Prior to the recent Singapore Grand Prix, a multitude of drivers seemed to boast the necessary credentials to attain victory, and whilst this may ultimately highlight the strength in depth the sport possesses, increasing the credibility of Formula One, it may also make it increasingly challenging to predict the overall victor. With the divide at the top of the standings three points, this suggestion seemed to be emphasised. Yet, this may be increasingly beneficial for the sport, as with the new car regulations ultimately implanted in the quest to create a more competitive season, having multiple victors throughout the year may lead to a wider breadth of fans becoming interested, predominantly due to the competitive nature of the races.
This suggestion seemed to be reiterated in Singapore, as whilst Hamilton attained victory, cementing his position at the top of the leaderboard, a smorgasbord of drivers enhanced themselves, and their team’s standings, and thus whilst Hamilton may claim the plaudits, the innovation in the sport itself may be a more poignant focal point. With the Grand Prix the fourteenth in the season, its position also seems to enable drivers to both utilise their previous race experiences and have their philosophies honed, as they may have discovered their varying levels of success, whilst ultimately still possessing ample time to utilise this track, as one of the more challenging, to conclude their season productively.
With the Ferrari’s seemingly setting the pace throughout both practice and qualifying, pre-race it seemed Sebastian Vettel may claim the chequered flag, providing him with his fifth victory in 2017 and enhancing his quest to reclaim the World Championship. His main rival seemed to be Lewis Hamilton, as with these two drivers possessing over two decades of Formula One experience between them, and having attained a multitude of titles, both seemed to be held in good stead to contest for the victory. Whilst Vettel indeed started on pole, it seemed Hamilton’s tactics may have paid dividends, as whilst the German seemed to prioritise assertiveness to maintain his position, Hamilton, with the assistance of Niki Lauda and his Mercedes crew, seemed to reap the benefits of preparation, with his utilisation of intermediate tyres and his consistent consideration of the weather showcasing his overarching desire to achieve.
With the season now entering its latter stages, now may be a key point in shaping the conclusion of the contest, naturally therefore providing an insight into who may become World Champion. With reigning victor Nico Rosberg announcing his retirement upon the conclusion of the 2016 season, an opportunity seemed to be provided for all drivers to enhance their repertoires, and potentially produce an influx of opportunities for themselves; for former champions, and established veterans such as Hamilton, his absence may have motivated them to claim his place, whilst for younger drivers it may have signalled an opportunity to finish higher on the grid. The new car specifications seem to have echoed this ideology, with the revision of technical regulations, solely to increase lap times, ultimately equalling the field.
With a two week period between the aforementioned race and the upcoming Malaysian Grand Prix, it seems the drivers may be aiming to utilise this period either recuperating prior to the final races, or honing their tactics and cars in order to elevate their chances of podiums. The latter may be prioritised by Hamilton, whose seventh victory of the season may have placed him in superior stead to regain his title, and thus he may be aiming to build on these foundations. Yet, whilst Hamilton may naturally claim the plaudits, due to both his consistent accumulation of records, including his position as the most successful qualifier in history, and his flexibility with philosophies, the recent innovation of the sport may be more important; with the Singapore race highlighting the capabilities, and overall importance, of the safety car, and with other innovations achieving similar goals, it may prove how the organisers’ main priority may be ensuring events such as Senna’s may be kept in memory rather than replicated, ultimately increasing the competitiveness of the sport whilst ensuring integrity may be maintained.
How may the drivers utilise their experiences in Singapore to enhance their quest for the title?