Fernando Alonso’s bad luck turns good for win

2008 Singapore Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

While Felipe Massa led at the start Fernando Alonso was a long way back
While Felipe Massa led at the start Fernando Alonso was a long way back

Fernando Alonso scored his first win in over a year and Renault’s first win in almost twice that time as the new Singapore circuit created a surprise result.

It was an unusual podium featuring Alonso, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, the latter extending his title lead on a poor day for Ferrari.

Felipe Massa failed to score after another disastrous problem during their pit stops, and Kimi Raikkonen crashed late in the race.

Mixed fortunes for Alonso

Fortunate toyed with Alonso all weekend. He was quickly up to speed on the bumpy Singapore street circuit, fastest in the second and third free practice sessions, and fancied his chances of taking pole position.

But a car failure in qualifying left him a wretched 15th – a starting position no driver had ever won a Grand Prix from in the 799 world championship events leading up to this race. It took a strategic gamble and a stroke of fortune to bring him into play on race day.

At the start Felipe Massa was quickly down to business, pulling out a lead over Lewis Hamilton. Kimi Raikkonen stayed third ahead of Robert Kubica, who barged Heikki Kovalainen aside at turn three, leaving Sebastian Vettel and Timo Glock to pass the Finn.

Jarno Trulli made an excellent start from 11th to move up to ninth. But with a fuel-heavy car he quickly had a train of rivals stuck behind him: Nico Rosberg, Kazuki Nakajima, Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber, Jenson Button, David Coulthard and Sebastien Bourdais all covered by 5.1s on lap five.

After several attempts Rosberg got by Trulli on lap seven. Soon Nakajima and Alonso were also through, but the leaders had dashed away.

Massa maintains his lead

Massa had a three second lead over Hamilton by lap nine, with Raikkonen a further 4.3 behind. But Raikkonen’s lap times started to improve and he set a pair of fastest laps, cutting Hamilton’s advantage to 2.6s by lap 13.

Meanwhile Alonso, who along with Rosberg had started on the less favourable super-soft tyres, made his first pit stop. Although he fell to last it proved extraordinarily fortunate timing when his team mate crashed two laps later, Nelson Piquet Jnr backing his car into the wall in front of the grand stands by the Marina.

The arrival of the safety car on track meant the pits would have to be closed. The leaders had already passed the pit lane entrance when the crash happened but Red Bull reacted quickly and got Mark Webber and David Coulthard in.

Rosberg and Kubica, however, were running low on fuel and had to pit while the pit lane was off-bounds. That meant they were guaranteed a penalty later in the race.

Pit lane disaster for Ferrari

When the pit lane opened most of the remaining cars streamed in, including both Ferraris and McLarens, Vettel, Glock, Nakajima and Button. Felipe Massa was first into his pit box but when Ferrari’s unique gantry lights above the pit told him to leave the fuel nozzle was still attached to his car.

Massa took the fuel hose down the pit lane, knocked one of his mechanics over, swerved in front of Adrian Sutil, and stopped before the exit. His remaining mechanics sprinted the entire length of the pit lane after the car, and after a few heaves managed to wrench the hose off the car. But the stewards took a dim view of the incident, and along with Kubica and Rosberg, Massa was later hauled in for a penalty.

It was a double blow for Ferrari as Raikkonen had been forced to queue behind Massa before making his pit stop, and Kovalainen had the same problem with respect to Hamilton.

Video of Massa’s pit lane disaster

Rosberg loses the lead

The penalty was of little consequence to Massa as he has already fallen to the back of the pack. But Rosberg, who had been ahead of Alonso, potentially lost a shot at victory at this point.

He led the field after the restart with Trulli and Fisichella – both of whom had not pitted – right behind him. Then came Kubica who was due a penalty, and Alonso, then the two Red Bulls of Coulthard and Webber, who had got their pit stop in early. Then came the first of the original group of leaders, Hamilton, ahead of Vettel and Glock.

With Trulli and Fisichella holding the field up Rosberg pulled as far away as he could before taking his penalty. He managed nine laps before he had to take to the pits, pulling out enough of an advantage to resume in front of Coulthard and Hamilton.

After the others had made their pit stops and served their penalties Alonso took the lead from Rosberg, Coulthard and Hamilton. He came out in front of the Red Bull after his pit stop on lap 41, which gave Hamilton the chance he’d been looking for to pass.

Coulthard defended turn seven but a late-braking move by Hamilton gave him third place. It hardly mattered though, as both pitted on the end of that lap and a problem getting away four Coulthard meant Hamilton would have had the place anyway.

Meanwhile Raikkonen had made better progress up through the field than Massa. Massa had fuelled to the end of the race on lap 31, meaning he was tackling half the race distance on one set of super-softs. Raikkonen was up to ninth by lap 37 and took Trulli on the following lap to move up into the points.

Massa seemed to be struggling with his tyres and a moment’s misjudgement at turn 18 sent him spinning backwards into the barrier. He was able to get going again, but pulled away as – who else – Sutil was arriving onto the scene. Sutil crashed into the barrier more comprehensively, calling for a second safety car period.

Late scare for Alonso

Once again it seemed fortune was playing with Alonso. He’d had a healthy lead over Rosberg before the second interruption, now his advantage was gone – and so was Rosberg’s with respect of Hamilton. But they were both on the soft tyres while Hamilton was on the super-softs, and if that was not enough to dissuade him from making a rash more the thought he was about to make big gains in the championship surely was.

Hamilton got a bit of a run on Rosberg at the lap 53 restart, but a little over-steer at the exit of turn five gave Rosberg crucial extra breathing space and allowed him to hold onto second.

Hamilton had Glock on his case who in turn was defending from Raikkonen – but not for long. On lap 57 Raikkonen hit the kerbs at turn 10 too hard and went straight into the barrier. It was a fourth no-score for Raikkonen and, completing Ferrari’s misery, gave McLaren the constructors’ championship lead.

