Tony Jardine: Hamilton to shine
Sky Sports News Formula One pundit Tony Jardine previews Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix.
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The landmark Singapore race is the only Grand Prix run at night under floodlights, so to tune in all teams run on European time which plays havoc with sleep patterns and eating habits.
But that allows teams to stay alert, and they certainly need to be sharp at this stunning harbour track.
Add 85% humidity and a tight bumpy demanding street circuit and you need to evaluate the fittest drivers then their car's suitability to work out your bets. Even the world championship leader Sebastian Vettel, 53 points clear of nearest pursuer Fernando Alonso, is wary of this spectacular yet deceptive trap of a track.
"This circuit is a killer, there are so many bumps with no room for mistakes whatsoever. The circuit is tight and slow so the race seems to go on for ever," he said.
Although the powerful lights simulate daylight as much as possible they can dazzle. Drivers wear special anti glare visors and definitely feel the debilitating effect of the humidity in the stifling F1 cockpit.
The engines have difficulty cooling and brakes are always getting cooked. Because it is the longest race of the year cars will start at 8:00pm local time Sunday night with fuel tanks absolutely brimming adding to the already high energy generated through the tyres. So who can master this lot?
For me it's Lewis Hamilton. He just licks his lips when you mention this track. Mercedes have a strong low downforce car that has been refined since their slow speed win on the similar Hungaroring and he said then he thought they could win Singapore too.
His awesome car control and bravery in this monster sauna at night are key assets and he has been working hard all summer to increase his fitness.
"It is easy to get right if you plan your eating and sleeping patterns well, I really enjoy this place, as a street circuit the Marina Bay track really suits my style," he beamed.
I have Lewis down for pole and the win.
Vettel is the favourite for every track we go to. There are simply no weaknesses in the fantastic Red Bull car of Adrian Newey, and the German is driving with vigour despite the 'boo boys'. If you want to play safe then bet on him for the win but I reckon Hamilton will beat him if all goes well hence the second place prediction for Sebastian.
I cannot currently put Alonso higher than third for this race. His camp is uneasy, he has lost trust in the Ferrari decision making process and no matter what he says of Kimi Raikkonen becoming joint number one next year, it is not what he wanted.
The car may suffer as aerodynamics have been poor this season and you need the highest downforce package here, but Alonso is a great street fighter like Hamilton and Vettel, These three have shared the spoils of Singapore victories since the inaugural race in 2008.
Nico Rosberg should be on the pace in the second Mercedes, he was second here in the first event of 2008 which he could have won but for a white line infringement. Mark Webber, who ran wide with the German at the start of last year's race avoiding Romain Grosjean, is my tip for fifth place.
Paul Di Resta had a miserable Monza making a mistake on the opening lap which put him out. He will smile when he remembers his 2012 performance in Singapore though, equalling his best ever with a fourth place. I don't think he can replicate that again but certainly he is good for sixth.
I have Felipe Massa in seventh as he starts his last seven races for Ferrari and that Mexican street fighter Sergio Perez in the McLaren eighth ahead of the star of Monza, Nico Hulkenberg who is expected to be announced for Lotus soon in place of Kimi Raikkonen. I hope that happens as I rate the German very highly.
Daniel Ricciardo enjoyed a fantastic Monza as he equalled his best ever Grand Prix finish with seventh place, just what he needed to underline his selection as the new number two at Red Bull next to Vettel in 2014. I have him in tenth scraping the last point as the Toro Rosso may struggle over the bumps of the Marina Bay Circuit.
Don't forget there are many other exciting Sky Bet F1 options for you to have fun with, such as the first driver to retire, front row qualifiers or even the winning margin! But when you think of the podium bet look no further than my top three street fighters of Hamilton, Vettel and Alonso! Enjoy Singapore.