All the preliminary on track activity is now in the books in Singapore, the only thing left to do is race on Sunday night. After three separate practice sessions and now qualifying, Sunday’s Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix (8 a.m. ET/ESPN 2) is going to be difficult to predict.
The speed charts have been all over the place. At one moment, it appears that the Red Bulls are going to be tough to beat. Another the advantage is given to the Ferrari’s. Then, the next time you look up, the Mercedes drivers are tough to beat.
With an anything can happen 2018 F1 season, Sunday’s race is sure to be a thrilling yet challenging one.
Here’s my top five prediction.
- Sebastian Vettel – It’s hard to not go with him. No, he didn’t have the pace in qualifying, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t in the race though. Vettel, was third, ninth and first respectively in practice and starts third. He’s a four time winner of this race and has six top two finishes in his last eight starts there.
- Lewis Hamilton – Why not another 1-2 finish by this group. Hamilton, has short run speed but in terms of long pace, he doesn’t have it. Mercedes actually ranked third behind the Ferrari’s and the Red Bull’s. But, this race could also produce a lot of yellows, so if that happens, then flip this order. Hamilton, has three wins in Singapore, including last year to go along with three podiums in his last four starts there. On the season, he has five straight top two finishes as he and Vettel have finished 1-2 in three of the last five races. Why not 4-for-6?
- Kimi Raikkonen – I just don’t trust the Red Bull’s, so I’m going with the next best. Raikkonen, has six podium finishes in his last seven starts on the season. He was fourth, first and second respectively in practice. I know he only has one podium finish on this track since joining Ferrari, but he will get his second on Sunday.
- Sergio Perez – He has seven straight top 10 finishes in Singapore. He has five top 10 finishes in his last six starts on the season. He rolls off seventh on Sunday and should contend for a top five.
- Esteban Ocon – He’s finished sixth in each of the last two races on the season. He has five top eight finishes in his last six starts overall. In Singapore, he came home 10th last year. He starts ninth on Sunday and I think he can challenge for a better finish.
Why No Red Bull’s?
I have a feeling they’ll struggle. Yes, they’ve been reasonably fast but that mixed with the hot steamy weather could be a problem with their power units. Daniel Ricciardo has seen his power unit fail him in three of the last four races and four of the last six. He has four straight podium finishes in Singapore including four straight runner-ups, but I don’t trust his engine can make it through the end.
Max Verstappen has never finished in the top five in three career tries in Singapore and does start second, but he has already been complaining about his power unit this weekend.