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2017 F1 Grand Prix of Singapore — Results & aftermath

Hamilton romps to victory after chaotic opening lap in rainy Singapore; Ricciardo survives to come home P2, Bottas P3; Vettel, Raikkonen & Verstappen crash out in Turn 1 melee

Mercedes ace Lewis Hamilton spoke of needing a miracle after qualifying a lowly P5 on Saturday in Singapore well behind the Ferraris and Red Bulls. On Sunday the weather and recklessness of his rivals gifted him a pivotal victory in the hunt for his fourth Drivers’ Championship. With a cloudburst hitting the already tricky Marina Bay Stret Circuit right before the start of the race, teams were forced to start on wet weather tires on a very slippery and now quite green track. But instead of feeling out conditions when the lights went out the Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen and the Red Bull of Max Verstappen decided to fight it out on the greasy asphalt going into Turn 1. It wound up taking all three contenders out and seriously damaged pole-sitter Vettel’s championship aspirations.

Starting from P4 on the grid, Raikkonen launched well and made a power move to the outside of the P2-placed Verstappen. At the same time Vettel moved his line to the left, squeezing the young Dutchman directly into the path of Raikkonen’s Ferrari. That spun Raikkonen into his teammate Vettel’s side pod and sent the veteran Finn careening across the track. Verstappen likely had a broken front suspension anyway after being the meat in the Ferrari sandwich but ironically Raikkonen’s unsteerably out of control car found him again, smashing into his side and doing unquestionably terminal damage to his Red Bull chassis. McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, who had made a dynamite start of his own, was collected by the two combatants as an innocent bystander, sending his car vaulting through the air and forcing the Spaniard to retire later in the race. Despite being able to continue past the initial point of contact, Vettel’s car had radiator leakage that caused a hard spin into the wall up the road form the main accident. Just like that the 4-time World Champion was also bounced out of the race before one full lap had been completed.

Pics courtesy GrandPrix247.com

That meant that Hamilton, who avoided the carnage skillfully, was now the front runner at a circuit that generally ill-suits the longer wheel base Mercedes. Given such a gift, the English championship contender never relinquished that lucky lead and cruised home to a significant victory that saw him extend his advantage over Vettel to 28 points in the race for the title. Despite a representative drive from Ricciardo in the last remaining Red Bull, which finished P2, Hamilton was untouchable on wet tires and then dry rubber when the surface finally was ready for slicks. As the old saying goes, luck is the residue of design and while everything that could go right for Hamilton certainly did in Singapore he still kept his nose clean and let others make the unforced errors. Hamilton has now won the last three Grand Prix on the trot and must be extra confident claiming victory in a place where a podium would have been considered a very good result before the state of the race.

Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas was also a big beneficiary of the melee up front, vaulting himself from a poor P6 start all the way to the last step of the podium with a P3 finish. That drove home just how disastrous a day it was for Ferrari on a track where they had aspirations of a 1-2 finish and instead got zero points. Because of the Scuderia’s untimely double DNF Mercedes extended their lead in the Constructors battle to a whopping 98 points.

Further back in the field, Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz also had good fortune when his future teammate Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault suffered race-ending hydraulic issues. The Spaniard drove a very smart and consistent race to take a terrific P4, showing his future French employers that they made the right choice in hiring him for 2018. Force India’s Sergio Perez also kept it clean and finished a solid P5. The man Sainz is replacing at Renault, Jolyon Palmer, had his best finish of the year with what must have been a bittersweet P6. The lone surviving McLaren of Stoffel Vandoorne also ran well with a valuable P7 for the beleaguered team form Woking. And Williams rookie Lance Stroll had a quietly remarkable race battling back from a lowly P18 starting position all the way up to P8. Romain Grosjean was P9 for Haas and Esteban Ocon took the last points-paying position at P10 in his Force India.

