Lights, Camera and Action at Singapore
‘Tis the morning of the Singapore Grand Prix and all eyes turn to the drivers’ championship battle that just gets hotter after each race. Nothing will change tonight after the teams lineup on the starting grid with a few surprises in terms of the qualifying result.
The qualifying session came to a close 26 seconds before the actual chequered flag due to a heavy crash by Rubens Barrichello. Mark Webber, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, Robert Kubica, Nick Heidfeld, Timo Glock and Heikki Kovalainen, all were preparing to go in for their second quick run when Barrichello’s crash brought a close to the session, meaning that none of these drivers were able to improve on their standings. This, incidently, worked out well for Hamilton who had already secured top spot after being the quickest around the track on Friday’s practice session as well.
So how does the race stand at this point in time?
Lewis Hamilton stands the best chance of winning the race after a spectacular run in the last round. Starting from the front, the McLaren, and its KERS, gives the Brit an excellent chance of racing away and staying up front for the complete race. However, there are always chances for hiccups in the pit lane and that not withstanding, Bwin’s 1.65 and 888Sport’s 1/2 on Hamilton certainly seem to be a certainty for a win.
Hamilton’s teammate, Heikki Kovalainen only managed 10th spot despite his KERS and all. At 40/1, there is hardly any possibility that he may even end up on the podium, consistent with a dismal season so far. <img src=”http://media1.picsearch.com/is?QvjBrty_B7zPZ3vs7NDohtzfqPRIxsI6zln_Ir4XDos” width=”128” height=”80” alt=”“Gentlemen… Start your Engines!!!”” /»
Championship standings leader Jenson Button had a terrible run, qualifying 12th on the grid to continue his poor run of form. Although he might still end up in the points, 36.00 odds against his name on Bwin clearly show what the bookmakers think of the Brit’s chances of taking back a great deal from Singapore.
Rubens Barrichello has been astonishing this season. The Brazilian has gone from strength to strength and it looks highly likely that despite a crash and 5th position on the grid, Barrichello may still pull something out of the hat. At 28/1, he may be an outsider but could be, by far, the best possible chance for winning the race, besides Hamilton.
Both cars in the front two rows of the grid, both in a straight line. Sebastian Vettel was clearly faster than Hamilton in Q2 but the Brit came back to take top spot in the final session. If the session had not been cut short, who knows what could have happened. However, 4/1 on William Hill and 5/1 on 888Sport might not be bad for a driver who can pull off an upset quite easily. >
Mark Webber has done quite well this season, without really shaking the media into action. His fourth place in qualifying could have been bettered had Barrichello not done Hamilton a favour. However, the Aussie is still close to the top and at 14.00 on Bwin, its never too late to make a move to the top. Webber looks quite secure in grabbing a podium finish however, it may be a little too unlikely for him to take a win away from Singapore.
The less said the better about the Scuderia’s Singapore weekend. They would be better off hitting the shopping malls than hitting the accelerator, something they didn’t seem to do much off during qualifying. Kimi Raikkonen ended 13th on the grid while Giancarlo Fisichella went further down to 18th. Points will be hard to come by although you can never ignore Raikkonen on the track, especially with a technically superior car coming up against a few low-riders.
Timo Glock was the Japanese manufacturer’s highest qualifying driver on Saturday, managing 7th place. While Glock is a clear contender for a podium place, the race win might still elude him. The likelihood of Glock winning the race are stacked at 40/1 on William Hill, probably a tad bit better than teammate Jarno Trulli’s chances of finishing in the points, starting from 15th. >
Nico Rosberg has been handed out some generous odds by Bwin, 10.00; by William Hill, 11/1, and by 888Sport, 8/1. Rosberg was clearly faster than Hamilton in Q2 and could have, possibly, made a difference in the standings had the third session ended as it was meant to. But come race-time, there will still be a lot of fire under that Williams’ hood and Rosberg would be a strong contender to make things count.
Kazuki Nakajima’s second Williams race car is a distant 11th on the grid. He will, most likely, spend his race protecting his position from a charging Jenson Button and Kimi Raikkonen and that will probably divert his attention from more important things such as finishing in the points.
Lots of things must be playing on the minds of Fernando Alonso this evening. Winner of last year’s Grand Prix and member of a team that was almost kicked out of the Formula One season, Alonso will have lot of things playing on his mind. A true professional, the Spaniard will be looking to make good of his 6th starting spot and odds like the 13.00 on Bwin might suggest that he may still have a good chance of pulling off a repeat. However, Alonso seems an unlikely contender for the win especially considering the load of things playing on the minds of the Renault pit crew.
Grosjean, in the second Renault, is bringing up the rear in 19th spot, making sure that cars up front don’t fall out of line. He will hardly be of consequence to the race except of course when it comes to getting out of the way under the blue flag.>
Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica stuck together, like true teammates, in qualifying. While Heidfeld will start in the 4th row, in 8th spot, Kubica will have to content with the 5th row and 9th spot on the grid. Points are in the offing, although anything more would be highly doubtful.
An average weekend for an average team this season. Sebastien Buemi and Alguersuari are likely to contest the middle portion of the standings, mainly because there isn’t much that Toro Rosso has had to offer this season. They are probably where they will end up at the chequered flag.
It was fun while it lasted for the Force India team. Two podium spots later, they are back in the more familiar 16th and 20th spot on the starting grids. While Adrian Sutil, in 16th, will still have to use his mirrors, Vitantonio Liuzzi should get used to looking at the rear of other cars because chances are that he will be seeing a lot of those, unless of course he gets tired of the view and decides to retire. >
With the teams lining up under lights, the spectacle will be huge. The Singapore Grand Prix has always been a huge party with celebrities flying in from all over the world to be a part of this spectacle. Concerts and shows have been on all week however, now its down to the business end of the weekend and Hamilton will be leading drivers out onto the track.
Whether the qualifying session was a stroke of luck, or whether Hamilton would have gone faster still, had it not been for Barrichello’s intrusion, is something we will find out when the chequered flag brings down the curtains on Singapore. Until then, favoured to win, Hamilton is the best bet when it comes to putting your own money on the race winner.
If it’s someone else’s money, don’t shy away from Rosberg or Vettel pulling off an upset here.
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