Singapore Grand Prix Preview: Hamilton looks to extend lead under the lights

Following Lewis Hamilton’s dominant win at Monza, Nico Rosberg finds himself in grave danger of falling out of championship contention. Whilst Hamilton stretched his lead at the top of the standings at the previous race, team-mate Rosberg was forced to watch on from the sidelines following his engine failure. The Brit now leads the championship by 53 points leaving Rosberg with it all to do in the remaining seven races.

For Hamilton all he has to do is keep doing what he has done all season to secure a third world championship in what has been a spectacular season for the defending champion. A win this weekend and Hamilton will emulate his idol Ayrton Senna. If Hamilton does take victory on Sunday evening, then both Hamilton and Ayrton Senna will both have 41 wins to their name in 161 starts. Hamilton could also make it eight consecutive pole positions on Saturday night in qualifying equally Senna’s record. 

Hamilton has something of a mixed record around the demanding Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore. The Mercedes man has taken part in all seven runnings of the Singapore Grand Prix which was the first night race in F1 history. Hamilton has both won and retired from this race on two occasions. Although he does have an up and down record around the streets of Singapore it is a circuit that Hamilton enjoys driving.

Toughest race on the calendar 

Due to the heat and humidity, the Singapore Grand Prix is the toughest race on the calendar, as well as being the toughest race physically, it is also the longest, with the race usually going the full two hours.

Marina Bay and Monza could not be any more different. Whilst all the Mercedes runners will of course be strong here once again, the gap between Mercedes runners and the Ferrari and Renault runners will be much smaller due to the characteristics of the circuit. With 23 corners and 5km in distance, there is more emphasis on a good chassis with high downforce in comparison to Monza which was all about minimal drag and high engine power. If it wasn’t for unreliability and engine penalties almost a certainty, this should have been Red Bull’s best chance of a win this season.

For much of this season, Ferrari have been comfortably the second fastest car on the grid, if Sebastian Vettel is to find his way onto the podium again this weekend he will have to make sure he is ahead of the likes of the Williams and the Red Bull cars they should be in for a great chance of a strong result.

There are a number of similarities between Hungary and Singapore. Hungary was one of the very few good times for McLaren Honda this season where Fernando Alonso scored an impressive fifth place finish. The circuit will mask the lack of power coming from the Honda power unit. The team believe that they have a strong chassis and are being held back by their power unit, points may be on the cards for McLaren who have endured a tricky time of it in 2015 to say the least.

For Manor it has been a difficult few days as the team prepared for the weekend. This season Roberto Merhi has been running a World Series by Renault 3.5 programme alongside his F1 commitments. Recently Merhi decided to put all his focus into F1 and walked away from 3.5 but has unfortunately for him gone from two race seats to none.

When landing in Singapore Merhi was told that the team have opted to field reserve driver Alexander Rossi, who is currently 2nd in GP2, who will make his full F1 debut. The American has been a reserve driver for a number of teams in recent years but finally gets his shot in a race.

Will Hamilton extend his championship lead this weekend? Or will Rosberg be able to claw back some all important points? Leave your comments below.