Victorious Vettel Closes in on Title
A ninth victory of the year for Sebastian Vettel took him within a hair’s breadth of becoming the youngest ever double World Champion. Jenson Button leaves him as the only mathematical challenger but even if the McLaren driver won all the remaining races, a single point is now enough for Vettel. Mark Webber completed the podium.
Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, had an eventful race after dropping back to eighth after being squeezed out by Webber at the start. Recovering, the British driver then had a tangle with Felipe Massa which resulted in a puncture for the Ferrari and a broken wing and a drive-through penalty for Hamilton. Dropped to 15th, he thought his way through the field to eventually finish fifth.
Driver of the Day:
Starting from 10th, having not contested Q3 of qualifying, Paul di Resta ran a mature race. After exploiting a very long first stint on the prime tyres, he was able to make his final pit stop just as the safety car came out to take a career best result of sixth place. “I don’t think the safety car really helped us because I still had a lot of life left in the supersoft tyres in the middle of the race,” insisted the Force India driver, “but it didn’t really hurt us either. ”
The most impressive thing about Vettel this weekend was how relaxed he looked before the race – for all intents and purposes he looked like was going out for a quiet Sunday drive through the countryside. Instead he finds himself with one hand on the World Championship, underlining his class in the process.
It was more of a forgettable day for Germany’s other World Champion. The race’s only Safety Car period came after Michael Schumacher was launched into the Turn 8 barriers after running into the back of Sergio Pérez’s Sauber. “He was about to go inside and lifted, and I was not expecting him to do that so early, and therefore hit him,” explained the German. “It’s probably one of those race incidents which look more impressive from outside than from inside, as I am totally OK and my impact in the end was not too heavy.” The seven-time World Champion subsequently incurred a reprimand for his troubles.
Two collisions had a profound effect on four drivers’ races. Both Pérez and Massa suffered punctures in their respective battles with Schumacher and Hamilton. They didn’t escape unscathed either: Schumacher crashed out of the race on the spot while Hamilton had to pit for a replacement wing. The steward’s responded by issuing a reprimand to Schumacher but that seemed lenient having penalised Hamilton. Would a more consistent approach have been to have awarded a grid penalty to the German?
An otherwise unspectacular race was enlivened by Hamilton’s overtaking exploits and the duel between Webber and Alonso. However, as far as the season goes, there was a feeling that the inevitable has been dragged out for another two weeks.
|1.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Renault||1h59:06.757|
|3.||Mark Webber||Red Bull-Renault||+29.279|
|6.||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||+111.067|
|7.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes||+1 Lap|
|8.||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||+1 Lap|
|9.||Felipe Massa||Ferrari||+1 Lap|
|10.||Sergio Perez||Sauber-Ferrari||+1 Lap|
|11.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams-Cosworth||+1 Lap|
|12.||Sebastien Buemi||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||+1 Lap|
|13.||Rubens Barrichello||Williams-Cosworth||+1 Lap|
|14.||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber-Ferrari||+2 Laps|
|15.||Bruno Senna||Renault||+2 Laps|
|16.||Heikki Kovalainen||Lotus-Renault||+2 Laps|
|17.||Vitaly Petrov||Renault||+2 Laps|
|18.||Jérôme D’Ambrosio||Virgin-Cosworth||+2 Laps|
|19.||Daniel Ricciardo||HRT-Cosworth||+4 Laps|
|20.||Vitantonio Liuzzi||HRT-Cosworth||+4 Laps|
|21.||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||+5 Laps|
Fastest Lap: Jenson Button, McLaren-Mercedes, 1:48.454
Fastest Pitstop: Nico Rosberg, Mercedes – 29.417s (entry-exit)
|Jarno Trulli||Lotus-Renault||Lap 48||Gearbox|
|Michael Schumacher||Mercedes||Lap 29||Accident|
|Timo Glock||Virgin-Cosworth||Lap 10||Accident|
World Drivers’ Championship:
|1.||Sebastian Vettel||309 Points|
|2.||Jenson Button||185 Points|
|3.||Fernando Alonso||184 Points|
|4.||Mark Webber||182 Points|
|5.||Lewis Hamilton||168 Points|
World Constructors’ Championship:
|1.||Red Bull-Renault||491 Points|
What did you make of the Singapore Grand Prix? Who do you think was driver of the day? Who had a weekend to forget? Was Felipe Massa right to feel so angry? Should Schumacher have been penalised more heavily? Let us know your thoughts in the comments…
Photo: Red Bull Racing/Ker Robertson/Getty Images