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Singapore analysis - Alonso on the march 27 Sep 2010

Race winner Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari, Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari and Stefano Domenicali (ITA) Ferrari General Director celebrate. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 26 September 2010 The wheel of Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB6 in PARC ferme. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 26 September 2010 An angry Hamilton throws his steering wheel from the car Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 26 September 2010 Nick Heidfeld (GER) BMW Sauber C29 crashed out of the race.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 26 September 2010

Fernando Alonso’s rise up the championship table continued apace on Sunday as he won for the second race in succession. There was little to choose between his Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull, but a stout defence of P1 at the start helped secure the Spaniard a crucial victory, his fourth of the season. With both cars on the podium, and an extended lead in both tables, Red Bull had little to complain about. Indeed, of the title contenders, only at McLaren did you find long faces. We take a team-by-team look at how events at Marina Bay played out…

Fernando Alonso, P1
Felipe Massa, P10, classified P8

Though he almost lost the start to Vettel, Alonso never put a wheel wrong in a hot and humid race which very nearly went to its two-hour time limit. The Spaniard showed all his usual flair with a superbly judged victory under pressure for the entire distance, especially after the switch to Bridgestone’s harder tyre handed the speed advantage to challenging Vettel’s Red Bull. Massa started at the back and finished 10th on the road, which was not a bad result in trying circumstances.

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, P2
Mark Webber, P3

If Red Bull couldn’t win, they did the next best thing by taking second with an aggressive Vettel and third after some brilliant strategising with Webber. While Vettel fought Alonso every inch of the way to finish only two-tenths of a second adrift of the Ferrari, they figured Webber’s best chance of vaulting past the McLarens was to pit for hard compound Bridgestones on the third lap. This worked handsomely even though the Australian got caught for a long time behind Barrichello, though he was lucky to escape with just a serious front-end vibration after his 36th-lap clash with Hamilton. Red Bull still lead the constructors’ points, and Webber extended his lead to 11 points over Alonso as Vettel came to within a point of Hamilton in third.

Jenson Button, P4
Lewis Hamilton, retired lap 36, accident damage

McLaren could see their drivers’ and constructors’ championship chances slipping after heavy rear tyre wear kept the MP4-25s well off the pace of the Ferrari and the Red Bulls in the early running. Things were better on the harder Bridgestone tyre, but Hamilton didn’t last long on his as he was pushed into a big slide - and subsequent retirement with broken suspension, when he and Webber tangled while fighting for third place on the 36th lap. Button was a distant fourth.

Mercedes GP
Nico Rosberg, P5
Michael Schumacher, P13

Yet again Rosberg thoroughly outclassed Schumacher. While the young German raced to a solid fifth place, his older compatriot was turfed into a half spin by Kobayashi on the 30th lap, then spun after shoving into Heidfeld later in the race. He finished 13th.

Rubens Barrichello, P6
Nico Hulkenberg, P9, classified P10 after 20s penalty for leaving circuit

Barrichello drove superbly all afternoon and thoroughly deserved his sixth place, especially after withstanding very heavy pressure from Webber for a long time. Hulkenberg was less effective than he had been at Monza, but finished ninth on the road until he was given a 20s post-race penalty for going off track and gaining an advantage on the first lap.

Robert Kubica, P7
Vitaly Petrov, P11

Kubica was his customary feisty self, getting everything out of his Renault R30. A late, lap 45, stop for fresh tyres dropped him from sixth to 13th, but fresh rubber combined with fantastic determination and racecraft saw him repass the Toro Rossos, Petrov, Massa, Hulkenberg and Sutil to get back to seventh by the finish. Petrov finished 11th.

Force India
Adrian Sutil, P8, classified P9 after 20s penalty for leaving circuit
Vitantonio Liuzzi, retired lap 2, suspension damage

Sutil ran wide at Turn Seven on the opening lap, for which he was later penalised 20s after finishing a solid eighth. A similar penalty for Hulkenberg, however, moved him back up to ninth. His clash with Heidfeld on that first lap sent the BMW Sauber driver into his own team mate, Liuzzi, resulting in broken suspension for the Italian. Not a happy race for the team, which had expected more.

Toro Rosso
Jaime Alguersuari, P12
Sebastien Buemi, P14

Alguersuari’s fine qualifying effort came to nought when he had to start from the pits because of a coolant leak. He described his subsequent race as the most boring of his career as he was stuck in traffic all the way. Buemi, meanwhile, reported a tough race hampered by understeer after sustaining first-lap damage in traffic.

Timo Glock, retired lap 50, hydraulics
Lucas di Grassi, P15

Glock ran as high as 10th after the first round of safety car pit stops by other runners, and defended well for a long time on a circuit he really likes. Then he got hung out to dry as Hulkenberg forced by and dropped back to 17th. That great effort sadly came to nothing when, in sight of ‘new team victory’, he retired in the pits with the dreaded hydraulics problem. Di Grassi, however, drove a strong race and was the category’s last man standing.

Heikki Kovalainen, P16
Jarno Trulli, retired lap 28, hydraulics

Lotus had a tough time with Trulli being delayed initially by a puncture and then retiring with hydraulic problems, and Kovalainen losing the ‘new team win’ when his T127 developed an airbox fire. But they were very buoyed that he had taken the fight to Buemi and Schumacher before a clash with the Swiss resulted in a spin and damage to the fuel tank pressure release valve which led to the conflagration. Wisely, Kovalainen parked it on the pit straight rather than in the pits, and grabbed a fire extinguisher from Williams and quelled the blaze himself.

BMW Sauber
Nick Heidfeld, retired lap 37, accident
Kamui Kobayashi, retired lap 31, accident

This was another horrible race for BMW Sauber, though it began well with Kobayashi driving out of his skin in 11th place and quickly climbing to ninth. Then he whacked Michael Schumacher into a half spin in Turn Five on lap 30 before hitting the Turn 18 wall on his own a lap later. Heidfeld’s return saw him collide with both Force Indias on the opening lap, and he was later shoved into the wall after contact with Schumacher.

Christian Klien, retired lap 32, hydraulics
Bruno Senna, retired lap 30, accident

A tough race for HRT saw Klien make a great start to run 19th initially, but that was negated when he stopped under the safety car to switch to the hard compound tyres. Subsequently he retired with hydraulics problems. Senna was the unwitting victim of Kobayashi’s crash in Turn 18, when he rounded the corner and could not avoid the wreckage. The stewards decided that he was not speeding in an area where yellow flags were being waved, as he was already decelerating as he rounded the corner. He was just unlucky to be on a wider line that did not allow him to avoid the BMW Sauber.

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