Top 10 finishers of the Singapore Grand Prix:

1 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 58 2:03:23.544 25
2 3 Daniel Ricciardo RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 58 +4.507s 18
3 77 Valtteri Bottas MERCEDES 58 +8.800s 15
4 55 Carlos Sainz TORO ROSSO 58 +22.822s 12
5 11 Sergio Perez FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 58 +25.359s 10
6 30 Jolyon Palmer RENAULT 58 +27.259s 8
7 2 Stoffel Vandoorne MCLAREN HONDA 58 +30.388s 6
8 18 Lance Stroll WILLIAMS MERCEDES 58 +41.696s 4
9 8 Romain Grosjean HAAS FERRARI 58 +43.282s 2
10 31 Esteban Ocon FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 58 +44.795s 1

Complete race results available via Formula1.com.

The next race is in two weeks time from Malaysia. Will Vettel and Ferrari overcome their dreadful disappointment at Singapore to get back into the championship hunt? Or will Hamilton’s winning ways continue for a stranglehold on the title? Hope to see you then to find out!

2017 F1 Grand Prix of Singapore — Qualifying results

Vettel seizes pole for Ferrari in Singapore; Verstappen P2 & Ricciardo P3 for Red Bull; Mercedes struggle

After showing subpar speed during all three practice sessions, Sebastian Vettel and his Ferrari shone brightest under the beautiful lights of the Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore when it mattered most. The German 4-time champion earned a dominant pole for tomorrow’s race with a blistering track record quali lap of 1:39.491. Vettel’s heroics came at Red Bull’s expense, as it seemed for a while that their wunderkind Max Verstappen might become the youngest F1 driver to earn a pole position. But Vettel, the man who set that record when he earned his first pole at the age of 21 years, 72 days in 2008 at Monza, spoiled the 19-year-old Vertstappen’s potential party on that count. Nevertheless Red Bull must be well pleased with their slippery chassis’ starting positions with Verstappen on the front row alongside Vettel in P2 and teammate Daniel Ricciardo right behind in P3. Vettel’s Ferrari stablemate Kimi Raikkonen came home fourth fastest so it should make for a very interesting opening lap in anger with the first two rows a combative Ferrari-Red Bull mix.

Further behind were the two Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, who qualified P5 and P6 respectively. Though potentially damaging to Hamilton’s championship pursuit on a track where it is notoriously hard to overtake the subpar result was not altogether a surprise for the Silver Arrows. Mercedes even struggled at Singapore last year when they had no true competition in the Constructors’ fight. It is simply a track where their usual straight line speed advantage is nullified by the Marina Bay’s twisty nature and lack of long flat out sections and the fact that they are just not quite nimble enough without that power edge to make up the difference to their main rivals. Their best hope for tomorrow is to run clean and hope there is a damaging tangle between the Ferraris and Red Bulls up front. As unpredictable as Verstappen and Raikkonen can be that is not that bad a bet.

Nico Hulkenberg qualified a very solid P7 for Renault, while besieged McLaren had a rare bright moment with both of their cars getting into the top 10. Fernando Alonso was P8 while Stoffel Vandoorne was P9. Ironically it came on the same weekend that McLaren announced that they were divorcing their engine supplier Honda and switching to Renault power for 2018. But again horsepower is not the main thing in Singapore so it’s the McLaren chassis that really deserves the credit in this instance. Carlos Sainz had the tenth fastest time for Toro Roso and he also made news when it was announced that he will be loaned out to the Renault factory team for next season to partner Hulkenberg and replace Jolyon Palmer. Bringing the game of musical chairs full circle Toro Roso will switch to Honda power in place of their current Renault engines for 2018.

Top 10 qualifiers for the Singapore GP:

1 5 Sebastian Vettel FERRARI 1:43.336 1:40.529 1:39.491 19
2 33 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 1:42.010 1:40.332 1:39.814 18
3 3 Daniel Ricciardo RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 1:42.063 1:40.385 1:39.840 18
4 7 Kimi Räikkönen FERRARI 1:43.328 1:40.525 1:40.069 18
5 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 1:42.455 1:40.577 1:40.126 17
6 77 Valtteri Bottas MERCEDES 1:43.137 1:41.409 1:40.810 16
7 27 Nico Hulkenberg RENAULT 1:42.586 1:41.277 1:41.013 18
8 14 Fernando Alonso MCLAREN HONDA 1:42.086 1:41.442 1:41.179 20
9 2 Stoffel Vandoorne MCLAREN HONDA 1:42.222 1:41.227 1:41.398 19
10 55 Carlos Sainz TORO ROSSO 1:42.176 1:41.826 1:42.056 20

Complete qualifying results available via Formula1.com.