Alonso’s win might have looked lucky, but his fortune in the race was at least partly caused by his misfortune during qualifying. Any winner after two hours on a bumpy, barrier-lined track in such heat must be a worthy one.

Hamilton extends his championship lead

Rosberg’s second place and Kazuki Nakajima’s late promotion to eighth (thanks to Raikkonen) gave Williams a vital boost. Hamilton’s six points were, ironically, the same he had lost in the contentious stewards’ ruling on Monday, giving him a seven point advantage over Massa though he will no doubt be ruing that it is not 13.

Glock was fourth after comfortably out-driving team mate Trulli all weekend, his team mate retiring from fifth on lap 51 with an hydraulic problem,. Vettel’s sixth place was especially impressive compared to his team mate’s torrid weekend, Sebastien Bourdais finishing 12th after spinning early on.

Nick Heidfeld scored three points and, like Kubica, is mathematically still in the title chase. Coulthard claimed two points for Red Bull after Webber dropped out half way through the race, and the final point went to Nakajima.

Massa was 13th after his pit problems and penalty, a galling result after an initial problem that was totally out of his control. Only Fisichella finished behind him, and Raikkonen, whose F2008 was buried in the turn 10 wall.

Full 2008 Singapore Grand Prix results
Full championship standings after Singapore

Update: Several months after the race it was discovered Renault instructed Piquet to crash to help Alonso win. The race finishing positions were not altered.

Fernando Alonso\'s win was his first since Monza last year
Fernando Alonso's win was his first since Monza last year

97 comments on “Fernando Alonso’s bad luck turns good for win”

  1. michael counsell
    28th September 2008, 17:05

    Hamilton lost 4 points at Spa not 6.

    This result for Alonso was very similar to the one I predicted for the Monaco Grand Prix. Great strategy by Renault. McLaren tried it too with Heikki late on but it didn’t quite pay off, but if Sutil had crashed earlier he could have won.

  2. Alonso overtook car(s by cutting the chicane at the start. Still, with the way the race developed, he would probably have won anyway.

    A nice slice of luck for young Lewis today. Who decided on Ferrari’s pit system? The Chuckle Brothers?

  3. Michael – And Massa gained two meaning Hamilton’s net loss in the championship was six.

    David – I didn’t notice Alonso passing anyone illegally – which corner?

  4. Hamilton lost 4 points at Spa not 6.

    Hamilton lost 4, Massa gained 2, net result in championship = 6.

  5. Keith

    I’ve heard whispers he cut the chicane at the first corner of lap one and overtook as many as three cars. I’m yet to see it again though so it could all be claptrap

  6. @Keith – Alonso escapes opening lap chicanery:

    I didn’t see it either but will watch the replay soon …

  7. BTW Keith you can put me down for commentary on Japan on either race or qualifying or both. I love watching F1 in the early hours of the morning. There’s an other-worldliness to it.

    So pleased Lewis didn’t Banzai it to DC and picked his moment perfectly. I was imagining him slowly cooking with frustration behind the Red Bull

  8. That race was so much better than Valencia for it’s first gp

    I was seated by the Esplanade and the entire weekend was superb. Everything was set up so well and the organisation was fantastic. The only complaint i have was that the price of food and the lot in the circuit was pretty pricey. But the entire experience was fantastic, especially the walk about!

    The actual race itself was damn good. Piquet kindly crashed himself to allow alonso to win that one! alot of action for a street track. And who said you couldn’t overtake?

  9. Trying to transform the traditional-first-curve-mess of a race into a jumping-a-chicane-breaking-rule issue is just unbelievable, and it reveals how much hated is Alonso for some F1 spectators…. I don’t know if Alonso gained an advantage, but one thing I know for sure… what happens at the first corner of a race is a complete different matter of having a battle for position with another runner and jump a chicane to gain advantage…. Maybe after seeing 300 or 400 more races someone can find the difference.

    I’m really happy this race ended the way it did because it can bring a fresh air into strategists minds… I was so tired to watch those Q1-Q2 qualifiers to fill up their fuel tanks and begin a procession instead of a race. And now comes Symonds and Alonso and shows them that you can try going extrmely lighter and voila… you win. ¿Remember a french race where an unknown racer (Schu) did make 4 stops to steal the victory against Fred?…. Those brilliant minds that are unable to develope something different than what their computered systems predict could open the notebook and write this lesson… with brilliant markers, please.

  10. It was a day and a race filled with ironies and karma. Massa has gathered bad karma from the unsafe release ahead of a certain Adrian Sutil in Valencia, from saying that he was satisfied with the ruling and his extra points this Monday. His drove brilliantly today yet the mishap was well earned. Lewis crash into Kimi in Canada is no longer this year’s most embarrassing moment.

    Now we have 6 different winners in the last 6 races, when was the last time this happened? Fernando deserves the victory, FIA will once again be consistent and persistent with their inconsistency and no penalty will be dealt. But I don’t mind seeing Nico Rosberg as race winner either.

    I finally understand that this championship is not about McLaren and Lewis Hamilton, they are not really competing in F1. You only feel like a battered wife if you think that way. What we really have is an exciting fight to the wire between how much Ferrari is capable of screwing up against how much slack FIA is going to cut them. Right now it is 6-6;)

  11. Architron

    Who on here “hates” Alonso? I don’t even know the man.

    Sadly the god-forsaken pit-lane penalties were back again and the rule effectively removed Rosberg’s chance of victory and ruined several others’ races.

  12. If you feel that the most remarkable issue of Fred’s race today is that he seemed to jump the first corner (as many other did in many other racers in order to avoid an accident) instead that his pace was really fast and he drived between walls like hell-possesed and that his fastest lap was only 0,2 secs slower than Kimi’s fastest, then mate, someone could believe that you really hate the man……

  13. It was so heartbreaking to see Alonso pulling out of Q2 after being so competitive that I’m glad he won. But did anyone else notice that he was holding the towel he was mopping himself with when he got on the scales to be weighed at the end of the race? I’m sure it was innocent and not a way to add a few grams to his mass, but I’d have thought F1 would have a more professional post-race procedure in place to prevent such things from happening…

  14. and that someone would be paranoid and completely and utterly wrong. Stop being so precious

    Alonso’s strategy came up roses today. Even he did cut the first corner it probably wouldn’t have mattered.

