Formula One

Five things F1 learned: Singapore

After an unpredictable Singapore weekend which saw Lewis Hamilton take victory to extend his title lead to 28 points, what did we learn from this weekend?

 

Ferrari got secret power in them?

Red Bull dominated free practice but in qualifying, Ferrari and Mercedes turned up the power.

The Silver Arrows still struggled even with full horsepower but Ferrari who also seemed to struggle early on, went and snatched pole from Red Bull.

Could it well be that the Prancing Horse have benefitted from running their engines at lower level in Monza and will that decision prove beneficial as the latter stages of this season wears on?

 

McLaren take strides forward

McLaren have plenty of reasons to be happy with this weekend.

For starters, they haven’t encountered any major reliability problems all weekend. It’s a struggle to even think of a weekend this good for the McLaren Honda partnership.

Q1 saw them get in amongst the front runners before falling away to find themselves starting eighth and ninth on the grid.

Race day however saw contrasting emotions as Fernando Alonso got caught up in the start melee and had to retire from damage on lap nine.

Stoffel Vandoorne however flew the flag for McLaren against stronger midfield teams to bring home four precious points.

Next year will see a Renault engine in McLaren so they should look to this weekend as a building block for 2018, based on the car’s performance although they will gain more time without the Honda power holding them back..

 

Red Bull makes gains

Red Bull benefitted from this track needing high downforce to help them get in amongst the two leading teams.

For the first time in years, they dominated the three practice sessions with 1-2 finishes in both of Friday’s sessions. Saturday then saw both drivers encountered issues in P3 but both managed to out qualify Mercedes for the first time in a while.

Rain prevented them from showing their full potential in the race itself. It all went wrong from lap one when Max Verstappen got squeezed out by both Ferrari cars and suffered his seventh retirement of 2017.

Daniel Ricciardo if had defended from Lewis Hamilton better, certainly would of won the race. Alas that was where he realistically lost the race because Hamilton doesn’t tend to relinquish leads unless circumstances take hold.

 

Midfield duels

This year’s Singapore Grand Prix will certainly be remembered for the midfield duels between Williams, Haas, Force India’s Esteban Ocon and Vandoorne.

Lance Stroll benefitted from this race the most because he kept his cool and didn’t let the drama occurring behind him affect his race to eighth.

Stroll Singapore
Lance Stroll racing to 8th in the 2017 Singapore GP. http://www.williamsf1.com/racing/gallery

 

Felipe Massa, Ocon and Kevin Magnussen produced some strong battles, particularly after the second safety car when they touched each other on several occasions.

In the end, Stroll, Romain Grosjean and Ocon will be happy to bring home the lower point placings. As for the Constructors championship, Toro Rosso will of closed the gap to Williams from 15 to 7 in the fight for fifth.

Renault overtook Haas courtesy of Jolyon Palmer’s sixth place result, leapfrogging them into seventh with 42 points to Haas’ 37.

 

Shining Sainz

My driver of the day has to be Carlos Sainz J.r because he took advantage of the wet start and in race mayhem to get up and push Valtteri Bottas for most of this race.

He too had to defend from the newly resigned Sergio Perez of Force India in a Toro Rosso, which has less horsepower.

At start of weekend, he had signed a loan deal to join Renault from 2018 yet today, he came close to a podium, before settling for 12 key points in both the driver and constructor championships.

If that isn’t a drive of the day, what is drive of the day?

 

Missed any of the previous race round ups or the half term report? Click on the relevant link below and you can get up to speed.

 

 

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