Singapore Grand Prix: Winners and Losers

Singapore Grand Prix: Winners and Losers

18 September 2017 – Lewis Hamilton took a giant leap towards the title with victory on a circuit expected to favour Ferrari, after a dramatic first lap. GPUpdate.net presents its winners and losers from the Singapore Grand Prix.

Winners

As Lewis Hamilton himself quipped, the race "couldn't [have been] a more perfect scenario" for him and Mercedes. Singapore was the race Mercedes had ringed in its calendar as a potential stumbling block, due to its performances in Monaco and Hungary, combined with historical troubles. In the dry, its fears were realised, with Hamilton only fifth-quickest, seven-tenths behind Sebastian Vettel. Hamilton was potentially staring at a 10-15-point deficit, but instead heads to Malaysia with a 28-point advantage. Hamilton received an incredible dollop of fortune, though his initial getaway to overhaul Daniel Ricciardo was crucial, while he was exceptional during the restart phases, not to mention his overall strong pace. He has now won each of the last eight rain-affected races, an extraordinary run, underlined by his total (and justified) belief in his ability in such weather. "I knew I had the pace when it rained," emphasised Hamilton. "Those are my conditions." The title is far from won, but this was a huge swing of the pendulum in favour of the Briton, who remains undefeated since the summer break.

During a weekend in which off-track talk swirled around Carlos Sainz Jr., the Renault-bound racer kept his composure where it mattered, and delivered a stellar performance. Sainz Jr. dragged his car through into Q3 and chipped away at his rivals in race trim, despite bogging down off the line, consequently gaining little, in spite of the drama ahead. Sainz Jr. was equipped with Super Softs when it dried, theoretically leaving him prone to Ultra Soft-clad rivals, but he placed his car perfectly to swat aside the threat posed by Sergio Pérez. Fourth place represented a fine reward for his and Toro Rosso's efforts, with Sainz Jr. pleased to reward his mechanics and engineers, after they had all congratulated him for securing a 2018 Renault deal. Sainz Jr. has now scored 48 points, 12 times more than Daniil Kvyat, who haplessly crashed out. The contrast could not be greater.

Jolyon Palmer took so many questions over his future – and some of them blunt – that a punch in the face would probably have been less of an insult, especially as he learned of Renault's 2018 plans when reading an article online. It may have been signposted, but that was still shoddily poor on Renault's behalf. On track, Palmer was unable to match team-mate Nico Hülkenberg, but avoided trouble on the opening lap and easily picked off Valtteri Bottas at the restart to briefly run fifth. Palmer slipped behind the Finn, but kept a measured approach under pressure from former GP2 rival Stoffel Vandoorne to preserve sixth, by far his best result in the sport. After a year of near-misses and reliability issues it was a reward for his endeavours, even if it is unlikely to boost his 2018 prospects.

Losers

This was a total disaster for Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel. Vettel's talent, and ability at the challenging venue, were fully emphasised as he chipped away at his pace to emerge fastest when it mattered, putting in a spellbinding lap to claim pole position. But rain, and a misjudgement, left his win hopes dashed and his title prospects in tatters. Vettel was not wholly to blame for incident, according to the stewards, but his decision to chop Max Verstappen was exceptionally (and unnecessarily) risky, and he duly paid the price. It was an error not befitting of a four-time champion, who should have had the wisdom to consider the long game on a wet street circuit. Vettel was looking at a 25-point haul and the lead of the championship, but instead faces a 28-point deficit ahead of a string of circuits likely to favour Mercedes. Teams spend hundreds of millions producing top machinery, but split-second calls from the cockpit prove just as pivotal. For Vettel, it could be a title-losing moment.

Nico Hülkenberg set a new record at the Singapore Grand Prix and has his place in the history books. Unfortunately, it was the record for most races started without a podium finish. Hülkenberg was set to miss out on the record, having moved into third place at the start, and still held a fine fourth mid-race, until technical troubles crept in. An oil leak developed on his R.S.17, forcing Hülkenberg into an additional stop, sending him tumbling down the order, before the deteriorating nature of the problem led to retirement. In many ways the race epitomised Hülkenberg's career, and there seemed a degree of inevitability during the early stages that he would not stand on the rostrum. Perhaps, somewhere, Hülkenberg not finishing on the podiums is etched into the Sporting Regulations. For Renault, too, this was a blow, with Hülkenberg's exit denting its prospects of taking fifth.

