The Ant In Mercedes’ Pants
Italy saw Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton move ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel for the first time this season. Hamilton now leads by three points ahead of Singapore – a circuit that Mercedes has found very difficult to master. Ferrari technology has proved much more adept at performing on slow tracks in hot and/or humid conditions, than has Mercedes. Slow and hot just about sums up Singapore in a nutshell – circuit conditions that could absolutely not have come at a worse time for Mercedes.
Team boss Toto Wolff voiced clear concerns ahead of Singapore, saying that the circuit was well suited to a car able to withstand maximum down-force on a slow-speed circuit. Ferrari and Red Bull seemed especially capable of performing under those conditions, but not Mercedes.
Toto is of the opinion that sometimes it’s a matter of being in the very DNA of the car, saying however that Mercedes has taken a long and brutally honest look at what went wrong in Monaco as well as Hungary – examining the wound so to speak, to see the extent of what needed to be changed.
Hamilton Hoping To Draw On Experience
Lewis Hamilton agrees with the Mercedes team boss, referring to his consecutive wins in Belgium and Italy, saying that he was hoping that the lessons learnt from those two weeks would have better prepared the team for Singapore, but that realistically speaking, Ferrari was still better equipped and even better suited for the Singapore circuit, than was Mercedes.
He went on to say that if Singapore wasn’t a raging success, the intention was to at least limit the damages as far as possible.
Singapore Historically The Make Or Break
The Marina Bay Street Circuit has been known to be an uncanny predictor of titles won and titles lost. The victor of the Singapore night race has gone on to become the world champions almost half of the time. In the years 2011 through 2013 it was the case for Sebastian Vettel, and in 2014 the same was true for Lewis Hamilton.
In fact, in 2012 (Vettel), 2014 (Hamilton) and 2016 (Rosberg), the respective drivers were trailing in the trenches, only to be catapulted to overall victory by Singapore.
Whilst it’s true that Hamilton (Mercedes) is currently the overall favourite – having won three of the last four races – its Ferrari and Red Bull who are expected to shine in Singapore.
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