Vettel dominates to Singapore GP victory

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Singapore, Marina Bay Street Circuitsg

Sebastian Vettel has led the Singaporean Grand Prix from start to finish, at moments displaying far superior pace over second place finisher Daniel Ricciardo. Kimi Raikkonen made Ferrari's party complete by finished third to complete the podium.

At the starting lights went out, all but Verstappen got a more or less clean getaway, with hardly any position changes in the first lap. Bottas did challenge Rosberg for 6th, but settled in the train halfway into the lap.

Max Verstappen was worse off as he stalled on the grid, getting rolled back into the pits by his engineers to get his engine fired up again. The young Dutchman eventually joined the race one lap down.

At the very front meanwhile, Vettel set off on a blistering pace, gaining mostly in the final sector. By lap 5, he was 5.5 seconds ahead of Ricciardo. Behind the Australian, almost everyone is still seperated by less then 2 seconds off each other.

Vettel's pace is such that his engineer soon asks on the radio to back it off a little in an attempt to better manage the tyres. While that initally worked, Vettel actually started to lose time to Ricciardo by lap 8.

On lap 10, Grosjean is the first to stop, changing to options from behind Sainz. The next lap, Alonso and Sainz do the same to protect themselves from getting passed by the Lotus driver, but the busy pitlane cost them deerly, with both men having to wait several seconds to prevent an unsafe release. Just like Grosjean, the two Spaniards also changed to soft tyres.

On lap 12, Nico Hulkenberg causes a stir as he fails to make way for Massa who came out of the pitlane. Massa obviously had the inside line of turn 3 as he came out of the pits, but Hulkenberg still cut across him, sending himself into the barriers whereas Massa's car was surprisingly undamaged.

The resulting virtual safety car period triggered a large number of stops, with both Ferrari's stopping trouble free, as well as Ricciardo and Hamilton. Button meanwhile had a very slow pitstop as his McLaren team struggled to get the front right wheel fixed onto the car.

On lap 15, the real safety car was brought out to allow the marshalls to clear the debris off of the track. The SC eventually left the track on lap 18, with Vettel leading, followed by Ricciardo, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Rosberg, Kvyat, Bottas, Perez, Nasr, Grosjean, Alonso, Maldonado, Ericsson, Button, Rossi, Stevens, Sainz and Verstappen.

Sainz interestingly was running behind Alonso in 12th, but when the race got off again, he lost power, only to find power again by the time all other cars got ahead.

By lap 23, Vettel is still only 0.9s ahead of Ricciardo, and another second ahead of Raikkonen. The German's early pace has faded away, possibly trying to make the tyres last longer rather than focusing on outright speed.

On lap 26, Hamilton complains of a loss of power, and soon finds himself getting past by Rosberg and Kvyat, having had 3 a second advantage one lap earlier. Another lap later he's down to 8th, recording a laptime of 2:03.580, with others doing around 1:52.500.

Two laps later, Vettel suddenly sets purple sector times and goes from finish to finish in 1:50.904, 2 seconds faster than what he had been doing for the last 10 laps.

At about the same time, Felipe Massa encounters a problem with his car and then decides to dive into the pitlane, only to pass through and rejoin the race immediately. It didn't do much good though, as another half a lap later, Massa is asked to return safely to the pits to retire the car due to a technical issue.

On lap 33, Hamilton retired from the race, followed by Alonso who entered the pits to make an end to his Singapore GP weekend.

5 laps later the safety car is back out on track as a spectator managed to make his way onto the track. Without any worry, he walked alongside the barrier before jumping back behind it. By that time though, many drivers dove into the pits for another change of tyres. Daniil Kvyat is once again a victim of the SC, as he already had a slow stop just 2 laps before. He dropped down behind Bottas as a result.

Strangely, neither Marussia did get past the safety car, resulting in a strange situation where the top runners, apart from the leading two, had to get past one or both of the Marussias in the next few laps. It wasn't a Marussia however that became a problem for Button, but rather Maldonado. The latter first ran out of the track to defend his position, then cut back across and maintained the inside of the next left hander, surprising Button who attempted to take the inside of the turn's exit to attempt a pass at the next corner. As Button ended up with a broken front wing, he called on his radio "I should have known he is mental".

6 laps after dropping back to the back of the field, apart from Marussia, the race comes at an end for Button as well due to an overheating gearbox.

Two laps from the end, after Maldonado also dropped out of points scoring positions, Grosjean got passed by Nasr for the final point after the Frenchman outbraked himself. He subsequently ran into the pits to retire from the race.

Results

Pos.DriverCountryTeamTime
1Sebastian VettelGerFerrari2:01:22.118
2Daniel RicciardoAusRed Bull Racing+1.478s
3Kimi RäikkönenFinFerrari+17.154s
4Nico RosbergGerMercedes AMG+24.720s
5Valtteri BottasFinWilliams+34.204s
6Daniil KvyatRusRed Bull Racing+35.508s
7Sergio PerezMexForce India+50.836s
8Max VerstappenNedToro Rosso+51.450s
9Carlos SainzEspToro Rosso+52.860s
10Felipe NasrBraSauber+90.045s
11Marcus EricssonSweSauber+97.507s
12Pastor MaldonadoVenLotus F1+97.718s
13Romain GrosjeanFraLotus F1Dnf
14Alexander RossiUsaMarussia+2 Laps
15Will StevensGbrMarussia+2 Laps
NcJenson ButtonGbrMclarenDnf
NcFernando AlonsoEspMclarenDnf
NcLewis HamiltonGbrMercedes AMGDnf
NcFelipe MassaBraWilliamsDnf
NcNico HulkenbergGerForce IndiaDnf