Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Singapore Grand Prix Preview

We approach Singapore, F1's only night race, with Sebastian Vettel having virtually won his second consecutive title after victories in Spa and Monza. In fact, Vettel can win the title this weekend, but he needs his rivals to have a bad race, so the Red Bull man may have to wait for Japan or Korea to win it. Also, it could be a tough race for the German, as many of his rivals are strong here. Fernando Alonso won last year, and in 2008, while Lewis Hamilton won in 2009.

Last year, it was Alonso and Vettel a country mile ahead of everyone else, with the Spaniard's excellent pole position converted to a gorgeous victory, leading every lap, despite finishing just 0.3 seconds ahead of Vettel. So those two are for sure contenders this year, and with the Ferrari's improved pace at Monza, as well as Red Bull taking a brilliant victory, so they are both going to Singapore in the best shape possible.

Alonso and Vettel were on top in 2010
Lewis Hamilton has very mixed experiences of the Singapore track, with a 3rd place in 2008, followed by a pole-win in 2009, but 2010 was a different story. Racing for 3rd with Mark Webber, they collided with the McLaren driver retiring on the spot.
Hamilton will be hoping he does better than last year, and he knows the Mclaren is quite well suited to this track, so he will be hoping to join Alonso, Button and Webber in delaying Vettel's championship party.

The championship is over but even so, the battle for 2nd is intense, with nothing seperating the four drivers involved. Watch out obviosuly for the top five, but also Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg, who are battling for the most points in the Mercedes, with Schumacher in brilliant form right now. Virgin will be hoping that they can be best of the newer teams this weekend, as Timo Glock is very good around this circuit, taking a second place for Toyota in 2009.

Pirelli are bringing their softest compounds to this race, which will help Ferrari, who really struggle on the harder compounds, as was shown in Monza. The heat, even though it is a night race, is intense, which will play into Ferrari's hands once more.

The track is bumpy and dusty, and difficult to master. It takes a strong driver to keep his focus during the night time with bright lights on such a twisty track for near enough two hours. The chicanes following the second straight are very difficult to work, as Adrian Sutil found out in practice last year, flying through the air uncontrollably as he got his line wrong. Lewis Hamilton even made a complaint about the chicanes, saying that they may even be unsafe.

So, who's gonna be the main protagonists? Sebastian Vettel will want to win the championship this weekend, but a lot of results have to go his way if that is to happen. Fernando Alonso has good experiences with this track, and knows that this is probably Ferrari's last big chance to best Red Bull this season. Lewis Hamilton is always a key figure, and won here in 2009. His team mate Jenson Button has a chance, with his brilliant work on his tyres surely coming in useful with the softest compounds. And what about Schumacher and Rosberg? Have the Mercedes tides finally turned in favour of Schuey? Who knows? I don't, but I do expect a good race at a novel, unique, and beautiful track.

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