Vettel victorious in Singapore

Sebastian Vettel achieved his second successive victory at Marina Bay, benefitting from a non-finish from Lewis Hamilton to close down the championship points gap to Fernando Alonso.

This was Vettel’s second win of the season and Red Bull Racing’s thirty-first. The Milton Keynes-based team is now joint seventh in the all time Formula One records.

Jenson Button claimed second for McLaren, with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso taking third place thereby maintaining his lead in the world championship.

Front-row starter Pastor Maldonado had to retire with hydraulic failure having battled with Alonso for the final podium spot.

Hamilton and Vettel ran in close company prior to the McLaren’s gearbox issue, although it seemed Lewis had this race under control.

Third-placed Button fell away at first, before regaining the lost ground as he got better tyre longevity than those ahead.

Vettel made his first pitstop two laps earlier than Hamilton, and though this initially looked costly as he dropped into time-consuming traffic, once he was in clear air his pace on fresh Pirellis was sufficient to make up all the time lost and keep him between the McLarens.

That position became the race lead on lap 22, when Hamilton was forced to stop the car with a gearbox failure.

Button then kept Vettel honest to the finish, with the race heading towards the two-hour limit.

The Red Bull driver stayed calm through two mid-race safety car periods: the first for Narain Karthikeyan sliding his HRT into the barriers at the tunnel entrance, and the second when Michael Schumacher smashes into Jean-Eric Vergne on the restart lap.

Those safety car periods resolved the third-place battle. When Maldonado, who had fallen from second to fourth at the start, pitted for a second time under the first caution, he rejoined tenth while Alonso stayed out and moved up to third.

That decision probably secured the place for Ferrari even before Williams ordered Maldonado to retire with a hydraulic problem before the green.

Paul di Resta kept the frontrunners in sight throughout to score an excellent fourth for Force India, outpacing fifth-placed Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes.

Lotus took sixth and seventh with Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean on its least competitive weekend this season.

Ferrari’s Felipe Massa picked up a puncture on lap one, yet fought back to secure eighth. Along the way, the Brazilian overtook Bruno Senna with an incredible move that saw him bounce off the Williams and the wall before arriving at Turn 13 completely sideways but in front.

The safety car timing hurt Mark Webber’s strategy, and the best he could manage was to battle through to tenth, right on Daniel Ricciardo’s tail.

And yet, hours after the chequered flag dropped, the race stewards have added a twenty-second penalty to Mark Webber’s race time for overtaking Kamui Kobayashi off-track. The Australian drops down to P11, with Sergio Perez promote up to tenth.

Among other incidents, Nico Hulkenberg clashed with both Saubers on consecutive laps late on, with Sergio Perez the only one involved to get away without having to pit for repairs.

Also notable was Timo Glock’s P12, which moved Marussia ahead of Caterham in the constructors’ standings.

The Singapore Grand Prix wasn’t the most exciting race this season. More like a procession but the end results means the championship is building up to a dramatic finale.

Sebastian Vettel’s victory at Singapore means he is now 29 points behind championship leader Fernando Alonso. While Lewis Hamilton’s non-finish means he has dropped down to fourth, 52 points adrift.

Singapore Grand Prix, after 61 laps:

1.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault           2h00:26.144
2.  Button        McLaren-Mercedes           +8.959
3.  Alonso        Ferrari                    +15.227
4.  Di Resta      Force India-Mercedes       +19.063
5.  Rosberg       Mercedes                   +34.759
6.  Raikkonen     Lotus-Renault              +35.700
7.  Grosjean      Lotus-Renault              +36.600
8.  Massa         Ferrari                    +42.800
9.  Ricciardo     Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +45.800
10.  Perez         Sauber-Ferrari             +50.600
11.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault           +1m.07.100*
12.  Glock         Marussia-Cosworth          +1 lap
13.  Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari             +1 lap
14.  Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes       +1 lap
15.  Pic           Marussia-Cosworth          +1 lap
16.  Kovalainen    Caterham-Renault           +1 lap
17.  De la Rosa    HRT-Cosworth               +1 lap
18.  Senna         Williams-Renault           +2 laps
19.  Petrov        Caterham-Renault           +2 laps

Fastest lap: Hulkenberg, 1:51.033

*20-second penalty for going off track

Not classified/retirements:

Vergne        Toro Rosso-Ferrari           41 laps
Schumacher    Mercedes                     41 laps
Maldonado     Williams-Renault             41 laps
Karthikeyan   HRT-Cosworth                 33 laps
Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes             25 laps

World Championship standings, round 14:

