Fernando Alonso has warned punters that there is still plenty of room for twists and turns as the F1 world championship winds through four further races towards its conclusion in Abu Dhabi.
Speaking after claiming a fourth win of the season, and the second in as many race, in Singapore, Alonso said that he expected to be in the hunt for further successes as the campaign headed towards its finale, but insisted that any one of the five drivers at the head of the point standings could still come out on top.
The Ferrari driver led from start to finish around the streets of Marina Bay, making the most of pole position - and an aggressive swerve towards front row partner Sebastian Vettel - to enjoy a largely clear track, and then benefiting from the Scuderia's decision to pit him on the same lap as his closest rival. Only a brief skirmish with traffic in the closing laps appeared to cause problems for Alonso, who had Vettel in closer attendance following a second safety car, but he held on to win by 0.2secs, vaulting himself into second place in the overall standings as a result.
Surprisingly, however, the Spaniard did not rate the race among the best he had driven, but admitted that it had been a crucial one when it came to his championship chances.
"I think I did some better races last year but, when you're eleventh, people don't worry too much about your race," he said, referring to the two troubled years at Renault which preceded his move to Maranello, "When you are in a Ferrari and you win a race, everyone is looking at you and supporting you.
"I think we always
try to drive well, make no mistakes, be very precise, especially on this type of circuit, but today was teamwork, with good preparation yesterday, a good pit-stop, good strategy, good management of the tyres, brakes etc.. There are many factors to winning the Singapore Grand Prix and Ferrari did everything okay again, so thanks to the team."
Two races ago, after crashing out of the Belgian Grand Prix, Alonso's championship chances were being rated at something close to zero, but victories in Italy and Singapore highlight just how much things can change under the new point system, which offers 25 points - and a margin of seven - for reaching the top step of the podium. Equally, however, Alonso knows that any one of his four rivals - Mark Webber, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button could similarly benefit in the remaining four races, with the equivalent of just one win covering the leading quintet..
"When I said [before Monza] I had a 50 per cent chance of winning the title, it was yes or no, I can win or I cannot win," the Spaniard explained, "It depends on how things, and how the races, go. In fact, if we are five drivers, we each have around a 20 per cent chance, although maybe Mark has a little bit more because he's in front.
"We saw, in two races, I was very bad after Spa in terms of championship points, not any more for the title fight. People thought it was a very bad championship, with a lot of mistakes and, now, after two races, I am second in the championship, eleven points behind Mark.