Alonso fends off Vettel to Singapore win

By on
F1 Grand Prix, GP Singapore, Marina Bay Street Circuitsg

Fernando Alonso has resisted constant pressure from Sebastian Vettel to win the Singapore GP after leading all 61 laps. Mark Webber finished third, Button fourth. Lewis Hamilton failed to finish and drops down the championship standings.

Ahead of the third ever Singapore GP, Ferrari announced that Felipe Massa would take a new engine. He is starting from the back of the grid anyway so a 10-place grid penalty does not affect him.

Jaime Alguersuari is even worse off as a water leak was found on his car just before he had to make his installation lap. As a result he did not take place on the grid and will start from the pitlane. A real shame for the Spaniard who set 11th yesterday, his best qualifying session yet.

All other drivers are fine, but Vettel and Button will probably worry before the green light for being on the dirty side of the track.

As the lights went green, Vettel though had a great start and Alonso needed to squeeze him to keep his pole position. Behind them is Hamilton, Button and Webber. Rosberg and Kubica are next as Barrichello dropped two places.

After ust one lap, Massa is already in the pits to change his option tyres for brand new primes, hoping they will be able to jump a few cars as they make their stops later on.

Heidfeld also makes a stop, changing his primes for new options as well as a new front wing as he got involved in a small accident at the start. Liuzzi meanwhile is out of the race, and parked his car just behind the Turn 10 chicane. Despite being off the racing line, the safety car is nonetheless deployed.

Lots of drivers make their stops, the first one being Mark Webber, followed by Rosberg, Trulli, Klien and Senna. Nick Heidfeld also rejoined the pitlane to change back to the prime tyre.

On lap 6, the SC is gone and Webber immediately overtakes Glock and is now in 10th place. One lap later he also overtakes Kobayashi after the latter slightly overcooked a braking zone. Felipe Massa meanwhile is running in 14th position, following a train led by Glock.

By lap 9 it is clear that the harder tyres aren't working properly at the moment. Mark Webber, closing in on Michael Schumacher is a full 2 seconds slower than his teammate who is running in second.

One lap later Massa is signalled of a hot gearbox and is cannot use first gear for now. It's an interesting message, knowing there are 50 laps to go, and given Ferrari's gearbox issue so far this weekend.

On lap 11 Webber gets Schumacher at the same place as he did Kobayashi. Just like Kobayashi, Schumacher picked up some oversteer on the exit of turn one and got nailed at the end of the following straight and braking zone.

Brakes are again going to be an issue here. Vettel is already asked to cool the brakes a little bit more, while Kubica's right front brakes are already blowing lots of dust under braking.

On lap 15, Alonso is 2.5s ahead of Vettel who just set the fastest lap. Immediately his engineer is on the radio, but Vettel notes "I'm not pushing at all". Hamilton is third, 75s down on Vettel. Button is a further 5s down.

That same lap, Sutil finally gets past Glock, followed by Hulkenberg and Massa one lap later. These three had been stuck behind the Virgin for about 10 laps. The two Toro Rosso cars were also stuck but finally got around in lap 17.

On lap 22 Webber attempts to have a go on Barrichello to keep his chances open for P3 when the guys in front of him would pit. Half a lap later though, Webber is terribly close to the barriers. McLaren is wary of the threat and ask Hamilton to find half a second on the primes which are now dropping off.

By lap 27 Webber is now a full second a lap quicker than the McLarens. Both Hamilton and Button are struggling with their rear tyres. Hamilton, the leading McLaren is now 28 seconds behind Alonso.

Talking about Alonso, Ferrari mention he is giving it all, but Vettel appears to have kept his tyres in better shape. By lap 29 Vettel is within 1.8s of Alonso, having reduced the gap from 4s.

That same lap, Hamilton is in the pits and rejoins the track in 8th place, quite a lot behind Mark Webber.

On lap 30 Alonso and Vettel dive into the pits, as well as Button about 30 seconds later. It's interesting that Vettel didn't choose to go longer on the options, but his daft pace after the stop shows why. The first lap after the stops, Vettel is half a second quicker than Alonso.

on lap 32, the safety car is deployed as Kobayashi went straight into the barrier after outbraking himself in the sharp left hander under the grandstand. Senna didn't see it in time and joined him in the barrier.

