Rosberg Scores Hattrick of Victories at Singapore
The Italian and Singapore Grand Prix were both good events from a racing perspective, but if you care about narrative, they were even better. There was relatively little of the wheel-to-wheel action that we hope to see between the top drivers, though it wasn’t nonexistent either; however, the results were titillating, especially given how quickly we are approaching the end of the season.
Before I go further, I should point out that yes, the Italian Grand Prix recap was missing two weeks ago. I hadn’t watched the race and so decided to watch it before the Singapore Grand Prix and bundle both recaps together. So here we are!
Monza is home to the Italian Grand Prix and, some would say, to racing itself. The Italian fans who come in throngs to watch the race, known as the tifosi, are borderline obsessed with racing and Ferrari. It’s understandable, then, that the latter would do everything it could to grab points away from Mercedes—and Lewis Hamilton almost made it easy for them.
Despite starting on pole, Hamilton’s start was so poor that he was sixth by the time the cars reached the first corner. Nico Rosberg had taken the lead, followed by both Ferraris, Valtteri Bottas’ Williams, and Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull. Unfortunately, that was about as good as the race looked for anyone that wasn’t Mercedes. While Rosberg quickly pulled away from Sebastian Vettel, Hamilton overtook Ricciardo and Bottas on track and then Kimi Räikkönen and Vettel through pit strategy.
Despite their best efforts, Ferrari couldn’t prevent Mercedes from nabbing its fourth 1-2 finish of the season, though Vettel at least got to stand atop the Monza podium, which must be one of the best podiums in the world, and certainly the best for a Ferrari driver. Rosberg even managed to win over the crowd by speaking Italian to them (one of the many languages he knows) and coaxing them into a chant.
More importantly, Rosberg’s second consecutive victory brought him even closer to Hamilton in the championship, which can only be a good thing for the fans anticipating an epic finale at the end of the season.
The Singapore Grand Prix is almost opposite to the Italian Grand Prix. While the latter takes place in broad daylight at a race track where the average speeds are higher than at any other Grand Prix of the year, the former takes place at night at a narrow street circuit where the average speeds are lower than anywhere but at the Monaco Grand Prix.
Last year, Mercedes was unusually weak at Singapore. Both Ferrari and Red Bull were quicker than they were and the Silver Arrows seemed to have no answer or explanation. This time around they appeared to have patched up their weakness, though not entirely. While Rosberg grabbed pole with a commanding margin, Hamilton could only manage third, behind Ricciardo.
It proved to be a race with a lot of potential that, sadly, wasn’t met. Ricciardo was always on the cusp of giving Rosberg a real challenge, but never quite there, and Räikkönen should have been able to finish ahead of Hamilton had it not been for Ferrari’s once-again-questionable pit strategy. An issue in qualifying had Vettel start at the back of a grid, but he managed to climb all the way back up to fifth despite not benefiting from any safety car, which is truly impressive at a hard-to-overtake circuit like Singapore.
With that third consecutive win, Rosberg took the championship lead from Hamilton, who must be starting to feel the pressure now that there are only six races left to go. Still, he overcame a 43-point deficit in just as many races earlier this year, so there’s no telling what will happen.
Kurt Verlin was born in France and lives in the United States. Throughout his life he was always told French was the language of romance, but it was English he fell in love with. He likes cats, music, cars, 30 Rock, Formula 1, and pretending to be a race car driver in simulators; but most of all, he just likes to write about it all. See more articles by Kurt.