Singapore F1 GP 2022 Preview: First chance for Verstappen to seal title

Following on from the European leg of the championship, Formula One descends on Asia for a two-stop mini-tour. The first of these rounds is the Singapore F1 GP 2022, which is taking place this weekend (September 30-October 2) at the Marina Bay Street Circuit.  

The Singapore GP, which returns to the season’s calendar after a COVID-induced two-year absence, will be the seventeenth round of a World Championship which is practically sentenced. The unrivalled Dutch leader dominates the contest with an iron fist. 

At the previous appointment at Monza, Verstappen consolidated his position with a fifth consecutive victory ( France, Hungary, BelgiumHolland & Italy), the eleventh of the year.

The “Flying Dutchman” and his RB18 have made up an almost unbeatable duo, especially since teh team started incorporating new developments and improvements to their machine (weigh loss).

The streets of the city-state could therefore witness Max Verstappen sealing his second F1 title this weekend. In order to do this, he would have to win on Sunday as well as set the fastest lap, while Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) would have to finish in eighth place or below. He could also just win without taking the fastest lap as long as the young Monegasque finishes in ninth place or below.  

Predictions aside, it is undeniable that the #33 can pretty much start celebrating his second crown already. If he doesn’t seal it at this his first opportunity, he is bound to do so in Japan, the home of Honda. Also, if Red Bull was to celebrate their victory at the home of its engine suppliers it would be all the more special.

Despite having Verstappen, not all is joy within the team of the energy drink. The alarming drop in performance of their other driver has raised all the alarms. According to Perez, it is the loss of weight of the car that is to blame as this has had a negative impact on his driving style. The team now is diligently trying to fix the problem so they can secure the Constructors title as soon as possible. 

In order to do that they really need the contribution of their Mexican driver but the latter has been growing progressively uncomfortable with every new “improvement” of the RB18. Despite the circumstances, he remains third in the standings, nine points behind Leclerc, second, but with only seven ahead of Russell, fourth.

Ferrari to come head-on against Red Bull  

‘La Scuderia’ will do everything in its hand to delay the Dutchman’s coronation. To that end, the F1-75 will debut a flat bottom at the Singapore F1 GP 2022. The Italians hope that this will reduce tire degradation, the Achilles heel of Ferrari, especially from Hungary onwards. There is no trace left of the racing car that dominated the first part of the campaign, even if this is still a very efficient car on one lap.

Proof of its speed against the clock are the ten pole positions that the team has earned so far this year, eight from Leclerc and two from Carlos Sainz. Their performance, however, always takes a hit on Sundays, when they consistently seem unable to fight for the win. The reds just hope that they can really stand up to the team from Milton Keynes this time around. 

A nighttime inferno called Marina Bay 

Despite his great odds and the fact that Verstappen is again the enemy #1 to beat at the Singapore F1 GP 2022, this round is not likely to be a triumphant ride. The twisty Asian layout still represents an extraordinary challenge for both drivers and their machines. Its narrow walls mean any small mistake can be paid dearly. In fact, the safety car has made an appearance in every one of the twelve previous editions.

To make things worse, competitors will have to deal with the suffocating heat and humidity. Despite the race taking place at night-time, the temperature inside the car can reach 50ºC.

Pilots had to undergo special physical preparation in order to withstand these extreme conditions and overcome such a taxing challenge. All of this makes the race at Marina Bay a straight two-hour inferno. 

Images of Singapore F1 GP 2022: Red Bull Racing.

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