  15. Bananaman – that’s the sign of a true professional! Always looking to see what he can get away with!

  16. I don’t have a problem with Alonso, though I agree with Martin Brundle who during his commentary suggested that Alonso’s image is need of repairing in the eyes of some F1 people after last year.

    It was a hard fought win today, though, and he and Renault fully deserve it. An inspired strategy.

    Kudos to ING for getting their product so well noticed on Martin’s grid-walk, followed by their team winning the race!

  17. I feel that Massa’s drive through penalty was unjust. Surely the FIA should follow precedent and issue him with a 10,000 Euro fine?

    (before anyone bites I should inform you that I have an appointment this evening to have my tongue surgically removed from my cheek)

  18. Wow, I just love this kind of races because you enjoy them so much!! I was stuck in my chair through all the race :D I can’t bear boring races like that one in Valencia. The races are so much fun when Alonso is in the middle :) His car has been competitive for all the week, making the best times and all, so I guess the win is deserved, lucky or not.

    The one that had the worst luck was definitely Massa :( . It was a pity.

    By the way, you can cut the chicane at the start of the race if you don’t have enough room to pass save the corner. That’s how it’s always been. Other completely different thing is doing that in other moment of the race, just to gain a position. In the first corner there are so many cars that you have to go open sometimes if you don’t want to hit someone.

  19. Amazing experience, Inaugural night race.

    As a Williams fan couldn’t have been much happier with the results.

    Alonso two times World Champion taking Top step of podium..but was the first safety car orchestrated?
    It resulted just after Alonso’s pit-stop.
    And my speculation is fueled seeing Briatore, getting evasive, when scribe asked him “Piquet” chipped in a “small way”

    My heart goes out for Massa – Ferrari didn’t learn from the Valencia gaffe and ultimately that came and bit them at wrong time. Montezemello , needs to suck up his ego and get rid of Italian team managers, get back Todt and Brawn

    Great race overall, but not sure night race at “dedicated road circuit” would be a good idea. the novelty factor will wear off if overdone


    PS – Live Blogging @f1fanatic was amazing experience. Thats closest I have been to enjoy a F1 race while bantering with buddies,ever since I moved on this side of Atlantic :D

  20. Mahesh: what would you do if you were Piquet and Briatore told you that you have to crash your car into the wall to give Alonso a chance to win? O_O What’s Piquet, a kamikaze? His car crashed at a very high speed, there’s no way that was calculated.

  21. @Alex Cooper – Don’t expect more from Fernando Massa or that matter any driver. It attribute it to a) age b) Driver’s fragile ego. All the drivers have shown these tendencies.

    Occassionally you have a really good, well mannered bloke. But good blokes hardly have the last laugh if History of competitive sports goes ( Some that do are exceptional)

    Returning to Alonso – I am not sure if Martin Brundle has missed it. His McLaren “Experience” has brought lots of calmness and Maturity in Alonso. His esctatic responses to Glories of Kubica,Heiki (Poles) and recently Vettel taking his record of Youngest race winner, has been well telivised.
    Alonso of 2003-2007 was not this type. everyone must have seen him sulk on Trulli’s Monaco win 04 and his Whine when Fisi was not letting him pass at Canada’05.
    So Alonso is changing, question is are we the spectators still watching him with tinted glasses ???

  22. There’s a video of the start here but it’s rather hard to see where he was before the first corner. I’d like to see the onboard before making by mind up. It wouldn’t be the first time the stewards had ignored drivers cutting the first corner to make up places.

  23. The ING Renault won in Singapore the home of ING, just when ING were reviewing whether to continue in a sponsors role…….. amazing good luck eh?

  24. @ Paty – If my contract was renewed for next two years , I would do that for “team cause”. Piquet is under pressure to hold his seat. He is not bad driver, but he has joined a team on it down turn, which doesn’t have resources like McLaren or Ferrari and in days where testing is limited, And these are some reasons he is struggling in his Debut year.

    In F1 as in life , perceptions matter a lot, a Kimi may suck but still get good seats and good monies, while a Bourdais maybe dumped though his extracting more out of his STR than what a Kimi is doing with superior Ferrari. So If playing team game , is assuring me future I will do that.
    But then again, Teams have short memories , who forget team games of drivers in a race or two (ask Nick how he feels about letting Kubica through at Canada)…

  25. ING is dutch aren’t they? So I don’t really see the link there steve.

    I am both glad and sad to see a more mature Lewis waiting with a potentially dangerous overtaking. Pre-Spa Lewis might have taken on DC and Rosberg earlier, and either succeeded with a stunning ballsy move or crashed out.

    More about the start, Kubicas tough take on Kova there was really on the limit since Kova was well ahead. Borderline penalty no?

  26. Post 10# Jian

    It was a day and a race filled with ironies and karma. Massa has gathered bad karma from the unsafe release ahead of a certain Adrian Sutil in Valencia, from saying that he was satisfied with the ruling and his extra points this Monday. His drove brilliantly today yet the mishap was well earned

    Let me ask you, what was the bad karma Massa did to earn an engine failure at Hungary; a fuel hose problem at Canada?
    We all agree that Ferrari did an embarrassing work in the pits today; but PLEASE, don’t tell me Massa’s mishaps today were “WELL-EARNED”.

