Few races added to the calendar in the last 10 years have captured the hearts of F1 fans and drivers quite like the night race at Singapore's famous Marina Bay. First run in 2008, this modern classic has earned the reputation as Asia's 'jewel in the crown', with many ranking it to it's European equivalent in Monaco.
This weekend F1 returns for the 6th running of the Singapore Grand Prix, with the same question again being asked; who can stop Sebastian Vettel?
The German will be looking for three straight wins both in 2013 after back-to-back wins in Spa and Monza and at Singapore after winning both in 2011 and 2012 and few would bet against him doing so.
The Marina Bay street circuit could not be more different from the high speed classics in Belgium and Italy, instead the tight, twisty streets along with the heat and humidity provide one of the stiffest challenges of both car and driver on the schedule.
Being a street circuit, it passes many of Singapore's iconic landmarks, the Fullerton Hotel, the huge 30,000 seater Marina Bay grandstand (specifically built for the F1 race) and the Singapore Flyer Ferris wheel.
As I mentioned, Vettel will be going for three straight wins in Singapore and he and his Red Bull look more than capable of doing so. The big question, however, will be how the tyres play out.
This year Pirelli are bringing the super-soft and medium compounds to Singapore, a break from tradition with most street circuits normally demanding the 2 softest compounds available.
Pirelli's Head of Motorsport Paul Hembery on Saturday explained why Pirelli changed the allocation for this year.
"This year's soft is almost a super soft, so it is too aggressive," he said.
"You need one option that is calmer. The medium this year seems to work for the majority (of teams)."
The move could help Red Bull who struggled with the softer compounds earlier in the season allowing Lotus and Ferrari back into the picture, with the calmer option being the medium compound, though the performance gap between the two tyres should be quite large, it should help Red Bull stay more competitive if tyre wear is a greater factor.
As for Mercedes they will be relying on good grid position to stay ahead of the rest just as they did in Monaco. The midfield will be very close with Lotus slipping back into the clutches of McLaren, Force India and Toro Rosso.
The need for greater mechanical grip as opposed to downforce will also help Sauber and Williams be more competitive, while at the back Caterham and Marussia will look at Singapore as a good chance to get their best results this year due to the usual chaotic nature of the race.
Singapore is well known for action packed races with the safety car needed in all 5 previous editions, the 61 laps at nearly 1:50 per lap also make this event the longest in terms of race time with every race very close to, if not hitting the 2 hour limit.
The final major factor will be the weather, while the hot and humid climate is enough for most the ever present risk of thunderstorms could greatly affect the weekend, as of yet F1 is yet to have a fully wet session at Marina Bay but there's always the possibility just as there is every year up the road in Malaysia.
Overall the glitz, glamour and Justin Beiber factor (I don't know either) will make for a very entertaining weekend in the small city-state and maybe someone other than Vettel winning would be a nice change too!
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