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Pre-Singapore analysis - Alonso on the attack 21 Sep 2012

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari at a Shell Media Event.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Singapore Grand Prix, Preparations, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Thursday, 20 September 2012 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Singapore Grand Prix, Preparations, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Thursday, 20 September 2012 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Singapore Grand Prix, Preparations, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Thursday, 20 September 2012

The two world championship title favourites, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, have both arrived at the Marina Bay Street Circuit feeling quietly confident.

Alonso firmly believes that Singapore, and the forthcoming races in Japan and Korea, will suit Ferrari’s F2012 a lot better than the final four races, so is keen to strike while the Prancing Horse’s iron is hot.

"There are two or three Grands Prix that we will have the possibility to attack," he said. "I feel confident the car will be in good shape and we can be competitive. If we are competitive, we have to take our opportunities. In this three-race trip, our aim is to win Grands Prix and to increase the lead. Seventy-five points on the table, so we need to maximise those."

The Spaniard believes he can fight for pole position here, and for the win.

"We need to wait and see what the performance is tomorrow, but, yes, our aim is to fight for pole and for the win. We've been competitive in Monaco and in Canada which is some kind of street circuit, so we will try to do our best here again. We know how important pole position is, so Saturday is an important day."

Hamilton, meanwhile, looked relaxed and cheerful after McLaren’s recent hat-trick of wins, two of them his. And though team boss Martin Whitmarsh has been keen to play down McLaren’s prospects of winning a fourth consecutive race, both Hamilton and team mate Jenson Button are optimistic they will be competitive this weekend.

“I think the guys are doing an incredible job,” Hamilton said of McLaren’s backroom boffins and components builders. “We are on a path of development with the car where they have been able to manoeuvre that development on a longer road, and to do it more consistently. We struggled a bit with that in 2011, finding half a point of aero advantage bit by bit. Now we are in a good place, and the car is really good.”

He is currently 37 points adrift of series leader Alonso, and insists that the former champion won’t be worried about his renewed challenge after his recent triumphs in Hungary and Italy. “Fernando shouldn’t fear anyone; generally, none of us fear anyone. But if Jenson and I are going to beat him we need to keep chipping into that points lead. It would be helpful if both of us can keep scoring good points to take some away from Fernando.”

The McLaren should be strong here, having been quick at the Hungaroring where maximum downforce is also needed. But Button said that he expects Red Bull to return to pre-race favourite status as their downforce levels are acknowledged to be better than anyone else’s.

David Tremayne

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