Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Singapore, 2015

Singapore is “a Red Bull track” – Rosberg

2016 Singapore Grand Prix

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Mercedes expect stiffer opposition than usual from their rivals this weekend and Nico Rosberg believes the Singapore track will favour Red Bull.

“It won’t be easy,” said Rosberg. “This is a Red Bull track and we weren’t so strong there last year.”

Rosberg arrives in Singapore having won the last two races and reduced Lewis Hamilton’s points lead to just two.

“I have faith in the team and my belief in myself is as high as ever,” he said. “I approach each weekend aiming to win the race. The points gap has gone up and down but I’ve taken it one race at a time – and that’s the best way for me, as you can see by how the gap is now.”

Hamilton also predicts a strong showing from the team’s rivals. “We didn’t have the greatest weekend there last year, so hopefully we’re on top of that now,” he said.

“It’s not going to be an easy breezy drive. Even when we won there back in 2014, it wasn’t straightforward. Ferrari and Red Bull will be on it I’m sure, so we’ve got a big fight on our hands if we are up at the front.”

Neither Mercedes finished on the podium in last year’s race as Hamilton retired and Rosberg took fourth. Sebastian Vettel won for Ferrari, pursued closely by Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull.

2016 Singapore Grand Prix

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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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34 comments on “Singapore is “a Red Bull track” – Rosberg”

  1. Really looking forward to this one!

    1. Shall we not be disappointed again. This season has crushed our expectations.

      1. Hmm crushed is too strong of a word no? This season has been more interesting than any in this hybrid era so far.

      2. Well look at the bright side, at least we can see a challenge…can’t say that about monza or baku right?

  2. Does anyone else share my suspicion that this race could be a gigantic letdown? I mean, last year obviously Mercedes got something very very wrong and so got beaten by Ferrari and Red Bull. That’s what people are now putting their hopes on – for that to repeat itself.

    Honestly I think last year was a one-off and they’ll be as competitive as ever come Saturday/Sunday.

    1. @mattds I don’t expect Mercedes to be as dominant at Singapore as they have been recently, but yes I’d still identify them as the team to beat this weekend.

      Like you’ve said, something was very wrong with the Mercedes setup at Singapore last year, and combined with the fact that Ferrari and Red Bull both brought a very competitive Singapore upgrade package it left them off the pace. I expect they’ll have paid a lot more attention to detail this season and will be right up there with Red Bull.

      1. Yeah I agree that Merc should have a much better showing. Teams have stopped developing their cars for the most part, and that was not the case last year at this time. Wasn’t it tire temps that we’re giving them grief? Not sure but anyway they will have learned from last year.

        1. Wasn’t there some talk that the subway was screwing with Mercs’ electrical system? All a bit odd but I do remember Coulthard mentioning it.

          1. @tdm The talk about the subway interfering with the hybrid engines was brought up by Coulthard when Hamilton started to lose power during the race, however we know that the problem turned out to be just a loose clamp somewhere within the power unit.

          2. I remember it being mentioned too and it featured here:

            http://www.silverstone.co.uk/news/crofty-blog-conspiracies-singapore/

            Hope no-one minds the link of course.

      2. Arnoud van Houwelingen
        12th September 2016, 14:35

        but Mercedes is not good with softer tires though and in Singapore you have the US and SS tire. Also the track suits RBR really well with all the corners and no long straight. And RBR gets a motor upgrade which will gain then 0,2 sec a lap. I predict a really close battle with Mercedes, RBR and Ferrari and a RBR win in the end.

        1. I seem to recall something about the teams having to run higher tyre pressures last year at Singapore which coincidentally was when Mercedes lost performance, though it was denied being an issue.

        2. I never understood the argument that the supposedly corner-rich Singapore track is a good match for Red Bull, though people bring it up from time to time. Yes, there is less use for the Mercedes’s superior power, but who says Mercedes isn’t good at cornering? And then there is another problem – the corners at Singapore are actually very slow – too slow for superior aerodynamics to have an effect, if Red Bull did have it. I think last year it was all about Mercedes getting it all wrong with their setup (as some have mentioned), which had its most pronounced effect on tire wear. It was dreadful for Mercedes. Otherwise, how do we explain Ferrari being faster than them in addition to Red Bull being faster than them?

    2. @mattds Red Bull even in their weak 2015 managed to nearly beat Ferrari here, now that they’ve got a strong car with a strong-ish engine, they should be the favorites, at least at a level like in Monaco. I wouldn’t expect Merc to be a second off this year, but I’m pretty sure they won’t be the strongest.

      1. @hunocsi the RBR chassis was still fantastic last year while Ferrari’s wasn’t on the same level – that’s why RBR could be close to Ferrari (Ferrari had the better PU, RBR the better chassis).
        Merc have a fantastic chassis as well, and still the better PU. The point I’m trying to make is that there was something horribly wrong at Mercedes last year, that they didn’t underperform because their chassis or what-not was inferior – just that they got it very wrong. And, as such, that last year’s race was not a good marker to base our expections for the coming weekend on.

