It may not have had the drama of last year’s race, but it still gave us moments of action, stupidity and sublime quality. Plenty to reflect upon then as the drivers head to Russia. Here’s five of things they might be thinking about, courtesy of Chris Fawcett.
I’ll start by sitting on the fence and declare that Sergio Perez has no place in the sport. There, I said it.
Not that he hasn’t got talent; he’s proven multiple times that he’s capable of getting to the podium, but he has a form of road rage or a lack of clinical thinking in certain moments that make me question how safe he is to be behind the wheel of a Formula One car.
His magnet-like bond with Esteban Ocon is a worry and has been for the management of Force India for some time. Of course there have been situations where the less-experienced Frenchman has been at fault…Singapore wasn’t one of those days though.
Ocon was side by side with his team mate by turn 3, there is no way Perez didn’t see him. I’ll stop short of saying he drove into him, but considering it was a left hander, there wasn’t much in the way of a steering wheel turn in that direction…
The incident with Sergey Sirotkin was even more inexcusable. As a driver behind another racing for position, there is no unwritten rule to move out of the way, to expect it and moan over the radio is a pathetic tactic. On one occasion I saw the Williams of Sirotkin move in the braking area to defend, that’s all.
By the time Perez built enough speed up to overtake, he could have been away and clear but decided to “impose” his dominance and cut across. Why? It caused another collision, made him look like a maniac and cost the team time, money and points…as if the exploits with Ocon hadn’t already done the same.
With Lawrence Stroll’s money, Force India no longer need the Mexican investment, make a statement and get rid, he’s had his chance.
Iceman keeps cool
There was something which stood out to me during Sunday’s race. Something we’ve all known for quite some time but it was nice to have it reaffirmed.
Picture it…the longest, most physically demanding race of the year. Barriers are within touching distance throughout. Your team come on the radio and tell you in a roundabout way “don’t be worried about the big flashing light on your steering wheel, its only a brake alarm”…What?!
Some “less than chilled” drivers (Grosjean, Perez, maybe Hamilton) would have had a back and forth over the intercom for the remainder of the race. Did we hear a peep from Kimi after he was told? Ha, don’t be silly.
Cool as a cucumber.
Blue Flag Battle
I can sympathise with the drivers fighting away at the back of the grid, it’s to be expected that to even get into Formula One they have the necessary talent and on-track prowess to earn a spot. This will come from excellence in lower formulas or stand out overtakes, drives or moments.
Finding yourself scrapping for nothing must be tough, but despite there not being points on offer, pride and instinct takes over, surely?
I’d like to think that Romain Grosjean and Sergey Sirotkin didn’t see the blue flags or the flashing blue lights, maybe they even missed the impending image of a silver Mercedes slowly catching…but truthfully with a track as “contained” as Singapore; barriers and lighting included, it must have been pretty impossible not to, especially in the dark.
We all want to see racing and moving over to be lapped will always be a point of contention. Personally, I think they should let them race, it would add jeopardy into the sport far more naturally than a super degrading tyre or DRS. However, you can only go with what the rules state. Thus, until it’s overturned or changed in someway, drivers have to stick to it.
The fact that Charlie Whiting paid a visit to Lewis Hamilton before the podium to apologise just backed up how much of a terrible error this was on both Sirotkin and Grosjean’s part.
Williams’ new upgrade
It was a busy race for Segey Sirotkin, not only did he get into a scrape with Sergio Perez, hold up Lewis Hamilton while battling with Romain Grosjean but he even found time to try out a new, radical aerodynamic part for Williams’ front wing.
Obviously collecting a piece of Ocon’s Force India wheel rim wasn’t in the plan, but the fact that it stuck on as an extra element to the wing and didn’t look out of place just shows how complex and ridiculous some of the designs are…coincidentally, it happened the same week as the proposals for the car designs for 2021…which look lovely by the way.
Lewis Hamilton x5 WDC
I’ll end in the same vein as I started, making a definitive statement.
Lewis Hamilton WILL win this year’s Drivers Championship, if he doesn’t, I’ll consider it a major shock.
This isn’t favouritism or bias. Just look at how the season, particularly the latter part has unfolded; Every race which Ferrari are expected to hold a clear advantage, they either throw it away in qualifying or make a questionable call during the race.
It’s been alluded to, but the quality of the team behind the scenes and specifically a driver’s trust in them is really becoming apparent. Sebastian Vettel is continually questioning the instructions given to him, whereas Lewis is calmly taking them in his stride and putting the effort in where he can. Like many, I do feel that Vettel is harming his on-track capabilities by running the team and their strategy in his cockpit.
Until this stops, the result will largely be the same. It happened last year and history is repeating itself.