Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Singapore, 2010

Alonso out to postpone Vettel’s championship party

2011 Singapore GP preview

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Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Singapore, 2010
Alonso won under pressure from Vettel last year

Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso’s scrap for the lead in Monza only lasted a few laps before Vettel forced his way through.

But he wasn’t able to do that around 61 laps of Singapore’s Marina Bay circuit last year, as Alonso staved off the Red Bull driver’s attacks to claim victory.

Can the Ferrari driver claim a third victory in four years at Singapore and delay Vettel’s championship celebrations?

Soft option

With little grip on offer around the street course, Pirelli are bringing their softest rubber available – the soft and super-soft tyres.

That is good news for Ferrari who have struggled on the harder tyres this year. But as Felipe Massa explains, the stickier compound isn’t a solution to all their problems: “Of course, if we were allowed to make our own tyre choice, this combination is what we would want.

“But tyres on their own cannot make all the difference.”

Alonso was in peerless form here last year, dominating the race from start to finish. With warm temperatures likely to further ease Ferrari’s problems, this could be his best chance to put one over Vettel in the final six races.

The McLaren drivers cannot be discounted either. Jenson Button’s superb touch on softer tyres is likely to serve him especially well here, while Lewis Hamilton is the only driver besides Alonso to have won at this track.

At Mercedes, Michael Schumacher has enjoyed a resurgence in form in recent races. But he had a bruising race in his first appearance in here last year.

Renault “apprehensive”

Renault have also fared better in recent races since their Spa upgrade. But technical director James Allison is wary Singapore may not play to their strengths: “Monaco and Hungary were not good races for us and Singapore shares some characteristics of these two circuits.

“We feel we have improved things since then and we have a bit more to deliver for Singapore itself, but it is fair to say that I am apprehensive.”

Singapore circuit information

Marina Bay, 2011 Singapore Grand Prix

Lap length5.073km (3.152 miles)
Distance61 laps (309.3km/192.2 miles)
Lap record*1’47.976 (Fernando Alonso, 2010)
Fastest lap1’45.390 (Fernando Alonso, 2010)
TyresSoft and Super Soft

*Fastest lap set during a Grand Prix

Singapore track data in full

Singapore’s slow, stop-start layout tends to divide drivers. Hamilton is enthusiastic: “I love street circuits and I really enjoy this place.

“It?s almost two tracks in one: there are quite a few fast corners, which require good set-up and a bit of commitment, but there are also lots of tighter 90-degree bends, which are slower and more technical.

“You?ve got to keep it precise through these and just be patient, waiting for the tyres to bite before getting on the throttle. If you?re impatient, then you end up losing time because you over-stress the tyres and you over-drive the car.”

Adrian Sutil, however, confesses he didn’t warm to it at first: “It is quite an interesting circuit. Perhaps not my favourite, but there are some challenging corners and over the years I?ve grown to like it more and more.”

Glock’s favourite

But Virgin’s Timo Glock is a big fan. He briefly held off Sutil during last year’s race and was second here in 2009: “The Singapore Grand Prix is clearly one of the highlights of the year and my favourite track on the calendar.

“It really is an amazing experience and I just can?t wait to get in the car and drive through the streets of Singapore at night again. It?s great fun.”

Glock’s affinity for the track could present Virgin with an opportunity to finally get back in front of HRT, though they will need a few retirements to claim the 13th place they need.

Bumps and brakes

Despite its resurfacing last year, the track remains bumpy, particularly around turns 13 and 14.

With less than half the lap spent at full throttle, it is one of the toughest circuits for brakes, which are in near-constant use around the lap. The hot temperatures, even late at night, places a premium on cooling and demands large brake ducts.

The night-time running present few problems for drivers. They prefer to use dimmer dashboard displays to reduce dazzling.

However it remains to be seen how it would affect visibility in a wet race as Vitantonio Liuzzi points out: “With the lighting system at the Marina Bay Street Circuit it feels like you?re driving at midday so the fact that it is held at night doesn?t affect the racing.

