All the talk this morning in the aftermath of yesterday’s Singapore F1 Grand Prix is of winning Brit Lewis Hamilton and his renewed chances of picking up the Drivers’ Championship at the end of the season – now just five races away.
Hamilton may now have the edge on his bitter rival and Mercedes team non-mate Nico Rosberg who retired hurt with a dodgy steering wheel after only 17 laps, but spare a thought for the Aus who arguably remains the driver of the season so far.
After the race, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said his man, Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo, was “still just in it” but dismissed any idea that he should have ordered his other driver, the reigning four-times champion Sebastian Vettel, to let Daniel pass him during the night-time race at the Marina Bay circuit for the sake of an extra three points towards the title.
As it was, the Australian managed a third-place finish that seemed an unlikely prospect when he suffered a battery malfunction, which hampered him throughout the race, as early as the first lap.
Ricciardo said he had been “a bit concerned … that we wouldn’t get it to the flag”.
Now he hopes for better reliability at next month’s Japanese Grand Prix when the issue that produced the power dip that allowed Vettel to cross the line only 0.7secs in front of him will be fixed.
With Ricciardo now 60 points behind Hamilton in the overall drivers’ standings while Vettel is 117 points adrift of the lead, Horner may yet have a call or two to make on the controversial question of team orders.