22nd September, 2013
Marina Bay Circuit, Singapore
German Sebastian Vettel heads into round 13 of the 2013 calendar- his favorite circuit- a race that he has won two years in a row (2011 and 2012)- now over 50 points ahead of second placed Fernando Alonso. Hamilton and Raikkonen are far behind, now mere contenders for a podium position.
This race, with Singapore’s famed skyline as a backdrop, is a splendid sight for sore eyes- one of the most visually extravagant on the F1 calendar- and was brought back onto the F1 calendar in 2008 after a long gap of 35 years. It was converted into F1’s first ever night-race by the Singapore government. Fernando Alonso, racing for Renault in 2008, won the first comeback edition, following it up with another win in 2010 for Ferrari. Lately, though, much like many other tracks, Vettel has dominated weekends here
The 61 lap 309 km race will take place this weekend, with only Vettel and Alonso having won here twice each, and Hamilton once (2009).
The 2012 edition was not a closely fought one, with Vettel winning by over 8 seconds to second placed Jenson Button. The Singapore GP is contracted to run till 2018.
With his 6th win of this season under his belt, somebody has to halt Vettel’s juggernaut- and only Raikkonen’s impending move to Ferrari could distract him mid-season from his bid for a 4th consecutive Championship title. That is of little consequence to the German though, because he has traditionally always performed stronger during the second half of the season. One doesn’t see how he could perform stronger than a 50% win record in a season, but this is his era- and Red Bull show no signs of slowing down this year.
With just 6 races to go after Singapore, including the 3rd Indian GP (previously won both years by Vettel again) and the inaugural Austin GP (USA), Vettel looks good to move a step closer to idol Schumacher’s unmatched 7 World titles. He will become only the third driver in F1 history to win 4 consecutive World Championships after Juan Manuel Fangio (1954-57) and Michael Schumacher (2000-04).