“It would make things different if it rained, with the reflection of the lights in the water, but for us it shouldn?t be a big difference.”

The usual Singapore thunderstorms are expected during the weekend, though they tend to dry up before the action begins on the track.

Street circuits punish the slightest errors and every previous race here has seen a safety car period, so Red Bull won’t be taking anything for granted. Even so, they have a party venue on standby should Vettel do what he needs to clinch the championship.

Who’s your tip for victory in Singapore? Have your say in the comments.

Driver form in 2011

Q avgR avgR bestR worstClassifiedForm guide
Sebastian Vettel1.311.541413/13Form guide
Mark Webber43.422512/13Form guide
Lewis Hamilton3.773.641811/13Form guide
Jenson Button5.153.361611/13Form guide
Fernando Alonso4.463.51712/13Form guide
Felipe Massa5.856.3651111/13Form guide
Michael Schumacher10.698.341710/13Form guide
Nico Rosberg6.627.8251211/13Form guide
Nick Heidfeld13.368.53128/11Form guide
Vitaly Petrov9.2310.0931711/13Form guide
Rubens Barrichello14.4612.991710/13Form guide
Pastor Maldonado13.8515.1101810/13Form guide
Adrian Sutil12.6910.4561511/13Form guide
Paul di Resta12.1511.7571812/13Form guide
Kamui Kobayashi13.469.751610/13Form guide
Sergio Perez13.18127177/11Form guide
Sebastien Buemi15.3111.2781511/13Form guide
Jaime Alguersuari14.6911.271610/13Form guide
Heikki Kovalainen18.0815.8813198/13Form guide
Jarno Trulli19.2516.1113209/12Form guide
Narain Karthikeyan2320.517246/7Form guide
Vitantonio Liuzzi22.1719.1313238/12Form guide
Timo Glock20.5417.5152110/13Form guide
Jerome D’Ambrosio22.2317.82142211/13Form guide
Pedro de la Rosa171212121/1Form guide
Daniel Ricciardo22.818.6718193/5Form guide
Karun Chandhok202020201/1Form guide
Bruno Senna8.5119132/2Form guide

2011 Singapore Grand Prix

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Image ?? Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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50 comments on “Alonso out to postpone Vettel’s championship party”

  1. I tip Vettel to win this race With Alonso And Webber behind. But i really hope Vettel can confirm his championship win in Singapore.

    p/s: Wasn’t Hamilton the one who blasted this circuit for having the “worst corner”, receding to the tricky Turn 10 Singapore Sling?

    I guess he did an aboutturn after a talk with his sponsors, eh?

    1. I rather guess he realized it was his own and Webbers way of handling the track that made him dislike it last year.

    2. Stephen Hopkinson
      21st September 2011, 9:15

      I can’t remember the number of the corner(s), but I think Hamilton was talking about the tight left-right-left chicane. Last year it was reprofiled so that drivers basically had to drive a straight line through the middle, hence not a great corner! My memory may be tricking me though.

      1. Drivers love to “straighten” a corner. It let’s them go faster! Last year the corner was made a bit tighter. You could still straight-line it but that would mean you’ll be jumping all over the bright orange kerbs (akin to the one you see in the last chicane in Montreal

  2. I’m pretty sure Vettel will be declared the 2011 World Champion at Singapore. But if he doesn’t, then I don’t think he’ll mind – the Japanese Grand Prix is next, and we all know how much Vettel loves Suzuka. I actually suspect he’d be happier to wrap the championship up there than in Singapore.

    1. or Korea where Red bulls were doomed a year ago.

      1. or in India…

    2. I’m pretty sure Vettel will not be declared the 2011 World Champion at Singapore, because Alonso has never failed to reach the podium in Singapore, not even in the completely useless Renault R29, and a podium for him is enough for him to remain in the title “fight”.

