Sport F1 Raceweek: Bottas hoping to celebrate Mercedes deal with a change of luck - Singapore GP in Opta numbers

23:37  13 september  2017
23:37  13 september  2017 Source:   Omnisport

Wolff aware of possible Singapore pitfalls

  Wolff aware of possible Singapore pitfalls Toto Wolff has insisted Mercedes has learned from their problems at high downforce tracks, but is all to aware of the pitfalls that face his team in Singapore. Despite winning with Nico Rosberg last time out in Singapore, Mercedes faces a fresh challenge around the Marina Bay circuit with the temperamental ‘diva’ that is the W08 chassis. “Identifying clearly our strengths and our weaknesses has been a strength of our team in recent seasons,” Wolff said. “As we have pushed to become better and stronger in every area, we have put the finger in the wound in order to understand the root causes of both our good performances and the bad ones. “In 2015, Singapore provided us with one of the most painful experiences in recent seasons, so we rolled up the sleeves, learned from it and managed to bounce back with a great win last year. “But notwithstanding that success, this is a circuit we have found difficult to master with its combination of short, sharp corners, relatively short straights and bumpy surface. And we head to Asia this time round with the expectation that we have a big challenge ahead of us.” Given the consistent pace of Ferrari, who are expected to be the favourites in Singapore, Red Bull is also tipped to also spring a surprise especially given the nature of the circuit which should suit their car.

- There was reason for Valtteri Bottas to celebrate on Wednesday, and the Finn will be hoping that remains the case after Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix. Below, we take a look at some of the best Opta numbers as the F 1 circus rolls into Singapore .

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ValtteriBottas - Cropped: Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes© Provided by Omnisport Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes

There was reason for Valtteri Bottas to celebrate on Wednesday, and the Finn will be hoping that remains the case after Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix.

It was confirmed that Bottas had agreed to remain with Mercedes for the 2018 Formula One season - welcome news ahead of visiting a circuit upon which he has traditionally struggled.

The opposite can be said for Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, however, who enjoys a fine record at Marina Bay, and he will be desperate for that to continue as he aims to re-take the standings lead from Lewis Hamilton.

Below, we take a look at some of the best Opta numbers as the F1 circus rolls into Singapore.

Bottas signs Mercedes contract extension for 2018

  Bottas signs Mercedes contract extension for 2018 Valtteri Bottas has signed a new deal with Mercedes to remain at the Brackley-based outfit for a second season. The Finn was drafted in as a replacement for reigning world champion Nico Rosberg and has performed admirably for the Silver Arrow this year. Bottas has taken two pole positions and two victories in 2017 and is currently sitting third in the drivers’ championship on 197 points; the new deal is believed to be a one-year contract extension. “I am honoured and proud to continue to work with Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport in 2018 and to remain part of the Mercedes family,” said Bottas. “Together, we continue to grow stronger day by day, and by keeping up our hard work I believe the sky is the limit. “Since joining the team in January, I’ve enjoyed every day working with them. The welcome and the support from every team member and all the fans has been invaluable. “As a driver, I’ve been able to learn and grow massively, and we have already enjoyed some really good moments this season that I will never forget. “When the team hired me for the 2017 season, they took a leap of faith by putting their trust in my skills. This new contract for 2018 shows that I’ve earned that trust. I’m happy to have celebrated my first race wins in a Silver Arrow. “I will continue to work hard on and off the track, to further improve my driving, get even better results and show that putting their trust in me was the right decision.

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- Sebastian Vettel has the most wins of any driver in Singapore (four). Red Bull are the team with the most wins there (three).

- Singapore is the current F1 circuit at which Valtteri Bottas (10) has earned the fewest points.

- Lewis Hamilton and Vettel, the top two drivers in the championship this season, are the men with the most pole positions in Singapore (three each).

- No team has managed to secure consecutive pole positions in the nine races in Singapore. Mercedes were on pole last season (Nico Rosberg).

- In seven of the nine races in Singapore the driver on pole has gone on to win the race, including each of the last four editions.

Red Bull top in Singapore second practice

  Red Bull top in Singapore second practice Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen set the pace in the second free practice session ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix. The Red Bull duo spent the first part of the session swapping fastest laps before FP1 leader Ricciardo set a time more than half a second faster than his team-mate’s. Verstappen had to settle for second fastest, ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. A number of drivers, including Verstappen, made contact with the wall in the second practice. None of the drivers received significant damage, but Sebastian Vettel did bring out the virtual safety car when he dislodged the advertising boards after making his contact. The Ferrari driver ended the session without setting a competitive lap on the softest set of tyres. After setting the quickest first sector time, he was caught up behind Marcus Ericsson on his first run. Pushing on his second lap made him collide with the wall and he was forced to pit for some repairs. He finished the day 11th fastest. Nico Hulkenberg, despite having some brake problems, was fifth fastest ahead of Stoffel Vandoorne and Fernando Alonso. Sergio Perez, Kimi Raikkonen, and Esteban Ocon completed the top 10.

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- Marina Bay is the circuit with the most corners (23) on the F1 calendar this season.

- Vettel has more wins in Asian countries than any other driver in F1 history (26).

- Nico Hulkenberg is the only driver to have outperformed his team-mate in every qualifying session this season (13-0 over Jolyon Palmer).

- This season, Red Bull have failed to manage two races in a row where both drivers have finished.

Why Vettel needs a miracle to win the 2017 F1 title .
28 points with six races to go. Sebastian Vettel may have overcome worse odds before, but the battle to overhaul Lewis Hamilton for the 2017 crown presents a challenge even the four-time champion can’t overcome without major help from Lady Luck. In 2010, Vettel was 31 points behind leader Hamilton in the drivers’ championship but won the title by four points ahead of Alonso. Two years later he scooped up his third title despite been 39 points adrift with seven races to go. So by that logic, there is every possibility the German can leapfrog Hamilton. However, in both 2010 and 2012, there were six, seven even arguably eight other drivers that could realistically take points off his main rival/s. In 2017, there are at a very maximum – four drivers who can take points off Hamilton on a regular weekend. One of those is Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who has been distinctly average in comparison to the Brit in recent races. Moreover, Mercedes has strongly hinted at favouring Hamilton in the remaining races and Bottas has shown he’s willing to play the team game. In 2017, Hamilton has been beaten by a Red Bull on Sunday on just three occasions and all of them were anomalous results. Kimi Raikkonen has also only finished ahead of Hamilton in three races. So Vettel relying on others to take enough points away from Hamilton for him to win the championship is ambitious. Furthermore, Hamilton’s three wins on the bounce have to strike fear in the hearts of the Tifosi.

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