Singapore, yet again, glittered, shimmered and sparkled in the night-time darkness. While it’s a truly spectacular venue, it’s not a track conducive to good racing in the same way that some of the more traditional circuits are. That said, it more than makes up for it by being a circuit where things happen. This year proved to be no exception, with two safety car periods, a few crashes and much more besides. Let’s see how the drivers at the top of the grid fared…
- Qualifying: Alonso (1st) Massa (24th)
- Race: Alonso (1st) Massa (8th)
This wasn’t, like Monza, a race of near-total Ferrari domination – Felipe Massa’s last place in qualifying saw to that. It was, however, a weekend of Fernando Alonso domination, seeing him get back into the title race and justify (well, in their eyes anyway) Ferrari’s decision to boost him past Felipe Massa earlier in the season. Fifty points from two races as both Webber and Hamilton struggle? Job very much done.
Much like last week, Alonso led from the off and never looked like budging. Yes, Vettel was probably the man with more raw pace, but on a track like Singapore and with a driver like Alonso, the young German was never going to find a way past. That’s all there is to say about the Spaniard’s race – that’s what happens when you drive so well – it’s very very dull for those of us watching.
Massa’s weekend was ruined by a seized gearbox in qualifying, meaning he started last. He made steady progress through the race to finish tenth on track, finishing eighth only thanks to retrospective 20 second penalties for Sutil and Hulkenberg. We at Badger can’t help but feel that those drivers with a more attacking bent (Hamilton, Alonso, Kubica, your gran, to name but four) would have made much better progress through the field. Another reason why Felipe may well have missed his one and only chance in 2008. Let’s face it, he’s never going to get another shot with Alonso in the same team, is he?
Badger’s best: Alonso
- Qualifying: Vettel (2nd) Webber (5th)
- Race: Vettel (2nd) Webber (3rd)
It’s at this point in the season when the Red Bull team must be sitting down and wondering how in the same of all that’s holy they find themselves engaged in a battle for both championships. Realistically, they should be out of sight.
Vettel should probably have been on pole, but a difficult Q3 put him second on the grid. During the race, he pushed Alonso all the way but never really got close enough to have a proper go. It was strange that he pitted at the same time as Alonso and we at Badger are surprised more wasn’t made of that after the race, but when your tyres are going there’s not much you can do. Anyway, a good drive and some decent points for the championship mean it wasn’t a disaster. On a completely different note – he’s got a very expressive face, hasn’t he? It makes us like him more, that’s all.
Webber was philosophical after qualifying, expressing his disappointment at starting fifth – it did make for a much more exciting race though, so we’re not complaining. Red Bull have come in for a lot of criticism this season for their remarkable ability to throw promising situations away. This time, however, credit where credit’s due. The team brought Webber in during the first safety car period, one of the few runners in the first half of the field to do so and it really paid off. He was able to pass a number of cars before getting stuck behind Rubens Barrichello, who still didn’t hold him up enough for the McLarens to rejoin ahead of him. Realistically, he had a low probability of passing them on the track, so to leapfrog both in one go has to be put down as excellent strategy, driving and teamwork. Well done Red Bull. Boosting Hamilton off the track and out of the race probably didn’t hurt either.
Badger’s best: Vettel
- Qualifying: Hamilton (3rd) Button (4th)
- Race: Button (4th) Hamilton (ret)
It says a lot that both drivers were optimistic after qualifying and (for obvious reasons) less so after the race. For whatever reason McLaren just couldn’t get the car hooked up for the race – without the safety car periods they’d have been miles behind.
Not a terribly exciting race for either driver (one big incident apart). Button drove steadily and reliably from fourth to finish fourth. He wasn’t troubled by Rosberg behind him nor did he unduly trouble any of those ahead of him. He was just…there.
Hamilton’s race was looking at going a similar way, pushing hard but not really making any headway against Vettel or Alonso. After being jumped by Webber, the scene was set for a comfortable drive to fourth place. Then came the second safety car and this…
Yes, it meant that he failed to finish for the second race in a row and that he’s severely hampered his title chance (there’s a but coming, and it’s a big one) but we at Badger like the fact that he’s not prepared to limp round and play for points. He’s a racer, an opportunity presented itself and he went for it, so good for him. He’s got that ruthless streak that some of the other drivers simply don’t possess consistently (here’s looking at you, Felipe) It wasn’t a stupid move – it was entirely reasonable given the circumstances and it just so happened it didn’t pay off. We like him more for it, not less.
Badger’s best: Hamilton.
- Qualifying: Rosberg (7th) Schumacher (9th)
- Race: Rosberg (5th) Schumacher (13th)
Another one of those races where you can pretty much substitute the comments from the last race:
“Another weekend in which Rosberg beat Schumacher and, with new rumours swirling about the elder German’s participation, or lack thereof, next season it’ll be very interesting to see what the next few races hold. That said, the new rumours do seem to be entirely based upon a hunch Eddie Jordan has, so we at Badger aren’t exactly betting the Sett on it happening.”
If Schumacher continues to drive like this, he’s not going to be hanging around is he? They might dress it up as fitness issues or a lack of motivation but, whatever the truth, he’s just not fast enough at the moment and is cutting an increasingly lonely figure. Is he the new Pedro de la Rosa? The question he doesn’t want people to ask is whether, if he hadn’t had such a dominant car for much of his career, we’d have seen more of these types of performance.
Rosberg, true to form, put in the best performance he could have done with the machinery he’d been given. Let not the lack of comment on his weekend negate how impressed we at Badger are with him – extremely.
Badger’s best: Rosberg.