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Alonso Wins in Singapore and Edges Closer into the Title Fight

September 26, 2010

Fernando Alonso won today’s Singapore Grand Prix by 0.2 seconds to Sebastian Vettel, while championship leader Mark Webber finished third to retain his lead of the title, and Lewis Hamilton collided with his championship contender to see the end to his race.

The race got off to a slow start, with the top five contenders retaining their grid positions through the first lap, while contact between the midfield saw an early end to Vitantonio Liuzzi’s race, bringing out an early safety car by the start of lap three as Liuzzi’s car was removed from the track.

As the safety car spent three laps on track, Mark Webber was brought in by the Red Bull team for fresh tyres, and he was followed in by several other drivers further through the field. By the restart, Webber was down in 11th, and within a lap he was able to make a move on Timo Glock, who had made his way up to tenth following the stops of several other drivers. Next on Webber’s target list was Kamui Kobayashi and Michael Schumacher, and he passed Kobayashi on the next lap, on lap seven, and on lap 11 he passed Schumacher for eighth position.

As the harder compound tyre started to cost Webber up to two seconds per lap off the leaders’ pace, Alonso and Vettel were able to pull out their 28 second gap to Webber to ensure they maintained their positions after their stop, while the McLarens of Hamilton and Jenson Button started to struggle on the super-soft tyre, and by the time Hamilton pitted on lap 29, Webber was able to pass the Brit who had only made up a 20 second gap.

At the end of lap 29, Alonso and Vettel pitted from the lead, and Button came in from third. While the two leaders rejoined in the lead of the race, with a continuous gap of around three seconds still between them, Button was down in eighth behind Hamilton. Between the McLarens and the leaders, Nico Rosberg was next to pit on lap 31, while Schumacher, who had been in the wars with the midfield, pitted from 15th.

By lap 32, Kobayashi crashed out under the grandstands of turn 18, collecting an unsuspecting Bruno Senna, and forcing the safety car to come out. Robert Kubica and Rubens Barrichello pitted, leaving Alonso and Vettel leading Webber, Hamilton and Button behind the safety car.

At the restart, the backmarkers of the two Virgins, who were in the middle of the front five, were forced to get out of the way of Webber and Hamilton who were on a charge. The fact Webber’s harder compound tyres had taken the pressures of more laps than Hamilton’s and had worn more, meant that Hamilton was pushing as soon as he could. Getting into the Red Bull’s slipstream while passing the second backmarker of Lucas di Grassi, Hamilton edged past Webber on the run down to turn seven, but while they both fought for the line into the corner, they made contact, braking Hamilton’s rear suspension, and seeing the end to his second race in succession.

Webber was able to carry on, despite a vibration in his front-right tyre, a result of damage from the contact, but found himself defending against Button, who was trying his best to put the Red Bull under pressure from then on.

Meanwhile, Schumacher, and the returning Nick Heidfeld got into a scrap at the same corner a few laps later, seeing the end to Heidfeld’s race. Kubica then suffered a right-rear puncture and was forced to pit again, but by lap 52, he was on fire, passing Sebastien Buemi for 11th, Vitaly Petrov a lap later for 10th, and then Felipe Massa for ninth. By lap 55 he was passing Nico Hulkenberg for eighth, and on lap 56 he tried the same move as Hamilton did on Webber into turn seven on Adrian Sutil for seventh, and he was able to make it stick.

By the closing two laps of the race, di Grassi and Heikki Kovalainen were in a battle of their own, and after the two made contact, Kovalainen’s Lotus caught fire, and after choosing to not peel into the pits, he pulled over on the pit straight and had to put out his own fire, grabbing an extinguisher from one of the pitlane marshals.

As Alonso and Vettel charged past the burning Lotus to start their final lap, Vettel had managed to diminish the gap to the race leader, and as he tried to make a move on the Ferrari, he found all he could do was play the waiting game, hoping the Spaniard would make a mistake. But Alonso had it in the bag, and after leading all 61 laps, he crossed the finish line to take the win, after a long one hour and 58 minute race, just 0.2 seconds ahead of the Red Bull.

Webber passed the finish line in third, with Button fourth, the pair some 30 seconds behind the winner. Rosberg followed the McLaren home in fifth, with Barrichello in sixth, Kubica seventh, Sutil eighth, Hulkenberg ninth, and Massa, who started last and pitted at the end of the first lap, the last of the points-scorers, and the last of the cars not lapped, in tenth.

For the championship, things have been shaken up. Webber remains at the top of the drivers’ standings on 202, with Alonso in second on 191, while Hamilton slips back into third on 182. Vettel and Button switch positions, with Vettel on 182 and Button on 177, 25 points – a win, off the leader.

In the constructors’ standings, Red Bull edge further ahead on 383, with McLaren on 359 and Ferrari on 316.

So with four races remaining has Hamilton thrown his chances away, and could Alonso come through to take his third crown, or is the title just Webber’s to lose?

The next race takes place in Japan, with qualifying on Saturday 9th October, and the race live on BBC1 at 1pm on Sunday 10th.

*Following the race, Sutil was issued a 20 second penalty for running off the track and gaining an advantage at turn seven on the first lap. The penalty puts him down in tenth.

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One comment

  1. […] The race got off to a slow start, with the top five contenders retaining their grid positions through the first lap, while contact between the midfield saw an early end to Vitantonio Liuzzi’s race, bringing out an early safety car by the start of lap three as Liuzzi’s car was removed from the track… More […]



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