2017 Singapore Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: The momentum was supposed to swing back to Ferrari. Instead, thanks to wild circumstances, Mercedes stole one, and they will keep their momentum in the next few tracks. The see-saw may have stopped.
TRACK: Tough. Tiring. Hot. Rain. Street. Night. All equals pileup.
EVENT: The Australians are making this their second home race.
QUALIFYING: Ferrari is out to lunch on Friday but wins pole, Red Bull cannot back up their Friday domination, Mercedes stays back, and lots of wall banging (or is that hard tapping?) in Q1.
GRID: What?! No grid penalties? We're so confused...
START: Within feet, three of the four dominant cars at Singapore are wiped out, Alonso's best chance and best start also wiped out, and Lewis thinks, "Hey, this is cool!"
RACE: This was supposed to be a thrilling race among the frontrunners. However, after the start shenanigans, the front became processional. The midpack fights saved the day, especially lap 17.
VETTEL: We have always despised the coming across block at the start created by Michael Schumacher. One reason is we always felt it was dangerous and just begging for trouble. It finally came when this whole opening crashfest began with Vettel drifting over to block two drivers who were clearly faster and better off the start. If he simply drove straight off the line, Sebastian may have won the race. Or at the very least, finished ahead of Hamilton which is what Vettel should have been thinking about all along.
VERSTAPPEN: We all initially blamed Max. But that was not to be. Verstappen got a great start, did what a race driver should do and went for the hole, only to have someone with stakes way higher move over and expect everyone to just jam on their brakes.
RAIKKONEN: The curse of a great start.
FERRARI: Just like President Trump, just because you tweet it doesn't make it so.
FIA: However, despite everything we wrote and believe, we are glad the Stewards took no action. It's racing. It's the start. Drivers are paid to be aggressive and go for it.
TIFOSI: So, if this had happened at Monza, would the whole crowd have just gotten up and left?
ALONSO: The perfect track for a great McLaren-Honda finish. The perfect start for a great finish. The perfect driver on a track for a great finish. All wiped out in seconds.
HAMILTON: Lost amongst all the carbon fiber dust is how great Lewis drove after a miserable four prior sessions in a performance that may have clinched him the championship.
RICCIARDO: Survived the start. Grabbed yet another podium. However, this was supposed to be a race he could have won. Thus, a disappointment in the end.
BOTTAS: Quietly, without anyone noticing, Valtteri picked up a third.
SAINZ: He's dancing the happy dance after finding out he's heading over to Renault and then goes out and finishes fourth.
PEREZ: Signs a new contract with Force India and then beats his teammate.
PALMER: Too little, too late.
RENAULT: But Palmer's points helped Renault jump ahead of Haas.
VANDOORNE: See, a McLaren-Honda did score points at Singapore.
STROLL: Lance got some more points while his veteran teammate did not.
GROSJEAN: Once again, salvaged points for Haas.
HAAS: But Haas now finds themselves in eighth. And with Renault getting stronger and McLaren getting a Renault, it's going to get a lot tougher for Haas in 2018. Well, you may be able to beat Toro Rosso now...
HULKENBERG: From a podium to a points finish to a DNF to an ignominious record.
MCLAREN: The divorce finally happened. Now, there are no more excuses. You will be measured straight up against Red Bull.
HONDA: At least they will be away from the glare of McLaren. But who actually believes they will ever get better?
TORO ROSSO: At least enjoy the money.
KVYAT: The only reason Daniil will stick around is because the Red Bull junior driver program has shockingly dried up.
GASLY: Pierre is the only logical choice to take Sainz's seat. Unless the rumblings from Honda putting their own driver in are true. If so, please let it be Kvyat who's out.
RED BULL: Meanwhile, the biggest loser (or possibly winners) might be Red Bull. If they lose their Renault deal after 2018, they will be "stuck" with the Honda. Unless the closer relationship with Aston Martin actually one day brings an engine along, assuming they can do it right.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Across.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 129 -- The number of F1 starts for Nico Hulkenberg without a podium finish, a new record.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: Like we stated back in 2014, this race continues to be won only by World Champions -- Sebastian Vettel (4), Lewis Hamilton (3), Fernando Alonso (2), and Nico Rosberg (1).
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Mark Webber commentating on the first lap crash with his firsthand experience of Vettel's driving, "I think sometimes Seb forgets that where the back of his helmet is, is not where the back of his car is!"
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Then there's Kimi Raikkonen's typical understated response to it all, "It's a shame but thatís it."
SCHEDULE: Off to Malaysia and their last grand prix. No need to hold a farewell party.
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