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.

2011 Singapore Grand Prix

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

  1. Timo Glock must be ******. Not only he retired early, he also lost his bet.

  2. Championship is over. Let’s not kid ourselves. There is a single solution to boredom in f1: 5 teams, 4 cars each. So even if a team has a far superior car, we can still enjoy competition among teammates like we did most times in 2009 and 2010…

    • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 25th September 2011, 23:50

      It’s been realistically over since Spa, really. Some would argue it’s been over even earlier than that.

      5 teams of 4 cars? You’ve got to be kidding – team orders would be atrocious with that many cars. Not to mention if 1 or 2 teams can always control the top 6-8 spots, that would drive the rest of the grid into bankruptcy.

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 26th September 2011, 0:07

        5 teams of 4 cars? You’ve got to be kidding – team orders would be atrocious with that many cars. Not to mention if 1 or 2 teams can always control the top 6-8 spots, that would drive the rest of the grid into bankruptcy.

        Couldn’t agree more, I definitely don’t want to see this.

  3. Younger Hamii (@younger-hamii) said on 25th September 2011, 19:13

    Going back to the race,Amazing drives from Jenson & Seb,Keep themselves calm & Seb has been the best driver on the grid this season,Really matured,Kept calm & was totally on it this weekend.Storming late charge from JB,yet again out qualified Lewis & out raced him even though Lewis was unfortunate.

    Solid Race for Alonso,Got the Maximum out of the car & kept a superior Webber at bay but unfortunately it was evitable before Mark got ahead.

    Sebastian Vettel,A well & truly deserving Double World Champion, who agrees.

  4. Oh dear..everything just seems to be going wrong for Hamilton. Got screwed up in qualifying then screwed himself up in the race.
    Can’t wait for this rough patch to end.

  5. Jenson Button was as amazing as Massa’s bad luck.
    I hoped for a repeat of Canada at the end, and on the other hand Massa’s bad luck in Singapore (particularly here, but anywhere really) continued, sadly.
    I now like Button considerably more than before, he’s growing on me as a favourite of mine. Back in ’09 I didn’t think he deserved the title, but especially this year he has been awesome and almost perfect, and if Ferrari want him they shouldn’t wait until 2013 because by then other drivers, including the ones of their development programme, will be knocing on their door, and sadly I have to admit Massa has little margin of improvement and Button is getting better and better.

  6. Funny how Renault got punished for something FOM did not even bother to show at all during the race! Apparently Senna was told he was fighting Perez on track and caused a collision with him. The team got a 7.500 EUR fine.

    Now, I gather it must have been a minor crash, but it does explain why Perez was back down in 10th when he had been running in between the FI cars and Rosberg before.

    Please FOM start showing us the whole race, we did never got to see anything of the incident that got Trulli punished either.

    • Hi BasCB at least you saw more than we did in the US, just after Webber passed Alonso (1st.time) and Alonso pitted They went to commercial break, when they came back it was to replay Lewis bumping Massa,when next seen Webber was behind Alonso again, no explanation but they were commenting on how good the Red Bull pit stops were. So I suppose Webber had to wait till Vettel stopped before he came in and Alonso was faster on new primes than Webber was on old options but on track Webber looked faster than Alonso all race long. Can anyone confirm or tell me how Alonso did it?

  7. gwenouille (@gwenouille) said on 25th September 2011, 20:25

    I’m going to say something insane: noticed how T Glock retired calmy and softly at the beginning ?
    Maybe he didn’t want problems if he won his bet ? He could always say: “Well i didn’t play a role in the battle for the title: look how early i retired !”

    I am not really serious, and he lost his bet anyway: nevertheless i dislike that story, really a low point of the WE.

  8. bhaggen (@bhaggen) said on 26th September 2011, 0:10

    Sebastian is obviously naturally gifted and allways seems completely relaxed and approachable. Saw him on Top Gear and he has a great sense of humor, not common among us Germanics

  9. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 26th September 2011, 3:17

    At one point it did seem like that we won’t have a good race but Singapore under the light provided the entertainment.Great move by Webber on Alonso both the times, & good drive from Di Resta & Sutil they played the game as two good team mates.Button late charge was awesome but look at this he was 1.7 second behind Vettel when he finished the race the time he lost while getting pass the two Williams was 1.6 second,haven’t he lost the time there things may could have been different in the end.

    • yes, but Vettel also lost the same amount of time passing the Williams, so it all equaled out. Not to mention that Vettel was beginning to mix it up with the group of Massa, Sutil, and Rosberg. It was getting dicey in there with all the slow corners, etc.

  10. manatcna (@manatcna) said on 26th September 2011, 3:49

    Both Championships were over from day one

  11. Does anyone know how many more race wins Vettel needs to equal or top Schumacher’s record in a season? Is it 1 or 2? I mean percentage wise.. 72% I believe.

    • Just realised it will need to be way more than 1 or 2! brain isn’t working yet this morning :( Obviously it needs to be more than 13 to beat him percentage wise as well. Ignore me!

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