      1. Let’s face it, Vettel was WDC by Valencia

      2. Brave man to mention Fernando and Renault at Singapore as a virtue.

    3. I would think so too. It just has the history associated with it, plus it’s a much nicer circuit.

  3. Pace would be piercing, I guess. I’m not sure there would be many overtaking thanks to DRS though. I still believe who get the pole will win this race.

  4. I’m pretty sure Vettel will be winning this race!

  5. Who would not love Alonso to win it with Hamilton, Button and Webber right behind so they can all have a shot at prolonguing it a bit? Or any other variation of the podium not figuering Vettel

    I do expect Vettel to be right on it again, he has the killer instinct, there really are no tracks that “dont suit the car” this year for him and if he gets behind someone, he can comfortably have a lunge, knowing that even if he does crash, he can more afford it than any of his peers in the top 5.

    1. I am thinking the opposite of you. I hope that it will be concluded in Singapore so that we can see the top drivers just doing some fantastic balls to the wall flat out no-pressure driving

      1. All the drivers know that Vettel has won the title.

  6. For me, it will be interesting to see the Massa/Alonso battle here. Obviously Massa was outstanding there in 2008 before the crashgate saga, and Alonso was excellent last year in particular, and showed good speed in 2008 and 2009 as well.

    Last year we were robbed of their battle due to Massa’s qualifying mechanical problem.

    1. Alonso has always been excellent in Singapore, but the Ferrari F150˚ Italia probably wont be quick enough to beat Vettel. Massa had done one good thing there; the pole in 2008.

    2. I think Alonso has now established himself as being far better than Massa. Although Massa has had horrendous luck, it isn’t that alone that has made the enormous WDC points gap. Alonso should dominate him, again, in Singapore.

      1. Not if the temperatures are much higher than what has been seen in the European “summer” Felipe struggeles to get heat into the tyres, and having a car with the same problem makes his problem even bigger. Don’t forget what he was able to do in Shanghai this year until the hard tyres was fitted on his car.

  7. Come on Vettel, please do a Piquete Jr, we do have some sense of humor, one DNF for god sake.

  8. I’m going to tip Vettel for the win as I frankly can’t see any other outcome at this stage. Although I’m more than happy to see an upset.

    I’ve warmed to this track over the years as last year we saw some good overtakes due in part to the safety car and old tyres vs new tyres. We saw Mark Webber make a lot of places and also Kubica at the end of the race. I think if the tyres degrade quite a lot then we might see a really good race.

  9. Certainly Alonso is a bit of an expert around here. Bar his win in 2008 which was very hollow, he has performed amazingly here. In 2009 he scored a podium in a car that should have been nowhere near it. That was a great showing.

    I think he’ll win here, narrowly, again, from Vettel and Button/Hamilton.

  10. put the champagne on ice

  11. Vettel win, neither McLaren on the podium. Just a hunch.

  12. I just don’t see Alonso winning this one. Vettel’s been on superb form this year and last year Alonso may have been perfect but Seb could well have had pole had he not made that mistake on his flying lap. I just don’t think the Ferrari is up to it and this year Ferrari seem to be trying every which way to ruin their own chances. I’m hopeful Fernando will get at least 3rd though.

    1. Alonso’s chance of winning the race basicly relies on Vettel making another mistake in Q3, otherwise I can’t see anyone stopping him.

    2. Vettel was so close to victory with the RB6, now that he has the RB7 and the objective of winning the title it’l be easier for him.

  13. I think we might genuinely be in for a 5-way battle for the win here: Hamilton is good at street circuits, Alonso has been mighty here, Vettel is flying, Button will do his usual Prost-esque performance and I think even Webber might be in there.

    Also, I’m looking forward to Rosberg’s performance. He has always done well here, almost winning the 2009 race. But I think it’ll be another short-lived stint near the top, as the Mercs have tended to simply slip away during the race. But maybe this time he’ll be able to hold on to a podium place, bit like Michael at Monza.

