Victory for Vettel, agony for Hamilton in drama packed Singapore GP

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB8. Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday 23 September 2012.

Sebastian Vettel on his way to victory in Singapore

Sep.23 (GP247) Sebastian Vettel powered to his second victory of the 2012 season, as he won the drama packed Singapore Grand Prix at Marina Bay Circuit Street Circuit while pole winner Lewis Hamilton coasted to a halt with a gearbox problem just short of the halfway mark after leading from the start.

(L to R): Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren, Ole Schack, Red Bull Racing mechanic, race winner Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing and Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari celebrates on the podium. Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday 23 September 2012.It was Vettel’s second win at the floodlit venue, and the 25 points earned promoting him to second in the championship standings.  On the podium, the German dedicated his victory to the Professor Sid Watkins, the sport’s pre-eminent medical man, who passed away last week.

Interviewed by podium MC Eddie Jordan, Vettel summed up his evening: “I thinks it’s one of the toughest races of the year. The circuit is a killer and it’s so bumpy and so long. We benefited from Lewis’ failure, I saw some oil drop from his car a few laps before, and all in all we had a good race all weekend.”

“I’m just incredibly happy and proud to win it. I’d like to dedicate the win to Sid Watkins, I think he’s one of the biggest reasons why we enjoy ourselves every week so a big thank you to him.”

“Anything can happen in this race and it’s a lot of fun to watch but we just have to keep pushing now so we finish ahead of those guys come the end of the season,” concluded the reigning world champion.

Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-27 makes a pit stop as Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB8 leaves pit lane. Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday 23 September 2012.Consolation for the McLaren squad was Jenson Button’s drive to second place. The Briton was solid all evening, but never really able to threaten the leading Red Bull. It was a sweet return to the podium for Button who suffered a similar DNF to Hamilton two weeks earlier at Monza.

The only ‘big’ moment for Button came when he nearly slammed into the back Vettel while the pair followed the safety car. He quipped to Vettel after the race: “I almost wiped you out.”

He added afterwards, “It was a pretty tough two hours for us. Sebastian accelerated and braked for the right handed. I didn’t expect that, I hit the brakes, locked up and I just missed the back of your car. But we got through it. I’m reasonably happy with second. I want to win, but you can’t win them all. For us as a team to have another failure this weekend was tough, but the important thing is we have a good car. Every race we go to, we have a chance of winning and that’s important for us.”

Once again the big winner on the night was world championship leader Fernando Alonso who bagged a handsome haul of points, finishing third after starting fifth on the grid and thus leaving Singapore with a healthy 29 points lead over Vettel in the standings.

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing and Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari celebrate in parc ferme. Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday 23 September 2012.“It’s one of the best tracks and we enjoy driving here. The atmosphere is fantastic and it was a fun race again. In Monza it was Lewis winning and Sebastian retiring and here it’s Lewis retiring and Sebastian winning so as long as that keeps happening and I pick up points along the way I’ll be happy,” commented Alonso.

The race started without incident, but on lap 34 Narain Karthikeyan slammed the wall at Turn 18 and the now traditional safety car period ensued and duly concertina-ed the field accordingly, but with no real impact to the leaders.

Not long after the restart Michael Schumacher in the Mercedes,  rear ended the Toro Rosso of luckless Jean Eric Vergne. It was a big one, and reminiscent to Schumacher’s similar retirement last year at the same venue, but fortunately the cars slid down the slip road and out of harms way. Another safety car period ensued.

Schumacher explained, “After the safety car I broke a little early, then the car didn’t accelerate and then I just went straight on the brakes and it locked up. The accident was unavoidable. I feel sorry for Jean-Eric and for his team but we need to find out what happened now.”

Race winner Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing celebrates on the podium. Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday 23 September 2012.As  result of the red flag periods the 61 laps were not completed, the chequered flag coming out on lap 59 which was two hours of running as stipulated in the regulations.

Back to the sharp end of proceedings, it was a big night for Paul Di Resta and Force India. The Scot impressing with a strong drive to fourth place and closing in rapidly on Alonso’s Ferrari and a podium spot. Alas the race was curtailed by two laps and it was too much too late, but nevertheless it was Di Resta’s best F1 result to date.

The result crowned a top notch performance, at the sport’s toughest venues, which began with a good run in qualifying 24 hours earlier.

Di Resta said, “I’ve always said I want to win races. Today’s been a great result but I do want to go forward and hopefully we can before the end of the season.  To get a good start and maintain position and then just at the end to push a Ferrari who’s pushing for the championship is brilliant for us.”

“Our nearest rivals didn’t score so it’s really special for us and we’ll enjoy it tonight. The concentration is the most difficult thing at this race and I try to focus and make sure I’m in the best physical shape to drive my car. This is my own journey but with people’s help it could get even better,” added Di Resta.

Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India VJM05. Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday 23 September 2012.Unlike his Mercedes teammate, Nico Rosberg stayed out of trouble and turned 10th on the grid to fifth place two hours later. The German spent most of his race fending off the Lotus pair of Kimi raikkonen and Romain Grosjean who finished sixth and seventh respectively. Grosjean allowing his championship contending teammate through after instructions from the team’s pit gantry.

