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Singapore Speed Trap: Who is the fastest of them all?


There have been some big changes at Singapore this year, with the Marina Bay street circuit going from 23 to 19 corners and adding an extra 398m straight.

Removing four low-speed corners has reduced the circuit's length by just 123m and increased average speeds. It has also made the track's new Turn 16 a much bigger braking zone.

But what the layout revisions haven't done is alter teams' set-up demands – Marina Bay is still a maximum downforce circuit.

The focus is therefore on balance and traction, which partly explains the small 6.5kph differential in maximum velocity across the field.

But on a layout where overtaking opportunities are always at a premium, sleek aero always comes in handy.

Ferrari's strong one lap pace in Singapore is conveniently supported by the top speed of its SF-23, which points to the efficiency of the Scuderia's aero package, with low drag and high downforce in addition to excellent grip.

That quality is also shared this weekend by Haas by the way, with Kevin Magnussen setting the sixth fastest time in qualifying and Nico Hulkenberg lining up P9 on Sunday's grid.

Mercedes' George Russell, who will start from the front row alongside Sainz and who many consider as a strong contender for an outright win given the W14's strong pace in race trim, was slower through the speed trap than his Ferrari counterparts in qualifying.

However, the Briton was stronger in the braking zone than his rivals according to Formula Data Analysis, and that's a key quality that might not only carry him past the Italian outfit's chargers but one that could also keep him ahead of the latter.

But with a unique opportunity for the House of Maranello to triumph on merit in Singapore, Sainz and Leclerc will be pulling out the stops and cumulating their strengths to achieve that long-awaited feat.

Throw in the usual mix of strategy and tyre degradation factors at Ferrari, and the near-certainty of a Safety Car Intervention or even several neutralizations, it's anybody's guess if the Scuderia can pull it off.

But damn, they will be trying! Forza!

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