Formula 1 will head to the heat and humidity of Singapore next week – with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton marginally leading Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in the fight for the world championship – just three points the difference.
This year has proven a bolt from the blue for the sport – after three years of pure domination by the Silver Arrows; Mercedes securing 51 race victories from 58 events across three seasons from 2014 to 2016.
Ferrari finally broke its spell this year – the advantage swinging from track to track – making it difficult to predict who will be world champion.
SOUNDBITE: (English) ROSS BRAWN,
MOTOR SPORT MD, FORMULA 1:
“You know the great thing is I don't know, and that's what's wonderful about Formula One. If you’d asked me that question last year I probably would have been able to tell you. But the fact that I can't tell you means that the racing is great."
Up to and including the Italian Grand Prix, we’ve had four different winners – six different race leaders, and seven different drivers up on the podium. We’ve also had 283 overtakes, an average of 22 per race.
Azerbaijan provided the most chaotic race so far, with 42 overtakes alone – while Russia had just one, discounting the opening lap.
Monza had 36 passes with the long 1.12 kilometre main straight providing plenty of chance for slipstreaming on the run down to turn one.
And we’re expecting an even more intense final seven races, as the world championship battle comes into focus.
Looking ahead, expect the Scuderia to be stronger in Singapore, the USA and at the final round in Abu Dhabi; with more even matches in Malaysia, Mexico and Brazil, while Japan should suit the Silver Arrows.
With the title battle on a knife edge, F1 is finally enjoying a renaissance – it’s game on from Singapore.