Alex Yoong Previews the Singapore Grand Prix

The Formula One circus leaves Europe and we start the Asian leg of the championship, starting with the Singapore Grand Prix this weekend.

Personally, it’s my most favorite race of the year. The atmosphere of the Marina Bay Street Circuit is unrivaled and the cars racing at over 300kph under the lights make for a very good spectacle indeed. After Monaco, it’s supposed to be the toughest race on the calendar. The only reason why Monaco is considered tougher is due to there being no long straights there to catch your breath. Having said that, the heat and humid conditions we see in Singapore make it uniquely horrendous too.

It’s a proper street circuit like Monaco with no room for error. The tight, twisty nature of the track means it’s a completely different challenge to the last race in Monza. In Monza, its long straights mean it was all about horsepower and running low drag. In Singapore, the track is tighter and slower and you will see teams bringing completely different aero packages to try and run as much downforce as possible – not too dissimilar to Monaco or Hungary.

This is the one race of the year that we could see three teams fighting for the win on merit. Mercedes have always struggled on this track (in the new era) and it remains to be seen if they have gotten on top of the issues that struck them for the last two years here. If they haven’t, then you would have to say that Red Bull and Ferrari will fancy their chances of winning here

Like all street tracks, it is very bumpy here and evolves quite a bit during the weekend. Teams and drivers will to make sure they stay out of the walls so that they can complete their programs in testing. In the past we have seen a big accident in practice – two or three can completely compromise a driver’s weekend.

As for the Championship battle, we have seen both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg be very fast in the Marina Bay Street Circuit in the past, so it’s again going to be very difficult to choose between the two of them. With the rest of the field being so competitive here, a bad start or mistake could cost them very dear.

In Monza, such was the pace advantage of the Mercedes cars that even after Hamilton’s bad start of the line it was pretty straight forward to get back up to second. That will not happen here in Singapore. Firstly Marina Bay Street Circuit does not play to their strengths and secondly, it’s very hard to overtake here and therefore very hard to recover from a mistake.

It’s a race you could easily see one (or even both) of the Silver Arrows outside of the top five.

Even though it’s going to be a lot closer this weekend, which means more action for us fans, I’m still going to stick my neck out and say that one of the Red Bulls look good enough for the win.

Follow Alex Yoong on Twitter: @alexyoong

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