Williams rookie Valtteri Bottas has acknowledged that his best chance to score his first points in Formula One will come at this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix thanks to the circuit’s high rate of attrition.
Traditionally, there have been a large number of retirements during the race at Marina Bay, meaning that drivers lower down the grid do get a chance to move up into the points. For example, at last year’s race, Timo Glock managed to finish P12 for Marussia; a result that very nearly secured the team tenth place in the 2012 constructors’ championship. Furthermore, in every edition of the race so far, there has been at least one safety car period. For Bottas, this does present a good chance to pick up some points.
“I think so, this should be the place to get the points,” the Finn said when asked by NBC Sports in Friday’s press conference whether Singapore would be the best opportunity for him to get off the mark.
“Like you said, a lot of things can happen in the race and safety cars etc. If some of the little updates work and we can get a little more speed and be a bit closer to the top ten in pure pace, then it’s always possible to get points and we need to keep pushing for that.”
Williams have endured a nightmarish season so far, scoring just a solitary point from the opening thirteen races. This kind of form is a far cry from their achievements in 2012, when Pastor Maldonado won the Spanish Grand Prix and Bruno Senna was a regular points scorer. However, in a race notorious for surprises, the team’s luck could be set to change.
MotorSportsTalk continues its annual review of the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers that raced in 2017. The 2017 season behind the wheel was better for Ed Carpenter than either of the last two years, but still wasn’t ideal results-wise in his six oval starts.
Ed Carpenter, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet
- 2016: 25th Place (5 Starts), Best Finish 18th, Best Start 5th, 0 Top-5, 0 Top-10, 1 Lap Led, 11.2 Avg. Start, 21.8 Avg. Finish
- 2017: 22nd Place (6 Starts), Best Finish 7th, Best Start 2nd, 0 Top-5, 1 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 11.3 Avg. Start, 12.3 Avg. Finish
Ed Carpenter’s 2017 season was largely one of frustration, both behind the wheel and as a team owner.
While a respectable turnaround in results occurred – Carpenter finished between seventh and 12th in five of his six oval races after a nightmare season of ending 18th or worse in each of his 2016 starts – this is still not what he sets out to strive for in the races he does. Lost opportunities loomed larger than any official result he or the Ed Carpenter Racing team achieved.
Carpenter and new teammate JR Hildebrand, in for the departed Josef Newgarden, dominated preseason testing in Phoenix but Hildebrand could only muster third in the race, Carpenter a season-best seventh. Then at Indianapolis, Carpenter (second) and Hildebrand (sixth) flew the flag for Chevrolet in qualifying and practice pace, but they fell to 11th and 16th on race day owing to a front-wing change and late-race penalty for passing before a restart.
Both drivers got collected in incidents at Texas. Hildebrand qualified and finished a season-best second in Iowa but that result came only after the ECR crew rebuilt his car from a crash in practice. Then Carpenter had a practice crash in Pocono and despite a rapid rebuild, they missed the clock to qualify by mere minutes and were unable to do so. Carpenter’s spin on a slick Gateway track at the start of the race sent him over Will Power’s nose assembly in one of the scarier looking incidents of the year, although fortunately he was OK.
In a similar refrain as we often write, it’s not that Carpenter’s lost his ability to drive and he remains one of the series’ savviest and smartest people in the paddock. There have been a lot of extenuating circumstances of late, and it almost felt as though this team had “empty nest” components. Since September, Carpenter has had to secure his team’s future with a move away from its Speedway, Ind. shop, line up Spencer Pigot for a full-time drive replacing Hildebrand in the No. 21 car, find a new road/street course driver in the No. 20 car, and manage both driving and owning himself.