Tomorrow’s race airs live starting 8AM Eastern on NBC Sports here in the States. Can Mercedes battle back to relevance at their own personal bogey track? Will Ferrari and Vettel rule the day? Or will Red Bull come up aces under the lights? Hope to see you then to find out!

2016 F1 Grand Prix of Singapore — Results & aftermath

Rosberg edges out Ricciardo for victory in Singapore, reclaims Championship lead; Hamilton only good for enough P3

Nico Rosberg continued his run of fine form and drove a flawless race from pole to claim victory at the beautifully lit Marina Bay Circuit in Singapore on Sunday evening, holding off the surging Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo by just half a second as the checkered flag flew. While the Mercedes driver dominated for most of the day the pace of Riccardo in the closing stages of the race forced Rosberg to forego a final pit stop and nurse his older tires to the end, which accounted for much of Ricciardo’s late-race gains. Regardless, Rosberg has now won three races in a row after the summer break, regaining his previously stalled momentum and recapturing the Championship points lead. With his victory, Rosberg vaulted past his teammate and archrival Lewis Hamilton and now leads the chase for the title by 8 points with only 6 Grand Prix remaining.

Pics courtesy GrandPrix247.com

Pics courtesy GrandPrix247.com

Rosberg’s win capped a frustrating weekend for Hamilton. Not only did he see his points lead evaporate but he could never really overcome his disappointing qualifying effort after technical issues in Friday practice. In the end Hamilton couldn’t make any real headway against Ricciardo but held off the competitive Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen and finished where he started, P3, flummoxed by his inability to wring any more speed from his usually nonpareil WO7 chassis, as well as persistent brake overheating issues. After winning 6 of 7 contests before the break, Hamilton has now lost that superb momentum through a combination of technical issues, misfortune and his own mistakes, particularly his poor start at Monza two weeks ago. Now that fortune seems to have returned its favor to his teammate in this back-and-forth season, it is now up to Hamilton to somehow try to wrestle back the lead from Rosberg. With Hamilton seeking his fourth title and Rosberg still hunting his first both drivers will be amply motivated for the closing contests. Whoever takes the crown will certainly have earned it and so evenly matched are the Silver Arrows teammates in their supreme cars that it may come down to a simple stroke of luck for one or the other.


For Ricciardo and Red Bull it was very good race that saw their always aero-efficient chassis excel on the tight and twisty Marina Bay street circuit. Riccardo drove beautifully and even made Mercedes nervous with his closing pace. His eventual P2 helped the team stay 15 points clear of Ferrari in the all-important Constructor’s standings. His teammate Max Verstappen was not as successful, once again struggling to get away from the line, where he started from P4, and getting somewhat caught up in a big shunt by Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg as the race got underway. The wunderkind had to battle back all race long with the likes of Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat and eventually finished a decent but somewhat underwhelming P6. The Dutch phenom has now struggled to some degree in the last three races as the reality of just how difficult attaining consistent success in F1 sinks in. But to his credit he kept it out of the wall and raced cleanly despite his frustrations so that bodes well for his maturity going forward.


