Vettel a point away from title after Singapore win

2011 Singapore GP review

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Singapore, 2011

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Singapore, 2011

Sebastian Vettel dominated the Singapore Grand Prix to claim his ninth victory of the season.

His lights-to-flag win leaves him needing one point from the final five races to win the championship.

Jenson Button joined him on the podium but team mate Lewis Hamilton had another troubled race.

Hamilton and Massa collide

Vettel made a typically superb getaway, pulling out an instant lead and extending it by almost a second over each of the following laps.

Button easily took second place off Webber. The other McLaren of Lewis Hamilton took a look at the inside of Webber but had to back out of the move.

This allowed both Ferraris and Nico Rosberg to take the McLaren. Michael Schumacher also took advantage, wresting seventh from Hamilton as they went into turn seven.

Hamilton faced a second race staring at the back of Schumacher’s car. But this time he was able to quickly pass the Mercedes, taking advantage of Schumacher making an error at turn five and using his DRS to press home the advantage.

The next time by he picked off the other Mercedes of Nico Rosberg in similar fashion.

But Hamilton’s attempt to wrest fifth place of Felipe Massa ended in a collision. Hamilton was trying to tuck in behind the Ferrari at turn seven when he clipped Massa’s right rear wheel, puncturing the tyre and damaging his own front wing.

Both drivers had to pit for repairs and Hamilton was furthered delayed as the stewards swiftly delivered a drive-through penalty which eventually dropped him to 19th.

Webber had slipped to fourth at the start and he told his team his DRS wasn’t helping much in his efforts to pass Alonso. But Alonso’s tyres started to suffer and Webber pounced, squeezing past the Ferrari driver for third.

Alonso made for the pits to swap his super soft tyres for the harder compound. One by one the cars in front of him made their pit stops, bringing the Ferrari up to fourth.

In third place at this point was Paul di Resta, who had started on soft tyres. Alonso caught the Force India very quickly but spent most of a lap behind, finally bursting past when they reached the DRS zone.

By lap ten Vettel held a ten second lead. He and Button made their pit stops with no change of position between them, Vettel pulling ever further ahead.

Hamilton began his progress through the field which included making his way past the recovering Massa. This was accomplished more successfully than his previous effort, taking advantage of a mistake by the Ferrari driver to claim 12th.

Hamilton’s next target was Rubens Barrichello, who was easily dispatched for 11th.

Schumacher crashes out

Ahead of Hamilton were Rosberg, Perez and Schumacher, disputing seventh place. Rosberg ran slightly wide at the last corner and Perez took the opportunity to pass the Mercedes.

But Rosberg came past him at the first corner, the pair making contact and Perez taking to the run-off.

Schumacher moved in to capitalised and chased Perez around turn five and down to Memorial corner. The Sauber driver forced him to the outside and continued to cover the position as they headed to turn eight.

Schumacher made to pass Perez down the inside but hit the Sauber, his car rearing up in the air and landing hard before crashing nose-first into the barrier. Schumacher extracted himself without injury while Perez was able to continue.

The safety car was deployed while Schumacher’s car was recovered and most drivers took the opportunity to make their second pit stops.

The appearance of the safety car was a boon for Hamilton, who was now eighth. It had wiped out Vettel’s healthy lead, but a trio of lapped cars between him and Button allowed him to instantly restore his lead to four seconds as the race resumed.

Behind Button were Alonso and Webber, the Ferrari driver having jumped back in front of the Red Bull during the first round of pit stops. But Webber surprised Alonso with an opportunistic move at the turn ten chicane to take back third place.

Di Resta was now in fifth, partly thanks to team mate Adrian Sutil who appeared to let him past after their first pit stops.

Hamilton battles back

Sutil was now under pressure from Hamilton, who took a run at the Force India at Memorial corner, but backed out of it as they caught a backmarker. Out of the corner, he poked his nose down the inside at turn eight and found Sutil very obliging, holding the door open for Hamilton instead of slamming it shut.

Hamilton picked off two more cars in successive laps: first Rosberg, then Di Resta, elevating him to fifth place.

Webber made a third pit stop and briefly fell back behind Alonso, but gained the place back when the Ferrari driver came in. Vettel, Button and Hamilton all did likewise.

That dropped Hamilton back behind Di Resta, Rosberg, Sutil and Perez and he duly passed them all over again, one on each lap, to climb back up to fifth.

Button’s late surge

Until this point Vettel had looked completely untroubled, apart from a near-miss with Heikki Kovalainen’s Lotus which was waved out alongside him as his left the pits after his final pit stop.

But now Button put on a charge, taking up to a second out of Vettel’s lead on every lap. Suddenly the gap slumped to 3.7 seconds as Vettel lost almost three seconds picking his way through a group of backmarkers.

