SINGAPORE will miss being a player in one of the more exciting Formula 1 series in recent years. For the second year running, the only night street race has been cancelled due to COVID-19.
The organisers of the Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix called it off since it was unlikely that viewers would get a full experience. In other words, no concerts and support activities that would draw in the money-spending crowds. Singapore Airlines being a major sponsor is not in the best shape given the loss in revenue due to the pandemic travel restrictions imposed by the authorities.
Meanwhile, the race goes on elsewhere. And it’s been a big shoving match between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen and their respective teams, Mercedes and Red Bull Racing.
The incident-packed race in Azerbaijan over the weekend has lots of lessons that we should heed.
Hamilton led for a while before pulling in for a pit stop that didn’t go as smoothly as it should have, handing the lead to Verstappen. Hamilton was in the chase for podium positions and points when Verstappen had a high-speed puncture in lap 46 of 51. He walked away but the race was red-flagged on lap 49, which forced a standing start for the remaining two laps.
Verstappen’s team mate Sergio Perez was first on the grid, followed by Hamilton, who must have been relishing the opportunity to take back the overall lead, now that Verstappen was out of the race.
At the restart, Hamilton was quick to take the lead, only to inadvertently hit a “magic” button in the car that locked up his wheels, sending him off the track. He eventually wound up last, sans points.
After all that frantic smash-and-grab racing, it’s status quo between the rivals.
- Just because fortune smiles on you, don’t presume you’re going to gain from it. Hamilton must have thought lady luck was smiling down on him when Verstappen crashed out. But by his own error, Hamilton didn’t take advantage of the situation.
- There are competitors everywhere. Including yourself. Hamilton may have been in a fight with Verstappen and Perez, but ultimately made a hash of it himself.
- All is not necessarily lost. Verstappen must have been fuming when he suffered the flat that prematurely ended his race from a leading position. Hamilton, as his closest competitor, was set to take advantage of Verstappen’s plight by possibly winning the race and gaining a points advantage. But, as it turned out, karma did a quick drive-by and Hamilton lost out.
- Do we drop the race? Singapore will be weighing up the options when it comes to continuing this F1 series, which runs out at the end of the year. Will COVID-19 still be around to disrupt the race next year? Will the economy pick up to warrant the high cost of paying for this race? It may be a good way to bring people to the country to give tourism a shot in the arm. After so many months of travel restrictions, off-the-beaten-path destinations may have been the unwitting beneficiary. It may be good to remind people of Singapore’s attractions. Though shopping on Orchard Road is not necessarily going to be much of a draw, with retail suffering and online shopping booming. It’s time to explore new avenues.
- It isn’t over until the fat lady sings, or the chequered flag is waved. And expect the unexpected, which makes life more interesting.