Singapore Grand Prix: Weekend Preview

As the frenetic final few flyaway’s commence, Formula One arrives in Singapore after a fantastic European season, to complete the Asian leg of the championship. Heading into this weekend, Sebastian Vettel holds a commanding 53 point advantage over Fernando Alonso in the standings and will be looking to extend this on Sunday. If the form guide is to be examined, Vettel will undoubtedly be favourite for victory, after claiming P1 in 2011 and 2012. So, the question is, can anyone spoil the German’s night, or will it be three on the spin in Singapore for Sebastian.

This Time Last Year…

The 2012 Singapore Grand Prix has been marked by many as the turning point in the championship. Red Bull had brought a raft of upgrades to the RB8, including a unique front wing, rear wing and a suspected DRS enhancing mechanism. While these upgrades were influential to Sebastian’s success, the German received a gift from McLaren, when race leader Lewis Hamilton suffered a gear selection issue on lap 22. This curtailed his progress and Vettel was able to cruise to a comfortable victory. Hamilton will hope that similar issues do not befall him this weekend, as he looks to seal his second win in the Silver Arrow. Also worthy of mention was Paul Di Resta, who set his career best finish of P4 at last year’s event. The Force India was a mere 4.8 seconds away from P3. Paul will look to repeat this performance this weekend, considering his back to back non-finishes in Spa and Monza.

Bottas Targets Points

Typically with these previews, the usual agenda sees an evaluation of the leading teams chances. However, an interesting press conference, saw some interesting insight – none more so than from Valtteri Bottas, who is confident heading into his maiden night race. When quizzed regarding the challenges which lie ahead, Valtteri acknowledged; “I think it’s going to be a difficult race weekend, like Monaco was first time for me. And then this track, it’s a night race obviously but the lighting is very good and bright so that shouldn’t make a big difference but, it’s a difficult circuit, a lot of corners, so there’s lots to learn on Friday.”
However, Bottas still targets his maiden points finish and believes that this weekend could yield a well deserved top ten finish. “Still our goal is points,” he stated. “This track is a lot different from Monza. We were not really strong there but this is different and it means we can be stronger here. The team was very strong here last year actually, so really hope this track suits our car. We have some little updates and if they work I really think it is possible to fight for the points in the race.”

Raikkonen In Wage Rage

It has been common-place belief for several weeks now, yet with Kimi’s imminent departure from Lotus confirmed, the Iceman has revealed that the team owe him money. Kimi has suggested that this was his leading motive to leave the Enstone outfit. “The reasons why I left are purely on the money side and I haven’t got my salary,” he said. “It’s unfortunate. I never had a bad feeling with them I knew my contract would end at the end of this year so I needed to make a decision.”
Kimi could be set for a positive weekend on track. Singapore has been infamous for its severe tyre degradation – Lotus may be able to prevent a significant drop off in performance and perhaps complete a two stop as oppose to the typically favoured three. 

Weekend Predictions

Prediction time, and you would be a brave man to bet against Sebastian Vettel. The German has controlled Asia in recent years and his current form is impeccable. Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton may challenge throughout the weekend, yet Vettel should take the win. However, one thing that is predictable in F1 is unpredictability. 
Be sure to keep up with the blog throughout the weekend, as I post my usual three articles highlighting all the on-track action with in-depth analysis and reaction. 
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