Expect more of the same as Lewis Hamilton continues his domination of the Formula One Drivers’ Championship by taking victory at this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix (Race: Sunday, 13:00 BST, live on Sky Sports F1).
Hamilton opened up a 53-point gap to Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg at the head of the standings with a comfortable victory in Italy two weeks ago. The reigning champion qualified on pole position and also set the fastest lap of the race in a peerless performance.
Sebastian Vettel came home second for Ferrari ahead of the Williams of Felipe Massa, who benefited from Rosberg’s late power-unit failure to take the final podium place. Valtteri Bottas came in one place behind his team-mate in fourth, ahead of the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen and the Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg.
Red Bull did not expect to be competitive at Monza but were nevertheless able to secure a double-points finish, with Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kyvat (pictured) recovering from lowly grid positions to come home eighth and 10th respectively. They were split by the Sauber of Marcus Ericsson, who finished in the points for the third consecutive Grand Prix.
The Marina Bay Street Circuit has played host to the Singapore Grand Prix since its introduction to the calendar in 2008. The inaugural event was Formula One’s first night race, and the Grand Prix continues to be run under floodlights during the late evening hours. It is a tight, twisty and bumpy circuit that places great physical and mental strain on the drivers.
Singapore is currently engulfed in a blanket of haze but the event’s organisers have confirmed that the race will go ahead as planned. Current weather forecasts suggest that there is a strong possibility of rain on both Saturday and Sunday. Pirelli have chosen their soft and supersoft compounds for this weekend’s F1 event, mirroring last year’s selections.
The battle for the drivers’ championship seemed to be opening up ahead of the British Grand Prix in early July. Rosberg had won three of the previous four races and was just 10 points behind championship leader Hamilton. But Hamilton won on home soil and then triumphed in two of the next three races to re-establish a healthy advantage at the top of the standings.
Hamilton is a two-time previous winner at the Marina Bay Street Circuit and has qualified on pole position there on three occasions. The British driver took a clean sweep of pole position, fastest lap and the race victory in a commanding performance during last year’s event. He is in excellent form and this preview fancies him to repeat the trick again.
Red Bull are confident of performing well this weekend at a circuit that should play to the strengths of their package. Outright engine power is not of great importance in Singapore, and the team have performed well at similar circuits so far this season. They finished fourth and fifth in Monaco and secured a double podium finish in Hungary.
Kyvat secured the best finish of his F1 career to date by coming home second in the latter of those races. He got off to a bit of a slow start at Red Bull but has improved as the year has gone on and currently enjoys a three-point advantage over Ricciardo in the championship standings. He feels in good physical shape ahead of this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.
Kyvat has finished in the top six in three of the last four races and can be expected to do once again on Sunday.
McLaren have struggled badly over the last couple of Grand Prix at circuits that highlighted the deficiencies of their underpowered Honda engine. They are, however, confident that the layout in Singapore will be much better suited to the strengths of both their power unit and chassis, and they will therefore fancy their chances of picking up some points.
Fernando Alonso is a dual winner in Singapore (2008 and 2010) and has finished fourth or higher in each of his seven previous visits to the Marina Bay Street Circuit. He recorded McLaren’s best finish of the season to date by coming home fifth in Hungary three races ago and has a solid chance of securing another good points finish here.