Singapore Grand Prix: Formula One — live | Formula One
We’ll get another update in 15 minutes apparently. If we get a shortened race, then points will only be awarded if we the leader completes at least two laps must be completed without a safety car. And there are three possible bands of reduced points: Up to 25% of distance would be 6 points for a win; 25-50% means 13 points for winning; and 50-75% is 19 points for the winner. After that it’s full points – which Verstappen will need to clinch that title today.
In half an hour, the three-hour clock – within which the race needs to be finished – starts ticking down. Not to be confused with the two-hour clock, which starts when the race commences … and within which it must also be completed. Got that? Good.
The best ever race in the rain? We Own the Night (2007). They’ll be none of that today though – as long as it’s chucking it down, the cars will remain in the garage. And the pit lane is currently flooded, so the start procedure isn’t even possible.
More urgently though, it is absolutely tipping it down in Singapore, and the start of the race will be delayed – although we don’t know by how long. An update is expected in 10 minutes or so.
Some news: George Russell will start from the pit lane after taking a new power unit, taking him above his number of allocated engine parts. He qualified 11th and has taken a top-five spot in every race he’s finished this season – a record he’ll do well to maintain today.
Never mind one victory lap, how about 309? That’s the treat that’ll await Max Verstappen if he manages to clinch the F1 title this afternoon. Japan, US, Mexico, Brazil, Abu Dhabi – all five could be rendered redundant, at least as far as the championship is concerned, if things go the Dutchman’s way in Singapore today.
The small print: a hell of a lot would have to go his way. Not only has Verstappen – starting from eighth after a troublesome qualifying – got a gruelling task on his hands to overhaul Charles Leclerc in pole, he also needs to take the fastest lap and hope Leclerc and Sergio Pérez, who start first and second, finish below eighth or third respectively. Unlikely? Yes. Impossible? Most certainly not.
Exactly when the championship is sealed may seem like a point of mere administration but it also serves as a barometer of greatness: only Nigel Mansell and Michael Schumacher have ever sealed the deal so early. Verstappen, a would-be great whose sights are not just on titles but dynasties, will know this better than anyone.
The subplots? The return of Mercedes: after a nightmare start that effectively wrote off their season, the team has been creeping slowly back into contention, race by race, and Lewis Hamilton was the fastest man on track by far early in the final session yesterday, eventually losing his edge and settling for third. But on a circuit he loves, the seven-times champion will be desperate to convince the world that he will be back among the challengers next season. That said, the struggles of George Russell, whose “car let him down” according to Toto Wolff, suggests Mercedes’ engineering problems are not behind them yet. Watch this space.
And some reason for cheer: Alex Albon makes a remarkable return just three weeks after spending nearly 24 hours in intensive car having stopped breathing following an appendectomy three weeks ago.
But until that title is definitively wrapped up, it’s all eyes on one man. Not even Devon Loch could muck it up from here … right?