  27. @Jian – ING is Dutch , but they are a) expanding in Asia b)Singapore is Financial Hub, all Major Financial Institutions have operations in Singapore, from where they oversee Asian Markets…

  28. @Jian – “I am both glad and sad to see a more mature Lewis waiting with a potentially dangerous overtaking. Pre-Spa Lewis might have taken on DC and Rosberg earlier”

    Lets keep our judgement reserved on that. Remember this was street circuit..so can’t compare his reactions at Road circuit like Magny or Spa to Singapore, here a “ballsy” overtake could have ended up in Armco lining the street and game over. He has to play for numbers now, rather then have sweaty palms and hit wrong buttons :p

  29. About Alonso’s first lap shenanigans, Don’t ever trust Planet-F1 to give accurate reports. They are complete suckers for Lewis Hamilton.

    After Valencia; their headline was “Massa wins European Grand Prix, but for how long”

    After Spa: “Lewis robbed of win, Death of FIA”

    And now this,

    P-F1 is worse F1 site ever..

  30. @Mahesh: it still looked too much to me, if you see the video of the accident, it’s difficult to imagine it like a plan. It’s life we’re talking about, not a contract. His head was pretty close to the wall, and I wouldn’t confide so much in the car’s resistence. Besides, after that Piquet looked really pissed… If he put an act, then he’d rather leave the F1 and go to Hollywood, he could make it big time there.

  31. @Sumedh – Totally agree about PF1. Well but for that matter I should say, the entire Media , going overboard with Lewis Success, not realising that, it will hurt Lewis in long run…
    Last year they had “sarcastic” column Alonso writes to his fictitious cousin which was in poor taste. I wonder what happened of that column this year

  32. Sumedh: I should clarify that I mean that the mishap was well earned for the whole team of prancing horses. Even though I get carried away with individual drivers once in a while I agree that Massa didn’t personally earn that much bad karma, he didn’t need to, his team did the work for him.

    Mahesh: yeah you are right, and come to think of those sweaty palms I guess I really should be more happy that he played it safe. It can only mean good things for the finish since he has the advantage in Japan, they are equal in Shanghai while Massa has the home advantage in Interlagos. All in all even preconditions which mean that those 7 extra points should be enough.

  33. *wrt to chicane cutting*
    I noticed it too but the replays made me think he had two option, break hard(would be called break testing) or cut the chicane. In the latter he had more risk to damage his car. I dont know the rules but at the start every driver is thinking of gaining places and avoiding accidents, I have seen more than my fair share of chiane cutting and it normally is acceptable unless it was premeditated.

    Great win… Totally deserving, would be heart broken to see it ruined something like this.

  34. @Jian – Well to think of for last two seasons Title is for Hamilton to “Lose”. McLaren has been the Best car on the grid,both in terms of Speed and Reliability. I hate to say that but one key factor has been those Cosworth Engineers who were out of jobs when Cosworth pulled out of F1 end of 2006, was boon in disguise for Norbert Haugh, has those guys have brought that punch which was lacking with McLaren end of 2006 when they had most Fragile Engine on grid

  35. Keith, the ITV team noted Alonso’s chicane cheating (but without giving back the 2 positions), but of course, as he won, the stewards wouldn’t do anything. Shame the same couldn’t have happened with Lewis’ much more skilful win in Spa. Alonso lucked out with strategy and the safety car – I seem to remember the same thing happened in Hockenheim with Piquet. Plus Alonso spent some time crowing to the media about Lewis’ chicane cutting penalty, only to do the same thing in Singapore. What a hypocrite.

  36. Kimi has scored 0 points for the 4th race in a row. On the other hand, F1Fan will probably be content as Kimi has got another fastest lap.

  37. Sumedh, I love PF1. At least there is some positiveness there for Lewis, not the usual hatred and bias. I find their reporting excellent and amusing.

    I saw a brilliant letter in ‘F1 Racing’ magazine written by a Ferrari supporter who was appalled at Lewis’s Spa penalty. The magazine said it was one of 100s of letters they received on the subject, ALL in support of Lewis. I think the internet bloggers are not necessarily the majority (they are usually Hamilton-haters) but are the most vocal and vociferous. ‘F1 Racing’ magazine is a global publication and Hamilton is pretty popular with the readership. Shame the same cannot be said of the internet sometimes.

    Anyway, well done Lewis today for a solid drive for points. No doubt you will be criticised for it, just as you are criticised for exciting overtaking, but if you end up world champion, who cares what the snipers and haters say?

  38. “Keith, the ITV team noted Alonso’s chicane cheating”

    that’s a bit over dramatic isn’t it?

    i watched the replay (high res version, not the youtube link), alonso cuts the first corner, gains a single place then gives it back.

    he then waits for one corner before making the move again. can’t see there was anything to investigate meself?

  39. S Hughes,

    You feel that Hamilton haters make up the majority, I am a MSC fan; and even I feel there are far too many anti MSC fans out there. It is all perception. I guess every driver fan feels he is up against the rest of the world :D

    P-F1 is far too doting on Lewis; If you read either autosport.com or f1way.com; You will see what are good unbiased articles (I appreciate its editorial and “race features” section though). Take an example of F1-fanatic. It has a .co.uk at the end; but it is not exactly a Lewis Fan site? :)

  40. Sumedh, I just want to know what is wrong with a UK F1 site being a Lewis fan site (not that PF1 are at all), but what is wrong? Lewis is from the UK, he’s brilliant, what is the problem? Can’t he have UK supporters or what? Don’t understand.

  41. I hope everyone realises now how absolutely overrated Massa is…he really is terrible.

  42. @Sidepodcast – Thanks for walking us through what happened.

    @ S Hughes – Sidepodcast, has explained the Fernando cutting chicano story now. Well there is one more site crash duh net , which gives stories in “positiveness” as Lewis Fans see it and guess what you get ample opportunities to Slander Fernando as well. You should visit it, you will find many supporters :)

    I for one who loves F1 and agree that inconsistencies, random rulings and unprofessionalism shown by FIA is bringing motorsports to disrepute. But when I say that McLaren/Lewis Supporters can’t beat the “Victimization” card to death. Its time to move ahead.

