Vettel returns to winning ways in Singapore

Sebastian Vettel has won the Singapore Grand Prix, taking his second win of this season, the other being in Bahrain.

Lewis Hamilton was on pole position, in front of Maldonado, Vettel and Button for the race. At lights out, Hamilton sped away from his line followed Maldonado, Vettel and Button. In Turn 2, Maldonado went wide and he was swamped by Vettel and Button, dropping him back to 4th. There was absolute carnage behind them. Webber, Schumacher and Raikkonen went three abreast into Turn 1 while Massa was hit by Petrov which dropped Massa down to last place with a puncture and left Petrov without a front wing.

Several other drivers including Webber and Rosberg cut the first corner but Stewards let them off, on the basis that they had taken avoiding action. After that, the driver’s made it safely around the rest of the lap. After Massa made his pitstop, he was flying! He straight away set a new fastest lap and would prove to be the fastest driver on the grid, despite the fact he was almost a minute down.

Hamilton continued to pull out his lead to Vettel and was shaping up to become ‘SingaBore’ as the fans have dubbed it. Timo Glock went wide into the tunnel on lap 10 and damaged the barrier but, miraculously, had no damage to his car. At the same time, Bruno Senna was warned not to use his 1st gear as he was nursing a problem with his gearbox.

Vettel pitted on Lap 15 and came out behind four cars battling for position. Not what the reigning World Champion was looking for. Hamilton had clean air ahead of him and pushed to make sure he came back out of the pits in front of Vettel. He pushed hard though and was left loosing 0.3 of a second per sector in a lap, Forcing him into the pits. He made it out ahead of Vettel.

Kobayashi had a close call while being passed by Rosberg. Nico went around the outside of Kamui into the corner and he started going sideways. His car like reactions ensured he kept racing.

The action really started to die down and Jeremy Clarkson came onto twitter saying “If I wanted to watch loads of cars driving along, I could stand on a motorway bridge.”

5 laps passed by and people began to fall asleep before the unthinkable happened. Race leader Hamilton was stopping! In the word’s of Martin Brundle “He had a box full of neutrals”. A very angry Lewis pulled into a run-off area while Vettel slipped past into the lead, no doubt with a wide grin.

The safety car wasn’t needed and the racing kept going. All of a sudden, the race picked up. Alonso made several attempts at passing Maldonado and I had to cover my eyes at some very close calls with Maldonado swiping in front of him at one point. I could see a collision between the two about to happen before Narain Karthikeyan stuck his HRT in the barrier in the tunnel. It was bad luck for the Indian, his championship challenge is surely over!

The Safety Car came out and Maldonado was told over the radio to box; they were retiring the car. The safety car stayed out for a few laps, maybe a couple too many, but when it was finally coming in, Jenson Button nearly took himself and Vettel out of the race. Sebastian sped up to brake suddenly and make sure his brakes were warm, but Button mis-read it as a re-start and he had to take evasive action to avoid a collision.

But when the race was going again, Schumacher hit the back of Vergne. It was almost completely identical to his 2011 crash with Perez and this time, Vergne and Perez were fighting for position with Schumacher behind. Schumacher locked the brakes and could do nothing as he sailed straight into the back of the Toro Rosso. A very angry Ross Brawn came on the radio saying “What was that, What was that?”. But when Schumacher got back to the garage, he confirmed that he had suffered a brakes failure. He was pressing the brakes but they were not slowing the car down. He was very lucky that Vergne was there or he would have had a very hard impact with the barriers. Nevertheless, Has this cemented Schumi’s retirement at the end of the year?

This brought the safety car out again. Petrov pitted and came out of his box with a loose wheel nut. He stopped at the end of the pit lane and the team had enough time to bring him back to the pits, re-attach the wheel and send him back out before the Safety Car came back in.

Massa was really flying at the restart. He was right behind Senna at the start and challenging. Coming out of the ‘Singapore Sling’ chicane, He went up the inside of Senna and Senna completely closed the door. Senna shoved his fellow Brazilian into the wall but Massa kept the pedal down and showed fantastic car control to stop the car spinning. The stewards were very fair on Senna and let him off.

Massa then stormed straight up to Ricciardo and flew past him too. Down the field, Kobayashi, Webber, Hulkenberg and Perez were all battling for position. Perez saw a gap to Hulkenberg and went for it, but only resulted in him loosing his front wing’s right endplate. Hulkenberg kept his position and half a lap later Webber overtook Kobayashi. Hulkenberg sensed his opportunity and went up the inside of Kobayashi but only got a whack of a front wing of Kobayashi for his efforts. Hulkenberg was left with a puncture, Kobayashi had no front wing and Webber raced away from them.

The Singapore Grand Prix is also a long one and this year was no different. Instead of a lap counter, A clock countdown was introduced on top of the screen with 12 mins to go. Webber was storming through the field now and caught Senna at 1 second a lap. He passed the Brazilian and focused his efforts on passing Ricciardo in the sister car. The stewards then announced that they were investigating Webber’s pass on Kobayashi as it may have been an off-track pass. As of yet, there is no decision.

With two minutes left on the clock, Vettel was 7 seconds up on Button and soon set upon his final lap. Bruno Senna was forced to retire his car on the last lap with a hydraulics problem, the same thing that took Maldonado out of the race.

But nothing could stop Vettel from winning; No faulty Alternator’s to take him out of the race and he crossed the line first, Followed by Button, Alonso and Di Resta in his highest ever F1 finish.

Timo Glock finished 12th, Charles Pic finished 15th (But was demoted to 16th following his 20-second penalty from FP3), and this promoted the Marussia team to 10th in the standing’s, ahead of Caterham.

Alonso still lead’s the championship, Followed by Vettel, Raikkonen and Hamilton.

Final Standings:
1. Sebastian Vettel
2. Jenson Button
3. Fernando Alonso
4. Paul Di Resta
5. Nico Rosberg
6. Kimi Raikkonen
7. Romain Grosjean
8. Felipe Massa
9. Daniel Ricciardo
10. Mark Webber
11. Sergio Perez
12. Timo Glock
13. Kamui Kobayashi
14. Nico Hulkenberg
15. Heikki Kovalainen
16. Charles Pic
17. Pedro De La Rosa
18. Bruno Senna
19. Vitaly Petrov

Retired:

Lewis Hamilton – Gearbox failure
Narain Karthikeyan – Collision
Jean-Eric Vergne – Collision
Michael Schumacher – Collision
Pastor Maldonado – Hydraulics

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