Formula One Preview: Singapore Grand Prix 2017 (15th September - 17th September)
As many as six drivers start as favourites for the top-place finish.
After the conclusion of the European part of this Formula One season, we move ahead to Singapore where the level of racing has always been high. The intensity, the focus, the challenges -- everything goes up here in Singapore where Mercedes has traditionally struggled to be the best by a convincing margin even in their golden Hybrid Era.
Ferrari and Red Bull will fancy their chances around this track, which has the highest number of corners (23) from any track that is part of the Formula 1 calendar. For Ferrari, it is a chance of striking back after they fell well short of expectations in Italy after putting up a promising display in Belgium. For Red Bull, it is one of the best chances to secure a race win after Daniel Ricciardo emerged out as the surprising winner of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Mercedes may well be leading the Constructors' championship by more than 60 points but it is the Driver's Championship which presents a very interesting case. Lewis Hamilton after his win in Monza holds a slender three-point lead over Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel. What bodes well for the German who is 2nd in the standings right now is the fact that on twisty tracks such as Monaco and Hungary, Ferrari have been much better than Mercedes.
Red Bull will hope to spoil the party for both the works teams as the fans are in for a treat where there are three teams which are major contenders for the race. Behind them, McLaren Honda, with all the controversy and speculation that has been going on, will hope to be the 'best of the rest' but their task will not be made easy by the ever-consistent Force India and significantly improving Renault.
Also, Toro Rosso should not be ignored as like their sister team have found success around this track. Williams will hope to be there right in the mix with Haas and Sauber will hope that the less engine dependence of this track gives their 2016 Ferrari-powered cars more chance to race with other teams.
As for the drivers, Daniel Ricciardo likes racing on street tracks and Max Verstappen showed how quick he is around here in 2015 when he came from a lap down to finish P8. Sebastian Vettel holds the record for most wins around here with 4 (3 with Red Bull, 1 with Ferrari). Lewis Hamilton has been on the top of the podium twice around the Marina Bay circuit.
Valtteri Bottas will have extra motivation to make a mark after securing a contract renewal with Mercedes for 2018. Sergio Perez has never missed out on points here and it will be interesting to watch how Force India handle their two drivers if they end up being too close to each other.
The Singapore Grand Prix 2017 promises to be a very exciting affair for the fans and going by the history of the race, one can safely say that safety cars are very common. In fact, there hasn't been a Singapore Grand Prix which didn't feature at least one safety car.
Concentration is the mantra for the drivers as they drive around a ridiculously technical track with the heat and humidity to cause lapses of concentration being of no help whatsoever. As a fan, we should be delighted at such an interesting spectacle where six drivers go into the weekend with a chance of winning the race and the drivers can't afford to make any mistakes.