Exclusive: Red Bull capable of challenging Mercedes, says Karun Chandhok
- Former Formula 1 driver Karun Chandhok shares his thoughts ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix.
The 2019 championship reaches the 15th race of the season after Charles Leclerc won back to back races in Spa and Monza for Ferrari.
Lewis Hamilton currently leads the driver's championship by 63 points ahead of his teammate Valtteri Bottas with seven races remaining.
The season so far has hosted a majority of wins for the reigning constructors' champions Mercedes after many expected Ferrari to be their main challengers.
But with Ferrari having to wait until the Belgian Grand Prix to achieve their first win of the season, it has surprised many, including Karun Chandhok, who is on duty for Sky Sports F1 throughout the race weekend.
Chandhok was a Formula 1 driver in 2010 and 2011 driving for HRT and Lotus before going onto competing in 24 hours of Le Mans and Formula E.
He said, "After pre-season testing, we were all expecting Ferrari to be right up there and then we got to Melbourne and it didn't happen.
"It then became increasingly clear that they are power sensitive and put a lot of emphasis on straight line speed such as Baku, Bahrain, Spa and obviously Monza - the Ferrari is obviously a competitive car and capable of winning a race."
"But for the majority of the calendar, they haven't been fighting against Mercedes. Since Austria, Red Bull have been the ones that have really been more capable of challenging Mercedes."
Red Bull's Max Verstappen is third in the driver's championship before the race in Singapore takes place.
The 21-year-old is 101 points behind Hamilton after performing dramatic race wins in Germany and Austria, Red Bull's home race.
Ferrari's Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel sit behind Verstappen in 4th and 5th.
Over the last few years, Mercedes have played very well in Singapore by winning the previous three races thanks to Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.
The bookies' odds hint that Red Bull could be the ones competing against the silver arrows for the top of the podium come Sunday.
Chandhok added, "I expect Verstappen to be strong here. Red Bull have got a good car for this sort of track. Max has driven outstandingly well this season really since Canada last year."
"Verstappen has arguably been the best driver on the grid who is up there with Hamilton. Just relentless delivery of performances and pace week in week out - it's been really impressive."
"So I expect it to be a Hamilton versus Verstappen battle, I don't think Ferrari will quite have the car for this weekend to do it."
Chandhok's top 3 predictions
- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
- Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
- Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
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Follow Sportskeeda for the latest F1 News, Results, Standings, and Schedule.Published 20 Sep 2019, 15:52 IST