  14. I’m hoping for a wet race, it would make for a very interesting event.

    For Alonso and Lewis this presents a big chance. However recent for makes me think Vettel it gaining even more ground rather than being caught.

    1. Apparently the forecast is for a wet weekend completely… but then, I think that’s been the forecast for Singapore GP every year!

    2. A few years ago I would have agreed with you on the wet race hopes. I fear that this year, at this venue, a wet race will only bring out a safety car procession and/or a red flag.
      That would probably be the worst possible way for Vettel to win the championship.

      Sheesh, when did I become such an optimist!

      1. It’s such a showcase event that I doubt they’d be able to red flag it completely… and, being under lights anyway, there are no time restrictions (bar broadcasting schedules) on the event, which means it could be postponed even longer than the Canadian GP if need be…

  15. personally i want the championship to be won at suzuka. the scene of many championship wins.

  16. I hope Hamilton does well here and he’s gotta good chance to do so since Mclarens are pretty good lately. It would bring us some excitement back and bring back determination to Lewis to be the way we all love/hate him…

    Doubt Ferraris will go higher than what they showed in Monza. The car is too slow.

    Webber, another slow start or even crash.

    Vettel, doesn’t matter what he does.

    Schumacher, it has not been their configuration type of track…

    1. Actually, Ferrari have done well on the street circuits so far this year.

      1. So have the Mclarens and Red Bulls.
        Nevertheless, I would not mind to be proved wrong, though.

  17. Since it’s a narrow street circuit, it is realistic to expect the SC to be deployed sometime during the race.
    That can turn everything upside down.

    But, under normal circumstances I don’t see any reason why Vettel wouldn’t win this one.

    I don’t dare to make any predictions for second and third place, though. I give equal chances to Webber, Alonso and both McLarens.

  18. It is a track where MGP struggled last year and it will repeat this year too with the lack of grip & tire wear. It is going to rain this weekend and perhaps that could add a little bit of spice. I’m not expecting more from Mercedes.

    Fingers crossed for Felipe & Lewis.

  19. Although Hamilton has given up on the championship I can still see him going hell-for-leather at Singapore…and if he’s not careful, wiping himself out again!

    On paper this circuit suits RBR. Not much use for straight line speed and twisty as hell (but fast enough to require their downforce advantage?). Given the way Vettel has pulled away in races this season, especially at Monza when he got past Alonso I think it’s pretty much his to lose.

  20. Have there been any changes to the track this year, in terms of kerb height or general track smoothening?

  21. I don’t think Vettel will wrap up the title in Singapore. I doubt he WON’T win the race, given his recent performance, but I don’t think Alonso will be off the podium.
    And actually I don’t want Vettel to win the championship in Singapore. It would be a lot more special if he did it on Suzuka. He loves the place and the track has a real history of championships being won or lost there. I think that would be something truly special.
    Not that I think Singapore is bad, I actually think it is a good place for a F1 race, despite not being an overtaking and mad weather party like Spa.

    1. I will also like the tittle to be won at Japan, they had have a hard year and this will bring some smiles on the fans…

      I think is gonna be a difficult rce and I wont dare to made a prediction….

      1. I love Singapore atmosphere and therefore wouldn’t mind if he gets it there…

  22. Interesting, Alonso holds 2nd in the championship, even though his average race position is worse than Webber’s and Button’s.

  23. With pirelli bringing the soft and supersofts tyres which plays to the strength of the Ferrari.Alonso will surely delay Redbulls’ celebration in singapore.

  24. I want a wet race,not too wet to red flag it.

  25. This will be a true test of Schumacher’s recent resurgence. Unlike Spa and Monza, Singapore’s high downforce will demand much more of the Mercedes’ chassis. But if Schumacher can get a good grid spot and make a mega-start again, he may be able to control the pace from the front with Singapore’s tight layout.

  26. If Vettel gets pole which is probably exactly what will happen, he will win. Unless of course he has some sort of mechanical failure which is highly unlikely. This is racing though and anything can happen.

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