Who will be the winner of the Singapore F1 night race?

Sunday, September 28, 2008, 10:12 by Auto Correspondent

The first ever night race of Formula One will begin at Singapore in a few hours time. Felipe Massa is on pole, Lewis Hamilton who is one point ahead of him in the championship stakes is right behind him, and behind him is Kimi Raikkonen, whose chances of winning the championship this year are all but gone.

The first ever night race is also Singapore’s first ever Formula One race. The winner will always be remembered as the first person to win a night race – and there is a very good chance that the World Championship would also be decided at this race.

Felipe Massa of Ferrari pulled out a stunning lap in Q3 yesterday to get 0.6 seconds of the best time set by Lewis Hamilton of McLaren Mercedes. Neither Lewis nor Kimi had any answer to that.

Several drivers have already said, including Lewis Hamilton, that overtaking is going to be very difficult on this circuit – run off areas are tricky, track is bumpy in patches, and inside their overalls, drivers sweat in 30 degree heat. That is despite it being a night race – one would expect a night race to be a bit cooler and easier physically. If Lewis Hamilton is right that overtaking is tricky, then we might be in for a procession at Singapore.

But maybe not so, either. The initial corners are tricky – first or second corner crashes are a possibility. Also, drivers were extremely close to the walls in some segments of the track during the Singapore qualifying. They may not be that accurate during the race – which would bring in the safety car – and making it anyone’s race afterwards.

Another theory is that in such a physical race, the older and less fit drivers are going to be at a disadvantage – and that would also make it interesting to watch.

Kimi Raikkonen is right behind Lewis Hamilton on the grid. What would he do? He would definitely try to pass Lewis before the first corner – or even go all the way in front of Massa – but Kimi has not been in the best of form recently, and it is doubtful he can pull that off without any certainty. And not if Lewis Hamilton has anything to say about it.

All in all a very interesting race – the winner of the Singapore F1 race might also be the winner of the driver’s championship this year.

We will be updating this page the moment we know the winner.