F1 Singapore Grand Prix Preview: Talking points, form guide and prediction as Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel battle it out

LEWIS HAMILTON is leading the F1 championship by 30 points ahead of the highly anticipated Singapore Grand Prix.

But the tough Marina Bay Circuit could cause the Brit problems as Sebastian Vettel looks to close the gap.

 Lewis Hamilton is leading the championship with six wins

EPA
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Lewis Hamilton is leading the championship with six wins

The night race in Singapore is not only one of the most spectacular on the F1 calendar, but also one of the most difficult.

Lit up by some 1,600 spotlights, which are four times brighter than those on a football pitch, work putting this 5.073km track together actually started in May.

The race might happen at night but temperatures still reach around 30 degrees and can be well over 50 degrees in the drivers' cockpits.

Add into the fact that this street circuit has little in the way of run off areas and even the slightest mistake or lapse in judgement is likely to be heavily punished.

 Sebastian Vettel looks the most likely to catch Lewis Hamilton in the remaining races

Getty Images – Getty
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Sebastian Vettel looks the most likely to catch Lewis Hamilton in the remaining races

This week, other talking points will be just why Kimi Raikkonen decided to join Sauber.

Whether Sebastian Vettel can hit back at Lewis Hamilton's incredible form.

And whether Williams's resurrection at Monza was real or just a one-off fluke.

Looking at the recent results, you'd say that Mercedes and Hamilton would be favourite.

He's won in Singapore three times before (2009, 2014, 2017) but Vettel has a better record with four victories (2011, 2012, 2013, 2015).

Vettel's Ferrari has also been quicker this season, predominately on the straights.

However, this bumpy twisty track requires downforce rather than power and that plays into Red Bull's hands. Expected them to be in with a shout of winning this race.

 Kimi Raikkonen decided to snub Ferrari for Sauber

Getty – Contributor
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Kimi Raikkonen decided to snub Ferrari for Sauber

Make sure you watch the start.

This race has a habit of throwing up spectacular first lap incidents.

The first and second turns are not big, but they are narrow and the kerbs must be avoided, or a driver risks being hurled into the air.

Also, keep an eye on Charles Leclerc, the man who has been picked by Ferrari to replace Kimi Raikkonen.

This track is brutal and unforgiving and he will need a perfect performance just to reach the end of the race.

 Lewis Hamilton opened up a 30-point championship lead over Sebastian Vettel

AFP or licensors
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Lewis Hamilton opened up a 30-point championship lead over Sebastian Vettel

Expect the Safety Car to be deployed on at least one occasion.

Those concrete barriers take no punishment and the safety car has been deployed in every Singapore GP.

Toto Wolff, Mercedes boss: "Singapore has features that we've struggled with in the past.

"The short straights, the slow, tight corners and the bumpy surface all make the Marina Bay Street Circuit one of the trickiest tracks of the season for us.

"In 2015, we endured one of our most painful experiences in recent years there. Last year, we started the race from the third row – and came home with a win and a third place.

 Max Verstappen finished fifth at the Italian GP

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Max Verstappen finished fifth at the Italian GP

"On paper, the track should favour the Ferraris, but the championship fight is so close that predictions are almost meaningless.

"One thing that's guaranteed in Singapore is a great spectacle; the track under the lights looks stunning both for the TV audience and the fans in the grandstands.

"For the teams, the race is one of the most demanding ones as the high temperatures and humidity levels make life in the garage tough."

Predicted Podium

Max Verstappen (Red Bull)

Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)

Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

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LEWIS HAMILTON is leading the F1 championship by 30 points ahead of the highly anticipated Singapore Grand Prix.