Just seven races remain in the 2019 Formula One season. This weekend starts a stretch of races that will all contest in or near Asia (Singapore, Russia and Japan). Then, it’s three races over on this half of the globe with Mexico, United States (Texas) and Brazil followed back the season finale in the Middle East (Abu Dhabi).
Currently, Lewis Hamilton leads the standings by 63 points over his Mercedes teammate of Valtteri Bottas. Can he sustain that lead for seven more races?
How To Tune In
Coverage – 7:30 a.m. ET
Lights Out – 8:05 a.m. ET
TV – ESPN 2
Race Distance – 61 Laps/191.821 Miles
Race – 15 of 21
Country – Singapore
Track – Marina Bay
Speaking of point, Hamilton looks the part to win another world championship. He heads to Singapore though without a win since Hungary. Since the summer break ended, he’s look pedestrian for himself with finishes of second and third respectively. Bottas though, hasn’t gained any ground of his teammate as he’s finished one spot behind Hamilton in each race. Its been since Austria since Bottas has finished ahead of Hamilton.
That has opened the door for others but even they haven’t capitalized. Max Verstappen was a DNF in Spa and only eighth in Italy. He’s now 99 points out after closing the gap drastically following a string of three top two finishes in four races.
Sebastian Vettel has also slid with finishes of fourth and 13th respectively since summer break. He’s 115 points out.
Charles LeClerc is the only one to have gained ground on the heels of two straight wins. He’s now 102 points out and just three markers behind Verstappen for third and 39 point out of second.
The positioning for second through fifth is what’s going to be fun to watch now.
Can McLaren Get Back Going
At one point, McLaren was distancing themselves from the mid pack. It was Mercedes-Red Bull-Ferrari as the “Big 3” then McLaren as the top midfield team. But, they had some distance on the rest. Now, that gap has shortened.
Carlos Sainz Jr. was a DNF in each of the last two races while Lando Norris was 11th and 10th respectively. Prior to summer break, this team was looking like they were on the verge of being a podium contender.
But, they’re in a pickle. Do they throw out contending for top five’s and points the rest of the season and elect to build off of this new found speed to contend more for 2020, or do you let this ride out?
Sainz, has three top 10 finishes in four Singapore tries including a fourth place run in 2017. He was seventh in all three practice session this weekend and will even start seventh too.
Norris, was eighth, ninth and eighth respectively in practice as well as rolling off 10th on Sunday.
Can LeClerc Win 3 Straight?
What a pleasant surprise Charles LeClerc has been since the summer break ended. He’s undefeated in F1 competition. Will he three-peat on Sunday?
LeClerc, finished ninth in this race last year with Sauber. Ferrari won this race in 2015 with his teammate Sebastian Vettel.
On Saturday, he was quickest in final practice and ended up earning his third straight pole too. The last two races, he started on the pole and won. Can he do so again on Sunday? Eight of the last 10 Singapore Grand Prix’s saw the pole winner reach victory lane.
His teammate in Vettel will roll off third after being second, third and third respectively in practice too.
But, Ferrari’s advantage was supposed to be gone this weekend with a slower track than the last two that LeClerc was victorious on, as the car he’s driving now hasn’t had a podium on this race track since 2015.
Ferrari’s Were Struggle
To tie this in with the point above, Ferrari’s advantage is on high speed race tracks. The slower corners of Singapore won’t suit them well. Last year, they finished P3 and P5. This year, they’ll start 1-3.
Vettel, went through a six year span of a top two finish every year in Singapore including winning four of them. But, three of those four wins came with Red Bull. He’s winless all year and has scored just two podiums in his last seven races on the season and just one over his last three Singapore Grand Prix starts too. He was in the top three of all three practice sessions and even starts third on Sunday.
Leclerc, was quickest in practice on Saturday and earned the pole for Sunday.
Mercedes The Team To Beat?
Lewis Hamilton has won three of the last five years in Singapore including two straight. He hasn’t won a race in a while, so look for him to potentially be victorious on Sunday. Since 2014, Hamilton has four podiums in five tries. On the season, the Brit has four podiums in his last five starts.
Mercedes has won four of the last five races in Singapore overall too.
Bottas, was fifth in 2015, third in 2017 and fourth last year himself.
Hamilton, was third, first and second in practice and will roll off second in the race too. If the Ferrari pace isn’t real, Hamilton will win.
Don’t Count Out Verstappen
Mad Max is ready to gain some more ground again. He finished second to Hamilton last year and has three top eight finishes in four tries. With Honda having a good power unit for these types of tracks, Verstappen could be a sleeper to watch on Sunday in Marina Bay.
He was first, second and sixth respectively in practice and qualified fourth too.
No Team 1-2 Finishes In Singapore
How crazy is this stat, we’ve never had a team 1-2 finish in the 19 year history of Marina Bay. Will that change on Sunday? We’ve had seven this season, all by Mercedes, but five of those seven took place in the first five races of the year.
With how this recent year has gone, I don’t think we will see a Mercedes, Red Bull or Ferrari 1-2 on Sunday either.
16 Leclerc – I think he three-peats. Leclerc, was quickest in practice on Saturday and turned that into a pole. The last two races that he won the pole, he won the race too. Also, eight of the last 10 races in Singapore saw the race winner come from the pole.
44 Hamilton – This race has never produced a same team 1-2 finish. Sunday will be no different. Hamilton, was third, first and second in practice this weekend and has three straight podiums in Singapore including two consecutive wins. Mercedes has won four of the last five in Marina Bay too.
33 Verstappen – It will be a Ferrari-Mercedes-Red Bull podium. Verstappen, finished second in this race last year and was first and second respectively in practice on Friday.
5 Vettel – For the third time in the last four years, I feel like Vettel fails to get a podium in Singapore. He also has failed to finish on the podium in three of the last five races too. While he was in the top three of all three practice sessions this weekend and even qualified in third, I feel like he’s the fourth best car.
77 Bottas – He nets his third straight top five in Singapore as he went from third in 2017, fourth in 2018 to fifth in 2019. Bottas, finished third in Spa, second in Italy but will get to fifth on Sunday in Singapore. He was fourth in all three practice sessions too.