Hamilton: Nothing out of reach for Mercedes

Lawrence Cooper
September 16, 2017

Hamilton has an all-time record 69 career poles.

The Englishman's dominant victory at Monza ensured his first visit to the summit of the title race this season, but his Mercedes team are cautious that the twisty nature of the Marina Bay street circuit will be more suited to Vettel and his Ferrari auto this weekend.

Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia steers his vehicle into the pit lane during the second practice session at the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix on the Marina Bay City Circuit Singapore, Friday, Sept. 15, 2017.

Having been rewarded with an extended one-year deal for next season this past week, the Finn will play an important part at Marina Bay in what for Mercedes will need to a team-driven effort more than any stage of this season. The anticipated temperatures in Singapore reaching 86 degrees Fahrenheit with 86% of humidity at the time of the race. Ferrari and Red Bull are the favourites, given Mercedes' poor form at Monaco, in which case if Vettel wins as expected, and Kimi (Raikkonen), Max (Verstappen) or Daniel (Ricciardo) also finish ahead of Lewis, he could lose his hard-won title lead a race after he overtook Seb.

Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia snacks in his team garage between laps during the second practice session at the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix on the Marina Bay City Circuit Singapore, Friday, Sept. 15, 2017.

After the conclusion of the European leg in 2017, Formula One gears up for one of the most glamorous races of the calendar year with Singapore being the next stop, the 14th race of this campaign. And not, it seems, even the world champions themselves.

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Another key takeaway heading into the weekend is both Vettel and Hamilton have won multiple times at Singapore.

The lowest winning grid position was Alonso, who came from 15th place in a now-notorious 2008 race where his Brazilian team mate Nelson Piquet crashed his Renault deliberately on team orders. Throughout that weekend the German looked to be at his unbeatable best and this year he arrives back at the street circuit with a auto expected to be the front-runner again. It's the longest race of the season in terms of duration.

And although Rosberg's victory a year ago has laid some of those 2015 ghosts to rest, Mercedes haven't forgotten that curious particular struggle. Last year's lasted one hour and 55 minutes.

'In 2015, Singapore provided us with one of the most painful experiences in recent seasons, so we rolled up the sleeves, learned from it and managed to bounce back with a great win a year ago.

According to leading SA bookies Sportingbet, Vettel can be backed at 6/4 while Hamilton is on offer at 9/5. The German finished 11th for Ferrari, his best time notably set on the soft Pirelli tyre rather than the ultrasoft used by all his rivals.

"I want an opportunity to be able to win week in and week out, while I believe I am still at the top". The Renault driver is currently tied on 128 with Germany's now-departed Adrian Sutil.

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