The qualifying session at the Singapore Grand Prix appeared to be the event Formula 1 had been waiting for. After occupying pole position for the past 23 races, Mercedes were pushed back to fifth and sixth on the grid by alternating cars from Ferrari and Red Bull. The contest seemed perfectly poised for that rare event: a genuinely competitive F1 race with Mercedes expected to use their superior cars to chase down their rivals.
Ultimately, while the identity of the winner changed, the process did not. Sebastian Vettel led from the start and controlled the race leaving Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo in his wake. The anticipated surge from the Mercedes cars failed to materialise as Lewis Hamilton was forced to retire due to throttle failure, leaving Nico Rosberg to rue a missed opportunity to capitalise on his team-mate’s misfortune.
The race will give Ferrari fans hope that the team can launch a late bid for the title. However, much as the grand prix failed to deliver on its promise to provide a racing spectacle, it is unlikely Mercedes will struggle as much in the six remaining races as they did in Singapore. Consequently, it is likely to be Lewis Hamilton and the German manufacturer who will end the season at a canter.