Three into one still doesn’t go, Sainz proves his worth

Rate the race: Marina Bay Circuit, Singapore 2017.

Mean reader score: 5.55

This is the worst score for quite a few years for this circuit (6.77, 6.56, 5.65 and 5.62 for 2016, 15, 14 and 13) which is hardly surprising as although the race lasted the full two hours (and didn’t get as far as the full 61 lap race distance) it was pretty much over within seconds of lights out. A massive downpour earlier in the day washed the track clean and for the first time in it’s ten year history, we had a wet race in Singapore. No running had been done on wet or intermediate tyres the whole weekend.

What can I say? The race itself may have been pretty dull but the start has fuelled more opinions as to who should or should not have done what than any other this season. Once again we had three cars all trying to get into the same place at the same time with catastrophic results.  Being an anti clockwise circuit  and the first turn a left hander, pole position wasn’t necessarily the best place to start from as the pole sitter was on the ‘wrong’ side of the track in some respects. Raikkonen (P4) got off to a great start, getting ahead of Verstappen (P2)  up the inside, Vettel meanwhile closed down the gap from the outside leaving Verstappen in the middle. Verstappen’s front wheel touched Raikkonen’s rear wheel, sending him barrelling into Vettel (P1) ripping a massive hole in Vettel’s side pod and sending himself skittering uncontrollably into Verstappen and picking up an unsuspecting Alonso (who had also made a good start) along the way. All three cars were out shortly thereafter. The next thing we saw was Vettel (who almost lost the lead to Hamilton after the carnage) steering Gina backwards into turn three, having slipped on his own radiator fluid, hit a wall and taken off his front wing. He was also out of the race. Hamilton must have thought that a) all his Christmases had come at once or b) he really is blessed, as starting from P5 (with Vettel in P1 now out of the race) it looked as if he  really could win this one. Three safety cars later and with only a dozen cars finishing the race, we settled into a procession (pretty much) for the remaining two hours. Honourable mentions for Sainz who, finishing in P4, had his biggest points haul of the season, Palmer who scored his first points of the season and Magnussen who had a couple of pretty risky overtakes before having to retire. Hamilton won the race, Ricciardo brought home the points for Red Bull in second place and Bottas kept his head down and managed to come home third, salvaging what for him had been a difficult weekend.

Driver of the Weekend: Lewis Hamilton 28.39% of Reader Vote

At the beginning of the weekend Hamilton said he’d need a miracle to retain his position at the top of the driver standings in the WDC. Well his prayers were indeed answered and not only did he win the race, Formula 1 Driver of the Day, and Fastest Lap award (1:48.008), he also managed to increase his lead over Vettel from 3 to 28 points, AND he won our Driver of the Weekend accolade as well. Not bad from a P5 start on a track notoriously difficult for overtaking. Well done Lewis!

Carlos Sainz seemingly bolstered by his new Renault deal scored well in the race finishing 4th having starting from P10 and as such received 2nd in our reader poll.

So, was the carnage at the start really a racing incident? Does Max the Wonderkid deserve to be known as the new Maldonado? (Crashtappen) IS Hamilton #blessed? Should Vettel have played it safe into turn 1?  Is the WDC championship fight between Vettel and Hamilton really over? Comment’s below please (yes, I know you’ve already argued the toss on the above all week, but you know, humour me)

@F1TheaJ

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20 responses to “Three into one still doesn’t go, Sainz proves his worth

  1. Max the new Maldonado… Lets see howmany chrashes Max has had where he was at fault and has actually taken out a fellow driver that led to a forced retirment.. 2 x Grosjean in Monaco in his first year and Ricciardo in Hungary this year. He is acctually makes very few mistakes and never the same one twice. And yet he is labeld as dangerous…. I really don’t get people who think he is dangerous. Agressive yes, determend yes. But dangerous… no way. I understand that someone doesn’t like him but the stuff ive seen posted left right and center is just ridiculus. I personally am not a Vettel fan but i don’t go around bashing him althoug i would wish that he owns his mistakes i have never heard a genuin apology not even after Baku. Max made a couple of mistakes but he owned them.

    • How about driving in to massa in monza ’17. Taking grosjean’ s front wing off in monza ’17. Driving off vettel’s front wing in Canada’ 17. (these are the ones I can think of in a second without any proper research.)
      Why does your list only include people forced in to a dnf? Ruin their race should be treated equally.