1.  Alonso       194
2.  Vettel       165
3.  Raikkonen    149
4.  Hamilton     142
5.  Webber       132
6.  Button       119
7.  Rosberg       93
8.  Grosjean      82
9.  Perez         66
10.  Massa         51
11.  Di Resta      44
12.  Schumacher    43
13.  Kobayashi     35
14.  Hulkenberg    31
15.  Maldonado     29
16.  Senna         25
17.  Vergne         8
18.  Ricciardo      6

1.  Red Bull-Renault          297
2.  McLaren-Mercedes          261
3.  Ferrari                   245
4.  Lotus-Renault             231
5.  Mercedes                  136
6.  Sauber-Ferrari            101
7.  Force India-Mercedes       75
8.  Williams-Renault           54
9.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari         14

Next race: Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka. October 5-7.

15 thoughts to “Vettel victorious in Singapore”

  1. After winning the Singapore Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel commented that McLaren were faster compared to his Red Bull. has the story.

    Sebastian Vettel is convinced he did not have the quickest car in Singapore after scoring his first win in five months.

    The Red Bull driver, who had not won a race since the Bahrain Grand Prix in April, took advantage of Lewis Hamilton’s retirement from the lead of the race to control it from the front.

    Vettel beat McLaren’s Jenson Button and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso to move into second place in the championship, 29 points behind the Spaniard.

    The German had started from third position and moved into second at the start, but Hamilton had looked like favourite for victory until his retirement.

    Vettel admitted Red Bull still needs to improve to catch McLaren, but the world champion was elated with his victory.

    “We didn’t have the fastest package this weekend but we still won so I am very happy,” said Vettel.

    “We have to improve. There is still a little bit we need to gain and at the moment McLaren is probably the fastest car and the Ferrari is a bit of an all-rounder, it is always there.”

    Vettel said the championship situation with six races to go looked brighter after reducing the gap to Alonso by 10 points in a single race.

    “It looks better than before. Fernando finished third and it’s 10 points better than before. There are a lot of races left, and it’s difficult to predict what is going to happen. We have to make sure we finish the races.

    “The pace is there and even if we are not quick enough to win – we have to make sure we do that. It is a tough championship so far but we are still in it.”

    Vettel’s win was his 23rd in Formula 1, matching Nelson Piquet.

  2. Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button have been summoned to see the stewards of the Singapore Grand Prix over an incident during a safety car period.

    McLaren driver Button nearly made contact with Vettel as the Red Bull driver swerved and braked to warm up his tyres before the first restart.

    “Sebastian accelerated and braked for the right hand and I didn’t expect that,” said Button after the race.

    “There was such a speed difference. I locked up and just missed his car – which would have been embarrassing.”

    The duo has been called to see the stewards over the incident.

    Vettel won the race from Button to take his second victory of the season.


  3. Despite finishing on the podium yet again and extending his championship lead, Fernando Alonso has stressed the point that Ferrari must improve its speed to become competitive in the final six races. has the details.

    Fernando Alonso says that Ferrari still needs to bring a more competitive car to the Japanese Grand Prix, despite salvaging third place in Singapore.

    The world championship leader was concerned all weekend that his Ferrari was not on the pace of main rivals McLaren and Red Bull.

    Alonso was still able to beat Red Bull’s Mark Webber and benefited from Lewis Hamilton retiring his McLaren from the lead to finish third behind Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button.

    That result keeps Alonso’s championship lead at 29 points over Vettel.

    But Alonso does not believe that will be sufficient with six races to go, unless Ferrari improves.

    “This year is a bit difficult to predict, but we need to improve the performance we saw here,” Alonso said.

    “Positions five and 13 [on the grid] for our cars is not what we are hoping for. We need to be in a better position at Suzuka.”

    Alonso acknowledged that considering his machinery, Singapore had to be considered as a positive weekend.

    “Monza was reasonable in the race and Sebastian retired, and here Sebastian won and Lewis retired so for me it is OK if they keep doing it like this,” he said.

    “Of the four or five contenders we lost points to one, and with the others we gained an advantage.

    “When we are not quick enough, to get points over three of our opponents was good.”

  4. Michael Schumacher suspects a mechanical failure caused his collision with Jean-Eric Vergne during the Singapore Grand Prix.

    Schumacher’s Mercedes slammed into the back of Vergne’s Toro Rosso as the Frenchman battled with Sergio Perez’s Sauber on the restart lap after the race’s first safety car period.

    “After the safety car I braked a little bit earlier than I would normally do for that corner,” Schumacher said.

    “The car wouldn’t decelerate and I need to investigate why that was the case.

