Being the only night race on the calendar Singapore is always a bit special for the drivers, combine that with the fact it’s a street circuit surrounded by sky scrapers and the like and you get one of the greatest spectacles of the season. It’s a challenging circuit in a completely different way to Monza and Spa with a high downforce setup being used to cater for the tight slow corners and lack of long straights. Despite it being a night race, it will still be very hot and humid, and it is the longest one of the year; this all adds up to a physically demanding and tiring race for the drivers.
With Singapore requiring different characteristics from the car to the last few races which McLaren have dominated, they will be keen to show that they have a strong package for all tracks. They will be hoping to lay down a marker for Fernando Alonso and Red Bull that they will be fighting for the driver and constructor championships come the end of the season. If McLaren are up around the podium on Sunday night they will take great confidence in their car and that it can continually compete with their rivals on all types of track, providing they don’t fall behind with development.
We can expect all the teams to bring a raft of updates to Singapore, hoping at a minimum, they will keep them in line with their competitors and surpass them if all goes well. Red Bull will be very keen to strike back this weekend after their double DNF and lack of pace in Monza, hoping to show McLaren and Ferrari that it was just the characteristics of the Monza track which exploited their poor top speed and not a fundamental problem. The Red Bull has always been extremely competitive at Singapore, seeing Vettel on the podium in the previous two grand prix, and winning last year. The high downforce setup required has really suited their car in the past and I don’t think anyone is expecting different here; the question being whether their competition has made recent strides to match them. If either Red Bull doesn’t pick up at least second in Singapore it could be a really worrying time for Christian Horner and Adrian Newey that they may not be able to compete for a championship.
Lotus welcome back Romain Grosjean for Singapore after his one race ban and he will be hoping that he can jump straight back onto the pace and avoid any collisions during the first few laps. The Lotus is still waiting for its first victory this season although Raikkonen is sitting third in the championship just one point behind Lewis thanks to his consistency. You feel that Raikkonen will have to win more than one race to win the driver championship come the end of the season, and if it doesn’t come in the next couple of races that dream will fade, but this very well could be his weekend.
Here are my predictions for Sunday:
- 1st Sebastian Vettel
- 2nd Lewis Hamilton
- 3rd Fernando Alonso
- 4th Mark Webber
- 5th Jenson Button
- Fastest lap Mark Webber
Following past form at this track I have gone for Vettel to come away with the win. The Red Bull is always good around Singapore which is why Webber is also in my top five. If Vettel doesn’t qualify in pole position though I don’t believe he will win, as more races go by, you have to believe he produces his best when running from the front.
I think it will be very close and the Ferrari of Alonso may well come out with the victory depending on how their upgrades play out. The Lotus’ won’t be far behind and the race could really play into their hands if tyre management plays a role as they have had good results with Raikkonen, especially doing long stints while still maintaining performance. The McLaren’s have been so good winning the last 3 races that they are obviously going to feature heavily and it’s a credit to Alonso and his fabulous season so far that he’s up there as I don’t think Massa will finish in front of either Lotus.
Check back early next week for my race review and to see how the predictions went, the race is live on both Sky Sports and the BBC this weekend so there is no excuse for missing it. We suggest the good ole’ BBC!