World championship leader Lewis Hamilton has warned race fans to expect a tense, rather than exciting, Singapore Grand Prix, where strategy is once again likely to be a bigger determining factor than racecraft.
Having qualified second on the grid alongside main title rival Felipe Massa, the Briton admitted that he did not expect to see too much overtaking in Formula One's first night race, but insisted that he was confident in the tactical plan put together by the McLaren team.
"You won't be able to overtake here, not if you're as quick as the guy in front," he claimed, "For the quicker cars, there's not really much time difference. I was behind David Coulthard [in qualifying] and, [although] I was quite a bit quicker, I couldn't get close enough [to pass]. We've just got to play it by ear and do the best job that we can tomorrow."
With Massa on pole ahead of him, observers were quick to pick up on the similarities to the inaugural European GP in Valencia, where the race was dictated at the start and Hamilton was unable to overhaul his rival.
"Most likely, it depends who gets to the first corner first," he noted, "[Second] is the dirtier side, so it's always the slower side. As I said, it's unlikely [that we will] be able to overtake, so we might see another Valencia."
The gap between the top two at the end of qualifying was a relatively massive six-tenths, but Hamilton insisted that he was not going to let that concern him, with the vagaries of fuel load and the belief that he had 'played it safe' providing possible explanations.
"I can't be worried but, for sure, I don't think that my lap was anywhere near perfect by any means," he maintained, "As Felipe said, he did a perfect lap and his car was great. We know that they are very competitive, but we don't know what their strategy is.
"We're not worried, we're in a very strong position tomorrow with the strategy we're on. I'm quite happy with where I am. I think it's going to be a tough race tomorrow but as I said, in the position we're in, we're looking quite good."
It could all have been a lot different for Hamilton, however, as he again flirted with not making the top ten shoot-out. Unlike Monza, however, he was able to determine his own destiny and, having lost a couple of potential top ten runs, managed to haul himself into eighth place with seconds left in the session. They were not tension-free, however, with the two Red Bull drivers still on track and holding top ten potential. Ultimately, neither came close enough to worry Hamilton, who had already been bumped down to tenth by Timo Glock and Kazuki Nakajima.