Vettel a point shy of retaining world title

Sep 26, 2011, 07:27 IST | AFP

Sebastian Vettel just a point away from retaining his world title after ninth win of the season in Singapore yesterday

Sebastian Vettel just a point away from retaining his world title after ninth win of the season in Singapore yesterday

Sebastian Vettel demonstrated his vast supremacy yesterday when he won the Singapore Grand Prix to move within a point of becoming the youngest double world champion in Formula One history. The 24-year-old German, the defending champion and runaway leader of this year's one-man title race, drove from pole position to the chequered flag in flawless style in his Red Bull car.

The glory hop: Vettel exults after winning yesterday's Singapore GP
Pics/Getty Images

He won the floodlit 61-lap night race at the Marina Bay street circuit by a controlled 1.7 seconds. Briton Jenson Button finished second in his McLaren to keep the title race just about alive with five races remaining.

Season's best: Adrian Sutil powers his car during the Singapore
Grand Prix yesterday

Australian Mark Webber in the second Red Bull finished third. Vettel now requires a solitary point to claim his second title in succession and can only be beaten to the crown if Button wins all the remaining races while the German fails to score a further point.

Top of the world: Vettel drives around the picturesque Marina Bay
Circuit in Singapore

History awaits
With the next race the Japanese Grand Prix October 7-9, there is every chance the peerless Vettel will seal his triumph -- and make history -- at the Suzuka circuit. "Obviously I am very pleased with the result and the car was great for me all the way through. I pulled away easily at the start and had a good gap, but the safety car was not in our plans," said Vettel.

"I was lucky again to have a good re-start and I was soon back in the rhythm and I had a huge gap again, even with the traffic. I was in control at the end and it is a great feeling to win this race -- I love the track here and it's such a challenge.

"As to the championship? Ah, well, I guess I have another chance at the next race." Button refused to give up the title. "I feel capable, but I still have to do it," said the 2009 world champion. "With the races we had so far, it should not be a problem. But it is over when it is over and this one has to wait to be closed first.
"The team is doing a great job. I am feeling very comfortable with the team, with the car and we are on top of our game."

Two-time world champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso, who needed to finish on the podium to keep his own challenge for the drivers' title alive, came home fourth ahead of Briton Lewis Hamilton in the second McLaren.
Hamilton produced a typically spectacular drive including five pit-stops, a collision and a charge from 16th through the field.

Another Briton, Paul Di Resta, came home sixth for Force India, his best result to date in his rookie season in Formula One, ahead of Germans Nico Rosberg in seventh for Mercedes and Adrian Sutil in the second Force India.

Felipe Massa of Ferrari, who was the victim of a collision with Hamilton in the early stages of an incident-filled
contest, came home ninth. Mexican Sergio Perez, whose collision with Michael Schumacher saw the German eliminated from the race, finished 10th.

It was Vettel's ninth win this season and the 19th of his career. His Singapore triumph in sweltering humidity was heralded by an explosion of dazzling fireworks over the brightly lit cityscape. He won in a victorious time of one hour, 59 minutes and 6.757 seconds, a time that signalled the longest race of the year.

Vettel, from his 11th pole position, pulled clear with apparent ease to take control early on, leaving the rest to scrap for places in a flurry of action into Turn One, Sheares Corner.

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