McLaren happy with outcome of Singapore GP

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Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton finished the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix, the first night race in Formula 1 history, in third place. After 61 eventful laps (309.087km) with two Safety Car periods, Lewis came home 5.9sec behind winner Fernando Alonso (Renault).

Heikki Kovalainen ended up 10th. Both drivers were on two-stop strategies; they came in simultaneously during the first Safety Car period on lap 17 with Lewis being stationary for 11.5sec and Heikki for 12.0sec. Heikki made his second stop on lap 34 (8.4sec) and Lewis on lap 42 (7.7sec). After 15 out of 18 races, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes has taken the lead in the Constructors' Championship with 135 points ahead of Ferrari with 134 points. Lewis extended his total in the drivers' rankings to 84 points, ahead of Felipe Massa (77 points) who did not score today. Heikki is sixth with 51 points.

Lewis Hamilton: "A positive end to a difficult weekend at this fantastic new venue. I started well, but then my rear tyres faded and, although we had good pace, I wasn’t in a position to challenge Felipe ahead of me. During my first pit stop I lost a bit of time because everybody came in due to the Safety Car period. After that I was unfortunately stuck behind David and although I was clearly faster it was really difficult to overtake him. After the second re-start, I tried to stay as close as possible behind Nico; however, I didn't want to take chances - particularly as the Ferraris were outside the points. Also, this is not a track where overtaking is easy. The first night race in Formula 1 history was great fun, and I now look forward to the forthcoming double-header in Japan and China."

Heikki Kovalainen: " I made a good start and was going to pass Kubica round the outside at the first two corners. Unfortunately he touched me and almost spun me around. My underfloor was slightly damaged as a result. I lost momentum and two cars overtook me. When the Safety Car came out and the pitlane was opened a couple of laps later, Lewis and I came in and I had to wait behind him until it was my turn. It then was a strange race and most of the time I was in traffic with no overtaking chances. Halfway through the race I had brake problems and had to conserve them until the finish. I’m happy for Lewis and the team now that he has extended the championship lead and we are on top of the Constructors’ rankings. I will now go for it in the next races and help to make sure that we stay ahead in both championships."

Ron Dennis: "Today's race was a very exciting one, full of incidents, triggering Safety Car interventions that had a significant influence on the final outcome. In the last few laps, having seen Kimi's accident, we advised Lewis not to attempt to overtake Nico but instead to settle for third place and the seven-point lead in the Drivers' Championship that the resulting six points netted him. Heikki's race was spoiled by having to queue in the pits. Overall, then, the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix was a hugely successful event, and we're delighted to have emerged from it with the lead in both the Drivers' and the Constructors' Championships."

Norbert Haug: "A great Formula 1 premiere at night. Lewis extended his championship lead with third place which is a good result. Vodafone McLaren Mercedes leads now in the Constructors' rankings as well which is also not bad. Thank you to the organisers and Bernie and his team for their efforts - this spectacular event will create a big response."