Steady on – Singapore GP 2018

Although we got to see some aggressive driving in the middle lot in the Singapore Grand Prix, the race was sadly a little boring simply because the top-6 drivers all finished on the same positions they started from. Not an entirely unexciting race (we saw the Safety Car deployed), but Sebastian Vettel’s chances of challenging Hamilton for the championship are seriously beginning to slip away.

The Top-10:

  1. Lewis HamiltonFlawless drive, nothing more could be done.
  2. Max Verstappen – Despite Vettel fighting Verstappen, the Red Bull regained his position on the pit-stops.
  3. Sebastian Vettel – Flawless drive, nothing more could be done.
  4. Valtteri Bottas – Ditto.
  5. Kimi Räikkönen – Ditto.
  6. Daniel Ricciardo – Ditto.
  7. Fernando Alonso – It’s a little sad to admit that this is the best McLaren are capable of right now. Not the final season Alonso would have probably wanted.
  8. Carlos Sainz – Future McLaren driver Sainz gave it his all in this round. This was the best Renault could do, albeit they had two cars on points.
  9. Charles Leclerc – Leclerc finally broke his unfortunate streak of non-scoring finishes with a solid drive on the challenging Singapore track.
  10. Nico Hülkenberg – After a couple of unfortunate fumbles on this half of the season, Renault had their game-face on and took home valuable points. Good on Nico.

Golden Pineapple Award: Marcus Ericsson, Sauber

Ericsson may not have a shot at a Sauber drive next season but he’s taken an important step towards conquering the Pineapple Chart.

Drop-out count: 1

For a race that was at least moderately exciting, we saw, strangely, only one retirement from Esteban Ocon who was pushed into the track-wall by his own team-mate.

Back of the Lot News:

Stoffel Vandoorne’s chances of gaining a seat at any team are looking slim with performances this under-whelming. 12th for the second race in a row with his last points scored in Azerbaijan. By comparison, when his team-mate hasn’t been forced to retire, he’s made the bottom-half of the score-board. Sure, the McLaren car isn’t fast but it’s not as slow as Stoffel is making it look either.

Today was another off-day for Toro Rosso, with Pierre Gasly managing a rather lowly 13th and Brendon Hartley finishing third-to-last at 17th, though this was probably in part because of an incident involving Sirotkin.

Sergio Perez was the centre of attention in two of the major incidents on track. First, there was him forcing his team-mate Ocon into the wall. Later in the race, he also struck the side of Sirotkin’s car which led to a puncture and a 5 second penalty. Perez is known to be overly aggressive at times, but this was just absolutely ridiculous. There’s simply no defending such reckless disregard for his fellow drivers. Here’s hoping the Mexican gets his act together for the Russian Grand Prix in two week’s time.

The Williams and Haas teams had yet another underwhelming race filled with weird incidents. Lance Stroll’s 14th place flew completely under the radar for me. Similarly, I don’t know what Kevin Magnussen was doing the whole race but he was eventually second-to-last at 18th. However, the real centre of attention for this failing four was Romain Grosjean who stupidly raced Sirotkin in a point when the race lead was overtaking them. Grosjean received a 5 second penalty for his efforts. What makes all of this so pointless from the Frenchman’s perspective is that he could have easily let Hamilton and Verstappen past first and then tried to make his overtake, which considering who his opponent was wouldn’t have honestly required a lot of effort. Same as Perez, even if he was racing for position, this kind of disregard for other drivers is completely inexcusable.

Dead last: Sergey SirotkinThe Singapore Grand Prix at least settled on who really are the Pineapple and Dead Last leaders for the rest of the season. Sirotkin had some rotten luck this round which can’t be denied. He was bulldozed by Perez at one point, an incident from which he survived relatively unscathed. The fact that he kept his cool during the Grosjean incident was also admirable, so it’s a little unfortunate that I have to criticise him a bit for the Hartley overtake which also netted Sirotkin a 5 second penalty.

Granted, Williams are having an absolutely abysmal season, but Sirotkin seemed to be making decent progress up the field, so it’s a shame that so many things had to go wrong for him today.