The two Ferrari’s split the Red Bulls with Raikkonen driving well to take P4 just a little over 2 seconds behind Hamilton, although he might have been even closer to a podium if the Scuderia hadn’t opted for a late tire change, and Sebastian Vettel making a brilliant run from all the way in the back of the field to capture P5. It was an astonishing drive for Vettel on a track where passing is notoriously difficult, as he used smart tire strategy, patience and opportunistic overtaking to overcome mechanical problems that doomed his qualifying and show once again how good the 4-time world champ can be when he has the bit between his teeth. Fernando Alonso also drove extremely well bringing his McLaren home an impressive P7, while Sergio Perez carried the flag for Force India after his teammate Hulkenberg’s first lap crash out to take a valuable P8. Daniil Kvyat rediscovered some of his 2015 form at his favorite venue and drove an excellent race, coming home with much needed points for Toro Rosso in P9, the team’s first score in 4 races. It was a pivotal confidence boost for the much-maligned Russian whose F1 future appears very much up in the air. Kevin Magnusson got the last points-paying position with P10 despite starting from P15 in his Renault. With decisions about next years drivers’ line up also hanging over the Dane that was also a key result and an exemplary drive in the usually pokey Renault.

Top 10 finishers in Singapore:

1 6 Nico Rosberg MERCEDES 61 1:55:48.950 25
2 3 Daniel Ricciardo RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 61 +0.488s 18
3 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 61 +8.038s 15
4 7 Kimi Räikkönen FERRARI 61 +10.219s 12
5 5 Sebastian Vettel FERRARI 61 +27.694s 10
6 33 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 61 +71.197s 8
7 14 Fernando Alonso MCLAREN HONDA 61 +89.198s 6
8 11 Sergio Perez FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 61 +111.062s 4
9 26 Daniil Kvyat TORO ROSSO FERRARI 61 +111.557s 2
10 20 Kevin Magnussen RENAULT 61 +119.952s 1

Complete race results available via Formula1.com.

The next race is in two weeks time from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. With the championship tight as a tick and the season down to only 6 more races every lap is ever more crucial. Hope to see you then!

2016 F1 Grand Prix of Singapore — Qualifying results

Rosberg takes pole in Singapore, Hamilton only good enough for P3; Red Bull’s Ricciardo splits the Mercedes with impressive P2

If there was a blot on Mighty Mercedes’ record during their dominant 2015 campaign it was their underwhelming performance in the Singapore Grand Prix. But this year it appears that the Silver Arrows have eliminated even that small spot of weakness, as Nico Rosberg took pole in Saturday qualifying under the dazzling lights at the Marina Bay Circuit. He set his fast time early in Q3 but his teammate and archrival, Lewis Hamilton, could never catch him. In fact, it was the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo who came closest, beating Hamilton to P2 on the grid by just under a tenth of second. With Lewis starting on Row 2 now and his newly relevant clutch-bite starting issues it could be that Rosberg may well keep his recent momentum up and  recapture the championship points lead. But the tight street circuit can bite at any time and Hamilton is always a determined opponent so expect nothing less than the two Mercedes teammates    duking it out for the victory in Round 15 with only 6 races left in the season after tomorrow.

Ricciardo’s Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen struggled somewhat with his tires but was still quick enough for P4. In truth this tight and windy course suits the very well balance RB12 chassis so if anyone is going to pull an upset and beat Mercedes it could well be one of the Red Bulls. My money would be on Riccardo, as Verstappen will likely struggle to keep his car out of the walls just as he seems to always do at Monaco. Kimi Raikkonen took P5 for Ferrari with a decent run but his teammate Sebastian Vettel will have to start from the back after he experienced some sort of breakage to his rear suspension in Q1. It will be extremely difficult for the German former 4-time World Champion to fight his way to the front on this sort of track and Ferrari seem doomed to have another poor points haul in the Constructors’ Championship compared to their nearest competitor, Team Red Bull, no matter how high Raikkonen places.

The two Toro Rosso’s were quite impressive and gave the team a well-needed lift after several weeks of poor results, with Carlos Sainz fast enough for P6 and Daniil Kvyat showing shades of his 2015 form in P7. Force India also did well, with Nico Hulkenberg fast enough for P8 and Sergio Perez P10 [Perez was later slapped with an 8-spot grid penalty for failing to slow sufficiently under a double-yellow brought out by a shunt by Haas’ Romain Grosjean’s in Q2] , while McLaren’s Fernando Alonso split them with a P9 after teammate Jenson Button clipped the wall in Q2 and failed to advance.

