What did we learn from Singapore?


Well, we learned that the Mercedes/Hamilton juggernaut could be stopped. We also learned that some drivers make poor decisions. Passing can be done on the Singapore circuit, and some people enjoy a late night stroll. There was also the intrigue of the auto-selecting neutrals!

All weekend Mercedes was nowhere near the top of the practice sessions, and again in Qualifying, Hamilton and Rosberg were only 5th and 6th with Vettel (Ferrari) way in front on pole position, and Mercedes couldn’t work out why. My feeling is that with their superior engine and greatest top speed, they had not put as much development into handling this year, and Singapore, with its numerous corners and no long straights, did not favor the silver arrows.

So to the race, and it was Vettel all the way from Ricciardo (Red Bull) who could keep the red car in sight, but that was all. Third was Raikkonen (Ferrari) in what can only be described as a lack-luster performance. When Ferrari find out what is needed to get Kimi going they will have two winning drivers. In the meantime …?

The results after Raikkonen were subject to two safety car periods. One for the aftermath of Massa (Williams) and Hulkenberg (FIndia) disputing the corner after the pits with the Hulk coming off second best and being given a three grid place demotion for Japan. Stewards make some strange decisions (but that has always been the case). The second Safety car was after they found a lone Brit, under the weather, having ducked under the safety fence and walking casually down the main straight, taking the odd holiday snap for his Mum and Dad.

After that excitement, Rosberg (Mercedes) came in 4th in another uninspired drive, looking to settle behind Hamilton until Hamilton’s engine went sour and he became a retirement.

Bottas (Williams) inherited 5th and Kvyat (Red Bull), who got the pit stops wrong vis-à-vis the safety car periods, finishing 6th, well clear of Perez (FIndia) and Verstappen (Toro Rosso).

Verstappen deserved his 8th after stalling on the grid and rejoining a lap down and then showing everyone that passing was possible in a wonderfully aggressive drive. And he is only just 17 – wait till he gets old enough to shave!

Now for the intrigue. Several drivers complained that their gearbox would select neutrals all by itself, and the conspiracy theorists claim that the underground cables for the Mass Transit system were the cause. This is nonsense, the real reason being Bernie playing with the remote from the TV set.

I almost forgot another stunning weekend for McLaren with both cars out with gearbox maladies. Alonso must look at himself in the mirror and wonder why he left Ferrari. Blunder of the year!

Hot goss goes that Red Bull has been bought by VW to run under the Audi banner. Renault are buying “Lotus” and Williams have fallen for the Maldonado money for 2016. Expect more crashes in 2016.

The Japan GP is this weekend September 27, a ‘real’ circuit. Will Mercedes have found its mojo again? Race time is 12 noon Thai time this Sunday.