Singapore, 26 September – Fernando Alonso
did his championship chances a world of good under the Marina Bay floodlights by leading all sixty one laps of the Singapore Grand Prix to take an incredible win, his fourth of the season, his second at this track. The Spaniard has now moved up to second in the championship
, just eleven points off the leader, Mark Webber. The Australian also finished on the podium in third place, behind his Red Bull team-mate, Sebastian Vettel who never let Fernando pause for breath, tailing him by never much more than a second for this gruelling and very long race, that nearly went to the two hour limit. The race started with one Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro driver on pole and the other at the back of the grid, after Felipe Massa
’s car failure in qualifying. So it was fitting that, at the chequered flag, it ended with one first and the other a more positive last – last of the points scorers in tenth place. Then came a slight consolation, as Felipe found himself moved up to ninth place, after Adrian Sutil was given a post-race theoretical drive-through penalty. Despite securing another fantastic win, the situation in the Constructors’ championship
has not got any easier, with four races remaining. With both Red Bulls on the podium tonight, they slightly extend their lead over the Scuderia in third place.
After the start, as a strategic move, Felipe was brought straight into the pits to make his one tyre change of the race and two laps later, the Safety Car appeared for the first time, after Liuzzi stopped on track. At this point the order was Fernando, Vettel, Hamilton, Button, Webber and Rosberg and then most of the cars outside the top eight, plus Webber all came in to change tyres, while Felipe was now fifteenth. Fernando’s lead was under a second and Felipe was stuck in a high speed train, moving to fourteenth when Hulkenberg and Petrov ran wide.
By lap 12, Fernando had pulled out a 2.3 second lead over Vettel, with Felipe already over half a minute behind his team-mate. On lap 28, Hamilton was the first of the lead group to change tyres, followed one lap later by Fernando and Vettel who came in nose to tail and left in the same order. From then on, the two men seemed to be joined together by an invisible rope, the gap between them only fluctuating as they dealt with backmarkers. By lap 45, Felipe had worked his way up to ninth place, but Kubica in the Renault made an additional stop for fresh rubber and began to carve his way past slower cars on older tyres, including Felipe, who had to settle for tenth at the flag: a good day’s work after starting last.
Vettel never gave up pressuring Fernando, with the Spaniard having to also deal with being the first of the pair of them to tackle the backmarkers, but the two of them still traded fastest race laps, the final honour of being the quickest driver in the race going to the Ferrari man on lap 58. A win in Monza two weeks ago and another one here in Singapore: the final quartet of races is going to be a nail-biting time for everyone, starting in Suzuka
, Japan in a fortnight’s time.