What did we learn from Singapore?

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Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen (right) of Finland collides with teammate Sebastian Vettel of Germany at the start of the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix on the Marina Bay City Circuit Singapore, Sunday, Sept. 17. Vettel’s title rival, Lewis Hamilton of the Mercedes team, won the race to extend his championship lead.
Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen (right) of Finland collides with teammate Sebastian Vettel of Germany at the start of the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix on the Marina Bay City Circuit Singapore, Sunday, Sept. 17. Vettel’s title rival, Lewis Hamilton of the Mercedes team, won the race to extend his championship lead.

Well, we learned that three into two doesn’t go, when Vettel (Ferrari), Verstappen (Red Bull) and Raikkonen (Ferrari) all tried to take the same line for the first corner of the race. You remember the first corner? The one from which you may not win the race, but the one at which you certainly can lose the race.

We also learned that not every F1 driver can handle wet conditions, in particular the Mercedes Number 2.

However, Singapore showed its full-on entertainment with singing budgies, hula-hoopers, lady drummers and parties galore. Singapore, having signed a new four year contract, is the way of the future as far as new owners Liberty Media is concerned. The word is “entertainment”.

So the cars lined up on the grid just in time to see the rain. The grid was split between full wets or intermediates with coins being tossed in the air.

It had been decided that it would be a standing start and when the lights went out mayhem began. Vettel moved left to cover off Verstappen who found himself in an ever decreasing Ferrari triangle as Raikkonen came steaming through on his left. Not only did the three of them take each other out, but their accident saw Alonso (McLaren) involved, and as a by-product, gifted the lead to Hamilton (Mercedes), a lead he was never to surrender.

Second after the restart was Ricciardo (Red Bull), the driver everyone thought would win, but he was never close enough to Hamilton to challenge him. Later it was found that he was nursing a gearbox problem, which we had picked watching the telecast.

All the way down the order drivers were trying to make the intermediates work, with some more successful at it than others. Bottas (Mercedes) was quite at sea, and it was only after the track dried and slicks were bolted on did he regain his podium position.

Carlos Sainz (Toro Rosso) excelled in the damp conditions and successfully held off Perez (FIndia), showing that he does have the speed and the talent required to step up to Renault next season (or even this season if the rumors are correct).

Jolyon Palmer (Renault), with the axe hanging over his head, drove very well, finishing in the points for the first time this year! His sixth place was of course the result of all the retirements of drivers normally above him, so should not be taken as a miraculous new form for the outgoing Renault driver.

The other Renault driver, Hulkenberg, was up to fourth at one stage, but let down by an oil leak.

Results:

L Hamilton Mercedes

2 D Ricciardo Red Bull

3 V Bottas Mercedes

4 C Sainz Toro Rosso

5 S Perez Force India

6 J Palmer Renault

7 S Vandoorne McLaren

8 L Stroll Williams.

9 R Grosjean Haas

10 E Ocon Force India

11 F Massa Williams

12 P Wehrlein Sauber – 56 laps

Retirements:

R K Magnussen Haas Power unit – 50 laps

R N Hulkenberg Renault Oil leak – 48 laps

R M Ericsson Sauber Accident – 35 laps

R D Kvyat Toro Rosso Accident – 10 laps

R F Alonso McLaren Damage – 8 laps

R S Vettel Ferrari Accident – 0 laps

R M Verstappen Red Bull Accident – 0 laps

R K Raikkonen Ferrari Accident – 0 laps

The next GP is in Malaysia, October 1, telecast at 2 p.m. Thai time.