Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Monza, 2017

Mercedes in third place? Five Singapore GP talking points

2017 Singapore Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Will Mercedes be the third team behind Ferrari and Red Bull in Singapore this weekend? Here’s five talking points for round 14 of the championship.

Mercedes the third team?

Mercedes play a savvy PR game and are always quick to play down expectations. But there’s good reason to believe this will be their most difficult of the seven remaining races.

This is the third high-downforce track F1 has visited this year. At the other two, Monaco and Hungary, Ferrari locked out the front row of the grid and finished first and second in the race.

The threat from Red Bull can’t be discounted either. They’ve raised their game since the season began and an anticipated fuel upgrade in Singapore will strengthen their hand at a track which has historically suited their chassis.

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No trespassers

Marshal, Singapore, 2016
One marshal got too close to the action last year
The last two Singapore Grands Prix have been notable for unexpected intruders on the circuit. The Safety Car had to be deployed during the 2015 race after a drunken spectator walked onto the track.

Following a Safety Car period during last year’s race the field was released before all the marshals had returned to their posts. One terrified course worker had to run back while the field was baring down on him.

During practice Max Verstappen had a surprising run-in with a track invader of the non-human kind: A large lizard which crossed the circuit by turn four. Hopefully the track action is restricted to cars this weekend.

New deal for F1’s ‘Eastern jewel’

At the time of writing this year’s race is the final one on Singapore’s current grand prix contract. However the sport’s owners have already indicated the race will remain on the 2018 F1 calendar.

The last time Singapore announced an extension it did so shortly before the last race on its deal. It would be a surprise if a new contract isn’t confirmed imminently.

Sainz to star?

Carlos Sainz Jnr, Toro Rosso, Singapore, 2016
Sainz was unlucky in Singapore last year
Carlos Sainz Jnr qualified an excellent sixth in Singapore 12 months ago. But his race was compromised by first-lap contact with Nico Hulkenberg.

Toro Rosso should again see this as a race where they will be strong. In Hungary, Sainz and Fernando Alonso led the scrap to be ‘best of the rest’ behind the big three teams. Expect to see them in a similar situation this weekend while off-track gossip about their futures buzzes.

Sauber’s last chance for a result?

Belgium and Italy were always going to be painful races for a team slogging away with year-old, undeveloped power units. Singapore may offer Sauber a chance for some respite.

For all McLaren’s troubles, Sauber’s hopes of getting ahead of them in the constructors’ championship and being spared a last-place finish seem remote. But if the cards fall their way this weekend they could yet pull it off.

Are you going to the Singapore Grand Prix?

Esteban Ocon, Manor, Singapore, 2016
Will you be watching at the track?
If you’re heading to Singapore for this weekend’s race, we want to hear from you:

Who do you think will be the team to beat in the Singapore Grand Prix? Have your say below.

And don’t forget to enter your predictions for this weekend’s race. You can edit your predictions until the start of qualifying:

2017 Singapore Grand Prix

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14 comments on “Mercedes in third place? Five Singapore GP talking points”

  1. I reckon Mercedes will be the 2nd best team. Will be interesting to see how Hamilton does though, especially after Monaco.

  2. Will Mercedes win, or will they choose to let Ferrari win in order to retain the appearances of a “competitive” 2017? We’ll find out.

    1. Don’t think any team is daft enough to intentionally let their driver lose points in a heated WDC battle

  3. Mercedes still has a large qualification potential and a good start is half the work in marina bay.
    But two very eager RBR drivers will fight for their most realistic podium chances this year.

  4. I don’t think the Ferrari advantage will be as pronounced as it was in Hungary.

    Hungary was hot. It’ll be warm in Singapore but since it’s a night race and ambient and track temperatures won’t be peak-Eastern European summer. That might provide some despite for Mercedes.

  5. time will show. No one’s playing child games here. Ferrari, Merc and RedBulls are here to win. This year it’s been much more interesting than the last years.

  6. If Mercedes somehow manage to beat Ferrari here in Singapore, then the championship will effectively be over.

  7. I won’t write off Mercedes here. I think they are all playing there chances down, and Mercedes have made a gain since the summer break. Hamilton is also now the pole-king and if he puts it on pole here Ferrari and RBR will not get past him in the race.

    1. Hamilton may have the all time pole record but he is not a better qualifier than Vettel. Even Rosberg got around 40 poles against him.

      1. Even Kimi beat Seb in qualifying last year. Also Nico is a much harder teammate to beat in qualifying than Mark. So no I wouldn’t confidently say Seb is better than Lewis.

  8. I doubt Ferrari will dominate as some in the media already seem to know for sure. Bottas almost grabbed pole in Monaco and they weren’t very far in Hungary. Maybe we will finally see a true three-team fight. Hopefully. McLaren should be more competitive in the midfield so it could be interesting there as well. Looking forward to this round.

  9. Baku doesn’t seem so dissimilar to Singapore, predominantly slow corners connected by straights, Mercedes did OK there this year, front row lockout, only the headrest prevented a 1-2 finish. They were also on pole for last years Singapore GP.

  10. Picking 2 mercedes and 1 ferrari driver on the podium. Going to be very intersting

  11. Hoping for a great RBR weekend, right behind Seb ;)

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