At Belgian GP on August 28, where championship leader Lewis Hamilton was slapped a heavy penalty for engine replacement, the British driver made a valiant attempt after starting from the back row. He fought his way through the maze of traffic and one by one kept overtaking the drivers as he made an impressive progress to the front. With his Mercedes teammate doing a great job as the top of the pack, Hamilton didn’t have the top podium finish in mind. But the third place was extremely creditable under the adverse circumstances to which the 2015 champion found himself at the start of the race. With Rosberg also winning the Italian GP on September 4, Hamilton’s championship lead has been reduced to a mere 2 points as the drivers prepare themselves for the season’s 15th meeting at Singapore next Sunday. In 2015, Mercedes had a bad time in Singapore, when both Hamilton and Rosberg found themselves at considerable disadvantage against Ferrari and Red Bull drivers. Therefore, besides fighting with each other for 2016 World Championship, Hamilton and Rosberg will also have to ensure that Mercedes doesn’t lose out to other constructors at Singapore and subsequent racing venues in the current season.
After somehow managing a podium finish at Belgian GP on August 28, Lewis Hamilton came to Gran Premio Heineken Italian GP and began by taking the pole position. But in the main event, the 2015 champion had a fluffy start that allowed his teammate to run away. After sweeping past Hamilton at Turn 1, Nico Rosberg produced another dominant drive and scored his 7th F1 victory of the 2016 season. As for Hamilton, he slipped to the sixth place after that horrible start before making his ground and finally finishing second to Rosberg on the podium. The last podium place in Italy was taken by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. Force India drivers Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg were eighth and tenth respectively after their great show at Belgium. But their team Principal Vijay Mallya is confident that the Force India drivers could still add to their haul of podium trophies won in the 2016 season so far. Force India also lost their constructors’ lead to Williams at the Italian GP but Mallya is confident of the bounce back at Singapore. The result of the Italian GP translated into Hamilton’s championship lead over Rosberg coming down to just 2 points. With only 7 races remaining this season, the fight between the two teammates is bound to be intense in the remaining part of the F1 season.
As they go to Singapore, Lewis Hamilton thinks Mercedes is focused on doing well this time after last year’s debacle. The Mercedes team had completely dominated the 2015 season until they hit a road block at Singapore. Hamilton was forced to retire from the race because of the breakdown of his machine’s power unit, while Rosberg finished fourth. In addition, the warm conditions in the night race at the Marina Bay Street Circuit helped Ferrari and Red Bull drivers. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen took the first and third places and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo finished second. Next Sunday’s race at Singapore is special for more reasons than just the final winners. Next to Monaco, Singapore is the only other place, where business hours are closed during the Grand Prix weekend. The track is fantastic and one lap is a little over 5 kilometer long. The race time is nearly 2 hours, during which the drivers cover 61 laps and 23 corners in each lap. With four victories, Sebastian Vettel has the best record at Singapore. Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso have taken the top podium on two occasions each. Rosberg has never won at Singapore but he will be looking to reverse that this time round. Lewis Hamilton goes to Singapore with just a 2-point championship lead over Rosberg but both Mercedes drivers are likely to be wary of Ferrari and Red Bull, who produced top-class performance in 2015. In the constructors’ battle, Mercedes lead everyone, but Williams managed to reclaim the fourth spot from Force India at Italy. Singapore has been a happy hunting ground for the Force India team and they will be determined to leave the Williams team behind yet again.