Rate the race and Driver of the weekend: Marina Bay Circuit, Singapore 2018.
Mean reader score: 4.14 Rated 13/15
Having scored 5.55 last year, 6.77 in 2016, 5.56 in 2015 and 5.62 in 2014, this year’s score of 4.14 was the lowest of them all. Not surprising, really, as apart from a daring overtake from Vettel on Verstappen on Lap 1 to take P2, and a bit of a kerfuffle at the pit lane exit on L17, when Verstappen retook P2, not a lot happened.
There was a brief moment of excitement when, on trying to avoid the fracas between two backmarkers when he was trying to overtake them, Hamilton slowed enough to allow Verstappen to get within challenging distance of the lead.
But once Hamilton got past the backmarkers and put his foot down, that was the end of that. We had even more poor strategy calls from Ferrari, Perez trying to get into the points by taking out as many of his opponents as possible, a handful of scraps at the back of the field and not a lot else. Is the championship over? Can Ferrari pull some magic out of the Hat? ….or not.
Possibly the worst race of the season so far, (IMO)
Driver of the Weekend: Max Verstappen 50.00% of Reader Vote
Well, having put in a blistering lap in Q3 to take P2, Max very nearly made pole and maybe may have done had it not been for that little mistake on his final run. Never mind, he was delighted at having come between the two championship ‘contenders’.
He was P2 in the FP1 and FP2 as well. Come race day, as expected, he had the bit between his teeth and tried to take P1 but Hamilton was having none of it. Nor, come to think of it was Vettel, who sharpened his elbows and took P2 before lap1 was out.
That all changed at Verstappen’s pitstop, when at the exit to the pit stop he was wheel to wheel with Vettel, retook P2 and stayed there for the rest of the race. He nearly overtook Hamilton mid way when the backmarkers slowed Hamilton enough for Max to catch and make Hamilton go on the defensive but once the air was clear again Hamilton put his foot down and cleared off.
Another podium for Max, another 18 points in the bag and he increased his lead over his team mate in the driver championship – Well done Max!!
NOTE FROM ED: Interesting how Max got the reader poll this week, consider really that the Red Bull actually had the pace for a race win. Lewis on the other hand was sublime at Singapore and deserved the reader vote.
If not for the engine gremlins, he might have taken pole. Max lost 0.45 sec on the straights, but ended up 0.3 seconds behind Lewis.