Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Singapore, 2015

Was Vettel’s Singapore win a one-off – or the start of a late title bid?

2015 Japanese Grand Prix preview

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Track data: Suzuka

Lap length5.807km (3.608 miles)
Grand prix distance307.471km (191.054 miles)
Lap record (in a race)1’31.540 (Kimi Raikkonen, 2005)
Fastest lap (any session)1’28.954 (Michael Schumacher, 2006, qualifying two)
Tyre compoundsHard and medium

*Fastest lap set during a Grand Prix

Suzuka track data in full

Was Mercedes’ sub-par performance in Singapore just a one-off, or was it the shape of things to come?

While the silver team had an unusually difficult time with their tyres at the last race, Sebastian Vettel also enjoyed a particularly strong weekend. Not only was the Ferrari competitive, he was in exceptional form, out-qualifying Kimi Raikkonen by a huge margin and pulling clear of his team mate in the latter stages of the race at a comparable rate.

For the second race in a row, Ferrari looked especially competitive in qualifying, and capturing a place on the front row would put them in a strong position to contend for victory.

Vettel is well into his first season at Ferrari and has got the car increasingly to his liking. He has a formidable record of success at the Singapore track, but his form at Suzuka is not bad either: during Red Bull’s 2009-13 peak he took four wins and four pole positions (and arguably only missed out on a fifth straight pole due to a KERS problem in 2013).

Will Stevens, Manor, Hungaroring, 2015
A year on from Bianchi’s crash, it will be an emotionally difficult weekend
Suzuka is a very different track to Singapore, however, so if Vettel can be competitive with Mercedes here it will raise hopes he could make a late run for the championship. This is a long shot, however: Vettel is 49 points adrift of Lewis Hamilton so the Ferrari driver could win all of the remaining races and still lose the championship.

From the low-speed grind of Singapore the teams find themselves at one of few remaining tracks where speeds are almost consistently high throughout a lap. As well as the ultra-quick opening corners and the demanding double-apex Spoon Curve, Suzuka also features the corner which generates the highest continuous G-loading of the year: the 300kph 130R turn.

Although the track surface is now smoother than it was a few years ago thanks to resurfacing, Pirelli has brought its hardest tyre compounds to cope with what is still a very punishing layout. Expect pressure and camber levels to come under scrutiny again as this is the most demanding track of the year for tyres after Spa, where two high-speed raised concerns from drivers.

But while Suzuka is an almost universally acclaimed track and the Japanese fans are among the world’s most devoted F1 adherents, this year’s return to Japan will inevitably be a poignant one in the wake of the crash which claimed the life of Jules Bianchi last year.

Japanese Grand Prix team-by-team preview

Mercedes

Even Mercedes are not sure yet whether their struggle in Singapore was the shape of things to come. “Whether Singapore was a blip or not, we cannot take our position at the front for granted and expect not to get caught out,” said team principal Toto Wolff. “Suzuka is a track which should suit us better, so this will be a good indicator.”

Red Bull

On-track, Suzuka’s high-speed sections will expose the usual Renault weakness but the sinuous course will play to the Red Bull strengths – more so if it rains. Off-track, the political struggle for the team to secure what it terms a “competitive” power unit package for next year are reaching their end game, with Dietrich Mateschitz insisting he’s ready to pull all four of his cars out of F1.

Williams

Williams had excellent pace in dry conditions at Suzuka last year and should be in good shape again. Vettel’s Ferrari may be out of reach, but Raikkonen’s could be within range – providing it doesn’t rain.

Ferrari

Raikkonen believes Ferrari’s performance in Singapore was a culmination of their recent progress. “I think we were more surprised at Monza to be that close to the Mercedes and maybe that shows us that we made a step there and maybe we just kept doing the same things [in Singapore],” he said.

McLaren

Honda owns Suzuka so this race has obvious significance for McLaren. But Fernando Alonso warned this will be another tough race for them. “Our car is well balanced and feels good to drive,” he said, “but on a circuit with such a high average speed it will be difficult to beat our competitors”.

Meanwhile there is growing speculation Jenson Button may announce his retirement from Formula One this weekend in a country which has become a second home to him.

