Mercedes motorsport vice-president Norbert Haug has insisted that there will be no nail-biting in the Woking camp over the next few Formula One rounds, despite Lewis Hamilton having his world championship lead trimmed to just a single point after Monza.
As the F1 circus gears up for its first trip to Singapore, and its first-ever night race, Haug is quick to point out that the Briton's scoring record to date suggests that he should be able to withstand the recent setbacks of being stripped of victory in Belgium and then hamstrung by an error in qualifying that left him to fight back from 15th on the grid in tricky conditions.
Ferrari's Felipe Massa, Hamilton's only real
rival for the 2008 title, benefited on both occasions, being handed the Spa-Francorchamps victory despite being largely anonymous in the race, and coming home one place ahead of the McLaren driver at Monza - despite starting nine places ahead of him.....
The upshot is that the Brazilian, who has one more win than Hamilton courtesy of the Belgian success swapping hands, has taken seven points out of his rival's lead since Hungary - a race where he lost a certain victory and Hamilton struggled to fifth after a blow-out. Haug, however, apparently remains unconcerned.
“We see no reason to be nervous," the burly German claimed, "In his 31 grands prix so far, Lewis has scored 187 points, six on average per race. During this period, no other F1 driver has collected more points. In 26 of those 31 grands prix, Lewis finished in the points, 20 of those occasions finishing on the podium. In the previous six races, he alone has scored as many points as both drivers of our toughest competitor.”
Although, like Valencia, it shares many similarities with Monaco, the Singapore street circuit is wider and significantly faster, with an average speed of about 175km/h being calculated. The biggest difference to any
previous F1 race, however, is the fact that it will be run under lights as the category experiments with night racing for the first time.
“The Singapore Grand Prix will be the fifth street race on the calendar - after Melbourne, Monte Carlo, Montreal and Valencia - and we look forward to the atmosphere of the first night race," Haug commented, "This premiere will certainly be the most exciting in F1 history – in the middle of the night, in the middle of the metropolis.
“Lewis showed a great race and overtook impressively after the tyre choice in qualifying which unfortunately led to his 15th grid position and, with Heikki's second and Lewis' seventh places, the team still scored ten points in Monza. More were possible, but now we want to pick up our good shape of the second third of the season, and then we head into the right direction."