Inside Line podcast: Verstappen vs Ricciardo in Singapore?

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Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen.

Mercedes to be challenged in Singapore, really? Or is this yet another Ferrari-inspired pre-race PR hype? Singapore has been tagged as Red Bull Racing’s track, and boy are we excited! Will we get to see some Max Verstappen vs Daniel Ricciardo action? Will Red Bull Racing let it be a fair fight?

To keep his championship hopes alive, Nico Rosberg must fight against all odds in Singapore. Forget winning, he’s not been on the podium here since 2008! At the same time, he had his ‘first-ever’ wins in Spa and Monza in the last fortnight; can he keep up that trend? We hope his ‘FOMO’ drives him to the top step on Sunday.

Lewis Hamilton is good for F1 and for our podcast. The last episode should have been called ‘Lewis Hamilton’s Team-Mate Wins In Italy’ to get more people to tune in! In a lot of ways, Rosberg is fighting not only Hamilton, but an entire mentality in the paddock (and the million fans) who believe that Hamilton is meant to be World Champion.

Max Verstappen and Niki Lauda had a public face-off, will they visit a psychiatrist together to bond? Glad we’re reminded that Verstappen is still a teenager by his typical teenage back answering. Given the lacking bromance between Lauda and Verstappen, we are glad that Verstappen didn’t sign with Mercedes. But for how long can they remain apart?

Elsewhere, the new F1 owners say they will evolve the business model to generate more revenue. We think they should also fix the regulations that don’t allow us too much competition these days. They’ve picked up the profitable business of Formula 1, but will they be able to make the eco-system stable and profitable too?

Also, will the American owners be at their toughest best when negotiating with the Russian Grand Prix organisers? Official Live Streaming (rather than just Official Live Timing) is the next big introduction that Formula 1 should make. MotoGP has had theirs since almost a decade!

Speaking of the spirit of competition, did Mercedes actually help Ferrari improve? And if so, Ferrari were foolish to not seek help from Red Bull Racing too. Luckily they weren’t so foolish so as to seek help from Mclaren!

It certainly looks like a season of retirements – Felipe Massa, possibly Jenson Button and now Bernie Ecclestone too? Or will Ecclestone’s be a sabbatical? One thing’s for sure, we aren’t retiring any time soon.

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Ricciardo pumped for Singapore Grand Prix

F1i 11/09/2016
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Daniel Ricciardo.

Formula 1 will resume with its night racing ways at the fifteenth round of the World Championship, a thrilling and challenging experience according to Ricciardo who has performed well in Singapore in the last two years.

“Singapore is great, a real night race,” say the Red Bull Racing stalwart.

“Being able to drive through a massive city at night with all the lights flashing between buildings as you go past is an awesome feeling. It’s weird, I think it actually feels like you are going faster at night.”

The specifics of the circuit and its environment hold many difficulties, but Ricciardo admits to enjoying the challenges imposed on the drivers, which are also well balanced with the pleasures provided by a vibrant city which isn’t too far away from his native Australia.

“It’s really hot and humid out there, I would say it is probably the most physical race of the year but I enjoy the challenge.

“One main highlight for me is the food, It’s amazing in Singapore. You can get everything and anything but Chili mud crabs are pretty mega so I love having them a lot.

“It seems like a really fun city and I’m really fortunate to get a lot of people coming over from Australia and especially Perth, this means I get a lot of love in Singapore.”

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Singapore GP still an unknown for Mercedes

F1i 10/09/2016
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Mercedes.

In 2015, both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg qualified outside of the top 4 at the Asian venue while only the latter finished the race following a blend of improper car set-up and tyre management which drastically affected the Silver Arrows’ performance.

While Mercedes believe its thorough investigation of its mishap last year led to a proper understanding of the issues which affected its performance, it remains guarded until progress is validated at the race track.

“We made some conclusions which helped us in the following races and throughout the season,” Wolff said.

“So in Singapore we are going to check whether our assumptions were right. There is not one thing that went wrong. Many things went together, which is why I am excited and curious to see how Singapore is going to work.”

Wolff, whose team discussed the upcoming Singapore race over the Monza weekend, admitted that an entire season of racing necessarily implied some compromise while the odd race out could not be discarded.

“You can see that where we got it right is that our car is the best compromise. We have 21 races throughout the season and we have to have a chassis-engine combination that works well on average [everywhere].

“But you have teams that have outliers. You have a team that is doing extremely well on circuits like Singapore, with high downforce, but they are not competitive on a circuit like Monza.

“Then you can play the blame game and say the engine is not good enough. But if your car is draggy and has a rake like you are doing a handstand, then you cannot expect to go fast on the straights. It is about finding the best compromise and let’s see what happens in Singapore.”

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