Hamilton Heartbreak Enables Vettel Victory In Singapore Night

Under the lights, it was always going to be a long afternoon for the drivers who made it to the end of the race. Sebastian Vettel was the first, crossing the line finishing 60 of the allocated 61 race laps as the race hit the two-hour time limit. Jenson Button was second and Fernando Alonso in a third place which keeps him on top of the championship and remaining in a good position to take this year’s world driver’s title.

The race had been looking like a duel between Vettel and pole-man Hamilton up until the start of lap 22 when Hamilton’s McLaren slowed dramatically upon the start of the lap, and he pulled into the tarmac run-off area to retire from the race. From then on, it was Vettel’s to lose as the German kept the lead for the remainder of the race. Button kept in touch with his rival but never seemed to threaten to take the win. While it is his second win of this season, it is also Vettel’s 23rd race win of the F1 career which started in 2007. He is now level with three-time world champion Nelson Piquet for race victories.

In the talk after the race, Vettel admitted that his Red Bull team were not the quickest in Singapore, and so was relieved to come away with the full 25 points.

“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.”

“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.”

Button will have been pleased with 2nd following his retirement in Italy

Jenson Button was pleased to finish second as the man from Somerset had not been happy with his car for much of the weekend. The retirement of his team-mate was a cause of concern but he said it was pleasing that the team had such speed to gain positives from.

“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.”

Alonso holds on to his championship lead

Fernando Alonso continued to do his job of picking up points, finishing in third place but said that he was fortunate to again benefit from the misfortune of a title rival. Alonso has finished in low points positions this year when his rivals have finished even lower or not finished at all. His championship challenege has been cut by 10 points by Vettel and the Spaniard is wary that Ferrari must do better.

“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.”

“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.”

Di Resta believes Force India can bridge the 26-point gap to sixth-placed Sauber in the Constructor’s Championship

Paul Di Resta had his best race finish of his career to date in F1 as he came past the chequered flag in fourth place. He said the Safety Car, which came out on two occassions, may have dented hopes of getting a podium place, but was adamant that Force India had been capable of such strong results previous races, not just Singapore.

“I would have liked the safety car not to have come out because there was a point where the Ferrari and the Red Bull switched to a three stop and, at that point, we would have liked to have carried on,”

“When the safety car came out we were comfortable keeping the people behind, but with fresh tyres over a stint the Ferrari is a bit quicker, which it should be, as it’s a championship leading car at the moment.

“We turned a sixth place in qualifying to a fourth place on merit in the race, and we missed the opportunity at Spa with a KERS failure. But we made up for it here with an absolute performance.”

“I think at Monza, had we not had the gearbox failure [before qualifying], we’d have got towed round a bit and we would have certainly beaten the Mercedes, so maybe a sixth place finish was possible. And maybe even we could have beat [Kimi] Raikkonen as we had similar speed to him.

“Obviously it is a different philosophy here, but all weekend we have been relatively competitive and we have converted that into a strong fourth place and managed that into a 15-second gap in the last ten laps.

“So, when you look at that, you take a lot of credit from it. This is a great result and we hope to get to Suzuka in the best shape we can.”

Hamilton was forced out of his car early on race night

Lewis Hamilton was in with a good chance of victory when technical gremlins hit his gearbox and left him pointless from the race. He is determined that the championship title is still possible, though is now a tougher challenge.

“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.”

“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.”

The crash which put both Schumacher and Vergne out of the race

The race’s second Safety Car period was caused just after the first had ended as Michael Schumacher slammed into Jean Eric-Vergne whilst braking as Vergne battled for position with Perez. Schumacher said there was a failure as his car did not slow whilst the brakes were applied.

“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 to the Frenchman but the stewards were less in the same mood and they handed him a ten-place grid drop for the next race at Suzuka, Japan. The German had a similar incident with Bruno Senna at the Spanish Grand Prix which influenced the penalty decision. Vergne was not angry but was disappointing to retire early.

“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.”

“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.”

Singapore Grand Prix Result

Pos Driver Team Time
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 + 34.784
6. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault + 35.759
7. Grosjean Lotus-Renault + 36.698
8. Massa Ferrari + 42.829
9. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 45.820
10. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 47.175
11. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 50.619
12. Glock Marussia-Cosworth + 1:31.918
13. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 1:37.141
14. Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes + 1:39.413
15. Pic Marussia-Cosworth + 1:42.925 (*)
16. Kovalainen Caterham-Renault + 1:47.967
17. De la Rosa HRT-Cosworth + 1 lap
18. Senna Williams-Renault + 2 laps
19. Petrov Caterham-Renault + 2 laps

Not classified/retirements

Driver Team On lap

Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 38
Schumacher Mercedes 38
Maldonado Williams-Renault 36
Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 30
Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 22

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