Points crucial for top drivers in Singapore

Last Updated: Sep 23, 2010, 14:48 PM IST

Singapore: The race to the Formula One
drivers` title is on a knife-edge going into Sunday`s
Singapore Grand Prix and picking up points will be crucial for
the five men in serious contention.

After 14 of this year`s 19 races, Red Bull`s Mark Webber
leads the championship chase on 187 points, five ahead of
McLaren`s Lewis Hamilton with Fernando Alonso of Ferrari third
on 166.

Defending world champion Jenson Button is still in the
hunt with 164 points while young German Sebastian Vettel is
fifth, a point further adrift.

This means that the top five are separated by just 24
points -- one point fewer than the 25 awarded for a single
race win.

McLaren`s Button said it was hugely important to do well
on Sunday under the lights on the Singapore street circuit.

"The Singapore Grand Prix will be a very interesting
weekend because I think it`ll give us a clearer idea of the
destiny of the world championship," said the Briton.

"The last time we were at a low-speed, high-downforce
track was in Hungary back at the start of August.”

"Our car wasn`t particularly competitive there and maybe
we haven`t had a properly representative view of the top
teams` relative pace because we`ve just visited two high-speed
circuits.”

"But equally, a lot has changed since that race in
Budapest.”

"Not least, some quite hefty revisions to the rulebook
regarding bodywork flexibility and, additionally, a lot of
work by the engineers to ensure our car is now better suited
to slower circuits.”

"Singapore will be interesting for all of us."

His British teammate Hamilton won in Singapore last year,
but crashed out on the first lap in Monza this month and has
now failed to score in two of his past three races.

He is desperate to make amends this weekend and stay in
touch with Webber.

"It`s difficult to say accurately how competitive we`ll
be in Singapore," he said.

"If Monza most closely resembled a track like Canada,
then Singapore is far closer to places like Monaco and
Hungary, where we`ve struggled relative to the competition.”

"The race should give us a clearer indication of exactly
where we stand as the championship closes down over the next
five races, but I definitely want to score as many points as
possible in this Grand Prix."

Like Hamilton, Alonso has form in Singapore, winning the
inaugural race in 2008 before a third-place finish last year.

The Spaniard remains on a high from his victory on
Ferrari`s home turf at Monza and is expecting to maintain the
momentum here.

"I am well aware that another top-three finish is very
important for the classification and I am convinced that, if
we do everything perfectly, then we can achieve that," he
said.

"We proved it at the last race weekend in Monza and
everything is in place for us to repeat that feat here in
Singapore."

But it is Webber who remains the front runner with a
five-point championship cushion.

The Australian said he was confident of a strong result
on the bumpy circuit to bolster his chances of a first
drivers` title.

"I like Singapore, it`s unique as we race at night. You
get the impression the crowd is pretty close to the track in
most sections, so it`s certainly cosy," he said.

"I`m hoping to improve on last year`s result, as it`s a
high-downforce street circuit that should suit our car.”

"It`s got some similarities to Monaco and Budapest and we
did well at both those circuits, so I`m hoping for a strong
result. We`ve yet to experience any wet running on a flood-lit
track, so it will be interesting if that happens."

Webber failed to finish in Singapore last year.

Bureau Report