    “I just went straight on the brakes very hard, locked up everything and tried to brake as hard as possible but the accident wasn’t avoidable any more.”

    Schumacher expressed his sympathy for Vergne, who had looked set for a points finish.

    “Obviously I feel sorry for Jean-Eric that he had to retire and for the guys in my team, but we have to find out what happened,” said the seven-time champion.


  5. Ferrari’s Felipe Massa was unimpressed with his near-miss incident with Bruno Senna. has the story.

    Felipe Massa described his near-miss with Bruno Senna in the Singapore Grand Prix as “really not nice” and admitted he had initially been furious.

    The two Brazilians were battling for ninth after the second safety car restart. The Williams and Ferrari went side by side through the Turn 11/12 kink over the Anderson Bridge, with Massa making contact with both Senna and the barriers before catching a huge slide as he completed the outbraking move into Turn 13.

    Massa felt Senna should have given him more room.

    “I think that was really not nice because I was already alongside and he pushed over to my car and wedged me into the wall,” said Massa.

    “Fortunately nothing happy with my car. I’m a little bit more calm now.”

    At the time Massa was fighting back through the field after sustaining a puncture on lap one.

    He eventually finished eighth, but was convinced he had top-five pace despite only qualifying 13th.

    “It was a puncture because someone touched me,” said Massa. “It’s unfortunate but the car today was fantastic.

    “I was so happy with the car and the pace and how I was driving today.

    “Even starting 13th it was a race where we could’ve finished in the top five with both cars.

    “I’m happy with my race but not with what happened at the first corner, but it’s true that starting near the back it’s more likely this can happen.”

  6. There was one brief moment when Jenson Button almost smashed into the back of race leader Sebastian Vettel. The McLaren driver admitted later that he was left feeling relieved to not hitting the Red Bull during the safety car period. has the details.

    Jenson Button admitted that it would have been a major embarrassment had he taken Sebastian Vettel and himself out of the Singapore Grand Prix behind the safety car.

    The McLaren driver avoided a collision with Vettel by just inches as the pair were weaving while attempting to warm-up their tyres as the safety car prepared to pull in at the end of lap 36.

    Having been caught out by race leader Vettel braking suddenly in front of him, Button lost control of his car and was just able to steer it away from the Red Bull instead of hitting it.

    Vettel won the race while Button finished second.

    “We were waiting for the restart. Sebastian accelerated and braked for the right-hander and I didn’t expect such a speed difference,” Button said.

    “I locked up and just missed his car – which would have been embarrassing.”

    The stewards are looking into the incident.

    Button said that his second-place finish was a small consolation for his retirement at Monza last time out.

    But he also hinted that McLaren needs to get on top of its reliability problems of late, after Lewis Hamilton retired from the lead of the Singapore race.

    “It was a good second place, which I am happy with, because you cannot win them all,” he added.

    “But for us, as a team, to have another failure this weekend is disappointing.

    “At least the important thing is we have a quick car and every race we go to we have a chance of winning.”

  7. Pastor Maldonado believes his Singapore Grand Prix performance shows that Williams has the pace to score more grand prix victories before the 2012 Formula 1 season is over.

    Maldonado has not scored a point since his shock win in the Spanish GP in May, but qualified on the front row in Singapore.

    After losing two places on lap one, Maldonado was battling with Fernando Alonso for third place before suffering a hydraulic problem and retiring.

    Despite that disappointment, Maldonado said his race performance left him full of confidence for the rest of the season.

    “I was running quite well. The race pace was decent,” he said.

    “I’m confident for the next race. We have the pace, we have the potential to be fighting for victory and I hope to have better luck.”

    Maldonado dropped from second to fourth on lap one, but denied he had been over-cautious in reaction to previous incidents.

    “The start was OK but just at the first corner on cold tyres I ran a bit wide, that’s why I lost the places,” he said.


  8. Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne was not angry with Michael Schumacher’s race ending crash during the Singapore Grand Prix. has the news story.

    Jean-Eric Vergne said there was no point in being angry at Michael Schumacher, despite feeling that he lost a seventh-placed finish in the Singapore Grand Prix because of the German.

    The seven-time world champion crashed into the back of Vergne’s Toro Rosso on lap 38 after the appearing to leave his braking too late.

    Schumacher said afterwards that Button finished second he thought a mechanical failure had caused the accident.

    Vergne was philosophical about the crash.

    “I was focusing on catching Sergio Perez at that point, trying to brake late to catch him, so I am not too sure what happened exactly, but I assume Michael braked a bit too late and could not avoid running in to me,” said Vergne.

