Sebastian Vettel looks set to extend his mastery of Formula One this week but neutrals and his rivals will be hoping for a different winner at the spectacular Singapore Grand Prix.
Former world champions Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen will compete the first time since being confirmed as a driving pair for Ferrari next year, a partnership which has set tongues wagging.
But all signs point to the likelihood that Vettel will be the man spraying champagne on Sunday night after taking another decisive step towards an astonishing fourth straight title.
The amiable German, 26, has won the last two night races around Singapore’s spotlit street circuit and three of the last four this season, opening up a 53-point lead over Alonso.
Vettel, backed by the sport’s best team in Red Bull, has already been crowned Formula One’s youngest single, double and triple world champion.
Vettel could now conceivably claim his fourth world title in a row as early as next month’s Japanese Grand Prix, and move just one away from fellow German Michael Schumacher’s five-year run from 2000-2004.
Vettel’s surge has led Britain’s Lewis Hamilton to all but give up hope of a world title in his debut season with Mercedes, while elsewhere, teams are already looking ahead to next year.
Drivers are set for a demanding weekend on the 23-corner Marina Bay layout, Formula One’s only night race. This is the first of a four-race swing through Asia also taking in South Korea, Japan and India. The season then culminates in Abu Dhabi, the United States and Brazil.
Many fans, and the sport’s organisers and sponsors, will be hoping the championship can stay alive until then.AFP