F1 Power Rankings: Singapore Grand Prix

Formula One has left Europe and is hoping on the plane for flyaway races. With seven races over three continents remaining and only two points separating Hamilton and Rosberg, it’s all to play for. So who has the upper-hand as the season comes to a close? Well, the answer is obvious but let’s still consult the F1 Power Rankings.

#1 Lewis Hamilton
If you read between the lines, Lewis is already planning club excursions with the WCD trophy: “Monza didn’t quite go to plan. But when you look at how far we’ve come as a team this season, from the position we were in, then I realise I’m in a phenomenal position. We’re still leading both World Championships and there are still so many great things to achieve together, even before this season is through.”

#2 Nico Rosberg
Unlike his teammate, Nico is realistic about his team’s strengths this weekend: “It won’t be easy. This is a Red Bull track and we weren’t so strong there last year. But I have faith in the team and my belief in myself is as high as ever. I approach each weekend aiming to win the race.”

#3 Daniel Ricciardo
As we’ve come to expect, Danny Boy is taking his time enjoying his travels of the world: “One main highlight for me is the food, it’s amazing in Singapore. You can get everything and anything but Chilli mud crabs are pretty mega so I love having them a lot. It seems like a really fun city and I’m really fortunate to get a lot of people coming over from Australia and especially Perth, this means I get a lot of love in Singapore.”

#4 Sebastian Vettel

#5 Kimi Raikkonen

#6 Max Verstappen
Mad Max wants to sample the local cuisine this season. If the food doesn’t agree with him, it’ll spur him to the finish faster: “The local food looks and smells great but I haven’t got around to trying it yet. In 2015 I ate pretty basic food, I don’t really like fish so I kept it simple with some plain meat. This year I am going to try and sample some local dishes.”

#7 Sergio Perez
Checo completely disagrees with the driver down in 13th on the rankings. What does this track sound like? “The key to being quick in Singapore is precision. You need to find every last millimetre of the track, almost kiss the walls and have a stable rear end of the car. It’s a circuit that can catch you out and I can’t remember a race there without a safety car, so races can be shaken up at any time. It’s also a track that rewards guts and where the driver can make a big difference. As a street circuit, it’s not as unforgiving as Monaco because the track is much wider, but it also means the speeds are higher and there are more overtaking opportunities.”

#8 Nico Hulkenberg
Of all the tracks, it seems that Singapore translates the worst from reality to video game. I’m okay with that based on Hulk’s description: “The track is very challenging. It’s a very long lap, with many corners and that in itself is an added difficulty when you try to strike a balance for the set-up with the engineers: it’s never-ending! From a driving point of view, it makes it really hard to get all the sectors together and deliver the perfect lap. It’s also very hot and humid – you’re in the car for pretty much two hours in steaming hot conditions… it definitely tests you.”

#9 Valtteri Bottas
Val basically says that Red Bull should bring extra parts / chassis for Max: “That track has so many corners, so as a driver to complete the perfect lap in Singapore it’s quite tricky. But it’s really rewarding when you do. Personally, I do like the challenge. It’s a night race and in terms of how much you need to focus, it’s probably the most difficult track after Monaco. There’s no room for mistakes.”

#10 Felipe Massa
I do believe that Old Phil wins generic PR quote of the week: “Singapore is one of the few night races that we have, together with Bahrain and Abu Dhabi. It’s a very difficult race. It’s very humid and so hot; a tricky race for everybody and one of the hardest on the calendar. That said, I really enjoy racing there and it’s a very rewarding track. It’s always a good feeling racing in Singapore.”

#11 Fernando Alonso
Nando is hopeful that the nature of the Marina Bay circuit will suit the Macca: “We’re optimistic that we can continue pushing for more points and more positive results. Singapore is a really fun track, very bumpy and challenging, but it’s a quirky layout with a lot of stop-start sections and really fast straights, so you need a car that works well in high downforce set-up and has good traction out of the slower corners.”

#12 Carlos Sainz

#13 Jenson Button
I don’t know JB. It sounds a lot like other circuits on the calendar: “The Marina Bay circuit is a challenge unlike any other that we face during the season – even when you compare it to the other street races on the calendar. It’s twisty, extremely fast, the barriers are high and close, and the bumpy surface is unforgiving, which sometimes means losing grip is something you can’t get away with, without seeing flying debris all over the track and the possibility of a safety car.”

#14 Daniil Kvyat

#15 Romain Grosjean
You’d wonder if the lights would impact the drivers any but Romain prefers them: “It’s actually easier at night because the lights never change. The luminosity is always the same. You stick with the same visor, and driving at those speeds in those conditions is absolutely fine.”

#16 Kevin Magnussen
KMag talks about the unique logistics of Singapore: “Although it’s a night race, we all stay on European time – we get up late in the day and come to the track from around four o’clock in the afternoon, which means that it’s morning in Europe. This also means that we don’t struggle with jet lag in Singapore. Even though we race at night it gets very hot in Singapore and that’s a challenge in itself, but it should be fine.”

#17 Esteban Gutierrez
Steve is hoping that the physical nature of the race plays into his hands: “I like very much the first section – Turns 1, 2, 3 and 4. You arrive very quick from the straight, so it’s a sequence of corners which makes it very interesting. I also like the last part where you have a lot of chicanes where you can use the kerbs. It’s a lot of corners in a very short period of time, so it’s very physical.”

#18 Jolyon Palmer
Palmer has an interesting perspective on season-long fatigue. I wonder how big a factor fatigue plays in not just races but over the whole season: “The summer break allowed me to recharge my batteries completely and now I’m fully in the zone. Spa and Monza were not the easiest tracks for us but Singapore offers more of an opportunity I think. I’m driving better than ever and I’m exceptionally keen to have a strong result after the frustration of Monza.”

#19 Pascal Wehrlein

#20 Felipe Nasr
Young Phil is hoping for an “anything can happen in the WWF” weekend so Sauber can score a point: “Looking back to the tests during the previous race weekends, I have confidence in our car, as I felt that we made a step in the right direction, although we cannot see it in the results yet. In Singapore a lot can happen during the race, so we need to take every opportunity that might come up.”

#21 Marcus Ericsson
Since Marcus is from Sweden, wouldn’t every race have relatively high heat and humidity for him? “The Singapore Grand Prix is surely one of most exciting as well as challenging race weekends. The typically high temperatures, the high humidity, and the fact that the race is held at night makes it to one of the highlights of the season.”

#22 Esteban Ocon

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