Fernando Alonso has lost several years of his career in uncompetitive machinery, but he has not lost a wry sense of humour. Alonso took to social media to post a picture of his airborne MCL32 at Turn 1, drolly pointing out the Singapore Airlines advertising banner in the background. For Alonso, he was a victim of his own brilliance. Having shot off the line like a scalded cat, passing Valtteri Bottas and Nico Hülkenberg, he took his favoured outside approach for Turn 1, only to be clobbered by the hapless Verstappen, who in turn had been thumped by the out-of-control Räikkönen. Alonso had been staring at a potential second place on lap one – behind Lewis Hamilton, who also opted for the outside line – but instead was pitched backwards into the air. He bravely soldiered on, but the damage was too great, and he abandoned his car. Alonso felt a podium was within reach, and this was a disappointing outcome for a driver sadly accustomed to setbacks.

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Saturday 24 February 2018

  2. 14:03

    Alonso: "There shouldn't be any debate" over F1's halo

    F1
  3. 14:00

    Renault has yet to show RS18: "Launch was all about livery"

    F1
  4. 13:59

    Melandri passes Sykes to win WSBK-opener Phillip Island

    Superbike
  5. Thursday 22 February 2018

  6. 16:16

    Wehrlein, Russell to serve as Mercedes reserves in 2018

    F1
  7. 16:15

    Tech 3 to split from Yamaha after 2018

    MotoGP
  8. 16:14

    Ferrari reveals its 2018 F1 car, the SF71H

    F1
  9. 16:14

    New Mercedes W09 revealed at Silverstone

    F1
  10. Wednesday 21 February 2018

  11. 12:51

    Syahrin secures Tech 3 Yamaha MotoGP ride

    MotoGP
  12. 12:49

    Alonso won't suffer from missing Prologue - Toyota

    F1
  13. 12:47

    What we've learned from MotoGP testing so far

    MotoGP
  14. 12:45

    The battle for F1's most coveted seat

    F1
  15. 12:43

    BT Sport extends UK MotoGP TV deal to 2021

    F1
  16. 12:41

    McLaren planning "substantial" update for Australia

    F1
  17. Tuesday 20 February 2018

  18. 13:31

    Lowe: F1 2018 could be battle of bargeboards

    F1
  19. 13:29

    Red Bull testing plans unaffected despite crash

    F1
  20. 13:27

    What Williams is risking in a 'dangerous world'

    F1
  21. 13:25

    Sauber reveals Alfa Romeo-backed C37

    F1
  22. Monday 19 February 2018

  23. 15:02

    Why AI could be F1's next big thing

    F1
  24. 15:00

    Ricciardo shakes down RB14 at Silverstone

    F1
  25. 14:58

    Red Bull reveals its 2018 Formula 1 car

    F1
  26. Sunday 28 January 2018

  27. Video: Button celebrates birthday with Ricciardo 09:12

    Video: Button celebrates birthday with Ricciardo

    Go behind-the-scenes with Jenson Button during his birthday celebrations at Big Bear Lake, before he is joined by Red Bull ace…

    F1
  28. Saturday 27 January 2018

  29. Video: 2018 Daytona 24 Hours: Qualifying 14:18

    Video: 2018 Daytona 24 Hours: Qualifying

    Watch behind the scenes as the United Autosports team qualify for the endurance challenge at Daytona, with Fernando Alonso…

    Misc
  30. Friday 26 January 2018

  31. Video: Sim Racing Girl visits Red Bull 15:59

    Video: Sim Racing Girl visits Red Bull

    The latest personality to get behind the wheel of the state-of-the-art simulator at Red Bull's Milton Keynes HQ is none other…

    F1
  32. Thursday 25 January 2018

  33. Gasly hopes STR can maximise testing time 12:46

    Gasly hopes STR can maximise testing time

    Pierre Gasly believes Toro Rosso-Honda must ensure it establishes a reliable base early on, in order to maximise track time…

    F1
  34. Video: 2018 Yamaha MotoGP bike launch 08:10

    Video: 2018 Yamaha MotoGP bike launch

    Yamaha Racing and Yamaha Music Italy's newly composed soundtrack introduce the 2018 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YZR-M1s.

