In the days leading up to the Singapore Grand Prix, seemingly all that mattered, to some sections of the media, was the potential for Lewis Hamilton to equal the number of Grand Prix wins accumulated by his great hero, Ayrton Senna.
Championship leader Lewis Hamilton then retired for the first time in 20 races with a freak engine component failure, while teammate Nico Rosberg could only manage fourth.
The race could also be a farewell from Button, a victor at Suzuka in 2011, to his Japanese fans if speculation that he is set to quit the sport at the end of the season are accurate.
Mercedes believes failing to get the super-soft tires working around the Marina Bay street circuit was the cause of what Wolff called a “blip”, although he conceded it had resulted in “lots of head scratching” inside the team. Personally, I’m very chilled about last weekend. The vehicle has not got slower. I think we all love the track.
And so, suddenly, Wolff is no longer ruling out team orders in order to protect the growing threat posed particularly by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
Singapore victor Vettel is now just eight points adrift of Rosberg, and speaking on the podium the four-times champion said he hoped to make “the impossible possible” by catching Hamilton in the remaining six races.
But if Mercedes is still off the pace on Friday morning on a track which should suit the team perfectly, the alarm bells will be ringing.
Obviously splitting with Renault, the energy drink-owned camp is now threatening to pull out of formula one because one alternative, Mercedes, is refusing to work with them and the other, Ferrari, is yet to sign on the dotted line. There is no real advantage to be gained from that. I’m sure everyone in the paddock will be thinking of him this weekend and my thoughts are with his family, friends and of course his own team, Manor Marussia.
Pressed on what Ferraris chances are this Sunday and in the races to come, Vettel added: “I don’t know – it is hard to say”. S*** does happen and we have been very fortunate to have the success we had.
“The vehicle broke down… and I didn’t lose a huge amount of points to the guy who’s right behind me. I am looking at the glass half-full”.