Top 10 qualifiers in Singapore:

1 6 Nico Rosberg MERCEDES 1:45.316 1:43.020 1:42.584 12
2 3 Daniel Ricciardo RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 1:44.255 1:43.933 1:43.115 12
3 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 1:45.167 1:43.471 1:43.288 12
4 33 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 1:45.036 1:44.112 1:43.328 12
5 7 Kimi Räikkönen FERRARI 1:44.964 1:44.159 1:43.540 12
6 55 Carlos Sainz TORO ROSSO FERRARI 1:45.499 1:44.493 1:44.197 14
7 26 Daniil Kvyat TORO ROSSO FERRARI 1:45.291 1:44.475 1:44.469 15
8 27 Nico Hulkenberg FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 1:46.081 1:44.737 1:44.479 17
9 14 Fernando Alonso MCLAREN HONDA 1:45.373 1:44.653 1:44.553 15
10 11 Sergio Perez FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 1:45.204 1:44.703 1:44.582 20

Complete qualifying results alive via Formula1.com.

Tomorrow’s race airs live starting at 8AM Eastern on NBC Sports here in the States. Hope to see you then!

2015 F1 Grand Prix of Singapore — Results & aftermath

Ferrari lights up the night Singapore with Vettel victorious and Raikkonen 3rd; Ricciardo runner up for Red Bull; Hamilton DNFs

Sebastian Vettel ruled the race in Singapore for Ferrari in throwback fashion, running away at the start and then controlling the Grand Prix from the front, the patented style that served him so well in winning 4 consecutive World Championships. Vettel showed again just how good a pilot he can be, dominating the beautifully illuminated night race from pole to checkers. His nearest pursuer, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricicardo, never seriously threatened the unflappable German. In fact, the top 3 finished exactly where they started: Vettel 1st, Ricciardo 2nd and the other Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen in 3rd. With both Scuderia drivers on the podium for the first time this year it was a banner day for the storied team from Maranello. Even better, both cars finished ahead of previously unstoppable Mercedes. That meant that Vettel closed the gap on Nico Rosberg for second in the Drivers’ Championship to a mere 8 points and Raikkonen jumped Williams’ Valtteri Bottas to take over fourth position with 6 races to go.

For Mercedes, it was an uncharacteristic lost weekend. After qualifying a lowly P5 on Saturday, Championship points leader Lewis Hamilton appeared to be biding his time early in the race, running in 4th with an alternate tire strategy and playing for a late charge. But his best laid plans were derailed, first by a bizarre mid-race caution for a spectator walking the track and then an electronic failure in his car that prevented him from applying full throttle power. The Englishman was forced to retire his Silver Arrow on Lap 33 so we’ll never know if he really had anything for the finish. My money would have been on the ultra-competitive Englishman to catch up to Raikkonen and at least make it a fight for the podium. Teammate Nico Rosberg fared better after his own engine failure two weeks ago at Monza and brought the car home for a solid if unspectacular P4. That reduced Rosberg’s deficit to Hamilton to 41 Championship points, although the German contender may have to worry more about being overtaken by his countryman Vettel than actually catching Hamilton. Chances are, though, with all the remaining races being at high speed, low downforce tracks, Mercedes’ bad, streak-snapping weekend at Marina Bay will end up being a one-off disappointment during an otherwise uninterrupted march to another Constructors’ Championship.