Force India

Force India is making strides with its ‘B-spec’ VJM08: the last three races have yielded four top-seven finishes and two DNFs for Nico Hulkenberg, one due to technical problems. In Singapore he tangled with Felipe Massa and carries a three-place grid penalty into this weekend’s event.

While Hulkenberg has already been confirmed at the team for next year, Sergio Perez hasn’t, but an announcement timed to coincide with his home race next month wouldn’t be a surprise.

Toro Rosso

Unusually, Suzuka is a circuit which Max Verstappen has prior experience of but Carlos Sainz Jnr does not: Verstappen made his F1 practice debut at this race last year. Despite both drivers hitting trouble in Singapore the team came away with its second double points finish of the year and having qualified strongly at other high-speed circuits this could be another good race for them.

Lotus

Lotus followed up the high of its Spa podium with two no-scores but Romain Grosjean expects Suzuka will be “a better place to exploit the positives of the E23 than Singapore”.

However doubts remain over the future of the team which is seeking to conclude a takeover deal by Renault before it returns to the High Court in the UK.

Sauber

Marcus Ericsson has plenty of track knowledge from his 2009 Japanese F3 campaign, as well as having raced for Caterham last year, but Felipe Nasr will be aiming to stay out of trouble in practice and log as many laps as possible.

The team hopes that this weekend it will be able to make better use of the aerodynamic upgrade introduced at the last round.

Manor

Of all the teams, this will be an especially emotional weekend for Manor and they have asked for understanding as they reflect in a “very private, introspective way” on the loss of their driver 12 months ago.

Alexander Rossi said his surprise debut in Singapore “really couldn’t have worked out any better for me”, but both drivers will have their first taste of Suzuka this weekend.

2015 driver form

DriverGrid averageRace averageRace bestRace worstClassifiedForm guide
Lewis Hamilton1.381.831612/13Form guide
Nico Rosberg2.543.6911713/13Form guide
Daniel Ricciardo8.087.1821311/13Form guide
Daniil Kvyat10.007.3621211/12Form guide
Felipe Massa7.006.6731512/13Form guide
Valtteri Bottas6.156.4231412/13Form guide
Sebastian Vettel4.543.4611213/13Form guide
Kimi Raikkonen6.694.802810/13Form guide
Fernando Alonso15.6711.505186/12Form guide
Jenson Button16.6912.298167/12Form guide
Nico Hulkenberg10.859.786159/13Form guide
Sergio Perez11.549.0851312/13Form guide
Max Verstappen11.8510.004179/13Form guide
Carlos Sainz Jnr11.8510.138138/13Form guide
Romain Grosjean9.628.673139/13Form guide
Pastor Maldonado11.3111.007155/13Form guide
Marcus Ericsson13.6211.4281412/13Form guide
Felipe Nasr13.3110.8351612/12Form guide
Will Stevens17.8315.70131710/11Form guide
Roberto Merhi18.0915.40121810/11Form guide
Kevin Magnussen17.000/0Form guide
Alexander Rossi20.0014.0014141/1Form guide

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Over to you

Will it be back to ‘business as usual’ at Suzuka? Can Vettel keep the pressure up on Mercedes? Have your say on the Japanese Grand Prix in the comments.

And don’t forget to enter your predictions for this weekend’s race. You can edit your predictions until the start of qualifying:

2015 Japanese Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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72 comments on “Was Vettel’s Singapore win a one-off – or the start of a late title bid?”

  1. Every Tilke-free track is an instant classic.

    1. The start of a late title bid? I’ve read some complete claptrap on this site, but that absolutely takes the cake. Mercedes had this season wrapped up before it even started.

      There’s the small matter of Vettel needing eight and a third more points than Hamilton at every remaining race, on average, to finish with a single point more than Lewis. That in an era where only seven points separate first and second.

      What that means is that Vettel winning every remaining race isn’t enough unless Hamilton also consistently finishes third or lower on average for every remaining race of the season. That in a season where he has won seven times, finished second thrice, third once and sixth once, for an average finishing position of 1.8th, ignoring his single DNF due to a car problem.

