Singapore GP test of nerve could favour Lewis Hamilton
Raikkonen fastest on opening day at Marina Bay
Singapore Grand Prix qualifying
Channel 4 & Sky Sports F1, 2pm Saturday
Sebastian Vettel will have been bitterly disappointed not to have eaten into Lewis Hamilton’s championship lead at Ferrari’s home track of Monza last time out.
But it will be a disaster for the German if he fails to do so in this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix – an event in which Hamilton’s Mercedes has not been at its best in recent seasons.
Hamilton leads by 30 points with seven races to go in what has developed into a head-to-head between two four-time world champions.
Contact with a wall limited Vettel’s time on track during Friday practice but his Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen set the fastest lap of the day.
Red Bull had set the pace in first practice with Daniel Ricciardo edging out Max Verstappen around the Marina Bay street circuit. But the Red Bulls slipped to half a second off the pace in the later session – a more meaningful one since it took place under the same conditions as qualifying and the race.
Hamilton was just 0.011 seconds behind Raikkonen and qualifying could come down to a matter of who holds their nerve better.
That would make the 5-1 about Hamilton topping qualifying look big, although there is a feeling that if everyone puts in a clean lap he may have to settle for third behind the two Ferraris.
There may not be much in it and with the 11-10 about an often nervy-looking Vettel not really appealing, a better bet could be that the qualifying winning margin is less than a tenth of a second.
L Hamilton fastest qualifier
1pt 5-1 Betway, Boyles, Sky Bet
Winning margin under 0.1 seconds
1pt 9-4 Coral, Ladbrokes
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