Charles Leclerc has emerged as Ferrari’s lead driver in 2019 after claiming the second win of his career, and his second in as many races to move himself ever closer to third-place in the championship, and while Mercedes haven’t won any of the last two races, you sense the tide is about to turn back in their favour as they head to the Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore for Round 15 of the 2019 FIA Formula One World Championship.
Lewis Hamilton (284 points) leads the championship for Mercedes by 63 points over his teammate Valtteri Bottas (221 points) after finishing third despite applying a lot of pressure on Leclerc throughout the Italian Grand Prix, before making a mistake later in the race at Turn One, allowing Bottas to move ahead of Hamilton into second place.
However, you sense the track characteristics in Singapore will suit the Mercedes better, compared to Belgium and Italy.
Max Verstappen (185 points), and Red Bull Racing-Honda will also be thinking the same way after finishing in eighth at Monza despite starting from the back of the grid, and despite pitting for a new front wing at the end of the opening lap in what was a brilliant drive.
However, he is starting to feel the heat from Leclerc (182 points), who will look to challenge Verstappen for third in the world championship in the final seven races in 2019, while Sebastian Vettel (169 points) had an absolute shocker at Monza, finishing 13th after spinning on Lap Six, and then received a 10-second stop-go penalty for hitting the car of Lance Stroll after re-joining the track unsafely. Vettel will be looking to re-bound in a big this weekend in Singapore.
Behind the Top Five in the championship, Pierre Gasly (65 points) for Scuderia Toro Rosso-Honda, and Carlos Sainz Jr. (58 points) for McLaren-Renault are still sixth and seventh in the standings respectively, while Daniel Ricciardo (34 points) is up into eighth in the world championship after finishing fourth at Monza, the best result Ricciardo has had since joining the team, and the team’s best result (under the Renault banner) since Nick Heidfeld finished third for the team back at the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix, with teammate Nico Hülkenberg (31 points), who is currently 11th in the standings, finishing fifth.
Alexander Albon (34 points) is ninth in the championship after finishing sixth in his second race with Red Bull Racing-Honda, while Gasly’s teammate Daniil Kvyat (33 points) completes the Top 10 in the standings.
Looking at the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes (505 points) have extended their lead over Ferrari (351 points) to 154 points despite the win for the latter at Monza, while Red Bull Racing-Honda (266 points) remain in a comfortable third.
Behind the Top Three, McLaren-Renault (83 points) remain in a strong fourth, Renault (65 points) move into a solid fifth, while Scuderia Toro Rosso-Honda (51 points) and Racing Point-BWT Mercedes (46 points) are locked in a battle for sixth, with Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari (34 points) and Haas-Ferrari (26 points) in a battle for eighth. Williams-Mercedes (one point) remain in a distant 10th and last in the Constructors’ Championship.
So, who is going to win the 2019 Singapore Grand Prix?
I sense it is going to be battle between Mercedes and Red Bull Racing-Honda, and most likely, a battle between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen on a circuit that should be well-suited to their cars, and given the form that Verstappen has shown in challenging Hamilton in Monaco and Hungary, I think the Red Bull driver can win in Singapore for the very first time.