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Alonso holds off Vettel as Hamilton crashes out

NEWS STORY
26/09/2010

As we said two weeks ago at Monza, I race might not be won at the first corner, indeed, on the first lap, but it can most certainly be lost. Therefore, with so much at stake, and we refer to the 2010 titles not just the Singapore Grand Prix, the five drivers at the front of the grid this afternoon would be well advised to remember that.

Then again, should Fernando and friends feels that the race can be won at the first corner, the odds must favour the Ferrari and McLarens rather than the Red Bulls, whose starts are often less than rewarding.

Bearing in mind the fact that even the slightest downpour tends to leave the track damp for hours afterwards, the good news is that there hasn't been any rain so far today. There has been the threat of it. Indeed, there have been some very, very dark clouds, but no actual raindrops.

Some say that experience will win the championship while others point to consistency. Of the five contenders, in terms of titles, Alonso has the upper hand, while Webber and Vettel are comparative virgins. In terms of consistency, Ferrari once again has the edge, the F10 being the most reliable car on the grid.

That said, as we reach the final stages of the championship battle, the engine rule could well come into play, something that will worry Alonso far more than Webber.

Ignoring the battle between the five championship hopefuls - and that isn't easy - it will be interesting to watch several other drivers today most notably Barrichello, Kubica and Schumacher. Also keep an eye out for Alguersuari, who has looked very determined all weekend, and Hulkenberg who was so frustrated with his performance in qualifying yesterday.

Despite the best efforts of the powers that be and sections of the media, Singapore still has a long way to go before it is really accepted by the fans - the lack of overtaking points and simple landmarks being just two of the reasons. However, it is still better, and less clinical than Valencia and Abu Dhabi. However, having come here straight from Monza, where the passion for the sport was self evident, it is clear that the East - despite being the future of F1 - still has a long way to go.

Following his problem in Q1 yesterday, Massa is starting from the pitlane, the team having subsequently decided to change his engine and gearbox. Already, cynics on the web are claiming that this is part of a Ferrari strategy aimed at gifting the race to teammate to Alonso. However, only when we hear Rob Smedley saying "Felipe, you are further from the wall than you think you are...", followed by the word "sorry" that we will give such nonsense any credence.

Tyres today are medium (prime) and supersoft (option) however, there has been little between the two for much of this weekend. Of more interest is brake wear which is quite unforgiving here, just ask Mark Webber who will remember last year's race.

As the field prepares to head off on the warm-up lap, the air temperature is 30 degrees C, while the track temperature is 31 degrees. Humidity is 62 percent. The sky, dark as it is, is clear, with no hint of rain.

Jaime Alguersuari is starting from the pitlane following a water leak, while Hulkenberg starts from seventeenth after receiving a five place grid penalty for changing the gearbox on his car.

The field heads off on the warm-up lap, Alonso leading the pack. Everyone gets away, almost all on the option (super-soft) tyre.

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