Scuderia Ferrari German driver Sebastian Vettel is not expecting the 2017 Singapore Grand Prix, which is scheduled to take place this weekend, to be a Sunday evening cruise through the city-state’s floodlit streets, despite the fact that the Maranello team is considered to be favourite for victory at the Marina Bay circuit. The four-time Formula One world champion heads into the weekend smarting from a crushing defeat at the hands of Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton, who led team-mate Valtteri Bottas in a dominant one-two at Scuderia Ferrari’s home Italian Grand Prix, in front of thousands of fans.
The result, a disappointing display for the Maranello team in front of their passionate tifosi, also cost Sebastian Vettel the overall championship lead he had enjoyed during the first part of the 2017 Formula One season, handing Lewis Hamilton a three-point advantage ahead of the next race. But Singapore’s tight turns are expected to play to the strengths of the German driver’s Ferrari, with the team dominant at similar layouts such as the Monaco Grand Prix and the race in Hungary. The German hopes to take full advantage and score an unprecedented fifth victory to his already unmatched tally of Singapore wins. Speaking to reporters on Thursday, though, the four-time champion was refusing to buy into the hype:
“In theory it should be a bit better here than at Monza but I think it will be close. We have seen that it’s very close no matter where we go, also on the tracks that definitely suit Mercedes or definitely suit Ferrari.” – the German driver said, as reported by the Italian media. The 30-year-old cited two examples. At Monaco Kimi Raikkonen led a Scuderia Ferrari impressive front-row lockout in qualifying but third-placed Valtteri Bottas set a time within a tenth of the Finn’s benchmark. On the other hand, at Belgium’s Spa Francorchamps, rivals Mercedes were expected to dominate but Sebastian Vettel remained in hot pursuit of Lewis Hamilton all the way through the Grand Prix:
“I go with what we have, what I will feel tomorrow at the track and the car that I have then under me”. – Sebastian Vettel added.
Mercedes have a chequered history at the Singapore track, winning last year with retired champion Nico Rosberg, but failing to even finish on the podium in 2015. Nevertheless, Lewis Hamilton – who became the season’s first back-to-back winner following his triumph in Monza – is up for a fight, as Scuderia Ferrari’s German driver is well aware of the fact that he has to exploit the potential of the SF70H car at the Marina Bay circuit this weekend in order to continue the battle for the 2017 F1 title.