    I didn’t anyone of McLaren/Lewis fans crying for justice last year at Nurburgring or post Fiji , when Lewis escaped penalties. And when both FOM and FIA were doing everything they could so the sport could get a “Rookie winner” thus increasing spectator interest.

    So lets get life and move on

  43. Is planet-f1 a UK F1 site?

    And, a F1 news site is above all a “news” site, not a fan club. You may read any discussion forums in P-F1; and people there are openly critical of P-F1.
    http://forum.planet-f1.com/index.php?t=msg&th=69081&start=0&#msg_num_4 read deepblue’s comment here.

  44. It can’t be better than that!
    I am rooting for McLaren as team and Alonso as driver and now Alonso won and McLaren leads the constructors championship … I’m a happy chappy :-)

  45. comment 43 was for S Hughes

  46. @Paty – I was talking to my friend yesterday and we have been watching F1 races for 20+ yrs now. In recent years, there have been too many controveries, too many dodgy decisions, which sometimes makes one feel that is this indeed motorsport or WWE, where everything is orchestrated.
    Having said that sheer joy of cars racing at speeds of excess of 300+kph and love for under dogs keep me hooked..

    So it maybe Oscar award winning performance by the brazilian rookie.. and comedy act award going to Maranello pit crew and their prop of gantry indicator :D

    1. @Mahesh really late, but much kudos for the cynicism, mate, you were actually completely right

  47. @Sumedh & S Hughes

    I think most sites are pretty biased for or against one driver or team, autosport and this site are probably the exceptions.

    As long as you know what their bias is and you read around you’re able to get a pretty balanced view.

    Last season for e.g., I’d always have a look on Spanish sites after reading UK sites versions of what happened between Lewis & Alonso, once you’d read both sides you could spot the bias & make up your own mind.

  48. What about Kmi’s graceful pirouetting into the wall? Time to think there’s something really wrong with this guy? Check out the post-race Q & A with him in Autosport, it’s hilarious: Did you? No, I didn’t. How did it happen? It just happened. What’s gonna happen? We’ll see. Do you think? No, I don’t think (and so on)

  49. Mahesh, you can’t name an F1 site I don’t visit – crash.net, paddock talk, pitpass, ITV, racefreaks.nl, you name it. crash is not that pro-Lewis and the comments are the usual bitter bile against Lewis. How come you haven’t noticed?

    Alonso’s chicanery is getting quite a few questions on Bleacher report too.

    You need to keep up dear.

  50. CarlitosF1, I guess most people are tired of bashing Kimi now. We need to cut him some slack. 4 races without points. Poor fellow admits he is pathetic; and that he’s championship is over.

  51. Kimi’s wall trip isn’t that big of deal….Michael Schumacher put it into the wall in AUS06 and you all love him. Massa’s spin in sepang was truly god awful driving.

  52. @Sumedh

    I’m with you mate, the other week I was getting a bit annoyed that Kimi couldn’t seem to score a point but now I’m just feeling sorry for him.

    The poor guy is in serious need of a break !

    Hopefully he’ll have a good weekend next race :~)

  53. CarlitosF1 – Kimi and words don’t go well…everytime he opens his mouth he just gargles. Once he tried to act cool was on Brazilian 2006 grid, when Martin Brundle asked him reason for his absence at MSC felicitation ceremony.

    He tried to sound smart and funny, by saying he was taking $***. Martin responded brilliantly ” So that is one lighter car on the grid today” . In short, Kimi’s gargle post/pre race is to be overlooked. Perecption that he has created of being “Ultrafast” driving inferior Sauber and Female Fans Going “Kimmmmmmmmmmmiiiii” has still kept him getting teh right seats. F1 end of the day hugely game of “Perception”. If Balding Kubica drops ball for 3-4 races, there will be talk of dropping him, anyways he doesn’t have any marketing value…. Kimi is blessed on that front

  54. What FIA takes, Singapore gives!

    About Karma, Massa gave back the 6-point advantage (which FIA gave it to him). This is not about who is going to win; it is just that wherever the scores should have been before this race, it has been made that way after this race. So, from now on, it’s a fair game! Let the best man win.

  55. Mcademianut – Agreed on that point It was same with Renault and Fernando in 2006, what Italian Stewards ( Grid Penalty) and FIA (Mass Damper Controversy) Taketh. Ferrari Engine Failure (Suzuka 06) giveth.

    May the best man win !!!
    & yes I am rooting for affable, keep mouth shut and drive Brazilian :D

  56. Rosberg drove a very good race to finish second but why did it take so long for him (and Kubica) to receive notification of their drive-through penalties? If it had been within a couple of laps of the ‘infringement’ then he wouldn’t have even scored.

  57. I don’t agree with all this stuff about ‘Karma’: Hamilton had a questionable penalty decision; Massa had a bad instruction from his pit crew. Six points one way, six points another, but Massa’s misfortune doesn’t mean Hamilton shouldn’t be 13 points ahead.

    Also: Stewards reject appeal against Vettel

  58. S. Hughes, you’re writings get me so tired !!!!! Man, Alonso won your dear Hamilton, take it as a man. Don’t worry. Hami drives a brillian McLaren and Alonso does the best of that rusty Renault. Lewis will win so many races and Alonso will have to call for lady luck to help him day after day….

    But seeing you so angry makes me think that deep inside you believe that this Fred win is tons worthy than any race Hami has won this year for the F1 supporters. So you think you need to do something about it and bash and bash and bash Fred’s victory time after time…. Cutting the chicane, getting a towel before weight-check after the race, or maybe driving in the hands of the gods….. Pure boredom, man.

