Round 15 of the Formula One World Championship couldn’t come soon enough for Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes after their brilliant win in Ferrari’s backyard last time out. Against all the odds Hamilton stormed to victory at Monza to establish a 30-point lead and tighten his grip on the Championship. Singapore is a happy hunting ground for Mercedes, the Silver Arrows chasing a fourth win in five years with Hamilton searching for a third win in four years. Can Hamilton continue his good form under the lights of Singapore? Check out our preview and predictions for the Singapore Grand Prix.
Mercedes Petronas Italian Grand Prix Debrief
What happened at the Italian Grand Prix
Belgium showed how much pace Ferrari had coming into their home race at Monza, with most believing the Italian Grand Prix was going to be about the Tifosi celebrating their first home win since Fernando Alonso back in 2010. However, against all expectations it was Lewis Hamilton that spoiled the party by overtaking both Ferrari’s on his way to one of the finest wins of his career.
Hamilton and Vettel collided on the second chicane of the opening lap, the Mercedes driver spotting some space on the outside which Vettel tried to close. Despite a steward’s enquiry which deemed Vettel was at fault, the German still accused his rival for being at fault.
With Vettel out of the picture Hamilton proceeded to do battle with Raikkonen on a dramatic afternoon that saw the defending champion finally overtake the Finn with 10-laps to go, increasing his lead in the championship to 30-points.
A clearly disappointed Raikkonen finished second, with Bottas taking the final podium place ahead of Vettel.
Max Verstappen endured another frustrating afternoon coming home fifth with Force India’s Ocon and Perez coming sixth and seventh respectively, after Grosjean was disqualified after the race due to a minor detail on the leading edge of the floor which infringed FIA regulations.
So just as it looked like a shift in momentum was heading in the direction of the red garage, it appears all the cards are now firmly in the grasp of Mercedes.
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) September 11, 2018
About the Marina Bay Street Circuit
The Singapore Grand Prix is a relatively newcomer to the F1 calendar after hosting its first race in 2008, however it has become of the favourites for the drivers due to the unique nature of the event.
The Marina Bay circuit is home to the inaugural F1 night race and the first-ever street circuit in Asia, with the buildup full of glitz and glamour much like Monaco.
Although nowhere near as prestigious as Monaco, the Marina Bay circuit does share a lot of the same characteristics. Only 45% of the lap can be taken at full speed with overtaking opportunities tough to come by, making pole position an important step in the race for the chequered flag.
Since 2008 a safety car has been called into action for every race so I don’t expect that trend to change this weekend.
A slight left and a quick flick to the right leads into the first DRS zone down Raffles Boulevard, before the left-handed hairpin at Turn 7. After this the track really tightens up as the drivers begin to wind their way around the Padang playing fields with the quickest of shimmies from left to right through Turns 11 and 12.
After they cross the iconic Anderson Bridge, there is a second straight before drivers take on another tight section which includes passing under the grandstand. There are 21 corners in all and not many of those can be attacked.
The circuit is one of the most physically demanding of the entire season due to the tight nature and the challenges of the bright lights. Throw into the mix the extreme heat and humidity and you can understand how tough this weekend will be on the drivers.
What to expect at Singapore?
Expect a safety car that is for sure! Last year Vettel, Verstappen and Raikkonen were involved in a first lap collision, opening the door for Hamilton to register a third win at the Marina Bay Circuit.
The conditions are one of the toughest on the drivers during the season, the extreme heat, demanding circuit and the fact it is under lights is more than a challenge.
Ferrari and Red Bull have the better packages to deliver in Singapore, with Sebastian Vettel the most successful driver at the circuit with four wins.
In Belgium and Monza rain had some say during qualifying and looking at the forecast for Singapore the same could happen again!
Last time out in Singapore… 🏆🇸🇬 pic.twitter.com/YD6gEzRsZ3
— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) September 11, 2018
Singapore Grand Prix Predictions
Lewis Hamilton is making it rather difficult to pick anyone else. Last week it was supposed to be about Ferrari and while he may not have silenced the Tifosi, he did manager to deliver one of the very best wins of his career. Hamilton is at the pinnacle of his career and at 7/2 to win again this weekend on a circuit that Mercedes are expected to be underdogs on, is very much on.
Something is telling me that Vettel is going to come back this weekend and is 11/8 for a fifth win at the Marina Bay Circuit.
You know what… I am going to ignore that something and go with Hamilton to win the Singapore Grand Prix.