      Who would bet on Hamilton to suddenly average third or best, when he’s consistently averaged second or better for two entire seasons on the trot? Nobody who wasn’t writing a clickbait headline that’s trying to spin the most predictable, least thrilling seasons in the history of the sport as both thrilling and unpredictable.

  2. I sincerely hope that the Dunlop curve run-off area hasn’t been replaced by tarmac as a reaction to what happened last year, as it will completely ruin the corner.

    1. Yeah! We wouldn’t want drivers to survive a similar incident now would we. That wouldn’t be fair on Jules!

      1. Tarmac wouldn´t have saved him. Not getting a tractor out without a safety car would have.

        1. @Sven , As we have had limited information about the sequence of events which led to Jules hitting the unfortunately placed tractor, it’s impossible to say if tarmac, rather than grass would have made a difference.

          We do however know that an F1 car is significantly more controllable on tarmac than grass. Even more so in the wet.

          I can’t see how Dunlop, amazing turn that it is, would be ruined if the outside of the turn was covered in tarmac? Assuming good stewarding of track limits, it can only enhance safety without taking anything away from the spectacle. As well as serve as an acknowledgment that the loss of Jules was not entirely for nothing.

          1. @pSynrg you do make sense, however listen to this and you tell me if tarmac is the solution.

            For starters, as mentioned Sutel when off in the same corner and survived quite easily, there was nothing wrong with the design of the runoff. Jules however hit a object (tractor) that completely changed the circumstances. So the new rules of VSC and how soon a SC is brought out have changed. Including how large moving vehicles are placed has also changed. Therefore I believe the safety has indeed been fine tuned here.

            Now you mentioned to tarmac it, what will tarmac do differently? Will the driver survive just as Sutil’s crash proved with the current grass runoff? sure, yes.

            As you may know drivers find the limit on corners and balance it throughout just staying off the final limit of losing control, how that limit is found is different to every driver, its all about feeling and experience. This is how the greats become the greats, they can find that limit and eek out those thousands of a second around each lap. Every driver can put their foot to the floor on the straits, the time is found in the cornering.
            By adding tarmac, what you have done is allowed the drivers who are not so great on finding that limit to pass it and recover on the tarmac section, knowing well that if they pass the limit they can recover and continue. By having grass or sand, the drivers who don’t know the limit will be more cautious and punished for going beyond it by sliding out on the grass or getting beached in sand or hitting the wall.

            This is what the Tilke tracks have taken away, the punishment of losing a car and ending your race or qualifying. That doesn’t happen anymore. Its like having a safety net knowing if you fall you will be ok and can continue with your race. In the past few years I have never seen so many mistakes by f1 drivers that allowed them to continue the race. In the old days you made a mistake and you retired. I believe drivers should be punished for going beyond limits they cant find.

            Don’t you think the sport would be more exciting?

      2. How is that corner being tarmac would help Bianchi?

      3. Cut the sarcasm. You don’t even make sense.

      4. Adrian Sutil did survive the same crash one lap earlier. Absolutley no need for tarmac run off now that the VSC is on for every recovery of a vehicle

      5. IIRC Bianchi already was on a the tarmac strip there. The problem was that he also kept his foot planted on the throttle while he was breaking. So whatever surface he would have been on, he wasn’t really losing speed anyway.

        1. Thank you for this.

          I’m a bit tired of it being the FIAs fault, or the tracks fault, or the tractors fault

          A lot of the “other fault” seems to get missed.

          While it is sad that we’ve lost someone as a consequence. There was a lot more circumstance then what’s being discussed that contributed to it.

        2. @patrickl Was it not that the Marussia throttle cut was disabled for when the brakes are on? Unfortunately there is also a resonance with the de Villota crash where the car kept accelerating.

          1. There were a number of other factors that were car/driver related

          2. The FIA report says that Marussia’s break+throttle detection system was faulty. Perhaps that could mean that it was “off”, but indeed the cars should catch that mistake and switch off the engine power.

            Just saying that in this case he wasn’t slowing down because the car wasn’t really breaking. There were so many things going wrong before he even reached that tractor.