  59. Hilarious, Mahesh. I remember some comment in this very blog comparing Kimi with that silent, laidback and hypercool highschool boy that girls die for, only to find sheer shallowness when they actually get to know them. I was one of those girls for a while too, here in Spain we (Alonso followers) feared the 2006 Kimi more than we feared MSC himself… Maybe a reason for me not to feel sorry about Kimi is that I would love to see Alonso dressed in red, but not the only one. The ones I do feel sorry for are those who don’t drive a Ferrari and are getting so much out of worse cars all through the season: Vettel, Trulli, Webber, Kubica, Rosberg (what a pace today when he had the lead!!) and of course Alonso (personal fastest lap only 0’2 secs slower than absolute fastest lap, that’s faster than both McLarens and only slower than both Ferraris).

  60. Fernando was simply stunning in that Renault. If he was in that Ferrari nobody would have come close to touching him in this race.

    As for the Ferrari first pit stop that just had me burst out laughing, especially when they were carrying it back up the pitlane.

    As for Rosberg how an earth did he get back in front of Lewis and DC I’ll never know that must have been some balls to the walls driving he did there!

    And someone needs to teach the Renault mechanics how to catch a bottle of booze.

  61. Archictron, I never mentioned anything about a towel??? You must be mixing me up with someone else. I am stating a fact – Alonso’s win was gifted to him. Don’t believe in karma either – in poetic justice, yes. You don’t have to read my posts if you find them boring – just skip over them next time. I am entitled to my opinion as well, as annoying as you might find it. Funnily enough, I find some of the opinions on here pretty annoying too.

    And BTW, I consider Lewis’ Silverstone, Hockenheim, Monaco and Spa wins a trillion times more deserved and skilful than Alonso’s safety car bit of luck.

  62. Keith of course you are right in a way about the karma, but see it as a way for us supporters of the sport to try to believe in some sort of heavenly “justice” and moving on instead of dwelling in a depressed state of seeing FIA taking the word arbitrary to a new dimension.


    “I didn’t anyone of McLaren/Lewis fans crying for justice last year at Nurburgring or post Fiji , when Lewis escaped penalties.”

    Please don’t go overboard with those nonevents showing your true colors. Hamilton didn’t escape anything because he didn’t deserved penalties in any of those cases (if you don’t belong to a group of bashers who think every move the kid does should be penalized. Webber Monza in mind). On the edge driving happens every race without getting as much attention and scrutinizing just because it is not a yellow helmet in a silver car. I don’t particularly like Alonso after last year’s backstabbings but I found his win refreshing and well deserved today. If we all are trying to move on let’s try to move on from the sniping and bashing as well.

  63. Architron

    Fernando looked strong all weekend but the fact remains that without the safety car he wouldn’t have won. Lewis’ utterly dominant performance at Silverstone was the best performance of the year by any driver in my opinion.

    I’d like to see Fred in a BMW next season. He and Kubica would be exceptionally strong if they are properly managed and both realise that they are racing as a team first and indiivually second.

  64. I didn’t said that Hamilton wins at Silverstone, Monaco or any other wasn’t better than this one… I said that this one is worthier. Why? Because of the material. What Vettel has done at Monza and Fred here gains my heart and many of purist of F1 fans. We always remember when the weak one wins the stronger boys. Believe me. I can’t remember when Damon Hill won with that Jordan, but I forgot almost any other fact of that year. But don’t worry. Lewis has it in his pocket, and he seems to have learnt the lesson of last year races, after seeing the way he managed to finished third without taking any risk at all.

  65. @Nick

    I agree Kimi’s ‘wall trip’ wasn’t that big a deal. Indeed, I’ve just read the stewards have just given the wall a ten place penalty at the next race for causing an avoidable accident.

  66. @Jupiter

    I think the set number of laps a driver has to serve a penalty only applies once the safety car goes in so because we had several laps with the safety car this effectively gave Rosberg 10 laps from the restart (I think, but could be wrong) to take his penalty so he made the most of it and stayed out as long as he could.

    If anyone else has some more updated info re this rule please feel free to share, if only you could buy a set of regulations at the book store !

  67. Great and very well deserved victory for Alonso.

    On a related note, I have to say: Alonso really impressed me with his driving today. Through his career up until last year, he had a tendency to really charge the corner with an aggressive turn-in. This weekend, his manipulation of the car was just pitch-perfect, aside from maybe a couple of charges on old tires.

  68. “I don’t agree with all this stuff about ‘Karma’”

    Thank you for saying that before me Keith….this is auto racing after all.I didn’t see any Karma Police at the track.

    Congratulations Alonso!

  69. @Jupiter – This isn’t the first time that stewards have taken ages to investigate race incident. At least in case of Rosberg , their hand were full reviewing Mass, and Kubica situation. The worst I remeber is USGP 2004, JPM’s car got stalled on the Grid and he was balck flagged at around Lap 50 when he was running 4th. His infringement – Didn’t indicate Car stalling on the grid in “15 seconds”. The stewards expected driver to react in 15 seconds but they took more that 50 Minutes ( given USGP could be lapped at 1min 13 secs by V10 powered car).
    It was pretty straight forward violation, Apparently in that case , they didn’t want the track side fans to loose interest in the race, if they had immediately blackflagged JPM.

    It is decisions like these make an impartial fan like me think if this all F1 business has become a hoax !!!!

    @Jian – On the same note I would like to say this is not about Lewis Bashing !!!Any racing fan can put his/her hand on heart and can’t really explain why FIA looked the other way in case of Hamilton related incidents last year. Ideally if they were that sure that “McLaren had gained unfair advantage from Ferrari documents, the drivers not being penalized was hard to explain”.

    Nurburgring was McLaren Home track and Marshal’s &Stewards were from local Motor association, releasing Lewis back on track was blatant violation as it was unsafe to competitors in dangerous track condition with low visibility.

    Fuji safety car incident, was sure enough candidate for Grid Penalty in following race. Kaz Nakajima got one this season for “unsafe driving behind safety car” didn’t he?? So were rules interpreted differently for Fuji’07 violation ??

    Hard to bite Pill, but the point being made is incosistency and notion of doctoring race outcomes. I am not condoning Ferrari related incosistencies here as well, If Valencia was financial penalty, then today was same situation so same fine. So either valencia was wrong or today’s penalty was wrong.

