Vettel wins Singapore Grand Prix, Alonso keeps lead in championship bid
Updated: 2012-09-24 10:43
SINGAPORE - German driver Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull won the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday evening, narrowing his gap against driver championship front-runner Fernando Alonso of Ferrari.
Vettel started the race behind Lewis Hamilton of McLaren but took the lead after the Briton dropped out due to a gearbox problem at the start of lap 23. This means that Hamilton, who had won two of the last three races, dropped to the fourth position after the race.
Vettel finished the 59 laps in 2 hours and 26.144 seconds.
Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany holds his trophy and a bottle of champagne as he celebrates his win in the Singapore F1 Grand Prix at the Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore, Sept 23, 2012. [Photo/Agencies]
The 25-year-old said he was "struggling a bit" with the practice sessions and the qualifying round but nevertheless insisted that the pace was still there for him.
The race was cut to 59 laps as the drivers were not able to finish it within two hours. Racing legend Michael Schumacher of Mercedes dropped out after his car collided with Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne after 38 laps, forcing the race to a break.
Vettel maintained the lead after the break and managed to take home 25 points in the hot humid weather of Singapore.
He said he had expected a marathon race.
"But it was fun in a way. You are excited, a bit nervous before the race starts, knowing that there is a bit of a marathon coming, but I think that's what makes this race so special. It's not only the race in the night but also a lot of corners and a lot of bumps," he said, adding that he was happy with the results.
Fireworks are set off over the Singapore Flyer soon after the checkered flag at the end of the Singapore Grand Prix 2012, Sept 23, 2012. [Photo/Agencies]
Jenson Button of McLaren finished in the second place with 2 hours and 35.103 seconds. Mark Webber, who had been one of the four drivers quite a distance behind Alonso but close to one another, had only 1 point by finishing in the tenth place.
Alonso finished in the third place at 2 hours and 41.371 seconds. The Spaniard still has a comfortable lead in the bid for the driver championship with a total of 194 points, compared with 165 points for Vettel, 149 for Kimi Raikonen of Lotus, 142 for Lewis Hamilton and 133 for Mark Webber of Red Bull, respectively.
There will be six more races to go.
Vettel said now his chances were "looking 10 points better than it was before."
"There's a lot of races left. It's a bit difficult to predict what's going to happen. We have to make sure we finish all the races first of all. I think the pace was there. Even if we are not quick enough to win, then it's good enough to collect a lot of points," he said.
Alonso said he was happy with the results, too.
He widened his lead over three of the group of runner-ups, though one of them managed to narrow the gap, he said.