Alonso: Lewis my biggest threat
Fernando Alonso has lavished more praise on Lewis Hamilton, identifying him as his main challenger in what may be a six-driver title contest.
The pair's previously-frosty relationship, which reached its nadir at the bitter culmination of their mutually-destructive solitary year together at McLaren in 2007, has noticeably thawed in recent months. Though perhaps not reaching a situation of warmth, Hamilton and Alonso have repeatedly praised the other throughout the current season and the Spaniard reiterated his admiration of his ex-colleague when facing the press at Singapore.
According to Alonso, McLaren will start the weekend as favourites to claim a fourth successive victory, while Hamilton, now second in the standings, is both his closest and main title challenger. As such, the championship leader's ambition in this Sunday's race will be straightforward: to finish ahead of Hamilton and thereby almost certainly extend his advantage at the summit.
"There are many teams that are strong and are still contenders, with maybe five or six drivers that can fight for the title," Fernando told Ferrari's website. "Lewis is second at the moment and since February, we have said that he is the one that probably I respect the most, because we know what he can do in good cars or bad cars.
"In terms of strategy, it is almost impossible to cover five drivers, as they can make pit stops at different times, so in this race, we need to cover whichever driver is closest in the classification, which means Lewis at the moment. McLaren has won the last two races and so they are the favourites here as well."
Not that Ferrari should be under-estimated either. The team have prepared a wide-ranging package of upgrades for the first of the flyaways, while Alonso is recognised as being a Singapore specialist having twice won around the the Marina Bay Street Circuit.
"It is a challenging track, with no room for mistakes, which means that, in this respect, it is like Monaco," said the Spaniard. "You have to take risks, you have to find your limits, but without making any error. At other circuits, if maybe you run wide on the grass on one corner in free practice, you just lose the lap, but here you lose the whole session."