Valtteri Bottas had a very strong P5 for Williams, especially considering that the FW37 really struggles in high downforce configuration. His teammate Felipe Massa, however, had his race ruined when Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg crashed into him as Massa exited the pits on Lap 14. Hulkenberg, who was found culpable and penalized 3 grid spots for the next race, was out on impact and the Brazilian veteran was forced to retire with gearbox issues on Lap 31. Continue reading

2015 F1 Grand Prix of Singapore — Qualifying results

Ferrari ascendent in Singapore as Vettel takes Pole, Raikonnen 3rd; Ricciardo P2 for Red Bull — Hamilton & Mercedes’ Qualifying streaks snapped

Pictures via GrandPrix247.com

Pictures via GrandPrix247.com

The Mercedes Silver Arrows experienced a rare stumble in Saturday Qualifying at the tight, twisty Marina Bay street circuit in Singapore. With the team going for a record-tying 24th consecutive pole position and their star driver Lewis Hamilton attempting to tie Ayrton Senna’s individual diver record of 8 consecutive poles, both were denied by the blistering pace of Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari. Vettel, who like many suspected Mercedes of hiding their pace in practice, instead dominated the field, coming home a full half second ahead of the charging Red Bull of Aussie Daniel Ricciardo. Vettel’s Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen was third fastest, making it avery good day for the Scuderia in Singapore. Ricciardo’s teammate Daniil Kvyat was able to come home in P4, so even as Red Bull and engine supplier Renault enter the final phase of a messy divorce, the union experienced its best qualifying performance of the season. Go figure.

For the Mercedes factory team, things were just as mixed up if not more so. With the previously supreme Hamilton able to muster a time only good enough for 5th on the grid and his lesser half Nico Rosberg taking a modest P6, this was Mercedes’ worst Quali performance since the Schumacher/Ross Brawn days. And with their record-breaking efforts and aura of dominance dented, it’s definitely hard to see them pulling out a victory come race day tomorrow. The team simply has not been able to get their rear tires to perform in practice or qualifying so far this weekend and there’s no reason to believe they can cure that problem before the lights go out on Sunday. However, taking the long view, it could simply be that the high downforce nature of Marina Bay does not play to their massive horsepower advantage, enabling the slower but more planted Ferraris and Red Bulls to equal and even surpass the Silver Arrows’ normal advantages. With nothing but high speed purpose built tracks remaining on the calendar after this race, it’s more than likely that Mercedes and Hamilton will just write off Singapore as that one time all year they could not quite get to grips with the circuit, redouble their efforts going forward and then begin stomping everyone again for the last six races of the season.

Less surprising, the nearly as powerful Mercedes-powered Williams chassis also struggled with their high downforce configuration, as they always seem to do. Valtteri Bottas could do no better than P7 on the grid and Felipe Massa, two weeks removed from a sparkling podium at mega-fast Monza, found himself mired back in P9. Rounding out the top ten, rookie Max Verstappen was an impressive P8 for Toro Rosso and Romain Grosjean was 10th fastest for Lotus.

Top 10 Qualifiers in Singapore:

1 5 SEBASTIAN VETTEL  FERRARI 1:46.017 1:44.743 1:43.885 14
2 3 DANIEL RICCIARDO  RED BULL RACING 1:46.166 1:45.291 1:44.428 17
3 7 KIMI RÄIKKÖNEN  FERRARI 1:46.467 1:45.140 1:44.667 17
4 26 DANIIL KVYAT  RED BULL RACING 1:45.340 1:44.979 1:44.745 15
5 44 LEWIS HAMILTON  MERCEDES 1:45.765 1:45.650 1:45.300 16
6 6 NICO ROSBERG  MERCEDES 1:46.201 1:45.653 1:45.415 17
7 77 VALTTERI  BOTTAS  WILLIAMS 1:46.231 1:45.887 1:45.676 20
8 33 MAX VERSTAPPEN  TORO ROSSO 1:46.483 1:45.635 1:45.798 16
9 19 FELIPE MASSA  WILLIAMS 1:46.879 1:45.701 1:46.077 19
10 8 ROMAIN GROSJEAN  LOTUS 1:46.860 1:45.805 1:46.413 18

Complete qualifying results available via Formula1.com.

Tomorrow’s Grand Prix airs live on NBC Sports Network at 8AM Eastern. Look for a throwback Ferrari-Red Bull duel with Mercedes in the uncharacteristic position of fighting for good points rather than the win. But then this beautifully lit but narrow street race has a history of crashes and bizarre events that turn predictions on their head. So best to tune in and see how it all plays out for yourself!