With the European races done and dusted, the Formula One circus enters its Asian phase this weekend with a spectacular night time dash through the streets of Singapore (Race: Sunday, 13:00 BST).
First run in 2008, the event at the Marina Bay circuit has produced four different winning constructors in the four races held to date and is usually a close fought race, with a winning margin of less than 10 seconds recorded on each occasion.
Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton both come into the race on a high, having recovered from their mutual first corner elimination in Belgium to enjoy far better races in Italy last time out.
Hamilton comfortably won from pole position, while Alonso finished third, extending his lead over his three nearest championship challengers in the process – Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber suffered mechanical problems, while Kimi Raikonnen finished fifth.
McLaren have qualified on pole position and gone on to win all of the last three races and there is little to suggest that backing a different team to top the qualification standings in Singapore would be prudent strategy.
Red Bull have struggled in qualifying since the summer break, neither of their cars qualifying any better than sixth in the last two races. Lotus don’t have a pole position to their name so far this season and Ferrari are also stronger in racing trim.
Given McLaren’s current form and their history of having one car in the top three in qualifying in every Singapore Grand Prix so far, the odds for one of their cars to claim pole position look very attractive.
Nico Rosberg has qualified in the top ten for each and every Singapore Grand Prix, including a superb third place on the grid for Williams in 2009. His current team, Mercedes, are pushing hard with new updates and will this weekend unfurl their new Coanda-effect exhausts – as used by the likes of Ferrari, McLaren and Sauber.
He has qualified seventh in each of the last two races at the Marina Bay circuit and barring unforeseen issues is a shoe-in to reach the top ten shootout this time around.
As we mentioned earlier, McLaren have emerged victorious in each of the last three races this season, the latter two of which have been very comfortable for the winning driver.
However, the strong possibility of there being at least one safety car period – it has been deployed in all four Singapore Grand Prix to date – that will bunch and mix up the pack introduces an additional element of fortune that renders the winners market a foolhardy pursuit.
It is therefore wiser to back a driver in the podium finish market – with three places up for grabs, the risk of a losing bet due to a safety car period is reduced.
Alonso is the only driver to have won twice in Singapore – albeit in controversial circumstances on the first occasion – and has finished on the podium in three of the four races the country has hosted. In addition, he finished a strong fourth last year.
The Spaniard has won three races in 2012 and finished in the top three on a further four occasions. Podium finishes in seven of the 13 races contested is a fantastic record and Alonso looks well placed to secure an eighth rostrum appearance this weekend.
If Sebastian Vettel is to remain in championship contention he really needs a strong finish in Singapore. Red Bull’s recent problems in qualifying often mean that the odds for him finishing on the podium lengthen post-qualifying. Under certain circumstances this is worth taking advantage of.
Vettel has hauled himself into a podium position from qualifying positions outside the top three on three occasions this season, most dramatically finishing second after starting 10th at the Belgian Grand Prix.
The reigning drivers champion also has a good record in Singapore, with finishes of 5th, 4th and 2nd, in addition to victory in last year’s event.
Vettel’s pre-weekend odds of achieving a podium finish are currently 6/4, but if he qualifies between 5th-8th and these odds lengthen then we would suggest backing him.
F1 Singapore Grand Prix Betting Tips Verdict
- A McLaren to qualify on pole position @ 5/4 with SkyBet, Paddy Power or Ladbrokes
- Nico Rosberg to reach qualifying session three @ 4/7 with Ladbrokes
- Fernando Alonso to finish on the podium @ 11/8 with Blue Square
- If he qualifies between 5th-8th and his odds lengthen to 2/1 or higher as a result, back Sebastian Vettel to finish on the podium.