So, five grands prix to go, five drivers in it, all covered by fewer points than are awarded for a race victory – and the greatest trophy in the sport up for grabs. Who do you think will clinch the F1 2010 crown?
The situation heading east for this weekend's third edition of the popular, floodlit Singapore Grand Prix is as follows: Mark Webber leads on 187 points, Lewis Hamilton is next up on 182, and pursuers Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel all find themselves blanketed by just three points on respectively 166, 165 and 163. Not since 1981 has it been so close – or so unpredictable.
On the basis that he still heads the standings following what should theoretically have been two of Red Bull Racing's toughest weekends of the season at Spa-Francorchamps and Monza – with all of the remaining circuits expected to suit the Adrian Newey-designed RB6 rather better – Webber is arguably in the strongest position, and is also the 'winningest' driver of the campaign thus far, with four successes to his name from 14 starts.
However, to discount Hamilton would be folly, for the McLaren-Mercedes star is nothing if not determined, and as a pure racer
there are few to genuinely rival him. If any of the quintet is truly capable of outperforming the equipment at his disposal, it is Lewis, and don't forget that the 25-year-old already has experience of tense title-deciders from his near-miss in 2007 and triumph in 2008, which could prove to be an invaluable benefit should the duel go all the way down to the wire.
Alonso and Button, similarly, know what it takes to lift the laurels, and both have been written off on more occasions this year than they have been touted for glory. The Spaniard seems capable of springing a surprise just when one is least anticipated, whilst his British adversary is the master of turning disadvantageous race day situations around to his benefit whenever the weather takes a turn or strategy becomes the order of the day.
As to Webber's team-mate Vettel, many have opined that in the light of the young German's series of calamitous, impetuosity-driven errors in F1 2010 – not least of which those committed in Turkey and Belgium – he is not ready to vie for the ultimate prize just yet. On out-and-out raw speed, though, the 23-year-old has been the benchmark this season – with pole position in half of the races contested – and he indisputably has the full support of his team behind him.
Who will claim F1 2010 crown?
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