Julio 09, 2020

Vettel to edge Hamilton in Singapore, say bookies

15 Setiembre 2017, 11:05 | Cornelio Vivanco

Valtteri Bottas left is trailing Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton right and Sebastian Vettel in the drivers title race. Wong Maye AP

Valtteri Bottas left is trailing Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton right and Sebastian Vettel in the drivers title race. Wong Maye  AP

Team-mate Sebastian Vettel was 11th, although the German failed to complete a representative low-fuel lap.

Lewis Hamilton became the first back-to-back victor of the season last time out in Italy, with an easy victory in his Mercedes lifting him to the top in the F1 2017 Drivers' Championship, 3 points up on arch rival Sebastian Vettel.

Hamilton leads the championship by a slender three points after back-to-back wins in Belgium and Italy, but the smart money says it shouldn't last beyond this weekend.

Contest closes Sept 17, 11.59pm.

A general view taken from Swissotel the Stamford shows the illuminated circuit for the upcoming Singapore Grand Prix night race on Sunday. Roslan Rahman  AFP

Vettel now sits three points adrift of Lewis Hamilton in the driver standings, and the Singapore Grand Prix is most likely his best opportunity of the season, to claw back that number one sport.

Not a regular on the list due to his point scoring consistency, but for the first time at Force India, Sergio Perez is feeling the heat.

First practice gets underway at 9.30am, with the second starting at 1.30pm BST. As well as his wins in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015 in Singapore, Vettel drove brilliantly from the back of the grid a year ago to finish fifth.

While the new deal, announced on Wednesday, is for one year, the Finn aims to make the most of it, aware that the myriad of driver (and engine) changes in 2018 could open up all manner of possibilities for 2019 and beyond. However, the championship leader's race pace was more competitive. It will be his role as "spoiler" however, that could go a long way to deciding the outcome of the this years World Championship.

So, despite Toto Wolff's prediction of Singapore being "more hard", for his Silver Arrows, a loss at this race could easily be mitigated over the upcoming events if Ferrari cannot stay on par. Throughout the course of this season, Ricciardo has been a dark horse. On the surface, Singapore is the kind of circuit that should favour both Ferrari and Red Bull.

"If the team delivers another flawless performance like in Italy that will be a very good starting point".

Verstappen just could have been the hero of the weekend but was once again unlucky.

So, converting their average positions into points would see the 2017 drivers' standings finish like this.

"I knew we'd come here with a good auto", Ricciardo said. And even that might not save his seat, as Sainz is heavily rumoured to be joining the Renault team very soon. In terms of out-of-the-blue slumps of form, there has been little to beat it in recent F1 history after Mercedes, on pole position at all of that season's previous races, arrived in Singapore with the same vehicle and lapped 1.5 seconds off Ferrari's qualifying pace.

Vettel's confidence will be further boosted by the fact he comfortably won Monaco this year, with Ferrari securing a 1-2 finish and Hamilton in seventh place.

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