RACE DEBRIEF

    Will Marina Bay be the venue at which Ferrari or Mercedes halt Red Bull and Max Verstappen’s five-strong winning streak – or can the Dutchman take his first Singapore GP win and – if other results go his way – seal his second World Championship this weekend? Join in with our official F1 Play predictor game...

    Vying for pole

    It’s been three years since we had the Singapore Grand Prix grace the F1 calendar, and back in 2019 it was Charles Leclerc who took pole position for Ferrari. Given the Monegasque racer has taken the most pole positions in 2022 with eight to Verstappen’s four, Leclerc could well make it two pole positions in two weekends in Singapore.

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    After all, the Ferrari F1-75 is still a formidable machine and the Scuderia know how to turn up the pace on Saturdays. Furthermore, having taken pole position on the streets of Monaco and Azerbaijan, Leclerc – who won qualifying last time out in Italy – will be hoping to find the same performance on the streets of Singapore.

    Team mate Carlos Sainz has a chance too; he was quick in Monaco (P2 on the grid) and also qualified well around the twisty confines of Hungary (P2) and the Netherlands (P3).

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    Leclerc took pole when F1 last visited Singapore, in 2019

    Verstappen will surely be in the mix at the front, but his advantage from Spa-Francorchamps, where he last went fastest in qualifying (before grid penalties kicked in), is not expected to carry over to this higher-downforce street venue. Team mate Sergio Perez’s qualifying deficit has increased in recent weekends and the Mexican driver has started in the top 10 here only once in his career, in 2018.

    Mercedes go into the Singapore weekend hoping that the street track will better suit their W13. Given George Russell aced qualifying in Hungary, it’s possible Mercedes could get their second pole of the season here.

    But with a significant chance of rain on Saturday, perhaps the thundery skies will tear up the script...

    Pole positions in the last five races:

    • 2019 – Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
    • 2018 – Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
    • 2017 – Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
    • 2016 – Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
    • 2015 – Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)

    FAN VIEW: You have to go way back to 2013 to find Red Bull dominating in Singapore, and clearly that is playing on the minds of F1 Play gamers as Max Verstappen looks to continue his dominance this weekend. He is favourite to be fastest over a single lap, but his lead in the voting is not as dominant as previous races.

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    F1 Play gamers back Italian GP winner Verstappen to take pole here

    In the mix for victory

    Being a street circuit, it’s little surprise that pole position is so coveted at Marina Bay. Since 2008, the race has been won from pole position eight times.

    That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to pass in Singapore – there were 118 on-track overtakes in the 2019 Singapore Grand Prix, with Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo alone making 14 of those.

    READ MORE: Driver market moves and Marina Bay’s return – 5 storylines we’re excited about ahead of the Singapore GP

    Of the three top contenders for victory, Red Bull are favourites given they and Verstappen are on a hot streak, but Ferrari are likely to be much closer to their rivals given this isn’t a high-speed venue such as Spa or Monza.

    Mercedes are also expecting a bump in performance at this street track, and the Silver Arrows will be hoping to score their first win of 2022 – but they are very much outsiders.

    There are also title permutations to think about. Essentially, Verstappen needs to win and hope Leclerc and team mate Perez falter to give him the title in Singapore. Victory and fastest lap would, of course, strengthen Verstappen’s bid.

    POINTS PERMUTATIONS: What Verstappen needs to do to secure the F1 title in Singapore

    Wins in the last five races:

    • 2019 – Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
    • 2018 – Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
    • 2017 – Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
    • 2016 – Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
    • 2015 – Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)

    FAN VIEW: The level of Verstappen’s dominance appears to be growing as 2022 progresses, but gamers are tapping the brakes here just a little. It may be because of the nature of the Marina Bay circuit, but the Dutchman ‘only’ accounts for around 75 percent of votes to date, with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc polling pretty well.

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    Can Mercedes take their first win of 2022 in Singapore?

    Podium outsiders

    If the win might be a stretch for Mercedes in Singapore, they will certainly be hunting for the podium. The W13 has proven faster in recent weekends given they managed a run of podiums from Azerbaijan to Hungary (where Russell also took pole) with Belgium proving difficult for them.

    The Silver Arrows will be hoping not only to capitalise on possible rain, but Safety Cars – of which there were three in 2019, with 14 deployments in the last eight Singapore Grands Prix.

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    Lewis Hamilton and team mate Russell are therefore the two drivers most likely to land on the podium, other than the Red Bull drivers and Ferrari drivers.

    It’s also worth noting that the only non-Red Bull/Ferrari/Mercedes podium finisher this season is Lando Norris (at Imola), and, when it comes to Singapore, the last driver to score a podium for a team other than those three is Kimi Raikkonen, who took P3 here for Lotus in 2013.

    Podiums in the last five races:

    • Ferrari – 5
    • Red Bull – 5
    • Mercedes – 5

    FAN VIEW: The usual suspects account for a massive proportion of the podium votes, with Mercedes star George Russell getting particularly strong support. The only man outside the big six to make even a ripple is Lando Norris of McLaren as he looks to build on that ‘best of the rest’ P7 at Monza.

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    Vettel won the last Singapore Grand Prix, back in 2019

    Points potential

    The midfield battle has always made for sensational viewing in Singapore, with the Renaults of Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg providing the action in 2019 before the Racing Points suffered trouble, after the Saubers of Leclerc and Marcus Ericsson mixed it up in the top 10 back in 2018.

    This year, Alpine and McLaren will be going toe-to-toe once again, the two teams split by just 18 points in the hunt for P4 in the standings. Alpine missed out on points at Monza but have scored consistently this season while Norris brought home the points for McLaren last time out.

    READ MORE: How late-season upgrades could be pivotal in the Alpine vs McLaren fight for P4

    Zhou Guanyu’s P10 at Monza ended a six-race point-less drought for Alfa Romeo, who are searching for that early-season pace that brought them 51 points over the first nine weekends, while Haas – having enjoyed the weekend in Austria – might be up for more in Singapore.

    Engine penalties, which shook up the grid at Monza, aren’t expected to be taken in Singapore – but the likes of the Williams, Aston Martins, Ricciardo and Russell are still to take a fourth power unit and the resulting penalties.

    Points in the last five races:

    • Mercedes – 151
    • Ferrari – 130
    • Red Bull – 119
    • McLaren – 24
    • AlphaTauri/Toro Rosso – 24
    • Racing Point/Force India – 21
    • Alpine/Renault – 16
    • Williams – 14
    • Alfa Romeo/Sauber – 3
    • Haas – 2

    FAN VIEW: Pretty competitive voting here, with a number of players all coming in for decent support. World champions Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel are clear at the front of the pack, but several drivers are on that next level, including Alonso’s Alpine team mate Esteban Ocon and McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo.