Five things to look out for at the Singapore GP

The 17th Singapore Grand Prix gets underway this week and there is plenty to look forward to. We put together something to whet your appetite ahead of the weekend…

History is on Vettel’s side

Sebastian Vettel loves the Singapore layout and boasts a superb record, topping the podium in four of his last five races. That included a hat-trick from 2011 to 2013.

While Lewis Hamilton spoiled the party in 2014, the German superstar still managed to claim second, then he bounced back last year to win from pole position.

With just one podium in his last six races, the Ferrari driver does not appear to have the pace this season to record a fifth win in Singapore. But on a tight street circuit, anything can happen and usually does.

Lights brighter than the sun

Ok while that might be a touch of an exaggeration, the lights around the street circuit are an engineering feat in their own right.

There are nearly 1500 high-powered lights along the five-kilometre track, each equipped with a 2000 watt white metal-halide lamp. Added to that, each lamp has internal reflectors that project the light beams at different angles to prevent the light from blinding the drivers.

This means the track will be four times brighter than your average stadium for the race on Sunday, so you might want thalide lamopo bring your sunglasses if you’re in the area.

What else is different in Singapore? Well, they also weld the manhole covers shut.

The mercurial Ricciardo

The Red Bull driver recognises that the street circuits are where the chasing pack can close the gap on the dominant Mercedes.

Daniel Ricciardo experienced this in Monaco earlier this year, where his rigid RB12 chassis helped him earn pole position. However, a poor pit stop would hand Lewis Hamilton the lead and the win, while he held on for second.

The Australian also has a good record in Singapore, earning podium finishes in his last two outings. Ricciardo also holds the lap record, which he set last season in the lead up to his runner-up finish.

“I think we’ve got a better package this year than we did last year,” quipped the 27-year-old.

“Last year we pretty much fought for a victory, so looking at that I think that we should be there.”

Ominous signs indeed…

A Mercedes tussle

With seven rounds to go in the 2016 world championship, things are hotting up at the top of the driver’s standings.

Hamilton has a slender two points lead over his teammate Nico Rosberg and either one or the other has won every grand prix they have finished this season.

Of course, the controversial collision in Spain between the two should not be forgotten despite tensions being seemingly under wraps of late.

This, combined with the fact that Mercedes do not have the best package to cope with the lack of straights and slow corners means that Mercedes are in for a tense weekend in Singapore that could bubble over onto the track.

Unpredictability

The fact that the Mercedes are likely going to struggle around the street circuit means several drivers should be fancying themselves for a win on Sunday.

Ferrari and Red Bull have shown good pace in the last few races and should be able to compete at the front in Singapore.

The weather may also prove to be an issue, as there is 70 percent chance of rain predicted for Sunday, throwing another spanner in the works.

A hyper-aggressive Max Verstappen in a car that prefers the slower stuff flying around in the rain amidst Mercedes’ vying for a drivers championship and Ferrari’s trying to prove a point sounds like an exciting Sunday indeed…

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