Formula 1 returns under the lights at Marina Bay Street Circuit for the first time since 2019. Max Verstappen has his first shot at winning the 2022 title – but he’ll need luck to be on his side to become a back-to-back champion. Here’s what to watch out for at the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix!
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Verstappen could win the title
Max Verstappen has his first chance to win the 2022 World Championship at the Singapore Grand Prix. Verstappen has been in unrivalled form in recent races, having won all of the last five Grands Prix. A victory this weekend would see him join an elite group of just five drivers who’ve won six races in a row and the first to do so in over six years.
Perhaps more importantly, only a victory will do if Verstappen is to seal a second title in Singapore. Verstappen has never previously won here but finished on the podium with second place in 2018 and third in 2019. Verstappen’s chances of sealing the title honours remain slim even with a victory, however, as they rely on Charles Leclerc finishing the race no higher than eighth.
Verstappen’s title hopes in Singapore also require his team-mate Sergio Perez to finish fourth or lower. The Mexican has never stood on the rostrum before at Marina Bay Street Circuit, but this will be his first outing with Red Bull at the venue. Perez’s best result here so far is fifth, which he recorded in 2017 – the last time he scored points at the track. Nevertheless, Red Bull have finished with at least one car on the podium here in every Singapore Grand Prix since 2010, so you can expect Perez to be well within podium contention this weekend.
Max Verstappen to win the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix2/1
Ferrari took a 1-2 finish here last time
While Red Bull have not won at Marina Bay since 2013, Ferrari recorded a 1-2 result in the last race at the track. Ferrari’s title hopes for 2022 appear long gone with the Scuderia having last won a race back in Austria. But perhaps Charles Leclerc or Carlos Sainz could deliver a second successive win at the track and bring some cheer to the tifosi in Singapore.
Notably, there are only four drivers on the grid who’ve raced in Singapore more than once and made it to the finish line on every occasion – and two of them are the Ferrari drivers. Leclerc took pole here in 2019 and finished second, while Carlos Sainz’s best result from his five appearances at the track is fourth place, recorded in 2017.
Mercedes’ last chance saloon?
The Singapore Grand Prix could be Mercedes’ last chance to keep their 10-year winning streak running, as well as the last chance for Lewis Hamilton to remain the only driver to have won a race in every Formula 1 season in which he has competed.
Theoretically, the 23-corner, slow speed, high downforce layout should favour Mercedes’
troublesome W13. George Russell – who retired on his first appearance in Singapore in 2019 – secured pole position at the Hungarian Grand Prix, a track which is somewhat reminiscent in nature of Marina Bay.
Hamilton, meanwhile, has won three of the last six Singapore Grands Prix and with higher speed tracks coming up after Singapore – the likes of Suzuka, COTA and Interlagos – this could be the seven-time champion’s last realistic shot at winning a race in the 2022 season. Can either Mercedes driver capitalise on a rare opportunity for a victory this year?
Every Singapore Grand Prix so far has featured a Safety Car
Night racing in Singapore is always a little unpredictable. All twelve previous races here have seen the Safety Car being called out at least once. The reasons for Safety Car call outs have been rather varied – from drivers crashing deliberately, to spectators finding their way onto the track mid-race.
The 2017 Singapore Grand Prix was the first race at the circuit to feature three Safety Car periods. The first of those was caused by a collision on the run to the opening corner between Max Verstappen and the two Ferrari drivers. The 2017 race was extra tricky for the drivers, as it was held in damp conditions. If you’re a fan of chaos, you’ll be pleased to hear that rain is expected this weekend.
Vettel’s strongest track?
Sebastian Vettel’s farewell tour continues as he heads into the final six races of his Formula 1 career. Vettel is the most recent winner of the Singapore Grand Prix, taking his fifth victory at the circuit in 2019. No one has more wins here than the German, while only Lewis Hamilton can match Vettel’s pole tally at the track.
Marina Bay Street Circuit is certainly one of Vettel’s strongest circuits. His opening lap retirement in 2017 is the only time he’s failed to finish in the top five here. So far, 2022 has not been the final season that Vettel would have wanted, with a best result of only sixth at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Perhaps Marina Bay, a non-conventional track and a personal favourite of Vettel’s, could provide him with the opportunity to shine in the Aston Martin.
Magnussen is speedy here
It has been a fruitless run of races for Haas over the summer, with July’s Austrian Grand Prix remaining the last time that either of the team’s drivers picked up points. Someone to keep an eye on this weekend could be Kevin Magnussen who, surprisingly, set the fastest lap of the race in both of the last two Singapore Grands Prix.
Sadly, Magnussen’s speedy efforts went unrewarded as he finished outside of the top ten on both occasions and was thus ineligible to pick up any points for the feat. Magnussen has never finished higher than tenth here, while Haas have scored only once – with a ninth-place finish for Romain Grosjean in 2017. But with an improved Haas package for 2022, perhaps Magnussen could be the man to lead the American team back into the top ten.