The Singapore Grand Prix has emerged as one of the most anticipated races on the calendar, and this year it comes as the battle for the Drivers and Constructors titles continue to heat up.
Ferrari had their colours lowered on home turf as Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes took victory last time out at Monza after an opening lap collision with title rival Sebastian Vettel.
Hamilton’s lead is now up to 30 points but Vettel remains upbeat that he can close the gap starting with a wun at Marina Bay – where he has won four-times previously.
“I think we have the pace,” the four-time world champion said. “The points sound a lot, but actually it doesn’t take a long time to get them down.”
— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) September 12, 2018
Mercedes have been struggling to keep pace with Ferrari in recent month, and team boss Toto Wolff admits that victory in Singapore is a big ask.
“Singapore has features that we’ve struggled with in the past,” said Wolff.
“The short straights, the slow, tight corners and the bumpy surface all make the Marina Bay Street Circuit one of the trickiest for us.
“On paper, the track should favour the Ferraris, but the championship fight is so close that predictions are almost meaningless.”
Red Bull also fancy their chances in Asia this week, and Max Verstpappen is hopeful.
“I think the whole team is looking forward to Singapore because we know we have a real chance to have a good result there,” said the Dutchman.
“The race has been a strong one for us in the past and I think we should be able to challenge for a podium.”
SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX – ROUND 15
Location: Marina Bay Circuit, Singapore
Track size: 3.14 miles with 23 turns
Number of laps: 61
2017 winner: Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes
Lap record holder: Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) – 1:39.491
Australian Grand Prix – Winner: Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
Bahrain Grand Prix – Winner: Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
China Grand Prix – Winner: Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull)
Azerbaijan Grand Prix – Winner: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
Spain Grand Prix – Winner: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
Monaco Grand Prix – Winner: Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull)
Canada Grand Prix – Winner: Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
France Grand Prix – Winner: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
Austria Grand Prix – Winner: Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
British Grand Prix – Winner: Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
German Grand Prix – Winner: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
Hungary Grand Prix – Winner: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
Belgium Grand Prix – Winner: Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
Italy Grand Prix – Winner: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
1 Lewis Hamilton GBR MERCEDES 256
2 Sebastian Vettel GER FERRARI 226
3 Kimi Räikkönen FIN FERRARI 164
4 Valtteri Bottas FIN MERCEDES 159
5 Max Verstappen NED RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 130
6 Daniel Ricciardo AUS RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 118
7 Nico Hulkenberg GER RENAULT 52
8 Kevin Magnussen DEN HAAS FERRARI 49
9 Sergio Perez MEX FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 46
10 Esteban Ocon FRA FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 45
11 Fernando Alonso ESP MCLAREN RENAULT 44
12 Carlos Sainz ESP RENAULT 34
13 Pierre Gasly FRA SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 28
14 Romain Grosjean FRA HAAS FERRARI 27
15 Charles Leclerc MON SAUBER FERRARI 13
16 Stoffel Vandoorne BEL MCLAREN RENAULT 8
17 Lance Stroll CAN WILLIAMS MERCEDES 6
18 Marcus Ericsson SWE SAUBER FERRARI 6
19 Brendon Hartley NZL SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 2
20 Sergey Sirotkin RUS WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1
1 MERCEDES 415
2 FERRARI 390
3 RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 248
4 RENAULT 86
5 HAAS FERRARI 76
6 MCLAREN RENAULT 52
7 FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 32
8 SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 30
9 SAUBER FERRARI 19
10 WILLIAMS MERCEDES 7
We also spoke with Alistair Gill of Unibet to get their views on the GP
Mercedes have openly stated that they expect to struggle behind Ferrari this weekend in Singapore and the market so far reflects that, Hamilton priced at a joint 2nd favourite 7/2, along with Max Verstappen.
Sebastian Vettel finds himself for the second race in a row the favourite at 27/20 but, given his recent struggles and the memory of Monza firmly in the memory, where Vettel once again failed to turn what appeared to be the best car into a race win, Hamilton is still the punters favourite, the very early money coming for the Englishman who has shortened back up again to 1/2 for the Drivers Championship after opening up a 30 point gap at the top.
The potential bit of value in a largely ‘head to head’ season at this point could well be Daniel Ricciardo at 9/2. The Australian is surely keen to make a lasting impression at Red Bull before departing for Renault and he has an exceptional record on street circuits, his last race win coming on the similarly tight streets of Monaco this year. Although he has yet to win at Singapore, his record of 4 podiums and 3 second places suggest he isn’t too far from taking a win, and 7/10 for a podium finish isn’t exactly skinny.