After Max Verstappen’s record-breaking win at the 2023 Italian Grand Prix, all eyes are on him to see if he and Red Bull can win the remainder of the races to perform an unprecedented clean sweep. The biggest threat to their clean record will be at the first race of the Asian leg at the iconic Marina Bay Street Circuit for the Singapore Grand Prix.
Will the Dutchman reign supreme again? Can Ferrari challenge Red Bull? Or will we see a surprise winner?
In this article, we take a look at a few things that might happen this weekend in Singapore.
Can Ferrari challenge?
If the Italian Grand Prix showed us anything, it was that Ferrari have the pace to keep up with Red Bull. While their race pace alone may not be able to comprehensively beat them, should Red Bull (or just Verstappen) face any issue, both Chalres Leclerc and Carlos Sainz should be able to catch up. In Italy, we saw Sainz pip Verstappen for pole; Leclerc wasn’t too far off the Dutchman either.
Singapore has been a relatively successful track for the Scuderia, with Sebastian Vettel having taken wins here in 2015 and 2019 and started on pole in 2017. Ferrari have performed well in the street circuits so far this season, which is why they have been able to keep up with Verstappen. If there’s a team this season that can stop Red Bull and Verstappen from winning all the remaining races, it’s Ferrari, and there is no better place than Singapore to get things going.
On a circuit completely different from those raced on till now in the season, expect the Scuderia to give Red Bull a tough time under the lights.
Pole Prediction: Max Verstappen / Charles Leclerc
Win Prediction: Red Bull / Ferrari
Wear and tear ahead
Ever since it made its debut on the Formula One calendar in 2008, the Singapore circuit has been one of the most challenging circuits for the drivers every season. The physically demanding track, along with the humid weather conditions in Singapore, make it a gruelling two-hour race for all 20 drivers.
This time, it looks like the rookies will face a tough time in particular. This will be the first time the likes of Oscar Piastri, Liam Lawson and Logan Sargeant will be racing at the Marina Bay Circuit. Since we’ve seen even the best of the lot struggle at the track, expect the new boys to struggle as well.
The Singapore track isn’t the best suited for Red Bull and, on paper, favours the likes of Aston Martin and Mercedes more with the high downforce.
Like Ferrari, Aston Martin have been another strong performer at the street circuits and are expected to perform well in Singapore as well.
Mercedes showed strong in Italy. The high downforce track in Singapore, which suits them, could see the likes of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell fight for podiums.
Given that both the Mercedes drivers have chosen to extend their stay with the team, the added confidence from that could see the Silver Arrows spring up a surprise or two in Singapore.
Podium Predictions: Aston Martin / Mercedes
Circuit: Marina Bay Street Circuit
Practice Session 1 time: 15:00, September 15
Practice Session 2 time: 18:30, September 15
Practice Session 3 time: 15:00, September 16
Qualifying time: 18:30, September 16
Main race time: 17:30, September 17
Where to watch: F1 TV Pro
(All timings IST)