    “There is no sense in being angry about it, because these things happen in racing and even the most experienced driver on the grid can make mistakes! He said sorry and that’s the end of it.”

    The Frenchman, however, felt his retirement cost him the chance of finishing as high as seventh.

    “Overall, I am very happy with the way this weekend went, because I personally made a lot of progress from Friday through to tonight. The team also worked very well to improve the car throughout the three days.

    “It’s just a shame it did not end with the points for eighth or maybe even seventh place.”

    His team-mate Daniel Ricciardo finished in ninth to give Toro Rosso its second helping of points in three races.

  9. After leading the early part of the race from pole position, McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton has commented that he was “cruising” before he was forced to retire with a gearbox failure. has the details.

    Lewis Hamilton says he was “cruising” during the Singapore Grand Prix before his “heartbreaking” retirement from the race.

    The Briton had started from pole position and was keeping Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull at bay when he suffered a gearbox problem on lap 22.

    The retirement meant Hamilton has dropped from second to fourth in the drivers’ championship.

    The McLaren driver had no doubts he had the pace to win the race comfortably.

    “It’s heartbreaking not to have finished the race today,” said Hamilton.

    “We definitely had the pace to win this weekend. In fact, before I retired, I was cruising; just managing the gap back to Seb.

    “Then I started to experience difficulty with the gearshift, then I lost third gear, and then the ‘box kept dropping into neutral.”

    Hamilton is now 52 points behind championship leader Fernando Alonso with six races to go.

    Although he concedes it will be hard to beat his rivals to the title, Hamilton insisted he is determined to fight until the end.

    “Obviously, I was disappointed, but the good thing we can take away from this weekend is that we have extremely good pace,” he said.

    “As a result, I think we can really attack in the next few races. It’s going to be hard to close the gap to guys like Fernando [Alonso] and Sebastian, especially when they keep finishing race after race, but I’ll never give up.

    “There are six more races, and I need to go and win all six. I’ll fight until the end.”

  10. Michael Schumacher will lose 10 places on the grid for the Japanese Grand Prix following his crash with Jean-Eric Vergne in Singapore.

    The Mercedes driver crashed into the back of the Toro Rosso after losing control of his car under braking following the first safety car period.

    Although Schumacher suspected a mechanical failure was the cause of his crash, stewards have handed the German a 10-place grid penalty for the upcoming race at Suzuka.

    “I just went straight on the brakes very hard, locked up everything and tried to brake as hard as possible but the accident wasn’t avoidable any more,” Schumacher said.


  11. Marussia driver Timo Glock is feeling optimistic that the team can now fend off Caterham in the constructors’ championship. has the details.

    Timo Glock is hopeful Marussia will be able to hold on to 10th place in the Formula 1 constructors’ championship after was he labelled as an incredible Singapore Grand Prix.

    The German and his team put on their strongest performance of the season so far to finish in 12th position, a result that moved Marussia ahead of Caterham in the standings and into a crucial 10th place.

    Glock said Sunday’s result was a reward for the team’s hard work to close in on its rivals after a difficult start to the season.

    “An incredible race for us,” said Glock. “In general I knew that, with our strategy, we could really do something if we stayed close to [Heikki] Kovalainen in the first stint and that’s what I tried to do – to get everything out of the car.

    “We do of course need to hold on to 10th place until the end of the season still and I hope we can.

    “Over the last four months we have really closed that gap to Caterham and this is a very nice reward to everyone in the team because it has not been easy. We’ll enjoy the moment but keep pushing now for the next race and beyond.”

    Team-mate Charles Pic completed a strong weekend for the team by finishing in 15th position, although the Frenchman dropped to 16th following his practice penalty.

    “Today’s team result is very important for everyone and it is a very nice reward for all the incredible hard work at the track and back at the factory this year,” said Pic.

    “Overall, it has been a strong weekend and I am pleased with my performance from FP1 to qualifying at what has perhaps been the more challenging of the new tracks I have tackled for the first time this season. And there are a few more yet to come!

    “Overall though, racing here in Singapore has been an incredible experience and one I look forward to repeating.”

  12. Kimi Raikkonen believes he had the pace to finish in fifth position in the Singapore Grand Prix, although he admitted sixth was a good result given Lotus’s form.

    “After the result in qualifying today’s race was not too bad, but I think we had a chance to do a bit better,” said Raikkonen, who had qualified in 12th position.

    “We weren’t quick enough to be fighting for the podium but the first safety car didn’t help us and maybe we could have gained an extra place without that.

