Login | Create Account Poll Currency Weather Facebook Youtube Search

F1 enters final phase in Singapore

FORMULA ONE: The 2018 Formula One season is entering its final act, and Sebastian Vettel is running out of time to decisively strike back against championship leader Lewis Hamilton.

By Michael Lamonato

Friday 14 September 2018, 03:42PM

Car parts fly as Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel crash during the Italian Formula One Grand Prix on Sept 2. Photo: Guiseppe Cacace / AFP

Car parts fly as Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel crash during the Italian Formula One Grand Prix on Sept 2. Photo: Guiseppe Cacace / AFP

Memories of the warm and unpredictable European summer are already cooling as the sport prepares for its seven-stop leg of long-haul races that will decide the championship, starting with this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday (Sept 16).

But in the sweltering conditions of the tight and twisty confines of the Marina Bay street circuit, the strain of which is tempered only slightly by the race’s spectacular night-time setting, memories of a different kind will return to haunt the sport’s protagonists.

Mercedes will look to Singapore with a degree of trepidation given its string of substandard form on the Marina Bay streets in recent years.

The Silver Arrows infamously fumbled at the night race in its otherwise dominant 2015 season, qualifying fifth and sixth and ending the race with just one car in fourth position, and last year the outlook was much the same.

Mercedes again started the race from fifth and sixth, having been comprehensively out-qualified by Ferrari and the street-specialist Red Bull Racing, and it was only a sprinkling of rain and Ferrari’s lap-one friendly-fire that paved the way for Hamilton record an unlikely but ultimately decisive victory.

The spectre of that crash will hang heavy over Sebastian Vettel this year. Last year he arrived in Singapore trailing Hamilton by just three points, but an overzealous defence of his lead on the first lap ended in disaster and left him with a 28-point deficit to the Briton he failed to close by season’s end.

This year he not only enters with a 30-point shortfall already well established, but he also carries the baggage of having thrown away a sure-fire one-two finish for Ferrari at the team’s home Italian Grand Prix through driver error.

The German was pilloried by the Italian media in the aftermath given his growing history of dropping points through silly mistakes, and only a strong performance in Singapore, where Ferrari is expected to hold an advantage, will suffice in reply.

But things haven’t all been calm inside Ferrari despite the team fielding the fastest car, if only by a small margin – as rumours had been rife for the better part of the last two weeks that management was preparing to replace Kimi Raikkonen with development driver and Sauber rookie Charles Leclerc.

Leclerc has been impressive in his debut season with the Swiss team, so much so that former Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne was reportedly considering switching him into Raikkonen’s seat after the midseason break – but when Marchionne had his life cut short in July after complications arising from surgery, the plan was shelved.

Confirmation of Leclerc’s move was confirmed on Tuesday (Sept 11) and is one of the final pieces of the complex driver market puzzle to fall into place after McLaren confirmed it would be replacing sophomore driver Stoffel Vandoorne with its British Formula Two protégé Lando Norris.

With seven races remaining, on-track action to decide the 2018 championship will be matched by off-track freneticism to decide the 2019 driver line-up.

Don’t forget to listen to Live89.5 each and every Saturday at 9am and 5pm for the Box of Neutrals radio show.



Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

Comments Here:
Comments Left:
# Characters

Be the first to comment.

Have a news tip-off? Click here


Phuket community
New Zealand mosque attack suspect charged with murder

3) Yes, we all know that Bryant was convicted. Facts ? It is still early days & a lot more inves...(Read More)

New Zealand mosque attack suspect charged with murder

1) Mental Condition as per Section 32 of the Mental Health Act "cognitive impairment"--an...(Read More)

Woman killed by sleeping pickup driver

So many crashes, injuries and deaths for such a tiny island, it's like russian roulette out ther...(Read More)

New Zealand mosque attack suspect charged with murder

Ok, ok, ok, no facts that the gun man had a 'mental' condition??? So, normal to kill 50 peo...(Read More)

Polish hotel owner charged after threatening staff with gun

A polish man with a tourist visa, stays in another hotel, married with thai lady, owns a hotel? Thre...(Read More)

New Zealand mosque attack suspect charged with murder

The posts don't make any sense. There are no facts which suggest the gunman had a "mental c...(Read More)

Power outage to leave Cherng Talay, Kamala, Srisoonthorn without water

Inventive! Using many power outage to block people having water supply during hot days. Covering th...(Read More)

Tourism Authority of Thailand expects 2.3mn visitors for Songkran

Idea! TAT should internationally inform tourists to bring their own water for Songkran celebration,...(Read More)

Woman, 26, crushed by water truck on Kata Hill

Police shows incompetence. How hard is it to find out which hotels in that area order a watertanker...(Read More)

Premchai jailed for 16 months, not guilty of black leopard charge

Every thai has the right to appeal. Right. Has every thai the financial means to appeal with a goo...(Read More)