  70. Biggest difference I saw between Valencia and today’s pitstop for Massa was he never yielded the position to Sutil. He did that in Valencia, plus the fact that he went side by side and had the massive snake being dragged along the pitlane that was always going to be a penalty regardless of it being his fault or not.

    I don’t care if FIA don’t fine Ferrari but they have to ban the system or force every team to use a sensor on the fueling rig as someone else pointed out here today.

  71. Architron

    Hamilton was penalized in France this year with a drive-through for cutting a chicane on the first lap and passing Vettel (supposedly: McLaren said he’d already passed him). It’s a consistency issue. Alonso’s actually my second favourite driver out there and I’d be against any penalty, particularly retrospective, taking away today’s great win. It was fantastic to see him leaping from the car and on the podium. But that FIA is much more severe in Hamilton/McLaren’s case is fairly obvious.

    As for the Karma issue, I agree with Keith. The fact is, if Massa still wins by just a few points, his loss of points today won’t really satisfy me that the right driver won the championship.

    Another question: Kovaleinen. Are McLaren really sure he should be a permanent fixture? Hamilton can finish second in the last three races and still win, but if Massa’s up front, there’s a big chance Kimi will be there challenging for second. Today it looked like he’d pass Lewis in the pits or that they’d have an ‘interesting moment’ with Kimi trying to overtake on track. But Kovaleinen is just too far away to be any help to Lewis. Or is this McLaren strategy’s affecting Kovi’s qualifying and race performance? Either way, Raikkonen looks set to have a big impact on the final result.

  72. Mahesh: Schumacher was pushed on track by Marshalls in 03 and finished with quite a few points without any attention brought to it from the stewards. Once again the rules weren’t clear by the time Hams car got lifted onto truck. Very much as in Spa the unwritten rules were at least outspoken ones afterwards. The Nakajima case I haven’t seen.

    We can both agree that FIA doesn’t really care about its own precedent even if we use different cases to reach that conclusion. Let’s hope that their ridiculous inconcistency dosen’t affect the outcome of this amazing WC season more than it already has.

  73. Jian – thats another good example you have given. btw that was 2004 season I think. In the same race, Alonso had off track exersion at the same spot as MSC, and the Marshal didn’t give him push.

    So its not about Drivers or favors they receive from FIA/Marshals/Stewards. we agree that the inconsistencies shown, give rise to scandals and tarnishes almost every acheivement in F1 in recent past!!!!

  74. My bad Schumi Nurburgring (Home race) 2003 and Alonso Monza (Foreign race) 2004 :P

  75. How about that drive by Nico Rosberg and the finish of Kaz Nakajima? Just when I start thinking the sport has passed Frank and Patrick by, they begin to show progress! Welcome back boys.

    Can anyone explain WHY the Renault did so well this weekend, when they have lagged all year long? Besides Fernando’s brilliant drive?

    As for the track and layout, the pit in and out definitely need revising before next year’s event, and thank the racing gods for no rain. Can’t imagine the carnage braking over those wet bumps coming into turn 7.

  76. @Keith,

    This discussion on karma reminded me of a program that I saw on TV long time ago about some of the superstitious beliefs that the top chess grandmasters and top athletes have to date. To name two:

    1. Gary Kasparov touches all his chess pieces once before he makes his first move.

    2. Michael Jordan wore his NCSU (college basketball) jersey underneath the Bulls jersy.

    Do you know from interviews of past F1 racers, if they had any such superstitious beliefs? I guess it would make a nice article.

  77. Good point GeorgeK, the Singapore performance level of the Williams and particularly Renault are both surprising indeed. Renault have stunningly turned a tortoise into a competitive car seemingly overnight (I say overnight because whatever the team’s efforts may have been over the season, the car was still a tortoise in Monza a couple of weeks ago.) They brought a new front wing to Singapore but Alonso himself talked about an improvement of no more than half a tenth per lap. Have Briatore & Co. started to make the pending homework regarding the car’s engine? As for Williams, I’m totally helpless as to understand how they did so well this weekend… There’s some thread at pitpass.com forum rising suspicions about a proper comeback of Williams in 2009.

  78. This year, Ferari and Mclaren have been evenly matched at almost every race.. unlike last year; when fortunes would swing wildly for both teams..

    However, among the other 8 teams, the trend has been weird; Its anybody’s guess as to who will be best of the rest at Fuji..

  79. I don’t know if people realized that many things in Renault didn’t work this week-end, and however they won at the end: one of the drivers DNF, mechanical problem for ALO in the quali, they had no simulator to prepare the race (that’s why they take the bikes…), during the race the computers didn’t work so they were unable to tell ALO how much advantage he must get before the second pit stop, the drink bottle didn’t work either so ALO couldn’t drink during the race, the strategy they applied a priori was not the best but they didn’t have the brakes to, and probably other things… They were lucky (except for Piquet) but I think the win was deserved.

  80. Its been painful to watch Alonso struggle with the Renault this year, and so even more wonderful to see the result on Sunday – Congratulations Fernando + all the team! What is interesting to consider is has the struggle made FA a better driver? Great drivers struggling with difficult cars and the outcomes? an interesting article Keith?

  81. @Roser – What source provided you with Renault “Internals”, If indeed all these are facts, increases value of Alonso’s drive a 100 times.

    On that note – Lewis Hamilton had wagered Button on “being most fit driver” on the grid, Ham looked most tired of the three podium finishers and Alonso most fit. Maybe it was the win that boosted energy in the Spaniard.

    @CarlitosF1 – You have mentioned in previos post about being a “Ohhh Kimi is sooooo cuuuuuuuute” type Gals. Its incredible to see that you are going to so many forums to get insights on the sport. :)

  82. Nico’s 2nd was one of my highlights of this year so far. What a great drive.

    CarlitosF1 – I hope it’s not just speculation about Williams. I’d dearly love them to hit the top again.

