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?
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.
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.
But, Ferrari’s advantage may 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 May 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. I expect more of the same this weekend.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.