  3. I remember something similar being said about Lewis Hamilton after his 2013 win in Hungary…

    1. …and the same thing being said about Daniel Ricciardo after his his 2014 wins in Hungary and Spa…

      …and now the same thing is being said about Sebastian Vettel after his his 2015 wins in Hungary and Singapore.

  4. Well if Vettel’s title bid starts 13 races into season, then that just shows how likely he is to win it in the end, doesn’t it…. :D

  5. Vettel’s preview for the Japanese GP on BBC after Singapore was endearing. He obviously loves the track. He has such an enthusiasm that you love listening to him talking about all things Formula 1.

  6. This year, Seb Vet has never finished a GP lower than where he did last year.
    Except for Canada and Belgium.

    He actually bettered all his results. So if the trend were to continue, he would be finishing on the podium as winner or second. He finished 3rd last year.

    1. I’m not sure stats really work if there are two data points that don’t fit. :p

      1. He didn’t finish Belgium. He started from the end of the grid in Canada. I don’t think there are points not fitting the picture.

        It’s a stat anyway. Not like it guarantees what’s gonna happen in future…

        1. Read the original comment again.

  7. Mercedes was struggling a bit already in Monza during qualifying. Vettel perfromed poorly in Q3 at Spa, but Bottas in P3 was 1.3s behind Hamilton. The next race in Monza Rosberg didn’t even make it on the front row and Hamilton had only 3 tenths on Raikkonen.

    Since Monza Ferrari seems to have found something giving them a big improvement in Q3, but in race trim Hamilton was still a lot faster there. He could easily pull away when needed.

    It seemed like in Singapore Hamilton was doing a lot better in race trim also. As he said himself he was easily keeping up with the front runners on supersofts while he was running on softs. It seems likely that he would have been able to pick up a few places and perhaps even the lead using that strategic and speed advantage. Unfortunately we never got to see that.

    So I don’t think it’s a one off for Ferrari, but I think in race trim the Mercedes would still be faster. I’d expect Red Bull to fall a bit further behind in Japan though.

    Mercedes only improved 4 tenths for Q3 in Singapore compred to 2014 where the races before (Hungary and Monza) they improved 7 tenths. So they probably didn’t seem to underperform hugely, but they did lose some time in Singapore.

    1. @patrickl Are you suggesting Mercedes dominance was just an illusion all along?

    2. In Monza, Raikkonen should have given the tow to Vettel, not the other way around. 0.3 seconds would a bit too much to overcome, but better chances. But obviously they wanted to make sure Raikkonen qualified as high as possible, rather than giving a shot at pole for Vettel.

      Hamilton would have never gotten the lead in Singapore unless he had a healthy dose of luck. Even him giving a fight to Raikkonen for a podium was highly unlikely. He was -as he said- being “over-optimistic”. Vettel on softs was as fast as Hamilton on super softs. At the point Hamilton started losing power, Vettel was going more than 2 seconds slower than he could have gone. He started pulling away with 2 seconds again, and actually he was almost 3 seconds faster and Ricciardo was also getting a second faster.

    3. Hamilton was doing a lot better in race trim also. As he said himself he was easily keeping up with the front runners on supersofts while he was running on softs

      This was when Vettel was deliberately running slowly to save his tyres and waiting for the right time, nearer to the second stop pit window, to pull a gap to prevent the undercut, he was easily able to up his pace when he wanted to by two to three seconds.

      1. Either way, Hamilton could have profited from that and made up some positions.

        We will never know for sure.

      2. On the supersoft, Lewis will fly past Kimi, knowing that Kimi (Like Button) are 2 drivers who don’t make life too difficult for drivers to overtake them. Ricciardo might be hard to pass, let alone Vettel but if Vestappan could pass drivers then Lewis will do the same.

  8. Suzuka is one track I can never quite master on F1 2015. I never take the S’s right and I always destroy my tyres miles before the AI.

    No more stories of that ilk.