Kobayashi was not doing great recently, as one lap earlier he violently bumped Schumacher into a tyre wall. Schumacher was still able to continue as he only hit the tyres with his left rear wheel.

At the end of lap 35 the safety car leaves the track again, releasing Alonso and Vettel, followed by two laped Virgin cars, Weber, Hamilton and Button. Both Hamilton and Webber quickly passed the first Virgin, but as they came up the second, Webber had Hamilton in his slipstream. Hamilton came out of it on took the outside line for the next corner.

In the braking zone for turn 7, Hamilton was ahead, but Webber took the inside, was on the kerb on the inside but still hit Hamilton who violently turned left, seemingly not being aware that Webber was still there. Webber heavily bumped with his right front wheel against Hamilton's left rear. Webber continued without problems in third, while Hamilton is out of the race one turn further along the circuit as he found there was a technical issue.

One lap later Schumacher is in the same situation with Heidfeld. Schumacher rejoined the pitlane for a new front wing that same lap, while Heidfeld was immediately out of the race.

The stewards quickly announced that both incidents would be investigated, but later decided to take no further action in either of the two incidents.

The front runners don't seem to be bothered though. They have upped their pace with fastest laps, but their gap is stable at 1.8s.

On la 45 Vettel ups the pace again, reducing the gap to 1.2s while asking his race engineer tosignal him if brake temperature problems pop up again.

Robert Kubica meanwhile makes an additional pitstop, taking on a new set of prime tyres. We see no other reason but a possible slow puncture on one of the tyres. Kubica dropped from 7th to 13th, dropping him out of the points. He is on the track right behind Buemi and Petrov and has got 15 more laps to overtake a few people to get back into the points.

On lap 46 Alonso responds with another fastest lap, increasing the gap marginally again. One lap later it's Vettel again who is quickest around the track.

After a few close encounters Kubica finally got past Buemi. There was no way the Toro Rosso driver would be able to hold off this pressure for much longer anyway. One lap later Kubica also gets by his teammate as Petrov made a slight mistake by running over the kerbs on the exit of turn 7.

Kubica is now closing to Massa then and the Pole only needs half a lap to make a pass stick. Massa has been running on these tyres since lap 2, so there was nothing to do for the Brazilian. Nico Hulkenberg is the next man who sees Kubica pop up in his mirrors.

Predictably, 10 turns later he got past the Williams, and one further lap later Kubica also passed Sutil through the outside of Turn 7.

On lap 60 Kovalainen stops with a burning car just in front of the pitlane. He decided not to dive into he pitlane and stopped on the finish line. After jumping out of his car he extinguished it himself.

At the same time as the leaders enter the final lap, Vettel is close than he has ever been, but Alonso retains first place after having started from pole and staying cool under Vettel's continuous pressure.

Results

Pos.DriverTeamTime
1.Fernando AlonsoFerrari1:57:53.579
2.Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing+0.293
3.Mark WebberRed Bull Racing+29.141
4.Jenson ButtonMcLaren+30.384
5.Nico RosbergMercedes Grand Prix+49.394
6.Rubens BarrichelloWilliams+56.101
7.Robert KubicaRenault+1:26.559
8.Adrian SutilForce India F1+1:52.416
9.Nico HulkenbergWilliams+1:52.791
10.Felipe MassaFerrari+1:53.297
11.Vitaly PetrovRenault+1 Lap
12.Jaime AlguersuariScuderia Toro Rosso+1 Lap
13.Michael SchumacherMercedes Grand Prix+1 Lap
14.Sebastien BuemiScuderia Toro Rosso+1 Lap
15.Lucas Di GrassiVirgin Racing+2 Laps
Did not finish
16.Heikki KovalainenLotus F1+3 Laps
17.Timo GlockVirgin Racing+12 Laps
18.Nick HeidfeldSauber+25 Laps
19.Lewis HamiltonMcLaren+26 Laps
20.Christian KlienHRT F1 Team+30 Laps
21.Kamui KobayashiSauber+31 Laps
22.Bruno SennaHRT F1 Team+32 Laps
23.Jarno TrulliLotus F1+34 Laps
24.Vitantonio LiuzziForce India F1+60 Laps