Lewis Hamilton has taken confidence from former nemesis Fernando Alonso's pole position for the Singapore Grand Prix, claiming that it underlines his pre-race claim that expected pacesetter Red Bull Racing is beatable this weekend.
The Briton believed that Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber may not have things all their own way - as suggested by the majority of paddock observers - after McLaren gave its latest developments the green light for Singapore and, despite having to settle for a row two spot alongside team-mate Jenson Button for the race around Marina Bay, is more optimistic about his own chances of finishing ahead of them.
beatable, clearly," he repeated, "Fernando has proved that today and through qualifying. Clearly, they don't have the two-second lead that they had at one stage this year, and that's a positive for us. I think myself and Jenson are doing a solid job, the team is doing a solid job, the car feels good and our long run pace is even better than our qualifying pace, so I feel that, tomorrow, we will have a good race."
Although Alonso and Vettel line up ahead of him, Hamilton is also encouraged by the fact that McLaren appears to be the best of the championship teams when it comes to getting its cars off the line, and believes that this could prove an advantage on the tight street circuit.
"We pretty much have the best starts out of everyone now, which is pretty good, so I'm hoping that will continue that way," he noted, "As you saw, Jenson's start in the last race was great and he was able to jump ahead of Fernando. I am on the clean side of the grid and we have had the best starts for quite some time now, so we can't really be too worried. I think tomorrow's just about getting a decent start, whether it's dry or wet, and staying clean around the first lap. That's the main goal."
'Wet or dry' could remain the biggest question mark over the Singapore race. The previous two editions have run without the slightest hint of rain, but with downpours occurring each afternoon so far this weekend, Hamilton is wary of the effect lingering damp patches may have on the way the race unfolds.
"I am sure tomorrow is going to be an extremely tricky race considering how long it took today for the track to dry," he agreed, "I am sure, if it does rain this evening or sometime tomorrow, it will never dry out. It takes so long. Fingers crossed it doesn't rain the whole day and it is not a problem but, if it is wet, then we have got our work cut out for sure."