For the first time in 2017 Sebastian Vettel will arrive at a race not in the lead of the world championship.
But as the slow Singapore course is expected to play to Ferrari’s strengths he has a good chance to reclaim the lead he lost to Lewis Hamilton at Monza.
No doubt Kimi Raikkonen would dearly love to seize the chance to end his 88-race race streak without a victory. But as he’s fallen 100 points behind Hamilton in the championship battle it’s unlikely Ferrari would be happy with him taking points of his team mate.
The ideal result for Ferrari would surely be a Vettel-led one-two. But heading into the tenth world championship Singapore Grand Prix no team has ever managed to finish first and second in this race.
The form book
Vettel will participate in a race weekend for the 200th time on Friday, though he won’t reach his 200th start until early next year. He has never failed to finish inside the top ten at Singapore. Even last year, when a technical problem in qualifying meant he lined up 22nd and last, he climbed his way up to finish fifth.
He already holds the record for most Singapore Grand Prix victories with four, twice as many as any other driver. But he isn’t the only driver with good form at this track.
Since he joined Red Bull three years ago Daniel Ricciardo has never failed to stand on the podium in Singapore. He also set the fastest lap in the last two races.
And despite seldom having as competitive a car as that, Sergio Perez has never failed to finish in the points in this especially gruelling race. He’ll be after another good result this weekend as team mate Esteban Ocon, with whom he has already clashed on multiple occasions, is getting ever closer to overtaking him in the drivers’ championship.
But barring an extremely good weekend for Renault, Nico Hulkenberg is likely to leave Singapore having taken a new and unwanted record. If he doesn’t finish on the rostrum Hulkenberg will surpass Adrian Sutil’s record of starting 128 races without ever finishing on the podium.
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Saturday’s qualifying session will be crucial as seven of the previous nine Singapore Grands Prix have been won from pole position.
Vettel’s 2012 win is one of the exceptions: he started third behind Hamilton and Pastor Maldonado, both of which retired. And of course Fernando Alonso won the inaugural race from 15th on the grid thanks to Renault’s Crashgate conspiracy.
Nico Rosberg’s win last year by 0.488 seconds was the closest finish to any race since the 2010 Singapore Grand Prix. However it proved to be only the second-closest finish of 2016, as Rosberg followed Hamilton home by 0.439s in the tense finale at Abu Dhabi.
The Singapore track was modified in 2015.
Here’s how F1 Fanatic readers have rated the Singapore Grand Prix in recent years.
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2017 Singapore Grand Prix
- No point dwelling on cause of Singapore crash – Vettel
- 2017 Singapore Grand Prix team radio transcript
- Analysis: Raikkonen set to become Vettel’s number two after Malaysia
- Top ten pictures from the 2017 Singapore Grand Prix
- 2017 Singapore Grand Prix Star Performers