This weekend marked a decade of racing under the lights of Singapore. It is hard to think that it’s even possible as it seems only recent that it was introduced to the extensive Formula 1 calendar. During practice, it was all Red Bull as they seemed to have a very strong set up with Ferrari following close behind. Mercedes seemed to be ‘struggling’ for a perfect set up and didn’t top any of the time sheets on Friday or Saturday. It was Sebastian Vette that took pole position ahead of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo by a good 0.323 of a second. Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton completed the top 5 as both McLarens achieved top 10 starting positions on the grid.
The start was probably the most entertaining so far this season, with many collisions occurring and many opinions on who was to blame for it all. It was also the first time Formula 1 had seen rain at this amazing venue. Sebastian Vettel didn’t get the best start and began to cover the inside line, meanwhile both Raikkonen and Verstappen got very good traction off the line and were heading deeper up the inside of Vettel. Essentially, both Ferraris began to squeeze the space between them which left Max Verstappen helpless in the middle of a Scuderia sandwich. Contact was made between all three cars, with the main impact being felt by Raikkonen and Verstappen. A very quick starting McLaren in the form of Fernando Alonso came steaming around the outside which looked like the start of the season, but soon came to an end when he was hit by the Ferrari and Red Bull that collided just before.
Vettel still held the lead as he exited turn two but with a fair amount of damage to the left side of his prancing horse. His lead didn’t last long however as he lost control upon acceleration and hit the wall, breaking his front wing and adding to the damage from turn 1 with a broken radiator. Hamilton thus took the lead and the race was immediately put under the safety car. Upon the restart, Hamilton got away well from Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg, who was running well in 3rd. His Renault team mate, Jolyon Palmer put a good move on Valterri Bottas to move up to 5th down into turn 1. Danil Kvyat understeered into the wall on lap 11 which made him the third retirement of the race after Verstappen and Raikkonen.
Vandoorne had a good battle with Massa coming out of the pits on lap 13 to which the Brazilian appeared to have won but due to the safety car being deployed he had to hand back the position to the young Belgian. Massa was then involved in another battle with Kevin Magnusson which was very tight when the two drivers nearly came together twice in two corners and with the added Force India of Esteban Ocon, things were close. The Dane came out on top to hold 12th position. Daniel Ricciardo pitted on lap 29 along with Valterri Bottas. Lewis Hamilton waited out a lap longer and had a massive gap so the pressure was off the Brit. Esteban Ocon and Magnusson continued their heated battle throughout. The Frenchman went around the outside of the Dane into turn one on lap 34 to take the position.
Another safety car was deployed after Marcus Ericsson spun, much to the frustration of Lewis Hamilton. The Brit built up a good lead once the safety car had retreated to the pits. Hamilton took victory in Singapore and extend his championship lead above Sebastian Vettel by 28 points. The podium was rounded off by Daniel Ricciardo and Valterri Bottas. Carlos Sainz and Jolyon Palmer achieved career best results with 4th and 6th respectively. Stoffel Vandoorne also finished well in 7th. An entertaining start and good battles all round in Singapore. We hope this excitement will come in the races to follow.