SINGAPORE REVIEW – BRIGHT LIGHTS, AWESOME CARS

 

Going down towards the sharp righthander, the braking is left just a little too late. The car is slightly unsettled before the turn-in is made with too high of an entry speed. The result is inevitable and the barrier is closing in fast on the now rearfacing car…
Ha! That was not F1 at all. That was me on Monday in my Ford Focus at the all-new Rudskogen Motorsenter. :D A track designed by Hermann Tilke. I can relieve you by saying that I was able to recover before any contact with the barriers. Phew.. Back to F1!

I yell “Nooooooo!” at the screen as I watch the Mercedes of one Michael Schumacher take flight over the Sauber of Perez. The Sauber driver had braked earlier than the pursuing Schumacher expected and it was almost an eerie rerun of the Kovalainen-Webber collision in Valencia last year. Fortunately the Mercedes had no Red Bull that gave it wings so it quickly came down to earth again. Still a scary moment although a clear race incident in my mind, even if Schumacher was reprimanded after the race.


Before this, I was rooting for the German veteran. He seems to have rediscovered his mojo in the last few races. Or perhaps the car and tires are finally coming together for him. Nevertheless, I cant help cheering him on. Perhaps because he is my senior and it shows than even us guys in that generation can still have “it” when it comes to racing. ;)

But I am getting ahead of myself. Vettel qualified on pole again for the 11th time this season. Is Vettel dominating? Yes. Is the season boring? No. Not for me anyway. I said it before, but I deem the DRS system a success. There have been a few instances where it didnt really work and others where overtaking was too easy. But that is just tweaking. And that is why I am still looking forward to every qualifying and every race, even if Vettel pretty much wrapped it up at Monza.

THE RACE

Lights out at the Marina Bay Street Circuit and Vettel takes the lead while Webber does a usual crap start, losing numerous places from his 3rd slot.
Hamilton found himself behind Schumacher again. Probably the least place he wanted to be. But the DRS worked good enough to make a brilliant move around the Mercedes of both Schumacher and later on Nico Rosberg.

But when it came to overtaking Massa, things got ugly – and after the race too. Hamilton gets a run on the Ferrari but the Brazillian was leaving his braking very late, forcing Lewis to get in line behind him again. But he seemed to either misjudge the speed or the distance to the Ferrari because he clipped the rearwheel, giving Massa a puncture and himself a broken front wing. In past seasons, this would have been deemed a race incident but a drive-tru was swiftly handed out to Hamilton. A bit harsh if you ask me, but Lewis have caught the stewards eyes more than once this season and that may be a contributing factor..


After the race a very upset Massa proclaims in his usual rubbish english which sounds like a 5-year old with a lisp that takes interpretation to understand, that “Hamilton cannot use his mind”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9mJxjLTr8s
He also manages to grab and push Hamiltons shoulder in the middle of an interview he was doing while saying “Good job. Well done” Now I understand that Massa is upset, but this is simply childish, immature and way out of line. That is not how you do things in F1.
The incident: http://youtu.be/iQAzP0F3faM

I will just go quickly through the events and the key points of the race from here.

Paul di Resta is having his best race in F1 so far. He was up to 3rd place at one point and finished in 6th position. The last driver not to be lapped. A contender for driver of the day. Another contender is Kovalainen. 16th place is very respectable but it becomes impressive when we know he managed to beat Vitaly Petrov in the Renault.

 
Vettel is disappearing in the distance – literally. With more than a second per lap ahead of Button in 2nd place. Alonso is up to 3rd but is being chased down by Webber who manages to secure 3rd place in the end after a couple of attempts. Nothing less should be expected from Webber when you are sitting in a car of that caliber.

The Schumacher-Perez incident mentioned above brings out the safety car. The field is bunched up but Vettel got lucky by having a couple of backmarkers between himself and Button. And when the SC pulled in, it was quite a spectacle. Its not often you get to witness how big a gap there is in performance between the Red Bull and a Lotus and a Virgin, I believe it was. But it was mindboggling. The rate at which it pulled away was just scary and fascinating. Just a few corners and they were several seconds behind..

Hamilton is starting to recover from his 2 extra pitstops. One from a frontwing change, the other a penalty. He makes it past cars one by one – without mistakes this time. He even passes Massa who has one less pitstop. 5th is as high as he could go with not enough laps to reach the Ferrari of Alonso. Massa finishes in 9th, 1 lap down.
 

The laps are winding down and Vettel is just cruising when Buttons behind suddenly caught fire. Ok, maybe not, but something must have happened because all of a sudden he is setting fastest laps and trying to chase down the race leader. He is helped by backmarkers at times and gets the gap down to about 3 seconds from being up in the double digits. But Vettel apparently had control of the situation all along as he takes the chequered flag in style.

He needs to not finish any of the remaining races and Jenson Button win all of them to lose the championship. If Button finishes just 2nd in one of them, Vettel has won. Amazing. I guess it is possible if all the drivers ganged up on Vettel and one sacrificed themselves in a crash every race and they let Jenson by if he was not leading.. If they are really tired of seeing that finger after every single qualifying and every race, then it just might happen :D

DRIVER OF THE DAY

All kidding aside, for me there is a clear DOTD. To dominate a 2 hour street circuit like he did and making it look easy is just something else. Suzuka is coming up – another track that is a Red Bull snack and a Sebastian favorite. Look out for Kobayashi as well.

DOUCHE OF THE DAY

Oh, there are several contenders. Schumacher might be an obvious choice but he is not on my short list. It was a race incident as I mentioned earlier. I could put Hamilton up because it was a bad mistake for sure. But his recovery drive redeems him in my mind.

No, the real douche is the little whining baby Brazillian. This is what he does best. Whine and place blame. Sure Hamilton was at fault here but I was just reminded of how he often pathetically tries to boost himself up with juvenile methods of lobbying. Not to mention how he never ever takes any blame for himself, no matter the case. And his stunt while Lewis Hamilton was being interviewed tips the scales for me. Congratulations Felipe baby. You won something.

SORENS RACE RATING

It was okay. Some good passes were seen. The Mercedes cars showed some good pace which was encouraging. The drama moments were the Schumi crash, Hamilton-Massa and Hamiltons fight-back and then Buttons surge at the end. I give it a 6 out of 10.

A quick reminder that this coming weekend is the rally of France where Kimi will be going flat out against the 5 best rally drivers on the planet. If you want to follow Kimi and the rally in general, then you should really click on this link. It will have some interesting and positive news for you :)
http://wrc.com/news/wrc-to-pilot-live-web-content-during-rallye-de-france/?fid=15432

I predict a podium for Kimi. Why? Because I feel like it :p Either that or an almighty roll. He has not done that at all this year and we are running out of rallies. He needs to wreck it in style before he goes to Williams next year ;)

(P.S. I am far from sure he will go to Williams. I would say about 50-50 at this point)
Take care guys.

Love,
Soren

Images © Singapore GP/Force India/Sutton, Getty Images/Red Bull

 

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