Sebastian Vettel was in superb form as he claimed his third consecutive win.
|Sebastian Vettel||Mark Webber|
|Qualifying time comparison (Q3)||1’44.381 (-0.351)||1’44.732|
Red Bull drivers’ lap times throughout the race (in seconds):
|Start tyre||Super soft|
|Pit stop 1||Soft 30.023s|
|Pit stop 2||Soft 30.809s|
|Pit stop 3||Super soft 30.796s|
Vettel took a comfortable 11th pole position of 2011 and didn’t even need to complete his final lap in qualifying, in which he could have gone faster.
He said: “On the last run, I maybe tried a bit too much going into the really tricky chicane around turn ten.
“I think I could have made it, but I decided to abort the lap, as it can be so easy to damage the car.
“I was happy with my first lap ?óÔé¼ÔÇ£ I think the track ramped up a little bit by the end, so it was possible to go faster, but all in all it was a perfect session and I?óÔé¼Ôäóm very happy, especially around here.”
Vettel finished the first lap two-and-a-half seconds clear of Jenson Button and just kept piling on his advantage after that.
There were few wrinkles in an otherwise perfect day for Vettel. The first was the safety car, which wiped out his 22-second lead over Button.
But a perfectly-executed restart meant he was four seconds up the road before Button could make a start on passing the three lapped cars between them. He more than doubled that advantage over the next lap while Button was still threading his way through traffic.
Lotus added some spice to his race by waving Heikki Kovalainen into his path as Vettel left the pits following his final stop.
Vettel had followed the Lotus into the pits and had spotted the potential for trouble: “I watched the lights ?óÔé¼ÔÇ£ they have a system with lights, I think, so I watched their lollipop and saw them going off when I was just approaching.
“I was aware of the situation. I think initially that Heikki didn?óÔé¼Ôäót see me, it?óÔé¼Ôäós a difficult angle so I had to lift but I think it was more of a misunderstanding, obviously not Heikki?óÔé¼Ôäós fault.”
Having charged away from Button as he pleased all night up to that point, Vettel was strangely short of pace in his final stint. Race engineer Guillaume Rocquelin warned him not to push to claim the fastest lap which would have completed his first perfect result in an F1 race.
Meanwhile, Button was closing in at over a second per lap while Vettel was taking care passing a growing number of lapped cars.
“You want to push harder and harder as once you really get sucked into this rhythm on this track,” he explained.
“It is hard to pace yourself. You know that you have to look after the tyres etc… so the stop in the end we didn?óÔé¼Ôäót have to pit but decided to do so in case of another safety car where we would be more vulnerable on a used or scrubbed set in the end. We did the right calls.
“At the end with quite a lot of traffic, if you take some time and wait until there really opens a gap to avoid any misunderstanding you might sacrifice a couple of second easily.”
His lead was down to 1.7 seconds at the line but that was enough for his ninth win of the season. That leaves just the small matter of collecting a single point from any of the five remaining races to confirm his second consecutive world championship.
|Start tyre||Super soft|
|Pit stop 1||Soft 30.462s|
|Pit stop 2||Soft 31.204s|
|Pit stop 3||Super soft 30.413s|
Webber’s weekend got off to a poor start when he collided with Timo Glock in the first practice session: “I thought Glock was letting me through,” he said, “but he didn?óÔé¼Ôäót know I was there. So when we got to the apex, our cars touched.”
He joined Vettel on the front row but slipped to fourth at the start.
Webber took advantage of Fernando Alonso’s tyre troubles to pass the Ferrari on lap ten. But he made his first pit stop three laps later than the Ferrari driver, falling behind him again.
Pitting a second time under the safety car, Webber remained behind Alonso as the race restarted. But as they headed for the tight chicane at turn ten Webber made lunged down the inside and pulled off an unlikely pass to claim third.
He made little inroad into Button’s lead, and dropped back quickly in the final stint.
Having claimed a podium finish at a track he has little affection for, Webber reflected on his nagging problem of 2011: slow starts: “I find myself having to come back through too often this season.
“I can?óÔé¼Ôäót make the starts I made last year at the moment. I need to work on those. We will look at them and definitely improve.”
2011 Singapore Grand Prix
- Vettel and Button take Driver of the Weekend wins
- Rate the race result: 2011 Singapore Grand Prix
- Ferrari deny Massa told to cause Hamilton crash
- From Kovalainen’s fire to fireworks: your Singapore videos
- 2011 Singapore Grand Prix: complete race weekend review
- Vote for your Singapore GP driver of the weekend
- Red Bull: Vettel supreme as championship beckons
- McLaren: Another collision, another penalty for Hamilton
- Ferrari: Alonso wants to focus on 2012 in last races
- Force India: Di Resta claims best result yet
Image ?é?® Red Bull/Getty images