Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel put in a staggering display to win the Singapore Grand Prix by an ominous margin of nearly half a minute over Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, who breathed whatever little life he could into his already bleak title hopes with a strong drive to second.
Kimi Raikkonen, who had been suffering from a back problem all weekend, finished third. Vettel’s win in Singapore is his seventh of the season and third in a row and stretches the German’s lead at the top of the standings to 60 points over Alonso with six races to go, making it increasingly inevitable that Vettel will claim his fourth straight title at the end of the year.
The 26-year-old had been dominant all weekend and perhaps the only time he was challenged was at the start when second-placed Nico Rosberg tried to pass Vettel on the inside into the first corner. However, the Mercedes driver misjudged his braking and went in too deep which allowed Vettel to come back at him through the left-handed Turn 2.
No looking back
With the lead secured, Vettel didn’t look back and had pulled out a lead of four seconds in just two laps on Rosberg. A safety car later on in the race bunched the field up and erased Vettel’s lead giving rivals a chance to perhaps pass the Red Bull on the restart.
But Vettel timed his restart to perfection and looked even more formidable following the safety car period, consistently lapping over two seconds a lap quicker than the pursuing Mercedes. “I think the whole team can be extremely proud. I know how much work there is going in,” Vettel said after the race.
“There’s a lot of team effort going in and if we have results like today where we have the luxury to control the race then it’s because of those late hours, because of the commitment that goes in from everybody. So it’s just a privilege to be part of the team and to be part of that.”
Alonso, who had qualified seventh after a difficult qualifying session but jumped to third at the start, also took advantage of the safety car period to make his second stop, fitting a new set of medium compound tyres and gambling on running the 36 laps to the end.
The gamble paid off as Alonso was elevated up the order when drivers ahead of him who hadn’t made their stops pitted later on in the race. Behind the top three, Mercedes duo Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton claimed fourth and fifth spot respectively ahead of Felipe Massa and the two McLarens of Jenson Button and Sergio Perez.
Sutil finishes 10th
Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg finished ninth while Adrian Sutil came home tenth to claim the final point, which is all Force India managed from a tough weekend for the Silverstone-based team. Sutil’s teammate Paul Di Resta recorded his fourth consecutive non-finish after crashing out with just seven laps to go.