Archive for the ‘Singapore’ Category

h1

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.

h1

Alonso on Pole in Singapore, While Massa Fails to Set a Time

September 25, 2010

Fernando Alonso secured his second pole for Ferrari in succession in qualifying under the flood lights of the Marina Bay circuit, for tomorrow’s Singapore Grand Prix, while teammate Felipe Massa failed to even set a time in Q1 after he stopped out on track on his outlap with suspected engine problems.

Alonso posted his time early on in the first shoot-out in Q3, setting a time of 1:45.390, that no one could beat in the final push for pole. Even Sebastian Vettel, who was fastest in Q2, was unable to post a time fast enough to topple the Ferrari, and secure yet another pole for the Red Bull team, after he just clipped the barrier as he attempted to set the quickest time. Vettel settled for P2, one tenth of a second slower than Alonso, and another tenth faster than Lewis Hamilton, who will start third, alongside teammate Jenson Button, who joins him on the second row in fourth.

Championship leader, Mark Webber, will start fifth, after Button snatched fourth off him at the final hurdle. Rubens Barrichello will start sixth, with Nico Rosberg seventh, Robert Kubica eighth, Michael Schumacher ninth, and Kamui Kobayashi rounding out the top ten.

Dropping out in Q2 was Jaime Alguersuari in 11th and Nico Hulkenberg in 12th, who will start in 17th after he received a five-place grid-drop penalty for changing his gearbox. Vitaly Petrov, who qualified 13th will start 12, with Sebastien Buemi 13th, Nick Heidfeld, who replaces Pedro de la Rosa in the BMW Sauber, 14th, Adrian Sutil 15th, and Vitantonio Liuzzi 16th.

Q1 became qualifying to forget for Felipe Massa, after he stopped out on track on his outlap, failing to set a time. Stopping in an awkward spot, race control were forced to red flag the session as the marshals cleared the Ferrari from the track.

Timo Glock, Heikki Kovalainen, Lucas di Grassi and Jarno Trulli will start 18th to 21st respectively, while Christian Klien, who replaces Sakon Yamamoto in the HRT will start 22nd, ahead of his teammate Bruno Senna in 23rd, with Massa 24th.

As the season reaches its climax, F1’s only night race could be the turning point for the five drivers in the fight for the title. When it finishes, will there still be five drivers in the hunt for the championship? Or will Red Bull and McLaren be forced to back just one driver? We’ll soon find out.

h1

Hamilton Produces Faultless Drive to Take Victory in Singapore

September 27, 2009

Lewis Hamilton produced a faultless drive in an eventful Singapore Grand Prix this afternoon, turning pole into victory, while Jenson Button extended his lead in the drivers’ championship to teammate Rubens Barrichello.

Hamilton made the perfect getaway from pole, leading third-place starter Nico Rosberg into the first corner. Despite problems with KERS, the McLaren driver led for all but four laps, which were led by Fernando Alonso during the Brit’s second stop in Singapore’s sensational night race at the Marina Bay circuit.

Having got past second-place starter Sebastian Vettel heading into the first corner, Rosberg kept the gap to Hamilton down to three seconds in the first stint, with both drivers, and the Red Bull of Vettel pulling away from fourth place man Timo Glock.

Hamilton pitted for his first stop after Vettel and Rosberg, and he rejoined the track with a comfortable lead, not long before the safety car was deployed following a collision between Adrian Sutil and Nick Heidfeld, after the former spun trying to hunt down Jaime Alguersuari. The shunt, which was avoidable on Sutil’s part as he tried to rejoin the track, was investigated after the race resulting in a $20,000 fine for the German.

At the restart, Hamilton started to pull away from Rosberg, but when the latter dived into the pits to serve a drive-through penalty, it was Vettel who began to put pressure on the McLaren driver, closing the gap to half a second.

Hamilton said: “It was a very very tough race, I think I can speak for all of us. Conditions made it very tough but it was pretty straightforward for me. I knew I was longer than the guys around me so all I had to do was keep Vettel behind me. I felt I drove quite a nicely controlled race.”

Rosberg had been looking set for second place, until a slip up exiting the pitlane after his first stop saw him cross the white line, subsequently penalising him with a drive-through penalty. Shortly after it was issued the safety car was deployed, and the young German’s hopes to serve the penalty and get back out in the points scoring positions was crushed, and he finished in 11th.

It seemed second place wasn’t to be for Vettel either, as he too was issued with a drive-through penalty after speeding in the pitlane during his second stop. However, Vettel was able to keep on the pace and after everyone else had made their second stops, he finished in fourth ahead of championship leader Button.

