By Neil Leverett
- Round 15 of the Formula 1 calendar arrives in the country’s capital for the Singapore Grand Prix this weekend
- Britain’s Lewis Hamilton hold 30-point World Drivers Championship lead after win in Monza
- Sebastian Vettel looks to continue chase of Briton, as drivers have joined merry-go round during last fornight
SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE – Lewis Hamilton will seek to maintain and extend his World Championship points advantage around the Marina Bay Circuit at the Singapore Grand Prix this weekend.
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Is Vettel’s pursuit of Hamilton looking a forlorn one again?
Having won three of the last four races of the campaign, Lewis Hamilton’s win at Monza a fortnight ago has made the steep climb facing Sebastian Vettel to once again overhaul the Briton’s points lead in the Drivers’ Championship, appear as more of a mountain to summit with just six races left of the season.
It looks a familiar tale for the Ferrari driver, having already conceded last years crown to Hamilton in Mexico last October with still two races to go.
With a healthy cushion for the 33-year-old Stevenage driver once again coming into this weekend, Vettel’s task in bridging to gap is becoming a forlorn one once more, not least given the fact that Hamilton won at Marina Bay twelve months ago
For the German to continue the fight to beat Hamilton to a fifth world title, a result in Singapore is must but given Vettel has the most wins on the circuit with four victories, his plight is not yet irreversible. Ferrari have been the faster car for the last two races after the summer break, but this weekend The Prancing Horse must prove it on the track.
Can Leclerc put down marker after Ferrari annoucement?
Whilst the battle for the title threatens to dissipate, the merry-go-round of drivers switching teams has been fascinating to watch since the chequered flag dropped in Italy.
The biggest development has been confirmation that Sauber’s Charles Leclerc will make the step up from Ferrari’s sister manufacturer and replace Kimi Raikkonen as number two to Vettel next season.
The Finn will effectively swap cars with Leclerc and return to his former employers and Swiss manufacturers and the announcement had not gone down well with fans, as Japlonik reports more than 88,000 people have signed a petition in protest as Ferrari opt for a younger and edgier driver to compete next season.
Despite having retired twice since Hockenheim in July and with a best finish of 11th in three races, Leclerc has been one of this season’s more exciting drivers. Should Sauber finally be afforded a slice of fortune in Singapore, could the Monegasque 20-year-old illuminate his own potential for next year around Marina Bay this weekend?
Marina Bay set to light up Singapore for 11th time
As the Singapore Grand Prix goes into its second decade of racing at Marina bay, the 5km plus of circuit will once again light up for its’ iconic night race.
Since staging its’ nation’s Grand Prix for the first time in 2008, the street circuit has played host to some thrilling battles to brighten Singapore night skies, with Red Bull and Mercedes each having claimed three wins apiece.
2010’s edition is regarded by many as one of the greatest races of all time, as Fernando Alonso held off Vettel to win his 25th race, as Heikki Kovalainen leapt from the flames of his burning Lotus in the final corners of the race.
Singapore has been gripped with heat to begin the weekend, as Vettel himself hit a wall in practice on Friday. Rain is forecast across the weekend to cool things off, but should showers transpire, that may only serve to turn Round 15 into a furnace on the track and see fireworks for the race’s 11th running.
The Singapore Grand Prix takes place this weekend at Marina Bay Circuit, with the race proper on Sunday at 1.10pm BST
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