What did we learn from the Singapore Grand Prix?


Well, we learned (if we didn’t know already) that street circuits are boring.  They may be technically very challenging for the drivers, but that does not translate into very exciting for the spectators.  Because of the novelty factor of the race under floodlights, Singapore was better than Valencia – but only just.

There was no doubt in anyone’s minds as to who was the driver of the day (sorry – night).  Vettel’s effort was flawless in his Red Bull, and currently he is head and shoulders above everyone.  He drives with pin-point accuracy and a maturity well beyond his years.  He will win the championship again this year and he deserves it.

His team mate Mark Webber fluffed the start, yet again.  Two weeks ago I suggested he spend the time before the Singapore GP practicing starts.  He didn’t listen, and so cocked it all up again.  When will these drivers listen to age and experience (me)?

The McLaren team is an interesting one.  The very fast, much vaunted Lewis Hamilton disconnects the brain yet again.  Does he do it as the starting lights go out?  Or does it only happen after a few laps?  And in the other side of the garage, the only fast, and under-rated, Jenson Button keeps his cool, drives with intelligence and brings home the results.  Far from being the Number 2 driver at McLaren, he is really now Number 1.  Now the team has to accept this, and work out how to put enough fuel in their racing cars.  This is Formula 1, the peak of motor sport.  Perhaps I should send them a whisky bottle of 91 octane that my local shop sells to the motorcycle taxi drivers.

Scuderia Ferrari is having its problems too.  Alonso is getting the most out of the car, while Massa really is only a Number 2, and his poor lap times get him back in the mid-pack, where he gets attacked by Hamilton (again/as usual).

Another driver who is showing bucketfuls of talent is Paul di Resta in the Team Poppadum finishing in 6th position.  A huge future ahead for this rookie, who is easily outpacing his more experienced team mate Adrian Sutil, who is supposed to be the great ‘talent-in-waiting’.

The next team down the results sheet was Mercedes GP, where the other great talent-in-waiting Nico Rosberg couldn’t get to grips with the circuit at all.  “I was struggling with the rear end in the race, and our car just really didn’t suit this demanding track.”  The car or the driver, Nico?  His team mate, Michael Schumacher, claimed the opposite, saying, “…my car and the tyres worked well, and therefore the pace was very good.”  Unfortunately he clobbered Perez (Sauber) resulting in a crash he described as, “It’s probably one of those race incidents which look more impressive from outside than from inside, as I am totally OK and my impact in the end was not too heavy.  It was a pity because I will look ahead to the next races and hope to have better endings there.”  Ah yes, Michael, we know what you mean about happy endings.  Perhaps he has been to the Suzuka massage parlor?

Kamui Kobayashi in his Sauber can always be counted upon to be in the thick of the action, and did not let us down in Singapore.  “I was very surprised when I got the drive through penalty, because I didn’t see any blue flags.”  A couple of meetings ago he used the excuse that he was Japanese and had small eyes – this time he didn’t bother opening them at all.

Next race is the Japanese GP October 9, telecast at 1 p.m. Thai time.