    1. Me too. It is punishing. I think I take too much speed into the corners.

      1. Fudge Ahmed (@)
        24th September 2015, 0:39

        Yep! And I never find the balance of lifting off or feathering the brake quite right to keep a good line through sector 1. You can see why drivers hold the track in such high regard even if it’s not so apparent on TV

    2. @offdutyrockstar

      I always destroy my tyres miles before the AI.

      Who doesn’t?

    3. Vettel RBR days, he thrives on these slow corners, and these are things Lewis recently learnt and these are places which gives him an advantage over Rosberg. If Vettel puts the car on Pole, it might be hard for Lewis or Merc

  9. “Not only was the Ferrari competitive, he was in exceptional form, out-qualifying Kimi Raikkonen by a huge margin and pulling clear of his team mate in the latter stages of the race at a comparable rate.”

    Was he? Or was it that he got the 2016 development parts put on the car on Saturday morning? :]

  10. It doesn’t mean much, and the fact that Rosberg has more points than Vettel confirms that, but Sebastian Vettel has a better average race finish compared to Rosberg

    1. That is only because of Rosberg’s DNF where he was still technically classified as 17th. Skews his average completely…

    2. That means a lot actually. But that stat includes their classified results. I don’t think classified results mean anything.
      Without that: Rosberg: 2.58, Vettel: 2.75
      Still too close..

  11. Engine penalties may yet decide who makes a late charge! Six races to go and a lot can go wrong.

    1. True. Well said. More than what happened briefly to Merc pace, their and Ferrari reliability may be a bigger factor if there is a problem there.

      1. And in that situation, Vettel is in a potentially worse position – Vettel will definitely have to use at least a fifth engine, so Ferrari are already having to plan where they can take a penalty which would not be too painful for Vettel (potentially in the US GP).

        1. ferrari dont need a fifth unit because he used one of his units for only 2 races (Barcelona/Monaco)

  12. Hard to say but I think Singapore was an anomoly and odds are things will be a bit more ‘normal’ in Japan. LH, then NR, then SV. NR was only a tenth behind the two Ferrari’s at Monza due to having the 3/10ths advantage of the new PU taken away by a technical issue, so by rights should have been starting second there, hence my belief that the night race and it’s varying conditions was an anomoly for Merc. Certainly I can’t see SV taking both pole and the win.

  13. I agree that Suzuka might show that whether Singapore was a trend change or normal services will be resumed. At this point I am not going bet more than 50 quid for a coupon that pays £1000 should Vettel win the title (i.e. in my opinion the probability is around 5%). Keen to see though if there are betting markets (like the now deceased intrade.com) that give probabilities on this?

    Best,
    Iman

    1. Sure there are. Vettel has odds of 12.0 on Betfair (ie: £50 returns £600).

  14. to me it is 2 things:
    1. could It be all about the new tyre pressure regulations? did Mercedes only win in Monza by being over the regulations? Sky explained how under the new regulations as of Singapore, Mercedes would have been disqualified if they were measured the same as in Monza under the same conditions.
    2. is it the tyre choice for Singapore… previous Ferrari seemed fast in hot tracks and on super soft… but now even Red Bull was fast, and both Ferrari and Red bull even on softs.

    so my early conclusion is that perhaps the lower tyre pressure regs have suddenly bought redbull and Ferrari into play….
    I hope it lasts until the end of the year, but I doubt it.

  15. Vettel still has a modest chance to fight for the title:
    1. Suzuka is a track which Vettel has dominated at so expect him to be close to Mercedes, probably finish second and maybe even win, who knows?
    2. As it is likely that Rosberg will have to take an engine penalty because i think the updated power unit that he lost @ Monza cannot be used. (Maybe he will take it at Mexico or Brazil)
    3. Mexico is a new-track and is likely to be a rather open race?
    4. Maybe the Brazilian weather could play a big apart and Brazil is one of the very few tracks that Hamilton doesn’t have a good record at.
    5. Not sure but if Hamilton has to take an engine penalty after singapore, that will be a big advantage to Seb.
    6. Hopefully Kimi can raise his game and support Sebastian’s title bid.
    7. A little more un-reliability for Mercedes and an extremely reliable Ferrari

    All above 7 are things that will can help Vettel win the title? I mean him winning the title is highly unlikely but it is still possible? So who knows?

