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Leader Lewis Hamilton stays positive despite Singapore disadvantage

15 September 2017

But triple World Champion Hamilton reckons the Scuderia will be hard to match throughout the twisting sections of the track.

Sebastian Vettel, second in the opening session, was only 11th. With seven races to go, it's very much in our capability to chase that down by the end of the season. Honda are expected to remain in the sport and team up with Red Bull's sister outfit Toro Rosso, while Carlos Sainz is likely to join Renault as a sweetener for the French manufacturer. However, the championship leader's race pace was more competitive.

Going into this weekend, Lewis Hamilton leads Sebastian Vettel by just three points in the drivers' standings.

He and Ricciardo were blindingly fast in the wet on Saturday and nearly to the end of qualifying they led the field with Hamilton third. Vettel has 96, Raikkonen 88.

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Now, a three-point gap separates the two drivers, making things interesting as the pair heads to Singapore this weekend.

The only regular drivers yet to score are Renault's Jolyon Palmer and Sauber's Marcus Ericsson.

Having a challenger at last, that has been able to consistently trouble Mercedes AMG at these high-downforce venues, has been what has aided Vettel's cause in the title chase, whilst Lewis Hamilton flexes the muscle of the mighty Merc at the more power sensitive venues.

"At no point during this year have I got any signs from the team that they were looking somewhere else", Bottas said at the Singapore Grand Prix. Neither driver nor team has any plausible option other than to recommit to the other. Fernando Alonso (2008, 2010), Vettel (2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015), Hamilton (2009, 2014), Rosberg (2016).

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Although Singapore is a night race, the sweltering humidity tests drivers' endurance more than other races as fatigue and dehydration impact on concentration.

Red Bull's Ricciardo has set the fastest lap for the past two years, finishing second on both occasions. Separated by only three points, if either Vettel or Hamilton have a slip up, it could prove to be costly. The duo of Vettel and Hamilton combined have won six of the nine races that have taken place in Singapore. With Verstappen and Ricciardo both recently telling ESPN their long-term futures at Red Bull hinge around its ability to deliver a race-winning auto, and with Verstappen growing increasingly frustrated at his remarkable string of bad luck this year, a morale-boosting win for the team would be huge going into the final races of 2017.

After the conclusion of the European leg in 2017, Formula One gears up for one of the most glamorous races of the calendar year with Singapore being the next stop, the 14th race of this campaign.

Next up is Singapore, not quite a Ferrari stronghold but certainly a track Mercedes have struggled at in recent years. I go with what we have, what I'll feel on the track and how the auto performs. Last year's lasted one hour and 55 minutes.

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Leader Lewis Hamilton stays positive despite Singapore disadvantage