Singapore preview - the winner takes it all? 23 Sep 2011
As Red Bulls Sebastian Vettel heads to Singapore intent on winning again to avenge his defeat there by Ferraris Fernando Alonso last year, even though just a third-place finish could be sufficient to clinch his second consecutive world championship, Formula One racings only night race is set to be a gripper.
Weve had some good races in Singapore in the past, especially last year when we finished second, just behind Fernando, Vettel says. I love the track, its very challenging; there are a lot of corners, its very long, its hot and its a night race, so there are a lot of special things about Singapore. The car seems to be very competitive there, so I hope we can go back there this year and win - it would be very special.
Looking to the championship, there is still some way to go. We are in a very strong position, which we deserve because weve been working hard and made few mistakes. As long as we come out of the next race with a bigger lead then we start with, then we have done a good job, so lets see.
Red Bull team mate Mark Webber is desperate to get a win under his belt, and to regain his second position in the title chase which he lost to Alonso in Monza.
The Singapore night race is a challenging one, the Australian says. The tracks bumpy and although the 1500-odd lights do a good job at illuminating the circuit, its not like racing in daylight and that makes it tiring. Its also the longest race of the year, running close to the two-hour time-limit set by the FIA, and the intense heat and humidity makes it pretty warm in the cockpit.
You have to watch your hydration during the build-up to the race. I finished third at the Marina Bay circuit last year, but the track hasnt been that kind to me in the past. I enjoy driving there, so I hope to nail it this year in much the same way that I nailed Valencia earlier this season. In the championship, four of us - me, Fernando, Jenson (Button) and Lewis (McLaren) - are separated by just 14 points and none of us is going to give an inch.
Alonso goes there convinced he can win again, especially as Pirelli will this time be bringing their soft and super-soft tyres on which the Ferrari runs better. Last year we had a very good race here, and this year I believe that we can fight for the victory again, the Spaniard says.
Meanwhile, McLarens drivers believe they also have a strong chance of triumphing, and team boss Martin Whitmarsh is excited by the potential of DRS to spice things up here. The detection point for the single zone is located shortly after the exit to Turn Three, with activation just after Turn Five, so drivers will get a good run with it through the slightly curved straight that leads to Turn Seven.
Hamilton, a Singapore winner in 2009, says: "I think we had a car capable of winning in both Belgium and Italy, so I really want to make sure we arrive in Singapore with a good set-up, and that we're able to run with it through practice and qualifying. If it all goes to plan, we should be in good shape on Sunday.
"Even though the title is now almost out of reach I'll be pushing hard for the best possible result. I will never give up and I'll be driving to win as always."
Team mate Button, meanwhile, is very keen to get a win on a track where success has previously eluded him. "This is one of the races I'd most love to win and I'm hopeful that we'll be able to show the same sort of pace that we showed at Monaco and Hungary, where I had two of my best drives of the year," he says.
"We go to Singapore feeling very encouraged about our performance potential," Whitmarsh says. "I also think we're set to continue the trend we've witnessed so far this season, with DRS enlivening races that hitherto would have been somewhat processional.
"The reality is that we're fortunate enough to have two drivers who are never satisfied to merely sit behind another car; but the addition of DRS means that we should expect some truly electrifying racing this weekend. The track is wide enough to support close and exciting wheel-to-wheel racing and I sincerely hope that's what we see this weekend."
The weather should be settled this weekend, with ambient temperature highs of 31 degrees Celsius and partial cloud each day, and dry conditions in the evenings when the cars will run. There is a chance of a thunderstorm on Sunday morning, but that should not affect things too much.
The race will run over 61 laps of the 5.073 kilometre (3.152 mile) circuit, or 309.316 kilometres (192.202 miles), and starts at 20.00 hours local time, which is eight hours ahead of GMT. There have been only minor revisions to the Marina Bay circuit, a small change to the flat apex kerb at Turn 2.
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