      • I get where you are comming from. But everyone and i mean everyone on the grid has done that more than once. And i do agree with talking vettels wing out in Canada but not Massa en not Grosjean in both Max was next and in front of both. So they had to give him space althoug in the case of Grosjean Max turned in to quick maybe he thought he was clear i don’t know. Now if you talk about forcing another driver off track a few situations with Vettel come to mind. Like Silverstone, Brazil for example In both situations Vettel tryed to do the exact same thing but Max backed out and then made sure he was in front of or next to Vettel and gave Vettel the same choice back out or take a detour so in my humble opinion turn aroud is fairplay. Remember Vettel bumped Max off track before coming on the radio and complaining about “he forced me off track”. I guess it’s in the eye of the beholder. Sure Max has made a few mistakes but i just can’t reconsile that he is being labeld as dangerous because he isn’t.

        • And I get where you are coming from. And believe me, I see fault in Vettel too! And Hamilton and, and, and…
          They all make mistakes.
          As for not being dangerous, I disagree. He(max) has exactly the same attitude as Vettel. Either you let me past or we crash. Like so many before them. It’s what makes them Wdc material.

          • And, to be completely honest, his move on kimi in spa ’16 was something that got a whole article from me, on this site. One made in anger by me. That move was dirty and should’ve gotten punished the right way. But somehow the FIA didn’t. If you didn’t call that dangerous…

          • Small side note:
            It’s for drivers like Vettel and Verstappen that I watch f1. Make no mistake. I like hard racing, if it’s fair.

          • Spa 2016 could have been, had it not been for Raikkonen realizing how dangerous Vertstappens move was and moving over and hitting Vettel, a virtual replay of Spa 2012.

          • Totally agree with you on Spa 2016. Max was pissed of because Rai had to give him te postion back and chose to wait until right before the DRS zone. But stil that does not excuse that move by Max. Way over the line on that one.

    • Hi There, many thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. I guess the short answer to my question would have been ‘no.’ I’m sorry if my piece came across as bashing Max. I have to say, I was a little torn as to which nickname to use for him, with Verstoppen and Evercrappen being strong contenders (from Twitter.) I settled on Crashtappen as I thought it was closest to Crashdor or Crashdanaldo (or something like that) that I had heard for Pastor Maldonado.

  2. I don’t think it matters what nickname you give him. I personally like Mad Max. I did not get the impression you where bashing Verstappen btw. You asked a question witch is no more than fair.

  3. Didn’t watch the race but watched replays of the start about 8 times. I’m no Max fan, so the first view I said Max’s fault. The next (about) 7 views I said Vettel’s fault. No question in my mind, Vettel came over too far and forced Max into a position where he had nowhere to go. You could even see Max trying to back out of it but too late. I guess Vettel had no idea that Kimi was on the left of Max, so probably thought he was giving Max enough room to move over, but simply too aggressive off the start when so much is dynamic. I fear Vettel just cost Ferrari their best chance in a long time at the Constructor’s.

  4. Not sure if the night lights are making it clearer but am I the only one surprised by the amount of carnage on the side pods? Did they chnage the construction material? It looks like aluminium foil paper got torn into.

    Frankly, I didn’t mind the race. Watching the first turn end in some tears as Vettel’s prancing horse spewed fluids as it chocked, in Seb’s attempt to pull a gap from his rival.

    Hamilton would win at that point and I enjoyed the battles further down, it was some good fun. My disappoint is in Renault dropping the ball for the Hulk. Alonso being collected by KR was tough too.

  5. Everyone needs to watch the start again and pay close attention to spray coming off the rear tires. There was a river of water draining across the front straight and they hit water just before they bundled into each other. It looks very much like water tipped them into the collision (or perhaps prevented them from taking evasive action). Ultimately they collided because they were unnecessarily close to each other–when they didn’t need to be. That’s the definition of a racing accident though, isn’t it…
    In the judgement column though, ponder this:
    -MV survived the initial impact, then somehow forgot about a Ferrari with 2 broken wheels coming on the inside. How could he have expected KR to stop the car? DR, NH, SP all figured that out and slowed/went wide to let the Ferrari slide by. MV seemed more concerned about defending against DR and FA…
    -FA took a line into the corner that looked like a collision course with MV even before KR arrived on the scene.
    -LH stayed on the outside line (where you expect to find traction in the wet), and gave SV extra room in T1–as if expecting SV to either not make the corner or push him wide.
    -KR stayed off the paint to his left, and would have swept past MV with plenty of time to move right, slow the car and make the corner in front of MV. Would have placed him perfectly to protect SV.
    IMO, on that day, only LH and KR were showing the judgement that wins championships (Plus DR, NH, and SP).

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