    Hamilton still remains the title favorite.
    Though regarding the question who his biggest threat is….. i would say Vettel and not Rosberg

    Anyone else’s opinion?

    1. I think Vettel is fighting Rosberg for 2nd and it could be tight. As a Ferrari fan I can dream of a title charge but even if Singapore is repeated the gap is so large to Hamilton and Mercedes would surely get on top of any issue in a few races plus Vettel has a 10 place grid penalty at some point as Ferrari must introduce a 5th PU to use the last 4 tokens they have or they will go to waste.

      1. i think ferrari will let the tokens go to waste and wont take a 10 place grid drop, though Rosberg might have to take an engine penalty due to loosing 2 engines at the italian round.

        and agreed that Hamilton will likely win the title while Rosberg and Vettel are fighting for second, where Vettel may come out on top?

        1. It is not a case of using the 5th engine to use the tokens, but a case that Ferrari have to use a fifth engine because they were forced into a premature engine change earlier in the season caused by reliability issues.

          1. Yeah. If they sniff a title chance they might use what they have fir Vettel to use the tokens only 1 Ferrari engined car has to use an updated engine.

          2. Look below and see my comment on engine life span and see who has to take a new engine. read it careully

    2. About number 5, both Ferraris have actually used 4 ICEs I believe, so if somehow the engine on Seb’s car burns up, he’ll have to take a penalty or use an old, outdated engine.

      Same goes to the 2 Mercs.

      So right now whoever has more reliability has a big adv. The Ferrari engine is a bit older but the Merc’s are unstable in the last 2 races

      1. Engine Life Span
        Lewis Hamilton:
        1. Australia – Monaco (6 Rounds) – Unlikely to be Used again
        2. Canada – Belgium (5 Rounds) – Unlikely to be Used again
        3. Italy – Singapore (2 Rounds) – Might be Unable to be Used again
        (I have a feeling this engine might have given up. Not sure though)
        4. Japan (I assume Lewis may take on a fourth unit in Japan and maybe a fifth unit later on)

        Nico Rosberg:
        1. Australia – Monaco (6 Rounds) – Unlikely to be Used again
        2. Canada – Italy (6 Rounds) – Can’t be used again
        3. Italy (A few practice sessions) – Can’t be used again
        4. Singapore (1 Round) – Highly unlikely to last until end of season
        (I have a strong feeling Rosberg is almost certainly going to have to take a grid drop, probably at Mexico or Brazil?)

        Sebastian Vettel:
        1. Australia – Bahrain (4 Rounds) – Maybe 1 More Round?
        2. Spain – Monaco (2 Rounds) – Can Definitely be used again
        (Likely to be used again for 3 more races??)
        3. Canada – Belgium (5 Rounds) – Unlikely to be used again
        4. Italy – present (Currently 2 Rounds) – I assume he this engine also has about 2 races left

        Review:
        Right now Rosberg is almost certain to take on a new engine
        While Hamilton might have to as well (depends what happened to the Singapore engine)
        And Vettel looks to be the strongest on engines (From what i can see)

        So Rosberg will have to take a grid drop (I assume Mexico or Brazil)
        Maybe Lewis might have to? (again depending on the singapore engine)
        While Vettel looks unlikely to need another engine
        But Kimi might have to take on another engine, cause i think he lost one at Budapest

        1. Lewis Hamilton’s retirement in the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix was caused by a “freak” component failure, according to Mercedes motorsport chief Toto Wolff.

          The reigning world champion reported a loss of power before dropping down the field and eventually pulling into the pits to retire the car.

          Wolff said Mercedes had identified the problem and he is confident Hamilton will not have to change the engine for next weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix.

          “We had a very minor bit – a metal clamp, that broke and had a massive effect,” said Wolff.

      2. actually both mercs and both ferrari’s took on new units at Italy.
        Rosberg’s burnt up
        Hamilton’s might have given up at Singapore
        While Vettel’s is still in good order

        1. @sameeranand7, Singapore; LHs engine suffered a loss of turbo boost due to a broken hose clamp, so no damage, this engine is half a race younger than it should be, thats a positive gain for the rest of the season.