Those same backmarkers now delayed Button in the same way they had Vettel, and the gap went back up again, seemingly sealing Vettel’s win.

But on the final lap he caught another group of cars, which he had to pick his way past very carefully. He made it through to see the chequered flag first for the ninth time this year, but Button had trimmed his lead to just 1.7 seconds.

Webber was half a minute behind in third and Alonso more than 55 seconds behind in his Ferrari. Hamilton recovered to claim fifth.

Di Resta claimed his best ever finish with sixth ahead of Rosberg and Sutil, the trio being passed by Vettel on the final tour.

Massa took ninth off Perez – the driver who has been tipped to take his place at Ferrari in 2013 – as they began what would be their last lap, before they were lapped by Vettel.

The Williams duo of Pastor Maldonado and Rubens Barrichello finished out of the points in 11th and 13th, sandwiching Sebastien Buemi’s Toro Rosso.

The other Toro Rosso of Jaime Alguersuari crashed out five laps from home.

Kamui Kobayashi ended a difficult weekend 14th following a driver-through penalty for not paying enough attention when he was being lapped.

Bruno Senna was the highest Renault in 15th place, team mate Vitaly Petrov ending the race 17th behind Heikki Kovalainen. He passed Jerome D’Ambrosio a few laps from home, the Virgin driver finishing 18th.

Daniel Ricciardo lost his front wing on the first lap but recovered to finish 20th ahead of his team mate.

Vettel’s third consecutive win means the championship title is well in his sights. A single point in Suzuka will make him champion – and he’s won there the last two years in a row.

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96 comments on Vettel a point away from title after Singapore win

  1. SVettel (@) said on 25th September 2011, 16:56

    I think massa was very childish in the pen when he approached hamilton. It was unnecessary, and made him look like a childish brat. I understand why he did it, but it was a stupid decision by him. They should have had a private discussion away from the press to sort out their differences.

    • Franton said on 25th September 2011, 17:03

      Utterly. It’s the worst case of bad sportsman ship i’ve seen in F1 since Senna taking out Prost in Suzuka 1989 and the infamous punch up of Piquet vs. Salazar.

      Isn’t there a charge of bringing the sport into disrepute? It’s one thing for drivers to have at each other in private but in front of all the cameras?

      I’m gonna go out on a limb and say I wished DC had followed through with his promise on this clip. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zv73fN8eJTU . Massa either needs to calm down or take it like a man instead of the child he’s currently acting like.

      • adzimzam said on 26th September 2011, 12:38

        I think Hamilton needs someone Senna like to explain the consequences of his many foolish overtaking moves ,he seem’s not to be learning anything from stewards penalties at least Massa ( one of how many people who’s races have been ruined by Hamilton this year) had the courage to say something to him .

    • F1andy83 said on 25th September 2011, 17:08

      Yeah. Mass a is def a baby. But doesn’t surprise me coming from someone who doesn’t have what it takes to be a wdc.

      • Oh come on, he shouted his mouth out about the guy who also got into trouble for shouting his mouth off earlier this year. He was frustrated and annoyed that a race that was going well (ish) for him had been ruined through no fault of his own. I like when drivers show a bit of personality although he may have gone a bit far when he approached Hamilton but it was completely understandable and certainly not deserving of that amount of criticism.

        • Agree with Steph,give Massa a break.Lewis has caused him no end of problems/

        • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 25th September 2011, 18:22

          Agreed. Massa had every right to approach Hamilton like he did. Perhaps he thinks that by making his disapproval so public it might put a little more pressure on Hamilton. However, that said, I don’t think it was anything vicious from Hamilton.

          I also think Hamilton responded very well, so fair play to him for that.

          • I think that Massa was right to be cross with Hamilton, it was his error.

            I’d like to know if Felipe spoke to Lewis again after interrupting his interview.

        • Agree with Steph.
          Maybe if it was Montoya a punch already landed :D

          According to Adamcooperf1 twitter: “I was told by the Dutch TV guys that Lewis said ‘don’t touch me’ when he turned round, but I can’t confirm that”

        • Fixy (@fixy) said on 1st October 2011, 10:50

          I was going to start my comment with those three words as well. Hamilton is 100% wrong and now people are taking the opportunity of Massa reacting to blame him rather than Lewis.
          He didn’t say Lewis was a stupid driver who’s driving was a fricking joke, at least, his comment was said in a period when he was still upset and is understandable.