    “We were definitely faster than Michael [Schumacher] and Nico [Rosberg] but we ended up stuck behind them for most of the race which was frustrating. It’s so hard to overtake here that you have to rely on passing people in the pitstops or on someone making a mistake.”

    The Finn kept third position in the championship thanks to Lewis Hamilton’s retirement, but he is aware that his team will have to get more performance out of its car in order to stay in the fight.

    “I’m still third in the drivers’ championship but we’ve got some improvements to make for the next races to be fighting with the cars in front,” Raikkonen said. “Hopefully we can make a step forward in Japan and take it from there.”

    Team-mate Romain Grosjean marked his return to action after his one-race ban with another points finish, crossing the chequered flag right behind Raikkonen.

    “It was a tough race but not a bad result in the end,” Grosjean said. “Our performance was much better than what we would have expected at the start of the weekend.

    “Of course, I dropped a position to Kimi as well; he was quicker than me towards the end of the race and there was no sense in holding him up.”


  13. No action will be taken between Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button over that near collision during the safety car restart. has the details.

    Sebastian Vettel has kept his Singapore Grand Prix victory after the stewards deemed he had not done anything wrong during the first safety car period.

    Vettel was summoned to see the stewards over alleged erratic driving when Jenson Button nearly made contact with him as the Red Bull driver swerved and braked to prepare for the restart.

    The sporting rules state that “No car may be driven unnecessarily slowly, erratically or in a manner which could be deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers or any other person at any time whilst the safety car is deployed. This will apply whether any such car is being driven on the track, the pit entry or the pitlane.”

    The stewards said, however, that, having examined Vettel’s telemetry they did not find any erratic driving and so the German kept his win.

    “An examination of the telemetry overlay for throttle, steering and brake traces of both cars did not indicate any erratic driving behaviour on the part of the race leader,” said a stewards’ statement.

    “It is noted that Article 40.13 provides that the first car may dictate the pace.”

    McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh said the duo had been lucky not to crash during the incident.

    “They were lucky not to have gifted Fernando Alonso a first place,” he said. “I think when you weave around, then you go, and then you brake in the corner, it was very, very close and we were very lucky not to have a big accident.”

  14. Mark Webber has lost the point scored in the Singapore Grand Prix after he was handed a 20-second penalty.

    The Australian was deemed to have gone off track to overtake Sauber rival Kamui Kobayashi, and was therefore given a post-race drive-through penalty.

    “Car #2 left the track and gained an advantage when he rejoined”, said the stewards.

    The penalty has dropped Webber from 10th to 11th position, elevating Sergio Perez to the point-scoring places.


  15. The Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team denies knowing Lewis Hamilton’s gearbox was damaged. has the news story.

    McLaren had little warning that Lewis Hamilton’s gearbox was about to fail in the Singapore Grand Prix – as it denied suggestions it knew of an issue heading into the race.

    Hamilton retired from the lead of the race on lap 23 at the Marina Bay circuit after finding himself unable to select a gear.

    A radio message from his team – suggesting that the outfit had done all it could in qualifying – was interpreted as a hint that the outfit knew of gearbox issues on Saturday.

    However, team principal Martin Whitmarsh and sporting director Sam Michael both insist that McLaren only became aware of an issue in the few minutes before the failure.

    The team is still investigating the specific part failure that stopped the gearbox working.

    Michael said about suggestions the team had been aware of a problem ahead of the race: “No, Not before.

    “They [gearbox warnings] have happened a number of laps before and we have started seeing some issues a few laps before [in other races]. Sometimes it can last all race and sometimes it doesn’t, so we had a pretty clear warning.

    “We had a full inspection after yesterday, and it wasn’t related to that. I can’t see any sign that it is related to that. It is extremely unlikely based on what I think the failure is in my head.”

    Whitmarsh added: “We saw the temperatures rise and we saw pressures increase and a few other phenomenon – so painfully we could see it coming for a few laps.”

    When asked if the gearbox problem could have been related to a brush that Hamilton had with a wall in qualifying, as other drivers like Bruno Senna had had to change a gearbox because of that, Whitmarsh said: “I think if you looked at [Bruno] Senna and a few others, they bounced off quite heavy.

    “I have to say this morning I was talking to the guys, the wheel had two to three centimetres of scuff mark on it but it wasn’t damaged.

    “The rims are quite thin and brittle, and in fact the engineers performed NDT (non-destructive testing) all over the suspension.

    “They were absolutely content that it was a very light brush and was not one that was going to create any damage. I don’t think today had anything to do with yesterday.”

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