FANTASY FOCUS: Who should be in your team for Singapore?
Who’s excited for Singapore then? It’s one of the standout Grands Prix on the calendar, and often delivers drama. Last year’s race is evidence of that, and with just seven races to go, this showdown offers yet another opportunity to rack up the Fantasy F1 points. So who could drive you to success at the Marina Bay Circuit? Here’s the lowdown…
The winners in Italy
The magical Monza showdown may be behind us, but it’s still worth giving a shout out to the big winners, right? Lewis Hamilton deservedly heads the list, having defied the odds to triumph on Ferrari’s home turf.
The Mercedes driver won’t forget the Italian Grand Prix weekend, and neither will our Fantasy F1 players who have stayed loyal to him. He scored a whopping 61 points – his highest total of the season – to top score in Italy. Top work indeed.
His Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas also impressed in Italy, racking up 38 – also his highest total of the Fantasy F1 season so far. A good weekend, for the Mercedes’ drivers then, with Hamilton’s first place and Bottas’ podium (which saw him promoted to P3 due to Max Verstappen’s penalty) upsetting the home faithful.
Away from the top teams, Force India’s Esteban Ocon continued his recent fine form with another impressive showing at Monza. His P8 in qualifying and his P6 on race day helped him to a 24-point total. Had you made him your Turbo Driver, then that’s a healthy 48 points. Not bad, eh?
The losers in Italy
Showed faith in Ferrari for their home race? There’s no doubt you were as gutted as the Prancing Horse on Sunday night then, after a race that promised so much ended in disappointment.
Sebastian Vettel was perhaps one of the biggest losers from the big three teams, given he missed out on pole on Saturday before a first-lap collision in the Grand Prix ultimately meant he came home down in fourth. The German finished the weekend on 21 points, some way behind Hamilton.
Elsewhere, his team mate Kimi Raikkonen should have perhaps earned more than his 35-point total. Second wasn’t a bad result for the Finn, but given he started on pole and this was Ferrari’s home turf, it could have been better for the Scuderia.
Meanwhile, Brendon Hartley, Fernando Alonso and Daniel Ricciardo were all forced to retire from the race. Hartley was perhaps the more unfortunate of the three, with the Kiwi’s Toro Rosso coming to a halt moment after the start – and he was slapped with a -14 points total as a result.
Before we get into the Singapore streaks, it’s worth mentioning the streak-bonus winners in Italy – and it’s perhaps no surprise that Mercedes’ exploits were helped by activating their streaks.
By producing top-ten finishes for the fifth race in a row, Hamilton and Bottas both earned their Fantasy F1 players a 10-point bonus. Mercedes, meanwhile, notched up a qualifying streak (five points) as both drivers reached Q3 for the third race in a row.
Looking ahead to Singapore, no drivers are eligible for either the race or qualifying streak bonus. Romain Grosjean can count himself unlucky, after the Haas driver was disqualified from the Monza race. Had he held onto his P6, then a fifth straight top-ten finish in Singapore would have activated a 10-point race bonus.
For the constructors, Force India and Mercedes will both earn you an extra 10 points (if you have either as your chosen team) should both their drivers finish the race in the top 10. Ferrari, meanwhile, are poised for a bonus five points – and they'll unlock it if Raikkonen and Vettel continue their run of reaching Q3 at every Grand Prix this season.
Verstappen to impress?
This Singapore Grand Prix will mark Max Verstappen’s 75th Grand Prix start – and the Dutchman qualified second at the 2017 edition, which remains his career-best tied with the 2016 Belgian and 2017 Mexican GPs.
Can he repeat those exploits? He’ll perhaps have extra motivation to deliver the goods at the superb Marina Bay Street Circuit, after his Monza penalty resulted in him missing out on a second successive podium. Last year his race ended on the first lap, so more he’ll be looking to keep his nose clean this time round…
Also, it’s worth noting that the tight-and-twisty nature of this Singapore circuit makes it among Red Bull’s stronger venues. They triumphed at Monaco, which has similar slow-and-medium corners, and there’s no reason why they can’t fight for pole and the victory this weekend.
Who else has history at Singapore?
Speaking of Red Bull, Daniel Ricciardo has finished on the podium at Singapore in all four of his previous visits with Red Bull – the only circuit on which he has achieved this – although he has never won at Marina Bay.
Over at rivals Ferrari, Sebastian Vettel is the record holder for most Singapore GP wins and poles (4 each), and has led the most laps in Marina Bay history (221). Like Verstappen, he suffered a disappointing Monza race and was involved in the first-lap crash here last year, so there will be eagerness to perform this time round.
And looking at the midfield performers, Sergio Perez may well be worth a punt. This is the only circuit on which the Mexican has scored in all seven previous visits in his F1 career, with fifth last year being his best-ever finish in Singapore. Furthermore, he has never been beaten by a team mate in a Singapore F1 race since joining Force India in 2014.
Have you joined our Asia league yet?
With the teams and drivers preparing for three races in Asia in a row – Singapore, Russia and Japan – we’ve launched a new league which incorporates those Grands Prix.
So, will you finish on top? To have a chance of doing so, click here to sign up to the league.
Not got a team? Fear not...
To start playing Fantasy F1, simply click here to create your team – and remember you can make changes to your line-up at any time up to the selection deadline, which is the start of qualifying in Budapest on Saturday. And don't forget, there are a host of exclusive prizes on offer for the winner