    MotoGP
  35. Wednesday 24 January 2018

  36. Hamilton sure Mercedes can repeat reliability 14:46

    Hamilton sure Mercedes can repeat reliability

    Reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton says repeating his reliability record in Formula 1 this year will be tricky, but believes…

    F1
  37. Video: Jenson Button vlog: From LA to Tokyo 10:48

    Video: Jenson Button vlog: From LA to Tokyo

    Catch up with Jenson Button in his latest vlog entry as he jets from Los Angeles to Tokyo for the launch of Honda's Super GT…

    Misc
  38. Tuesday 23 January 2018

  39. Video: Movistar Yamaha teases 2018 launch 13:47

    Video: Movistar Yamaha teases 2018 launch

    Movistar Yamaha gets ready for its 2018 team launch, with Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales set to take the wraps off its…

    MotoGP
  40. Hubert completes ART's GP3 driver line-up 13:39

    Hubert completes ART's GP3 driver line-up

    Anthoine Hubert says winning the GP3 title is his target for the 2018 season after confirmation that the Frenchman will remain…

    GP3
  41. Monday 22 January 2018

  42. Pirelli: F1 unlikely to return to tyre competition 13:24

    Pirelli: F1 unlikely to return to tyre competition

    Pirelli Racing Manager Mario Isola says he doubts that Formula 1 will ever return to competition between two tyre manufacturers…

    F1
  43. Video: Kubica on Williams reserve role 09:32

    Video: Kubica on Williams reserve role

    Robert Kubica talks about joining the Williams team and what his reserve and development driver role will involve through the…

    F1
  44. Sunday 21 January 2018

  45. Hughes back in GP3 with dominant ART team 12:52

    Hughes back in GP3 with dominant ART team

    Jake Hughes will return to the GP3 Series this year after signing a deal to compete for the championship's dominant force ART…

    GP3
  46. Video: Rallye Monte-Carlo 2018 preview 09:46

    Video: Rallye Monte-Carlo 2018 preview

    Next weekend marks the start of the 2018 World Rally Championship with the iconic Rallye Monte-Carlo; get set for the…

    Misc
  47. Saturday 20 January 2018

  48. New York becomes FE finale after Montreal axe 10:44

    New York becomes FE finale after Montreal axe

    New York will host the final round of this year's Formula E championship after series organisers opted not to replace the…

    FE
  49. Video: Force India's farewell to VJM10 09:19

    Video: Force India's farewell to VJM10

    Watch as Force India puts Sergio Pérez's VJM10, used throughout the course of the 2017 season, into retirement, with the car…

    F1
  50. Friday 19 January 2018

  51. 15:02

    Overview: 2018 Formula 1 grid line-up in full

    F1
  52. Video: Verstappen and Ricciardo in Crazy Carts 11:19

    Video: Verstappen and Ricciardo in Crazy Carts

    Red Bull pair Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo are going a little stir crazy waiting for Formula 1 to return - and take to…

    F1
  53. Thursday 18 January 2018

  54. Russell steps up to Formula 2 with ART 09:27

    Russell steps up to Formula 2 with ART

    Mercedes-backed GP3 champion George Russell will graduate to Formula 2 with ART in 2018. Russell, 19, stormed to last year's…

    F2
  55. Folger to miss MotoGP season through illness 09:07

    Folger to miss MotoGP season through illness

    Tech 3 Yamaha rider Jonas Folger will sit out the 2018 MotoGP season, having struggled to recover physically and mentally after…

    MotoGP
  56. Video: Marrakesh's most dramatic moments 07:02

    Video: Marrakesh's most dramatic moments

    Watch every crash, spin, slide and save from last weekend's Marrakesh round of the all-electric Formula E championship.

    FE
more news