MotorSportsTalk’s Predictions: Singapore GP

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The Singapore Grand Prix may only have joined the F1 calendar in 2008, but it has quickly established itself as one of the most popular and unique events in the history of the sport.

Singapore is the original F1 night race, testing the drivers’ talents under the lights and the will of those in the paddock as regular sleeping patterns are left at home. Remaining on European time is a must, making anything before 6am an ‘early night’.

Lewis Hamilton arrives in Singapore with a healthy lead of 53 points over Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg at the top of the drivers’ championship, and will be gunning to continue his march to a third world title on Sunday.

Victory would see Hamilton draw level with his hero, Ayrton Senna, for 41 grand prix victories in 161 race starts, and bolster his championship lead to at least 60 points.

As ever, the MotorSportsTalk writing team has made its predictions for this weekend’s race. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

Race WinnerLewis Hamilton. Lewis is in the form of his life and has a good record in Singapore. With the boosted Mercedes engine in the back of his W06 Hybrid, I can’t see him missing out on a 41st grand prix victory this weekend.

Surprising FinishNico Hulkenberg. With Williams struggling at the more technical tracks in 2015, I’m backing Force India to be the third-fastest team this weekend. Hulkenberg could break into the top five with a clean race, and perhaps finish even higher up the order if Mercedes and/or Ferrari hit trouble.

Most to ProveMcLaren. Singapore is set to be McLaren’s ‘least-worst’ (because ‘best’ isn’t a word you can use to describe McLaren-Honda) grand prix in the run to the end of the season. Let’s see if Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button can do anything with their cars.

Additional Storyline to WatchRossi debuts. At long last, an American driver will line up on the grid once again in F1. Alexander Rossi will be hoping to make the most of it as he realises a life-long dream in Singapore.

Predict the Podium

1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
3. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

Race Winner: Lewis Hamilton. Why stop the roll now? Lewis is into that “keep picking him until he doesn’t win” mode, and a 41st Grand Prix victory would put him level with Ayrton Senna in as many career starts. It’ll also equal him with one of the other modern greats, Sebastian Vettel.

Surprising FinishDaniel Ricciardo. Expect the Red Bulls to excel at a track where horsepower isn’t as important. Daniel is bullish on the team’s chances – a second podium for him this year is possible but more likely a top-five result is a realistic aim.

Most to ProvePastor Maldonado. Maldonado is in a rough patch of five DNFs in his last eight Grands Prix, and hasn’t made it past Lap 2 since before the summer break in Hungary. Finishing is a must, with points a bonus for the driver who at least tends to excel at tracks like Singapore.

Additional Storyline to WatchThe haze. Haze situation is an unfortunate element lingering ahead of the weekend. We’ll see how the field handles it.

Predict the Podium

1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
3. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III