F1 Power Rankings: Singapore Grand Prix

Formula One has left Europe for the final time this season as we embark on a six-race flyaway portion of the calendar to conclude the season. A six-race flyaway swing that’s worth seven races worth of points but six races nonetheless.

The important question over the next couple of races is whether Lewis Hamilton has gotten out of his own head enough to win the Championship. Pressuring Nico Rosberg into a mistake in Monza was a win in itself. Now that he has momentum, the pressure is on Rosberg to capitalize on his street circuit strength this weekend in Singapore. We’re closing with some strong Hamilton circuits so Nico has to capitalize on every opportunity he has.

f1-lewis-hamilton-helmet-2014#1 Lewis Hamilton
There’s only one goal for Hamilton this season: “Despite the highs and lows, I’m still well and truly in the hunt for the Championship and that is something that gives me huge motivation for the final six races – starting in Singapore… I won there in 2009 which was a really special experience, plus I had a podium – which should really have been a win – at the first race in 2008. My luck hasn’t been great at this circuit since then but hopefully that will change next weekend.”

f1-nico-rosberg-helmet-2014#2 Nico Rosberg
Keke’s kid talks about shutting down Singapore for F1. It makes me wonder if something similar will happen for Formula E’s street races: “There’s an amazing atmosphere and the whole city really comes to life for the race weekend. It’s just unreal – I would really recommend anybody to go there if they can as it’s a fantastic experience. The circuit, the city, the atmosphere… everything! The way they basically shut down a whole place just for Formula One is incredible and it’s amazing to think of all the work that must go into making it happen.”

#3 Daniel Ricciardo

f1-valtteri-helmet-helmet-2014#4 Valtteri Bottas
I hope more people listen to Val because Singapore is a painfully long race: “It’s a very special race – the setting there is really cool, the track is very challenging and there’s no room for mistakes… The race is long. Normally it goes up to two hours, so it’s a challenge for the cars with tyre degradation, and for the drivers physically it will be probably the toughest race of the season due to the heat and humidity.”

#5 Sebastian Vettel

#6 Fernando Alonso

f1-felipe-massa-helmet-2014#7 Felipe Massa
It’s the same as Monaco but completely different? Makes perfect sense, Phil: “The Singapore race is fantastic, but also exceptionally difficult. The temperatures are so high and the humidity really affects the drivers physically. The track is similar to Monaco but almost twice the length which adds to the challenge.”

#8 Kimi Raikkonen

f1-jenson-button-helmet-2014#9 Jenson Button
JB talks about the atmosphere because there isn’t much anyone else talks about this week: “This is such a special race. The whole weekend feels different – there’s a buzz to the paddock when you first walk in on Thursday afternoon and it never goes away. You can feel the vibe – and the tension and anticipation climb higher and higher as we get closer to the race itself on Sunday night.”

#10 Nico Hulkenberg
The Hulk walks us through a lap of Singapore: “The first sector is my favourite part of the lap. It’s quick with a good overtaking opportunity going into turn seven. It’s usually where a lot of the action takes place in the race. It’s also a very long lap with some tricky bumps and kerbs, but mostly you need a car that is good in the low and medium speed corners.”

#11 Sergio Perez
Checo’s expectations are high for this weekend: “I think we can be quick. There are a lot of slow corners and that usually works well for our car. I enjoy the track and I’ve always scored points in Singapore so I will try to keep up my record.”

f1-kevin-magnussen-helmet-2014#12 Kevin Magnussen
Like the younger Williams driver, the younger McLaren driver talks about the physical aspect of the race: “This is also probably going to be one of the physically toughest races of the year – it’ll last for nearly two hours, and there aren’t too many opportunities around the lap to relax. But I like that – I like tracks that are quite intense: I really enjoyed the Hungaroring, which is quite relentless, and this looks pretty similar.”

#13 Daniil Kvyat

#14 Jean-Eric Vergne

f1-romain-grosjean-helmet-2014#15 Romain Grosjean
Can someone say something interesting, please? “The track is really impressive with some technical parts and some classic street circuit ‘ninety degree’ turns. There are a few decent straights but it is mainly busy, busy, busy for us, with corner after corner. Going over landmarks like the (Anderson) Bridge and down the Raffles Boulevard make for a fantastic sight from both the cockpit and also for the TV viewers. This year will be interesting with the new cars.”

#16 Adrian Sutil
This week, Sutil actually has the least generic quote of the week and gives us something insightful: “The circuit has relatively short straights and 23 corners, which makes it the track with the most corners on the calendar. Sheer engine power is not crucial here; rather a high mechanical grip is important because of the many tight corners. Good stability of the car as well as high downforce will be essential, as the circuit has several kerbs and is quite bumpy in some places.”

f1-pastor-maldonado-helmet-2014#17 Pastor Maldonado
Pastor thinks that maintaining traction and limiting wheel spin is the key to victory this week: “The traction will be fundamental at Singapore, a really big factor. This is because the corners are generally slow and tight, so it means the way we exit them will be critical to ensure a good lap time. The 2014 spec cars will make it very interesting out there and I expect it to be very tricky, especially the first and third sectors. This is where a lot of time can be won or lost.”

#18 Esteban Gutierrez
Gutierrez follows up on Sutil’s track analysis and thinks this is the team’s best shot at scoring some points: “In terms of track layout, I think the characteristics will suit the C33. We have been working intensely on the mechanical set-up of the car, which will be crucial on this circuit, as the track has many tight corners and only a few short straights. I am really looking forward to the weekend, and especially to geting the maximum out of the updates to the car we are having there.”

#19 Jules Bianchi
Bianchi is staring down the best chance he has at adding to his point total: “The track characteristics are quite a lot like Monaco, which is a race that is special for a couple of reasons, not least because I finished in the points there. With so many similarities, this is a circuit that also gives me a good feeling… Our car should work well here with all the corners, and as it is often an eventful race, we will be fighting to take advantage of every opportunity.”

#20 Max Chilton
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: ” The track is not dissimilar to Monaco, another street circuit, and we know our car is well-suited to those track characteristics. I had quite a good race here last year and with only six races remaining, it’s important that we have a good showing at every round.”

f1-kamui-kobayashi-helmet-2014#21 Kamui Kobayashi
Wait. I thought you were being replaced this weekend? Do we have to wait until Russia for that to happen? “It’s a very technical track, with lots of changes of direction, and it’s a challenging race for everyone. After finishing ahead of our closest rivals in Italy, I look forward to another good fight out on track in Singapore – it will be good to see what we are capable of with the updated car at the Marina Bay Street Circuit – at street circuits anything can happen and we need to make sure we do our best.”

f1-marcus-ericsson-helmet-2014#22 Marcus Ericsson
Marcus is in trouble this weekend. He called this his first F1 night race. How quickly we forget about Bahrain: “The track is bumpy and it reminds me a lot of Monaco, even though the Singapore layout is much more physical and requires double the amount of energy over a single lap compared to Monte Carlo. The heat and humidity also make it a tough race weekend, but I’ve been training hard to make sure I am ready for the challenge and I look forward to the weekend ahead.”

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