The 61-lap Singapore Grand Prix, which is contested on the Marina Bay Street Circuit, is considered one of the longest and toughest races on the F1 calendar.
With six races to go, Nico Rosberg holds a 22-point lead over his Mercedes teammate and championship rival Lewis Hamilton. After Singapore, F1 will compete in Japan, Russia, United States, and Brazil before the season concludes in Abu Dhabi.
Earlier this month, Hamilton bounced back from a poor start and then capitalized from a mistake made by Rosberg to win the Italian Grand Prix in Monza. Hamilton started on the pole but had a sluggish start when he experienced a glitch with his power unit, dropping him to fourth.
Rosberg gave up the lead to Hamilton during the mid-stages when he out-braked in the first corner and had to use the escape road to recover. Hamilton went on to beat Rosberg at the finish by 3.1 seconds for his sixth victory of the season. He also gained seven points on his teammate.
"It was a good feeling to finally get back on the top step at Monza, especially after another tough start to the race," Hamilton said. "Obviously with Nico coming second, I haven't been able to close the gap too much, but there's still plenty of points to be won, and I'm glad to have taken a step forward."
On Friday, Hamilton posted the fastest lap overall in practice, which came in the second session. He made a lap around this 3.259-mile (5.065-kilometer), 23-turn temporary street circuit in 1 minute, 47.490 seconds. Rosberg's best lap in P2 was clocked at 1:49.075, placing him 13th on the charts.
In P1, Fernando Alonso from Ferrari had the quickest lap in 1:49.056, while Hamilton was just 0.122 seconds off the pace. Rosberg was 0.149 seconds behind in third.
"Today was a work in progress," Hamilton said. "We made some changes between P1 and P2, and whether it was those changes or the track itself, the balance didn't feel right. It felt like we lost a bit of performance, but we'll look into the details and see what it was."
This will be the seventh time F1 has competed in Singapore. Four of the last five races here have been won from the pole position. Hamilton started on the pole and won this event in 2009 when he drove for McLaren.
"Pole here has always been very important," he said. "The right side of the grid, for example, always seems to get the better starts. Being up at the front will be crucial, and that's obviously my target for qualifying (Saturday). Nico (Rosberg) looks very quick, as do the Ferraris (Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen) and the Red Bulls (Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo), but I'm feeling good this weekend and I'm focused on the job."
Vettel has won the past three Singapore GPs. The four-time F1 world champion has yet to win this season.
Series: Formula One. Date: Sunday, Sept. 21. Race: Singapore Grand Prix. Site: Marina Bay Street Circuit. Track: 3.259-mile (5.065-kilometer), 23-turn temporary street circuit. Start Time: 8 a.m. ET. Laps: 61. Miles: 191.158 (308.828 km). 2013 Winner: Sebastian Vettel. Television: NBC Sports Network.