With penalties robbing Rosberg and Vettel of second place, it was Timo Glock who came through to finish second, with Fernando Alonso in third.

Mark Webber lost out on the opening lap, after an illegal pass on Alonso meant he had to give up his fourth place to Glock to be able to let Alonso back through, putting him back down to sixth. Glock, who had started sixth, had already passed Alonso for fifth when Webber was told to let both drivers through. It was the start of a miserable race for the Aussie driver, who had qualified fourth, as he was the first of several drivers to have problems with his brakes, with them failing shortly after his second stop, sending him spinning into the tyre wall at the end of the start/finish straight.

Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari was the next to retire with brake problems, and it was touch and go for Button as his right-front brake appeared to be under pressure, and while closing down on Vettel in the final stint he was told to back off and just bring his Brawn home.

Despite the safety car messing up Button’s strategy, a charge in the second stint had enabled him to leapfrog Heikki Kovalainen and Brawn teammate Barrichello at his second stop, and the championship leader finished fifth, extending his lead to Rubens but one point in the championship. Barrichello finished in sixth ahead of Kovalainen, with Robert Kubica rounding off the points scorers.

Webber’s DNF almost certainly means his hopes for taking the title are over, and with Vettel 25 points adrift from Button, it is looking unlikely for him too. With just three races left to go, Button has a 15 point advantage over Barrichello, with it looking like it is the Briton’s to lose.

The constructors’ championship looks likely to be Brawn’s, with Red Bull taking second. But with three points in it between Ferrari and McLaren, the only real fight in the constructors’ battle is for third. Ferrari leave Singapore having had a miserable weekend, with both Kimi Raikkonen and Giancarlo Fisichella failing to impress in qualifying, and finishing out of the points in 10th and 13th respectively.

 

F1 returns to Suzuka next weekend for the Japanese Grand Prix, with qualifying on Saturday 3rd, and the race live on BBC One at 6am on Sunday 4th October.

h1

Hamilton on Pole After Red Flag Haults Q3 in Singapore

September 26, 2009

Lewis Hamilton took pole in Singapore this afternoon, after Rubens Barrichello crashed in the closing stages of Q3, causing the session to be red flagged.

Lewis, who topped the time sheets in practice this morning and was fastest in Q1, grabbed pole after just one flying lap in Q3 with a time of 1:47.891. He had been about to start his final hot lap when Barrichello’s shunt put a hault to the session.

Sebastian Vettel, who will start tomorrow’s night race from second, had been on his final hot lap when Barrichello hit the wall at turn five, meaning the German was unable to complete his lap which was looking good enough to have put him on pole.

Barrichello, who had set the fifth fastest time prior to the crash, will start tenth, following a five-place grid drop after his gearbox was changed. His teammate, Jenson Button, will start in 12th after failing to get through to Q3.

Nico Rosberg will start the race from third in the Williams. Rosberg had been looking like a strong contender for pole after putting in an impressive 1:46.197 in Q2. Mark Webber will start in fourth, directly behind teammate Vettel, after both Red Bulls put in a great performance to qualify ahead of the Brawn drivers.

Last year’s controversial winner, Fernando Alonso, will start from fifth, moving up one place from sixth following Barrichello’s gearbox penalty. Timo Glock will start in sixth, with Nick Heidfeld, Robert Kubica and Heikki Kovalainen in seventh, eighth and nineth, respectively.

The surprises during the late-night qualifying session came not only from Button, who failed to make the top ten shoot-out, but also Kimi Raikkonen, who starts behind Button in 13th, and Giancarlo Fisichella, who will start 18th after failing to make it through to Q2.

The Force Indias of Adrian Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi, who both managed to qualify in the top ten in Monza two weeks ago, will start down in 16th and 20th respectively, after a poor qualifying session for the team.

After several crashes so far this weekend during free practice, and indeed Barrichello’s shunt in qualifying, it is likely there will be more in tomorrow’s race. If Hamilton has more fuel on board than Vettel, the race may be in favour of the McLaren driver, but with the possibility of yet more crashes during the race, and the possibility of a safety car, anything can happen.

For Button and Barrichello, who go into tomorrow’s race with an advantage over Vettel and Webber in the fight for the driver’s title, they will be hoping to score as many points as possible to help retain their lead, as both Red Bull drivers have the upper-hand for the race. With only four races left to go, the fight for the title is looking more and more like it will go down to the wire.