Fernando Alonso

Singapore GP – Making progress

Singapore, 21 September – At all other races on the calendar, while the mechanics and engineers work late into the night, they can hear the noise of the crowd having fun, either in the campsites around the track, or just sitting out in the main grandstand, watching the work in the garages. However, here in Singapore, where the local crowd headed off to their beds after yesterday’s night time practice, the paddock was a silent place as the eleven teams got down to the task of preparing the cars for the second day of the Singapore Grand Prix. With or without anyone watching, wherever in the world and whatever the time of day, the sport is all about teamwork, and it’s teamwork that our technical director, Pat Fry credited with producing a marked improvement in the performance of the F138 today, compared to Friday night.

However, all things are relative and clearly having Felipe sixth on the grid and Fernando seventh, is not ideal, especially as the gaps to the quickest were quite big. Therefore, tomorrow’s race on paper will be about trying to pick up as many points as possible, although the stated aim of trying to finish some races ahead of series leader Sebastian Vettel looks like a difficult task, as the Red Bull is on pole position, which is always worth a little bit more than usual on a street circuit where overtaking is very difficult. The technological toys like DRS and KERS are less effective on city streets and overtaking is more likely to feature a driver on fresh tyres passing another on older rubber.

Alongside Vettel is Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes, with Row 2 made up of Romain Grosjean in the Lotus and Mark Webber in the other Red Bull. Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes will be on Felipe’s inside tomorrow, while Fernando Alonso, on the clean side of Row 4 has another world champion for company, Jenson Button eighth in the McLaren.

The Scuderia duo can also hope for a stroke of good luck, as fate has often played a part at this track, where the arrival of the Safety Car is something to take for granted rather than it causing a surprise. We keep saying it, but the Scuderia never gives up and so anything is still possible tomorrow night under the harsh artificial lights of the Marina Bay circuit.