After a dismal qualifying performance, which saw him start 13th, things got even worse for Felipe Massa as he suffered a first lap puncture on his Ferrari. But the misfortune appeared to inspire the under fire Brazilian who proceeded to give one of his gutsiest displays in memory, including a jaw dropping duel with fellow countryman Bruno Senna in the Williams.

Massa recovered well to take a well earned eighth place.

Daniel Ricciardo gave his shares a good boost with ninth place for Toro Rosso after a late race battle with fellow Australian, and elder statesman, Mark Webber in the Red Bull. The younger of the two Aussies prevailed.

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-27 retires from the race. Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday 23 September 2012.Back to the agony… Hamilton’s championship ambitions took a hefty blow as he lost another 15 points to championship leader Alonso and now lies a 52 points adrift with half a dozen rounds left.

Hamilton said, “I’m OK now. It was gutting when the car stopped, I was cruising. I was managing the gap and could have pushed more, I had the pace. I think today would have been an easy win.”
Full report on Hamilton DNF here>>>

Also suffering a huge dollop of disappointment was Pastor Maldonado who qualified second and looked good for a podium. But during the first safety car period he received a call from the Williams team informing him of a hydraulic problem and to retire the car.

The Venezuelan summed up his emotions, “It was a very difficult weekend, we were managing quite well. We expected to be competitive in the race and then we got a hydraulic problem. The start was OK, but at the first corner on old tyres I ran wide. I was running well. I’m confident for the next race, we definitely have the potential for fighting for the best places.”

Timo Glock (GER) Marussia F1 Team MR01.Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday 23 September 2012.A special mention must be made of Timo Glock’s fine run to 12th place from 20th on the grid in the Marussia. The German enjoys Marina Bay Circuit and made the most of the high attrition and safety car periods to take some big scalps along the way, including their biggest rivals Caterham and finishing aheadof a Sauber and a Force India when the flag fell.

Glock reflected on his best finish of the season thus far, “In general, we knew we had a strong car here and I’m very happy to drive here. I love this track. My target was to be as close to Heikki in first stint but then I pushed too much and kissed the wall a bit. When the safety car came out, it mixed it up and I was right in the battle again. I then realised I was quicker than Heikki. The second safety car saved us on the strategy because I had spent 34 laps on that set of tyres.”

Singapore Grand Prix, Marina Bay Street Circuit – Sunday, 23 September 2012

Pos No Driver Team Laps Time Grid Pts
1 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 59 Winner 3 25
2 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 59 +8.9 secs 4 18
3 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 59 +15.2 secs 5 15
4 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 59 +19.0 secs 6 12
5 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 59 +34.7 secs 10 10
6 9 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 59 +35.7 secs 12 8
7 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 59 +36.6 secs 8 6
8 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 59 +42.8 secs 13 4
9 16 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 59 +45.8 secs 15 2
10 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 59 +47.1 secs 7 1
11 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 59 +50.6 secs 14
12 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 59 +91.9 secs 20
13 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 59 +97.1 secs 17
14 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 59 +99.4 secs 11
15 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 59 +107.9 secs 19
16 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 59 +132.8 secs 21
17 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 58 +1 Lap 24
18 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 57 +2 Lap 22
19 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 57 +2 Lap 18
Ret 17 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 38 +21 Laps 16
Ret 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 38 +21 Laps 9
Ret 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 36 +23 Laps 2
Ret 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 30 +29 Laps 23
Ret 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 22 +37 Laps 1

Note: De la Rosa and Senna dropped five grid spots for unscheduled gearbox changes. Pic will have 20s added to his race time for passing under red flags in FP3.

  • hillside

    Alonso will just drive for points

  • kaka007

    Congrats Paul…..wat a drive…almost a podium…….when only frontrunning hamilton retired..
    Kimi as usual hauling in the points, but it’s all but ovr for kimi as far as the championship goes.. alonso is extracting anything n everything from that car to get into good positions
    Alonso is most probably going to be 2012 champ

  • Disgusted with 2012

    Great race! It’s now a setup to a replay of 2010, with the gap from Vettel to Alonso the same, running out to the last race of the season. 6 of the top 5 players are also the same, with the exception of adding Raikkonen to the battle. Vettel still needs 5pts a race, but like in 2010, that’s not impossible. Gonna be fun to see it all play out. Likely a few more surprises to come, keeping it all interesting to the last lap, hopefully.

  • f1 fan

    After his pole yesterday, it should have been a much deserving win for Hamilton, I cant imagine how dissapointed and angry he might be : ,Alonso yet again benefiting from Dnfs , Nevertheless it was positive for Di resta, lets see what happens at Suzuka, (hopefully Double DRS)) !!!

  • f1 fan

    Maldonado wasnt easy on Alonso, that was a good fight though!!

  • fools

    Alonso WDC on pace!!! :)

  • Lauda Fan

    Alonso really only has to worry about Vettel now. Hamy’s DNF today will prove fatal to his 2012 title hopes…

  • Aditi

    Even though Vettel won the title, you’ll be surprised to know that a greater number of people were talking about Lewis Hamilton’s loss compared to Vettel’s win. Surprised? Read more here