      • LSL1337 (@lsl1337) said on 25th September 2011, 17:25

        what did he miss in 2008? hungary and singapore was taken away from him, and he didn’t become champion, because Glock had wrong tyres on, and hamilton is happy with a 5th place finish, way to luck into the WDC…, like a true champion, when massa dominated that race, and was better overall in that year
        specially when a guy like hamilton, who never had to suffer at a lower team, like EVERYONE else at the beginning at their carrier, and now, he’s car is a little slower (jensen was only 2 seconds behind, but hamilton is crying for a better car), and he is talking out, that he can’t wait forever, well, what you gonna do, build it yourself, you don’t have a seat anywhere else. and look where is all that talent got you? 5th place again?…

        • F1andy83 said on 25th September 2011, 17:26

          Everyone has an excuse why they are not a wdc except wdcs

          • LSL1337 (@lsl1337) said on 25th September 2011, 17:28

            in your eyes, if the 2008 championship would have lasted ONE lap less, hamilton would be a nobody with excuses, and just running into everybody, and massa a champion, who lost his touch after 2009 hungary?

            please…

          • Miy excuse is that I didn’t get an F1 drive, what about you?

        • well that year lewis was unfairly punished a few times.thats the only reason why massa had a chance in the final race.

          • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 26th September 2011, 20:20

            To say that’s the only reason Massa had a chance in the final race that year is completely foolhardy. There are several variables to choose from and if you change just one, Massa would have been WDC that year. It’s true that he is having an awful season this year, and you can criticize him for that, but don’t take away from what he has already accomplished; Massa was brilliant in 2008 and it is wrong fro so many people to dismiss that as a fluke. He still has potential, but Ferrari seem to be going backwards as RedBull look more and more like Ferrari used to during the early 2000’s.

        • Anybody who uses the Glock incident as evidence that Hamilton lucked into the championship isn’t someone I can take seriously.

          Perhaps Massa could have shown a little more restraint but I think people are making his reaction out to be a lot worse than it was. He’s had a terrible season, it isn’t surprising that any extraneous circumstances giving him an even worse result wound him up.

          • if glock had gone in and changed his tyres like everyone else he would have been behind hamilton anyway…… think about it.

    • Jonathan189 (@jonathan189) said on 25th September 2011, 17:18

      What’s up with Massa? Is he losing his faith? He normally puts everything down to God’s plan and moves on.

      Surely God made Hamilton hit him, just like God robbed him of the title in 2008 and threw a spring in his face in 2009.

    • I think both needs to calm down on race track a bit. Hamilton doesn’t seems to respect massa wrt all top drivers..& he always think massa as kind of mid filed or back marker & tries to jump at very first opportunity available with high risk moves. Massa thinks that he shouldn’t let hamilton at any cost..in the end too many incidents between these two drivers.. I don’t recall this kind of bitter relationship between any two drivers in paddock in recent times.. they should move on from 2008 & starts to respect each other more..

      • Personally, I’d take that as a racing incident, but I agree with Lewis being penalized because his move hurt Massa’s race but that’s all. I think lack of visibility paid a big role on that.

        That was pretty much the same thing that happened when Alonso hit Lewis in China (I guess) but back then he was not penalized because Alonso was the only one who suffered from the hit.

      • I agree with that Raj. Is it coincidence its Hamilton and Massa several times now?

        I think both are feeling a bit unsecure in the car this year and its hard to judge their reaction (compare Webber-Alonso and Alons-Vettel in the past 3 races) so it gets more incidents.

        Still, I think Hamilton did well to keep his cool after getting the drive through and recover to 5th by passing quite a bunch of cars, even if DRS helped with most of those.
        Massa never got over it, as he lost far more time getting to the pits and to add insult to injury, it got him out of sequence for the pitstops resulting in ruining his stint on the supersofts when the SC came out shortly after changing tyres.

        Massa did say he wanted to talk to Hamilton directly after they got out of the car, but Hamilton darted away. And its a real moment of emotions boiling over to see. But it will not do much for Massa’s reputation.

        • vho (@) said on 26th September 2011, 9:05

          The issue is you have one guy that is a very aggressive defender and another guy that is a very aggressive attacker…. something is bound to end up in tears. Look at the likes of Webber and Alonso – both use controlled aggression and know when to use it – and both end up unscathed in their exchanges. Alonso is no fool in realising that his Ferrari is no match for the Red Bull and that there’s no point in defending a position that will not be yours in a matter of time, so instead he looks to minimise his damage and hopefully retain a spot as high as his car can allow him.

        • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 26th September 2011, 20:24

          But it will not do much for Massa’s reputation.

          It’s not doing much for Hamilton’s either. It’s the third time this season he’s collided with Massa. I am beginning to think that someone has put magnets in these cars so they will always end up finding each other during the race. How many more times will Massa get a good start, be having a good race while Hamilton has a bad start, then charges through the field and then the two collide. It’s getting old.

