The Singapore Grand Prix showed the watching world just how dominant Red Bull Racing is at the moment. Had there not been a safety car period in the race, Sebastian Vettel‘s winning margin would have been much greater than it was. This complete and utter domination has left the other top team’s scrambling to figure out how to react, but there is little hope now for Lotus, Mercedes or Ferrari to try and close the gap to Red Bull.
This hopelessness stems from past trends. In 2012, when the field was much closer and the results more difficult to predict, Singapore marked the first of four wins in a row for Vettel. This winning streak helped him significantly close the points margin to Fernando Alonso and effectively sealed what became his third-consecutive world championship.
Now, Vettel has already won three races in a row, and he has won four out of the last five if you go all the way back to the German Grand Prix this summer. What this means is that Vettel is getting proactive. His lead margin, 60 points, is very secure, and he could go the rest of the season with second places and still wrap up the title with 11 points in hand; and that is only certain if Alonso wins every race for the rest of the season, which, based on recent form, does’t look even remotely likely.
So, what are Vettel’s rivals to do? Certainly the likes of Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen are still mathematically in contention for the crown this season, but their realistic chances of taking end-of-season glory from Vettel is nigh on impossible. Then they just have to try.
Trying their best is all they can do. Red Bull have either unlocked, discovered or invented a new way to go fast (based on their Singapore form) and the three chasing teams are made to look like amateurs in the process which, in reality, is very ironic given the winning history of those teams. All Lotus, Mercedes and Ferrari can do is try and put on a good show. If there is a track at which any one of those three teams feels they can legitimately challenge for the win, then that is great for both the fans and the quality of the championship, but they must not come into this weekend expecting to put up a huge fight. They are just setting themselves up for disappointment.
Even if Red Bull says, which it has, that their dominant form from Singapore is just a one-off, it is just a ploy to make the chasing teams lower their guard. It is a complacency tactic that, in theory, should allow Red Bull to pull ahead even further from the pack.
With Ferrari and Lotus making last-ditch development efforts this weekend in Korea, and Merecedes expected to do the same, all eyes will be on that ever-increasing points gap.
Red Bull are on their way to championship glory, and there is nothing out there that can stop them.