Singapore Grand Prix 2018 preview

Sebastian Vettel’s title dreams are fading fast as the Formula 1 season begins to make the turn for home and he arrives in Singapore trailing rival Lewis Hamilton by 30 points, after a disastrous Italian Grand Prix.

On a track dubbed a Ferrari circuit, it looks like it is win or bust for Vettel in the Far East. However, it may not be a Mercedes which ruins Vettel’s day on this occasion, as Red Bull seek to throw a spanner in the works.

In-form Verstappen seeks Singapore redemption

There is nothing on the F1 calendar like the Singapore Grand Prix, widely regarded as the toughest race, physically, of the season. Drivers are behind the wheels for close to two hours, battling around the bumpy city state streets in 80 per cent humidity.

Being a street circuit means power is not the be all and end all for teams, bringing Red Bull into the equation. Earlier in the year, Daniel Ricciardo steered his team to victory in Monaco – the most comparable race to Singapore – and he has a good record in the Far East.

The Australian is seeking a fifth successive podium place, having finished second in each of the last three years, and is 1.95 to be in the top three again.

However, it is his team mate Verstappen who has caught the eye in recent weeks and he looked very quick around this track in practice and qualifying last year. A first-lap collision with the Ferrari’s of Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen ended his race early, so he will have a point to prove come Sunday.

The Dutchman has got the best out of his Red Bull in both Belgium and Italy since the summer break, two tracks which do not suit the RB14. Despite the disadvantage, he was third at Spa and would have been on the podium again at Monza but for a controversial time penalty.

He is 4.90 to record his second win of the season and become only the fifth different driver to win in Singapore in the last 10 years.

Vettel no longer master of the dark arts

No other driver has won more times in Singapore than Vettel, who has four victories to his name and is the 2.20 favourite to add a fifth win to his resume on Sunday.

The German’s title dream died in his crash with Verstappen last season and his collision with Hamilton in Italy a fortnight ago could have been the killer blow this year.

This might be regarded as a Ferrari track but three of the last four winners have been driving a Mercedes, Hamilton claiming his third career win in 2017. The Brit is a tempting 4.40 to chalk up a fourth win in his last five starts.

Start to finish victory

In the 10 runnings of the Singapore Grand Prix since its reintroduction, the winner has started from pole position on seven occasions.

Being a street circuit, overtaking space is at a premium, making the 1.64 on offer for the pole sitter to emerge victorious a good option.