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Preview | Is this Ferrari and Mercedes last chance of beating Verstappen?

Preview | Is this Ferrari and Mercedes last chance of beating Verstappen?

28 September - 11:45
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GPblog.com

Max Verstappen can secure his second Formula 1 world title at the Singapore Grand Prix. Charles Leclerc, however, will be keen to prevent that from happening. Will the Dutchman manage to take his sixth win in a row or will Leclerc throw a spanner in the works? Read GPblog's preview here.

Singapore Grand Prix

In 2008, the Singapore GP was scheduled for the first time, with Fernando Alonso taking victory on behalf of Renault. It immediately caused issues, as the Renault team had instructed Nelson Piquet Jr. to crash to help Alonso to a victory. Renault received a punishment for this.

The Spaniard also won for Ferrari in 2010, while in the gap year Lewis Hamilton was victorious. Sebastian Vettel is the record holder with the number of victories. The German triumphed in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2019. Hamilton stands on four wins, while Nico Rosberg won the race in 2016, the year he also took the world title.

Looking at the winners of all editions, it is notable that there are many different ones on show. The circuit is mainly about cornering, with which drivers like Verstappen and Leclerc seem to have an edge. Ferrari hopes to make the difference, especially in the corners, but Red Bull are also making good progress in this regard.

Marina Bay Street Circuit

The 2008 Singapore GP was the first-ever night race in Formula 1. The Marina Bay Street Circuit is over five kilometres long and has 23 corners, with drivers going straight through the city centre. The circuit has both slow and fast corners and, like many street circuits, is characterised by the tightness of the track.

Moreover, the circuit has some treacherous sections. In corner five, for instance, drivers have repeatedly hit the brakes too late and ended up against the wall. At other parts of the track, overtaking is again easier, such as at turn 7. Overall, however, it is a tough track that requires concentration.

Formula 1 in 2022

Max Verstappen, who has won the past five GPs each time, is comfortably at the top of the world championship six race weekends before the end of the season. With a difference of 116 points over pursuer Leclerc, things seemingly can't go wrong for the Dutchman and he even has a possibility of already taking the world title in Singapore. Then he would have to win by himself, Leclerc would have to finish fourth at most and Leclerc would have to finish no further than ninth.

Although Leclerc says he does not want to give up yet, he will also have lost heart. With Sergio Perez and George Russell trailing him by nine and 16 points respectively, he would be wise to look back and try to defend his second place.

Weather forecast

Formula 1 teams have to battle with a lot of rain in Singapore. On the three race days, temperatures will reach a maximum of 30 degrees during the day, before dropping to 26 degrees in the evening. Weather.com However, forecasts also predict heavy rain showers with thunderstorms. Whereas the chance of precipitation on Friday is 62% it will be 53% and 74% on the following two days, respectively.

Forecast for the Grand Prix

Although the odds are only slim this coming weekend, all eyes will be on Verstappen. The Dutchman has been exuding great calm in his car for months and is therefore also the big favourite for victory in Singapore. In doing so, he has done himself a good favour with his large lead, so he will not feel any great pressure to finish it already on Sunday.

Leclerc, meanwhile, seems to realise that it has become an impossible battle. For the honour, he will therefore be eager to win in Singapore, but otherwise, he and his team are already expected to come out strong mainly in 2023. Leclerc also has little to lose in Singapore, so he will try hard to make things as difficult as possible for Verstappen.

At least as interesting will be the battle between Leclerc, Perez and Russell. With the drivers barely outdistancing each other in the rankings, the battle for second place has erupted. Indeed, Verstappen is hardly beatable this year, so the spot of 'best of the rest' will indeed say something about Formula 1 in the coming seasons.

Experts reckon the most likely place for Mercedes to secure another victory this year is Singapore. The circuit seems to suit Mercedes' car perfectly, but to do so it will first have to deal with competition from Red Bull and Ferrari. Whether it is capable of doing so, we will have to wait and see.

Timetable for the Singapore Grand Prix 2022 [UK times]

Friday

First free practice: 11:00 - 12:00

Second free practice: 14:00 - 15:00

Saturday

Third free practice: 11:00 - 12:00

Qualifying: 14:00 - 15:00 

Sunday

Race: 13:00 - 15:00

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