The Singapore GP could have been the race that made Sebastian Vettel the youngest double-world champion ever. However, after two hours of racing under lights on what often seems an oversized karting track, he claimed victory but no championship. The race was also notable for a couple of debateable penalties, a rather large accident for Michael Schumacher and some great overtaking moves.
The start was a mixed bag for the front-running drivers. Webber was slow away from the line, allowing Hamilton a sniff of a pass, only to be blocked and end up at the wrong end of the top 10. All of that allowed Button and Alonso to breeze past, providing the main chase behind Vettel into turn one.
From then on, Vettel’s imperious form continued as he romped off into the distance. As so often this season, no-one else was able to keep up with him. Button, after the first ten laps, was already 10s behind.
Further back, Alonso and Webber battled with each other, with Webber getting past as Alonso’s tyres degraded.
Even further back, Lewis Hamilton found himself behind the Mercedes GP cars. However, this didn’t last as long as at Monza and he quickly disposed of both Schumacher and Rosberg to find himself behind Massa.
Hamilton was clearly quicker than Massa, but caught himself out under braking and ran his front wing into the rear tyre of the Ferrari. There was damage to both cars: the Ferrari suffering a rear right puncture and the McLaren losing half of its front wing. The Englishman was then awarded a drive-through penalty on the back of the incident, dropping him even further down the order.
Further down the field, Rosberg and Perez battled for position with Schumacher watching it all from behind. Under pressure, Rosberg ran wide and Perez took advantage to pass him. Rosberg then quickly took the position back, all of which had the effect of backing Perez into the other Mercedes, driven by Michael Schumacher. While trying to overtake Schumacher was caught out in the braking zone and flew over Perez’s Sauber and into the wall, ending his race.
It was a nasty incident and brought the safety car out. Thankfully, Schumacher escaped unhurt, as did Vettel’s lead. After the safety car came back in Button had three backmarkers in front of him and, by the time he had cleared them all, Vettel had stretched out a healthy 11 second lead in just two laps.
Away from the front, Paul di Resta was once again demonstrating why he is so highly regarded within the F1 community. After starting on the prime, harder, tyres when most others were on the option, softer, tyre he made steady progress through the field, coming home in sixth place. This was his highest ever finish in Formula 1.
- Paul Di Resta races through the night – credit: sutton-images.com
At the front and despite a fine effort during the final 7 laps Jenson Button simply didn’t have the speed in his McLaren to fight with Vettel, the young German taking yet another victory to put him only a point away of being the World Champion.
While Vettel was celebrating his victory after the race, Massa, still aggrieved by Lewis Hamilton’s earlier driving, approached the Englishman in the media area and shoved him, adding in some sarcastic congratulation for good measure. Hamilton didn’t react. (Thanks to @WillBuxton for the inital tip)