1 McLaren has a formidable aerodynamic package
Taking advantage of good form in the practice sessions, both McLaren drivers comfortably made it into Q3, proving yet again, that McLaren does not have Chassis and aerodynamic package issues. Fernando Alonso will start tomorrow's race from P8 while his teammate, Stoffel Vandoorne, starts P9.
With a recently completed deal that saw the team split with Honda and sign with Renault as their engine provider, this performance in qualifying seems to be a significant statement to the F1 world: McLaren can fight for podiums in 2018 with competent Renault engines. Will this be enough for Fernando Alonso to re-sign with the team next year? Lets hope.
2 Vettel magic denies Red Bull
All weekend, it looked like Red Bull Racing were dominating as their aerodynamic package seemed tailor made for the high downforce demanding street circuit. Ferrari, and especially Sebastian Vettel, had other ideas. Coming into Q3, both drivers were very quick around the 1st and 2nd sectors raising suspicions as to whether the Italian team were sandbagging. Red Bull seemed like they were right there though as Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen were around a tenth apart from each other in their first Q3 runs, with Vettel in the lead.
The difference, however, was Sebastian Vettel's final qualifying lap which was an absolute scorcher. Gracing the yellow barriers at one point, Vettel, drove his Ferrari to the absolute limit and went even faster, leaving no chance for the Red Bulls to lock out the front row. Will it be enough to get Vettel the win? Red Bull will still fancy their chances tomorrow as they have strong race pace.
3 Carlos Sainz Jr. impresses for Torro Rosso
After recently signing with the Renault works team for 2018, Carlos Sainz Jr. proved yet again as to why he is deserves an upgrade in cars for next year. As a dejected Danii Kvyat was only able to manage P13, Sainz easily made it into Q3 and will start tenth on the grid with a formidable 1:42.056. As track conditions drastically changed in Q1, Sainz finished P4, while his teammate was only able to manage P8.
In a rather lacklustre Torro Rosso team, Carlos Sainz Jr. has been a consistent performer all year. He has scored the bulk of the championship points for his team and has never shown signs of a lack of commitment. Today's qualifying session is a good indication that Renault made the right call by signing him on for 2018.
4 Predictably disappointing run by Mercedes
As Red Bull and Ferrari dominated qualifying, Mercedes were only able to manage row 3 on the grid as Hamilton and Bottas qualified P5 and P6 respectively. Throughout the weekend, Mercedes seemed to be on the back foot, as they struggled for grip and downforce on the tight and twisty Marina Bay circuit.
Predictably, Mercedes' aerodynamic package showed that it was still not at par with Ferrari and Red Bull when it came to extracting high downforce around the corners. It looks like the best chance Mercedes have for tomorrow's race is to try and get a podium spot and ensure that both cars finish in the points to remain in the race for the championship but on a track that has seen the safety car come out in all of its 10 races, this one is still difficult to predict.
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