  83. @Mahesh: it is all in the interviews with Flavio and Alonso, but put together…

  84. Fortunes favour the brave they say, so Alonso was fortunate, Piquet was brave and Renault laughed all the way to INGs asian market HQ?

  85. Mahesh: As a sort of newcomer to loving F1 (and to this blog) my enthusiasm is getting pretty annoying for my friends (to label them ‘largely uninterested in F1’ would be a huge understatement), with my thorough insisting on the endless quest for the inside line, carbon-fiber poetry under the floodlights, man vs machine epic and so on… Yeah!

    Tom: Rather offtopic, but Williams seem to be very deep into KERS handling and (pls someone correct me if I’m wrong) have been the very 1st team to try a 2009-style rear wing. And I’d also like them to see them lagging a little less and scoring a little more.

    Great idea for an article MW, good drivers struggling in bad cars.

  86. Colin Williamson
    29th September 2008, 17:56

    First of all congratulations Singapore for the great racing over the 3 days of the event, fantastic result also, I am from UK and the only downside having lived in singapore and asia for the last 17 years was the crowd safety at the circuit, also agreed with the party of 20 others we had at the event (locals also)from our Singapore company who is involved in construction and safety issues under Singapore regulations, the basic problem was insufficient controlled fence exits (EXIT ONLY) being open for people leaving at the end of the night, I was stood in a crowd of thousands standstill for about 15 mins with people getting more and more angry and frustrated and pushing and shoving began with no police or stewards to be heard, and connections through to the mall exits closing at 9.30pm which meant that people had to walk nearly half the circuit to exit the alternative areas coming back to city hall MRT (1.5 hrs later), when you have thousands of people leaving through a single overpass exit you are creating a potential disaster, on the second night security eventualy sent people on the track to avoid problems due to loss of control near gate 7, fencing in certain areas near to gate 7 were physically forced back due to crowd conditions, this was partially rectified on night 2 when police were in force to make sure of crowd movement, at the end of the night on sunday it should not take nearly a complete walk of the circuit to exit when other exit options remain fenced off and closed, lets try and get it right next time, we have already decided to re-consider the position next year.

  87. A fully deserved win for Alonso, and great to see Williams back on the podium (hopefully they can make it up to the top step soon, although I think it unlikely).
    I to wondered why it took so long to issue Rosberg and Kubica with their stop/go penalties. I remember reading earlier this year that the safety car rules were to be looked at so people who need to stop aren’t penalised so much, but it seems nothing has been agreed yet.

    From the TV pictures I thought it looked like Ferrari had reverted to using a lollipop again for Massa’s second stop, but one of the pit crew was partially blocking the camera. I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t see the traffic light system again.

    For the race itself, without the safety cars and Massa’s pit problems I think the race could have been as dull as Valencia, and although the night race was a success in terms of logistics etc I wouldn’t like to see established Grand Prix become night races, as has been mooted for Australia. Does anyone else not mind getting up early to watch a Grand Prix, as long as it is only a few times a year?

  88. It’s been a very special moment over the past 12 years waking up at 3am to watch the Australian Grand Prix weekend. Same with all the Far Eastern races, and it’s never bothered me. I’d hate to see them all go to night races, but you have to admit the whole thing looked excellent in the dark.

  89. How come Ferrari has not received a fine for the fuel hose incident. Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Sutil receive a fine for a similar incident last year?

  90. @CarlitosF1 – Glad to find another F1 enthusiast. As a Life long Williams fan, Every season when Williams is doing good in “Winter Championship”, I nurse a hope that things will be great and every season its a let down. Nevertheless, hope never dies :)

    About Williams taking lead in KERS game. I feel Honda and Toyota should hold upper hand, and they are using KERS in their road cars. Williams has acquired a local UK firm that is using Flywheel based KERS device. It would be interesting to see how that fares against the “Constructors” and not to mention their Engine Supplier “Toyota” I have been reading Force F1 is planning to move to Honda (and as is STR) as Honda has its KERS well synchronized with Engine and It would be a Off the shelf solution for these teams. So lets wait and watch how Williams KERS gels with Toyota Engine.

    If indeed Williams is competitive, there are lots of commercial benefits coming way of My Team :D

  91. @Chaz – You flog the dead horse and what do you get for all the hard work ?? A flogged Dead Horse :D

  92. Mahesh, Fernando was the only driver who sat down for an extended period before the podium ceremony.

  93. @Oliver – Good Observation. Alonso and Nico got that breather after bringing their car in parc ferme coz tired Hamilton, Spent awfully lots of time on his victory lap.. and it was based on that footage that I said he was too tired end of the race. Sorry for not elaborating before.

  94. Re S Hughes and D Watkins posts 61 and 63. Deserved and skillful in what ways? The facts in Monaco LH hits the barrier and has to pit for a new set of tyres & then for damage limitations change’s to a 1 stop strategy and then what happens – a safety car bails him out of jail. At silverstone kimi had him pegged and looked very strong with heavier fuel until the strange tyre choice decision. At spa he needed light rain 5 laps from the end to get anywhere near kimi after his error at the end of lap 1. The reality remains that like Fred at singapore without these fortunate circumstances playing into his favour he wouldn’t have won. Is this why macca want rain for the last 3 gp’s

  95. I didn’t particularly like the Singapore GP i thought it could have been anywhere in the world, a strip of tarmac edged by armco and catch fencing. I had a holiday in Singapore 2 years ago and was really looking forward to this race but recognised nothing.
    Also I dont like races decided by lucky safety car periods, penalties for filling with fuel when the pit lane is closed, suspect interpretation of the rules. If i had my way i would also ban refuelling and tyre changes(except for safety reasons)and have the race won on the track.

  96. seriously, nelson will need to have nerves of steel t pull off a stunt like tat, n if he is tat brave n dangerous, he shld be creamin the races right now!

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