I think this one sits squarely in the racing incident section.

I guess that doesn't make as good headlines as 'Vettel fears Verstappen' though.
 

The Pits

Harumph. Again.
Valued Member
I recall one of the drivers started to use Indy car style spotters at one point. Maybe worth a go, one for the teams to look at?
 
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