Singapore Grand Prix Race Report

A fourth successive title for Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel looks inevitable after he dominated the Singapore Grand Prix to take his third win in a row. Fernando Alonso’s superb start and brave tyre strategy helped him to take a distant second place, while Kimi Raikkonen overcame back pain to take third place for Lotus.

Race Overview

Everyone started on the super-soft tyres other than Adrian Sutil, who began on the medium compound, which was predicted to be as much as two seconds a lap slower. Rosberg got a good start off the line and snuck ahead of Vettel into Turn 1, but he ran slightly wide and the defending champion retook first place. Alonso made a flying start and went around the outside of a number of cars to take third. Mark Webber jumped in front of Romain Grosjean, who was in fifth at the end of lap 1.

Vettel quickly pulled out a significant lead and the race became processional, with many of the drivers trying to manage their tyres. The first pit stop came at the end of lap 10, with Kimi Raikkonen pitting from 11th place. Felipe Massa stopped on lap 13, as did Webber a lap later, with Alonso putting on the medium tyres on lap 15.

There was some action at the lower end of the field on lap 15, when Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg caught the back of Pastor Maldonado. Perez and Hulkenberg raced side-by-side, with the German eventually coming out on top, but he was told to give the place back soon after for exceeding the track limits.

Race leader Vettel finally pitted on lap 18, and he rejoined with the length of the pit straight between him and Rosberg. The Mercedes was able to pull away from Alonso as the Ferrari was stuck behind Paul di Resta, who was yet to stop.

The complexion of the race changed when Daniel Ricciardo hit the wall at Turn 18, bringing out the safety car. Many drivers took the opportunity to pit, but the Red Bulls and Mercedes cars chose not to stop. This meant that Webber was now third, followed by Hamilton and Alonso. He and Raikkonen were now looking to go to the end on one set of the medium compound tyres.

When the racing got underway again, Vettel immediately pulled out a lead, lapping over 1.5 seconds a lap faster than anyone else on track. He knew he had to get a lead of at least 25 seconds over Alonso to allow him to make a second stop and rejoin in front of the Ferrari. Romain Grosjean’s day took a turn for the worse when he was told to pit because of an air consumption problem. The Frenchman returned to the race but retired soon after.

Webber made his second stop on lap 40, followed two laps later by Nico Rosberg. An impressive couple of laps from the Australian allowed him to undercut the Mercedes to take 12th. Vettel put on a brand new set of the super-softs and rejoined comfortably in front of Alonso. This was the end of the pit stops, meaning that Webber, Rosberg and Hamilton would have to overtake a number of cars to score good points.

The race finally sparked into life in the final few laps. On lap 49, Webber and both Mercedes cars overtook Esteban Gutierrez, who was struggling on old tyres in his Sauber. He last two further places on the next lap to slip to 12th.

On lap 54, Raikkonen was all over the back of third-placed Jenson Button but was having a hard time getting past, until he pulled off a brilliant move around the outside into Turn 14. Webber passed Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg at Turn 7 to take sixth. A lap later, Paul di Resta retired for the fourth successive race, hitting the barriers at Turn 7. The marshals were able to remove the car without the safety car being brought out.

Webber passed Button into Turn 1 on lap 56, as did Rosberg and Hamilton a couple of laps later. Webber looked comfortable in fourth place but was told over the team radio to short-shift everywhere until the end of the race. Felipe Massa had caught up to the back of the queue and swept past Perez to take eighth, followed by Button a lap later.

Webber’s problems had become severe by the penultimate lap, and the two Mercedes cars had no trouble overtaking him. Just as Webber’s car burst into flames, his team-mate Vettel finished the final lap to complete a dominant victory, more than half a minute ahead of Alonso. Raikkonen got the best out of his Lotus to take fourth, but Rosberg and Hamilton will be disappointed to have only finished fourth and fifth. Massa took sixth ahead of Button and Perez, with Hulkenberg and Adrian Sutil taking the final two points-earning places.

Vettel’s lead in the championship has been extended to 60 points, and it now looks almost impossible for him to miss out on yet another title. Alonso is the only man with a hope of denying him, and even he admits he needs a lot of luck over the rest of the season to do so.

Result

Position

Driver Car

Laps

Gap

1

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull-Renault

61

2

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari

61

+32.627

3

Kimi Räikkönen (FIN) Lotus-Renault

61

+43.920

4

Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes

61

+51.155

5

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes

61

+53.159

6

Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari

61

+1’03.877

7

Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren-Mercedes

61

+1’23.354

8

Sergio Perez (MEX) McLaren-Mercedes

61

+1’23.820

9

Nico Hülkenberg (GER) Sauber-Ferrari

61

+1’24.261

10

Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India-Mercedes

61

+1’24.668

11

Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams-Renault

61

+1’28.479

12

Esteban Gutiérrez (MEX) Sauber-Ferrari

61

+1’37.894

13

Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams-Renault

61

+1’45.161

14

Jean-Éric Vergne (FRA) Toro Rosso-Ferrari

61

+1’53.512

15

Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull-Renault

60

+1 lap

16

Giedo van der Garde (NED) Caterham-Renault

60

+1 lap

17

Max Chilton (GBR) Marussia-Cosworth

60

+1 lap

18

Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia-Cosworth

60

+1 lap

19

Charles Pic (FRA) Caterham-Renault

60

+1 lap

Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India-Mercedes

54

Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus-Renault

37

Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Toro Rosso-Ferrari

23

Drivers’ Standings – Top 5

1. Vettel – 247

2. Alonso – 187

3. Hamilton – 151

4. Raikkonen – 149

5. Webber – 130

Constructors’ Standings – Top 5

1. Red Bull – 377

2. Ferrari – 274

3. Mercedes – 267

4. Lotus – 206

5. McLaren – 76

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