    3. I think for the most part NR shadows LH on pace more regularly and much more closely than SV does. I’d give the nod to NR still being LH’s biggest threat, NR being in the best car consistently, SV only occasionally able to truly compete.

      1. on pace for sure Rosberg but as i said in the reasons above, Nico is likely to have a 10 place drop in 1 of the races so that will surely justify Sebastian as Lewis’s biggest challenger. Even though i personally dont think anyone can take the title of Lewis this year

        1. @sameercader For me though, a 10 place drop for NR in a race can still result in coming second with that car. We have every reason to think that if on average the Mercs remain the front runners, and sometimes the Ferrari’s are half a minute behind by the race end, I think for now NR is overall the main threat to LH. We’ll just have to see if, as Keith queries, SV’s form was a relative one-off or the norm now. I’m of course only going by what we have seen so far and it just feels to me that Singapore has to be an anomoly based on how solid Merc has been all season. They didn’t just permanently lose their way, nor do I believe Ferrari has found half a minute over a race distance, against a Merc team that could well be back on form in Japan.

    4. 1, Suzuka might suit Vettel’s driving style but all the tracks left bar Brazil are power hungry tracks that suit Merc most especially US, Russia and Abu Dhabi
      2, Toto Wolf said they are trying to fix the Monza engine
      3, Mexico is like Monza MK2 all power
      4, Brazil I honestly believe Vettel will win
      5, Lewis’s engine is not damaged it was a broken is was a cap on the turbo that broke off
      6 Kimi will struggle to beat Ricciardo and the Williams
      7 Ferrari has ALWAYS choked when the running gets to the business end. Since 2005 they only won one title on the final day which was gift wrapped for them by McLaren

  16. If the Pirelli tyre pressure debacle, had of been sorted by Spain, Mercedes would have been well exposed. But as history has taught us Mercedes and Pirelli are quite fond of one another.

    1. What tyre pressure debacle?

      Oh you mean the one where Pirelli checked Mercs tyres before being fitted to the car and where happy that they were legal? Using the same method they’ve been using for many years? The one where the FIA/stewards/Pirelli apologised afterwards for the whole mess?

  17. I can’t tell you what the Merc’s problems are. Even the geniuses in Merc’s garage, with tons and tons of data, are a bit confused right now.

    But looking at Monza, it’s clear that the Merc’s engine superiority it’s still there.

    When a Red Bull, using Renault’s engine, is faster than you, you know that the problem is not, or very little, engine-related.

    And about the “2 seconds drop”, a hugh part of that is Vettel’s Singapore magic. A fair comparison would be one with Raikkonen, and the gap is actually a lot less severe than it is thought.

    Suzuka is more of an engine track than a chassis track. So I think it’ll be business as usual.

    1. Agreed with you Mercedes should be back to the top at Suzuka, but Vettel has a very strong and superior record at Suzuka. He’s been on the podium at Suzuka since 2009, so if i were mercedes i would keep a close watch on Seb. Never know him and Ferrari may spring another suprise?

  18. For me Title is now wide open. Vettel can be exceptional. And if Mercedes gets pressured they tend to stumble.

    Look at Rosberg, when he is not upfront, he gets nowhere. If Vettel can snag front row, then its game on.

    There is talk of Ferrari finally developed the rear of the car to Vettels liking… What is that worth? 1s of confidence speed?

    But in closing, Mercedes have many advantages, if not pressured they can easily put one in the cupboard.

    What about that typhoon? And catastrophies, maybe Maldonator swipes Hamilton on first lap?

  19. I think it will be service resumed. I think Mercedes lost their way on the last 2 GP’s, Lewis wasn’t able to achieve a good qualifying lap at Monza, still pole, and the team was collective off the pace at Singapore. I think Mercs issues are set-up related or the result of bad upgrades rather than Ferrari suddenly bringing more pace, apart from the PU Ferrari hasn’t really managed to show great aero gains, which are to be exposed in Japan.

  20. Business as usual for Mercedes next race. Just my 2cents

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