Champion leader crashes out of Italian Grand Prix on the first lap after colliding with Ferrari’s Massa.
|Webber believes the conditions in Singapore at the weekend will suit his Red Bull team [EPA]|
Mark Webber has yet to finish a Singapore Grand Prix but the Formula One championship leader can expect to be third-time lucky this weekend as the title battle moves up a gear.
The Red Bull driver holds a five-point advantage over McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton with five races remaining and five drivers still very much in the hunt.
“We should be closer to the front than we were in Singapore last year, as the car has changed a lot,” said Webber, winner of four races this season.
“Help from Vettel? It depends on the team. Rest assured, I have not asked for anything”
Mark Webber, Red Bull driver
“We’re very confident we’ll go there and go well.”
Hamilton, the 2008 champion, has a good record at the floodlit Marina Bay circuit and won the night race last season from pole position.
Two retirements in the Briton’s last three races, sandwiched around a victory in Belgium, and the Red Bull’s speed around the tight and twistier circuits have given Webber grounds for optimism.
“Singapore should suit us if Monaco is anything to go by,” said the Australian, who won around that street circuit in May as well as in Hungary.
“Hamilton destroyed us in Monaco and Budapest last year and this year we gave them a touch-up at both those races.
“We’ve seen performance move around a little bit… not much… against the form card, but on paper, the next few circuits look like they should be good for us.”
Webber also enjoys a 24-point advantage over his quick-but-erratic team mate Sebastian Vettel but is not expecting any favours from the German, who is refusing to give up his own title ambitions.
“Help from Vettel? It depends on the team,” the Australian added.
“Rest assured, I have not asked for anything. It’s the same at McLaren.”
Hamilton failed to complete a lap at the last Grand Prix in Monza, the Briton retiring after banging wheels with Felipe Massa’s Ferrari in a rash attempt to overtake the Brazilian for third place.
McLaren backed their man to bounce back from that mistake and the 25-year-old does not plan to change his aggressive approach to racing.
“I’ve had two non-finishes and one win in the last three races… and, while that’s not bad, it does mean that I lost points to some of the other drivers in the hunt for the title,” the Briton said.
“Those results aren’t enough to get me the title. l’ll keep pushing. I’ll take each race as it comes but I’ll also be making sure I get to the finish of the next five races… that’s more important than anything. I go to Singapore to win.”
Monza proved to be a pivotal race for Fernando Alonso and Ferrari, the Spaniard’s victory at the team’s home circuit dragged the two-time world champion back into the mix for a third crown as he continues a late-season surge.
“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 races,” the 29-year-old 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.”