Formula One

Hamilton hoping to gain more ground on Alonso in Singapore

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Formula One runs its lone night race of the season with the Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday.

The 61-lap race contested on Singapore's 3.152-mile, 23-turn temporary street circuit is considered as one of the longest and toughest events on the calendar.

Heading to Singapore, Fernando Alonso from Ferrari holds a 37-point lead over McLaren's Lewis Hamilton. Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen is one point behind Hamilton, while two-time defending world champion Sebastian Vettel from Red Bull trails Raikkonen by a single marker.

McLaren has been the hottest team lately, winning the last three races.

Hamilton won the Hungarian Grand Prix and then finished 23rd in the Belgian Grand Prix after being involved in a multi-car wreck on the opening lap. He rebounded with the victory in the Italian Grand Prix.

His teammate, Jenson Button, put on a flawless performance to win in Belgium. Button led from start to finish in the 44-lap race. His 23rd-place finish due to a fuel system issue in Italy put him a distant 78 points behind Alonso.

Hamilton is at the height of F1's "silly season" right now. It remains to be seen if Hamilton will re-sign with McLaren or move over to Mercedes for the upcoming season. With seven races to go, he's concentrating more on winning the championship.

"We're now inching closer to the finishing line, and this is where it starts to get exciting," Hamilton said. "After winning in Hungary and Monza, I head to Singapore full of positivity and optimism that we can take the title fight to Fernando."

Alonso won the inaugural Singapore GP in 2008 and then claimed another victory in this event two years later. His other finishes in Singapore are third and fourth.

Hamilton won the 2009 race but finished 19th in 2010 and fifth last year.

"Although I had a fantastic win there back in 2009, I've not had the greatest of results in Singapore recently," he said. "I got a puncture and retired after tangling with Mark Webber in 2010, and I was delayed after touching wheels with Felipe (Massa) last year. Both those races were unlucky for me. I think I need a better roll of the dice this time around."

Vettel is the defending race winner. After leading all 61 laps in last year's race, Vettel left Singapore needing only one more point to clinch his second straight F1 title. He captured it in the following round in Japan.

The last three Singapore GP's have been won from the pole position.

Series: Formula One. Date: Sunday, September 23. Race: Singapore Grand Prix. Site: Marina Bay Street Circuit. Track: 3.152-mile (5.073-kilometer), 23-turn street circuit. Start Time: 8 a.m. (et). Laps: 61. Miles: 192.272 (309.316 km). 2011 Winner: Sebastian Vettel. Television: Speed.

09/20 00:58:57 ET

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