    • RumFRESH (@rumfresh) said on 26th September 2011, 0:09

      I think Massa had the right to be upset and in the end it’s a sport and obviously there is a lot of frustration present when you are in the pen immediately after a race like that. So I believe Felipe has the right to behave like he did and to be honest, this whole story just added so much drama to the race and I found it refreshing to actually experience emotion like that in an interview rather than the usual PR cover-up. At the same time though, the collision was just a mistake by Hamilton, I don’t know why HAM gets so much negativity for his driving when something like this happens. I’ve seen small errors like that quite often.

  2. I’m going to go out on a limb here. I think Vettel will win the championship at the next race.

  3. Any1 knows what happened btw massa n hamilton after the race??

    • Younger Hamii (@younger-hamii) said on 25th September 2011, 17:04

      Massa was insulted Lewis during an Interview with the BBC,Then after he goes and Tugs Lewis on the arm,while Lewis is getting interviewed & Sarcastically says ‘Bravo’ to him.

      Pathetic & Unsporting Conduct from Felipe.Cant believe he actually did that,If i was Lewis i would have honestly threw a fist at him but me & Lewis are completely different people.

  4. Younger Hamii (@younger-hamii) said on 25th September 2011, 17:04

    Massa was insulting Lewis during an Interview with the BBC,Then after he goes and Tugs Lewis on the arm,while Lewis is getting interviewed & Sarcastically says ‘Bravo’ to him.
    Pathetic & Unsporting Conduct from Felipe.Cant believe he actually did that,If i was Lewis i would have honestly threw a fist at him but me & Lewis are completely different people.

    • Franton said on 25th September 2011, 17:09

      People forget Lewis is a karate black belt. You have to learn significant temper control to get that! I just don’t see Lewis throwing the first punch ever. I do see him throwing the last one however!

    • For all who says Massa is Unsporting.. Please See official ferrari post race comments.. After the race massa had gone to hamilton to talk in private and hamilton has just walked off without saying a word.. This has prompted massa to come out and catch up with lewis in public.. Now who is unsporting…?

      • Why is that unsporting? I would have done the same. He’d just got out the car, you’d want to give him half an hour to cool off, then you go talk to him.

        Straight out the car he’d be emotional, tired and pumped up on adrenaline.

  5. f199player (@f199player) said on 25th September 2011, 17:06

    Glock didn’t win his bet

  6. F1andy83 said on 25th September 2011, 17:13

    Does anyone have the video for when massa interrupted Hamilton on the BBC interview.

  7. Tedious race.
    I think Hamilton’s collision with Massa was because he sudddenly found he was going to run over those kerbs. Last time he went over them it ended his race when Webber had pushed him wide.
    Schumacher’s accident was unfortunate. Perez appeared to have braked in a very odd position.

  8. It seems race was over 2hrs mark & why didn’t they stop at 2hrs (it was around 60th lap or so)?

  9. Hear hear for the innocent Lewis. Never his fault huh. Just an aggressive driver going about his own little world, shoving everyone to the side..let me thru.
    Massa can be a child sometimes but Lewis is not the innocent looking driver he plays out to be. He is getting away with a lot of “mistakes” this year. Just ask Lauda.

  10. preshet said on 25th September 2011, 17:39

    What Masa did was really professional.well Lewis did his punishment proved to be a good driver after what stops Masa to do the same cause he is not a good driver that’s all .please Masa you not a child try to grow up

  11. Commendatore (@commendatore) said on 25th September 2011, 17:41

    Booooooring……
    P.S. Bring on 2012! :)

  12. roberttty (@roberttty) said on 25th September 2011, 17:59

    Renaults were shockingly poor on this circuit.

  13. DavidJH (@davidjh) said on 25th September 2011, 18:02

    Schumacher’s average points per race is lower since the point system was changed than it was before. Another unique record for him!

  14. Jelle van der Meer (@jelle-van-der-meer) said on 25th September 2011, 18:05

    Keith,

    Di Resta finished on the lead lap – Vettel did not overtake Di Resta before passing the finish line.

    He finished 111 seconds behind Vettel, he was last to see the chequered flag

  15. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 25th September 2011, 18:33

    Really disappointing to see Schumacher get a DNF after such great races in Spa and Monza.

    I would have liked to have seen Vettel get his first Grand Slam this weekend but that pesky Button put it just past his grasp.

    On that note, Button is a dream to watch at the Moment.

    • MSC was clearly raised him game. Besides his crash, he was having a strong race at a particularly demanding track (specially if you’re 42 and past your edge).

      He’s been a lot closer to Rosberg than before (he even outqualified him in Q2). Sad the Mercedes car is not up to speed.

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 25th September 2011, 21:35

      This is the second time (after Valencia 2010) that Vettel’s led all laps from pole, but Button took the fastest lap.

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