SINGAPORE // Fernando Alonso is determined to build on the momentum of winning in Italy with another victory under the lights in Singapore on Sunday as the Formula One title race heats up. The 29-year-old produced a near-flawless drive for Ferrari at Monza to put him third behind Red Bull's Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton of McLaren in the world championship standings with just five races of the season left.
"Despite failing to score in Belgium, where the accident on the first lap weighed heavily like a stone, Ferrari and I have scored more points than anyone else in these last four race" the Spaniard said. "That makes us even more confident and the fact these results came on tracks with very different characteristics to one another confirms for me that our car is pretty versatile." Alonso has a good record on Singapore's bumpy street circuit, winning controversially for Renault in 2008 when Nelson Piquet Jr deliberately crashed, before a third-place finish last year in a race that was won by Hamilton.
The Briton crashed out on the first lap in Monza, a mistake that cost him the lead in the championship, and he hopes to avoid similar mistakes on Sunday. "Winning in Singapore last year was one of the most satisfying victories of my Formula One career," said Hamilton, who has now failed to score in two of his past three races. "I have already drawn a line under Monza," he added. "I've learned from the experience and, while it was extremely disappointing, those things are sometimes what you need to sharpen your mind and raise your game and motivation at an extremely crucial time in the season."
Hamilton has 182 points in the title race, five behind Webber, with Alonso third on 166. Jenson Button, the world champion is still in the hunt with 164 points while Sebastian Vettel is fifth, a point further adrift. Webber managed only sixth in Italy and knows he needs to do better in Singapore, where the track demands precision, nerve and confidence. "I like Singapore. It's a high-downforce street circuit that should suit our car," the Australian driver said. "It's got some similarities to Monaco and Budapest and we did well at both those circuits, so I'm hoping for a strong result."
* Agence France-Presse