        1. You are clearly mistaken, aren’t you? Red Bull was the fastest car in Singapore 2015, it was Vettel and Vettel alone who pulled a mighty lap that saw Red Bull end up 2nd. In the 3rd sector, Ricciardo was faster than Vettel[Q3]. Red Bull was 0.5s faster than Ferrari in that sector alone, only Vettel pulled off such a beast lap that he was just 0.1s slower than Ricciardo in sector 3.

          1. Who was the fastest among Ferrari and RBR isn’t really the issue nor the point here, the point is that Ferrari had a chassis weakness compared to RBR while still having the better PU. Maybe it tipped the scales towards the RBR being the better car on the weekend, that’s fine for me.

            Either way I don’t think I’m “clearly mistaken” as there has been quite some debate over it and no conclusion either way. But that was not the point.

          2. Incorrect. Ferrari was faster than Red Bull around Singapore last year, as it was faster than Red Bull on pretty much every other circuit. The claim that Vettel somehow found 0.6 seconds on Ricciardo with an inferior car is nothing but wishful thinking.

          3. From memory, the Ferrari was faster but the Red Bull looked after its tyres much better. At the end of each stint RIC was chasing down VET and could have gone longer at good speed while VET may have needed to pit for new rubber and end up in traffic. Unfortunately safety cars twice robbed us of seeing this climactic situation.

    3. Honestly, if anyone has any sort of positive expectation of anything this season, they are going to be let down badly. Just accept that it’ll be another 2016 F1 race and take any sort of excitement as a bonus.

    4. I fully expect it to be a short moment of excitement at the start, then enjoying the minor fights through the field, possibly getting my hopes up when the SC comes out, but then see the field settle in a cadence shortly after it again @mattds.

      That said, there is still that small hope that it might turn out as a nice surprise :-)

    5. @mattds Well, I’m not counting on Merc being nowhere like last year. But I think, it’s very reasonable, given the demands of this particular track, to expect Mercedes to not be as dominant as at Monza, for example. A close fight with RBR and maybe Ferrari as well is not a preposterous prediction

  3. Singapore’s never a course for overtaking. But if Red Bull can qualify really well, beat the Mercs off the start line and take advantage of the open track, the race win could be on.

    What makes it so unique is that it’s akin to Monaco, but for 40 more kms, and a lot more humidity. If I’m not mistaken there have been a few editions of the Singaporean GP going over the 2 hour limit, much more than other GPs off the top of my head

    1. If the rest of this season is any precedent, any hope of an interesting competitive race will be dashed by the first corner.

      Given that we all expect (hope) Mercedes to be genuinely challenged for pace this weekend, both drivers will probably end up on the front row and storm off the line, maintaining a 2 second gap to each other until the end.

    2. Monaco, Singapore not the best course for overtaking…but man we saw some pretty spectaculair action last year fro Verstappen who showed overtaking is possible, from last to P8.
      Same goes for Monaco last year and this year…yeah we all know things went south, but overtaking surely is possible.

      RBR would be logically in front of Ferrari… where will Mercedes be, that’s the main question… at Monaco RBR took P1.

    3. People tend to see Singapore as been one of the circuits that doesn’t feature much overtaking…. However I was looking at the overtaking statistics not too long ago & there has actually been a decent amount of overtaking during the Singapore Gp over the years.

  4. Willem Cecchi (@)
    12th September 2016, 15:12

    Vettel might bring Ferrari into the mix. He is mighty at this circuit.

  5. Given the Ferrari is a complete overhaul of the 2015 car and just generally not that competitive, I’d be surprised if they are able to challenge this weekend.

    I think this will be between Mercedes and Red Bull, and I just hope that it is very close between the two.

    Behind those six, I think McLaren could be strong here, if they can keep their cars cool.

  6. There is something special about Vettel and Singapore.
    Other than that, Mercedes are the team to beat.

    1. Also Alonso and Singapore. McLaren to battle with Ferrari, but behind the Red Bull and Mercedes battle.

  7. As much as I hope Mercedes struggle again this weekend, I don’t think they will. Their margin over Red Bull and Ferrari is season is massive and while I think the others will be closer, Mercedes should still have more than enough to comfortably carry the day as they did in 2014.

  8. But last year Ferrari won… on merit!

  9. When a Mercedes driver says something like “Singapore is a Red Bull track” it basically means “we expect the fastest cars behind us to be the Red Bulls”.

  10. Hopefully RBR and even Ferrari up their game enough to give us some wheel-to-wheel action at the sharp end. ROS is sitting pretty with better starts than HAM on average. ROS could end up walking this championship by capitalising on HAM’s atrocious starts.

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