Photo courtesy of Jamey Price
When the circus finished their last Saturday in Europe at the Italian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton looked unstoppable with a decisive pole lap, clearing teammate Rosberg by nearly half a second. One bad start from Hamilton on Sunday, however, flipped the script and Rosberg took the win and gained seven points on Hamilton.
Here we are, two weeks later, and a near exact mirrored result reflects on Rosberg. He performed brilliantly today and claimed pole by over half a second. Even better for the German, it’s not his teammate sharing the front row. Daniel Ricciardo split the Mercedes with a stonking lap in the Red Bull. Hamilton finished Saturday P3, over seven-tenths behind. But, and this is a big but, both Rosberg and Hamilton have botched starts this season. And looking in the mirror shows us it’s Rosberg’s turn to have trouble when the lights go out.
Rosberg fans can only hope the German immediately dropped to his knees, clasped his hands together, and prayed most passionately to the race start god. Ask the race start god for strong clutch-bite, smooth torque modulation, and minimal tire spin. Beg for quick reaction time, or at least quicker than those around you. Ask for the strength to keep your eyes on turn-one and your mind on the exact start procedure given to you by Mercedes engineers. Rosberg, this is your chance to regain the championship lead. Don’t blow it!
Speaking of championships, both Force India cars qualified ahead of both Williams. Williams currently is ahead of Force India by two, itty-bitty points. So a strong performance by either Hulkenberg or Perez may catapult the team right back to fourth in the constructors championship, a position they grabbed after Belgium and immediately lost it again in Italy.
In a surprise show of form, Toro Rosso qualified ahead both the aforementioned teams, Carlos Sainz in 6th and Daniil Kvyat in 7th. That tells us the chassis is held back the year-old Ferrari power unit. The Italian team currently stands in 7th in the constructors, 3 points behind McLaren. A strong performance could move them up.
Singapore is full of what ifs, a lot of possibilities, and a decent number of potential shake-ups. Let’s not forget that Vettel starts from the back and Red Bull has its best chance of the year to steal another victory from Mercedes.