Steamed Up In Singapore : F1 Qualifying

Formula One 2010 Rd.3 Malaysian GP: Jenson But...
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The 2010 Championship continues its exciting final quarter with today’s qualifying in Singapore for Round 15. The usual thorough coverage from the BBC team with practice sessions on the red button and live presentation of qualifying on BBC1, albeit still carrying the lame Legeard as commentator; a man doggedly determined not to shake off his radio roots.

The competition remains tight and could go to drivers from Red Bull (Vettel / Webber), McLaren (Hamilton / Button) and Ferrari (Alonso, with Massa effectively relegated by team orders to an also-ran). Singapore is a testing, damp, nighttime road race with a relatively long lap isolated by walls with few run-off areas. The start will be decisive so qualifying remains vitally important.

Few surprises, although Ferrari – having lost Massa in Q1 to engine trouble – remained strong in Alonso’s hands despite the removal of their straight-speed-enhancing F-duct, and took pole. Sebastian Vettel looked like he should have snatched top spot when a wall-brush shaved off  a 4 tenths advantage for the Red Bull driver over the prancing Spaniard. The result hides what – in qualifying conditions at least – could be a return of the Red Bull dominance over the rest of the field.

McLaren are on the grid in 3rd and 4th, with Hamilton well in touch with Vettel’s final time and on the clean side. Jenson Button is followed by Championship leader Mark Webber. The line-up foretells an interesting start in what is unlikely to be an incident-free main event tomorrow.

Great entertainment from this year’s Formula One competition. The championship will almost certainly go down to the last race in Abu Dhabi in November and it is anyone’s guess on the winner. As ever, would love to see Mark Webber take the crown if it cannot be one of the dynamic Brit duo, but it’s a tall order for the Aussie with his whippersnapper teammate, Vettel, calming down and reportedly well-practised on his previously disappointing start line technique. Coverage starts on BBC1 at 12:10 tomorrow UK time for an 8pm local race start, fronted by youthful Jake Humphrey, allowed to stay up past his bedtime.

As a side note, great to see banking giant UBS supporting F1 as a global sponsor – a smart choice of recipient for its largesse in an arena which attracts the type of individuals and companies a global banking player needs to count as customers (I should declare an interest as the banking group is a client of mine and naturally, as an F1 fan, I feel its an inspired choice !).