Singapore Grand Prix: Is it Vettel’s Title?
The Singapore Grand Prix is always one of the more difficult races that the Formula One teams have to face. It’s unpredictable with its weather, its temperatures and it’s a proper street circuit. In fact, it’s the closest in comparison to Monaco in terms of difficulty with low grip level and driver fatigue, particularly with the bumps in the track surface.
That doesn’t detract from the almost unanimous sentiment that it’s one of the most enjoyable for the drivers despite all of the variables. Without question the favorites have to be the usual suspects in the lineup of Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton, Webber and Button. Alonso has taken two of the last three victories here, but that was on different tire compounds and different circumstances.
Vettel will want to immediately go for the pole out of sheer defense as qualifying for this race could be wet or dry and the race itself potentially run under both conditions. He has to defend his title and here he must get the hole-shot into the first turn or he runs the risk of being collected in a melee. Alonso, on the other hand, has shown the Ferrari can provide him blistering starts and if he can take a pole here getting by him wont be a forgone conclusion as it was in Monza.
The tire compounds are going to be the soft and super soft Pirelli’s which suit the Ferrari’s on tight, twisting tracks such as this that also require high down-force. The new element here may be the DRS system, although the length of deployment and the fact that only one section can be used may or may not prove to be beneficial to anyone. If it rains, all bets are off as the Renaults and Torro Rosso’s will move into the fray, and it might very well be just that on a low grip, slick street circuit at night.
The focus that the drivers will have to maintain will be difficult with so many corners and the bright lights always tempting a distraction from precise driving. Physical fitness and length of the race, it’s the longest on the schedule, may prove to be the deciding factor in who makes a mistake and who takes advantage of it.
Six races remain in the season, including Singapore, and Hamilton, Alonso and Button have all conceded that Vettel will take the title, but that hasn’t stopped them from going all out to win every race they can. In fact, it may be somewhat of a relief that they can now concentrate on winning while the teams back home develop the 2012 cars. That makes this race even more interesting, after all, there’s nothing more dangerous than a man with nothing to lose.
If Vettel doesn’t take pole, he may very well opt to settle in behind whomever gets the lead in turn one. It may be better to take the points than risk throwing an entire race away. However this race has always been known for it’s crashes and the safety car being deployed more than once during the event, which gives even more reason for Vettel and Webber to lock out the front row. If they don’t, then Alonso will go for the lead in turn one come Hell or high water as Ferrari has ceased development of the 150 Italia.
That’s the beauty of Formula One, you really don’t know what’s going to happen, until it does.