Nearly three and a half seconds in 12 months – that’s how much time Lewis Hamilton shaved off last year’s pole position time in Singapore. The Mercedes man’s effort was, by his own admission (and it was an assessment pretty much universally shared), ‘magic’ – but it also showed the startling rate of progress in F1. Since Sebastian Vettel took pole at Marina Bay last September, F1 cars have been given a radical overhaul with the addition of the halo, which has added to the overall weight of the car.
However, all the cars fighting for pole this year did so on Pirelli’s quickest ever tyres – the hypersofts – which will have provided a significant performance boost compared to last year’s ultrasofts. But even without that, Hamilton’s lap – and those of those of the rest of the field – was a startling reminder of the incredible rate of progress the teams have made from a chassis, aerodynamic and power unit point of view over the last year.