Alonso most successful driver here

5-year record beats Vettel's; only duo and Hamilton have won Singapore race

History is instructive. Particularly so in sport, where records are a benchmark, results and times an indication of progress or regression.

If that is the case, then Sebastian Vettel, who has won the past two editions of the SingTel Singapore Grand Prix, is the man to beat this weekend.

But a look at the results at the Marina Bay Street Circuit over all five editions will certainly give sections of the Ferrari faithful more than just a flicker of hope.

For while three-time world champion Vettel is the only man to have earned back-to-back wins here, Fernando Alonso is in fact the most successful driver in Singapore.

In terms of points garnered in the sport's only full night race (see graphic on the right), the Red Bull man has no doubt reaped the highest rewards with 77 gained since 2008.

That is from two firsts, a second, a fourth and fifth placing.

But while Alonso trails the German by nine points, he has had one podium position more - four to three.

The Spaniard is also, like Vettel, a two-time winner at Marina Bay.

The margin in the points accrued is down to the fact that Alonso's first win back in 2008 was worth only 10 points as opposed to the current 25.

The International Automobile Federation (FIA) changed the scoring system in 2010.

If the points were to be calculated solely on the current system, Alonso would have a slight edge, 92 to Vettel's 90.

Only one other man has triumphed in Singapore - Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton.

And the Briton, a popular figure here, will certainly fancy his chances of receiving the winner's trophy from Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean on Sunday night.

The former McLaren driver, world champion in 2008, is no slouch on Saturdays here - never qualifying outside the top four in all five races.

The only thing missing from his Marina Bay CV appears to be Lady Luck because despite his superb single-lap efforts, he has had only two podium placings - in 2008, when he was third, and when he won the race in 2009.

In 2010, he qualified third but retired on Lap 35 after coming off worse following a clash of wheels with Red Bull's Mark Webber.

Last year, he was on pole but gear-box trouble ended his race, his title challenge, and some say, his career at McLaren.

So will history repeat itself for Vettel, Alonso or Hamilton?

Or will Singapore finally welcome a new champion?

yulin@sph.com.sg