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Singapore analysis - Vettel stands on the brink 26 Sep 2011

Race winner Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB7 celebrates in parc ferme.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 25 September 2011 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing and Adrian Newey (GBR) Red Bull Racing Chief Technical Director. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 25 September 2011 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4/26 on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 25 September 2011 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari 150 Italia leads Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/26.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 25 September 2011 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India VJM04.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 25 September 2011 Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1 VJM04 on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 25 September 2011 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W02. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 25 September 2011 Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Sauber C30. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 25 September 2011 Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams FW33.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Singapore Grand Prix, Practice Day, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Friday, 23 September 2011 Jaime Alguersuari (ESP) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR6 and Jarno Trulli (ITA) Team Lotus T128. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 25 September 2011 Bruno Senna (BRA) Lotus Renault GP R31 on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 25 September 2011 Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Team Lotus T128; Jarno Trulli (ITA) Team Lotus T128 and Timo Glock (GER) Virgin Racing MVR-02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 25 September 2011 Timo Glock (GER) Virgin Racing MVR-02 and Jerome d'Ambrosio (BEL) Virgin Racing MVR-02 lead Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA) HRT Formula One Team HRT F111 and Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) HRT Formula One Team HRT F111.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Singapore G Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA) HRT Formula One Team HRT F111.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 25 September 2011

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel is now just a point away from becoming only the ninth man in Formula One history to take back-to-back drivers’ titles. He had promised he wouldn’t be sitting back and playing the numbers’ game in Singapore and, true to his word, he won in spectacular style. McLaren’s Jenson Button was the only man who could get anywhere near him, and is now the only man who could deprive Vettel of the championship - assuming he wins all five remaining rounds and the German fails to score. Further down the order, Marina Bay witnessed 61 laps of intrigue and action, which we review team by team…

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, P1
Mark Webber, P3

Vettel said his RB7 had fantastic pace, and it showed as he pulled away in the early stages and again after the safety-car intervention. He was, quite simply, totally dominant. Webber made another bad start, but was able to recover a lot of lost ground and to pass Alonso and end the Spaniard’s title hopes.

McLaren
Jenson Button, P2
Lewis Hamilton, P5

Button drove another beautiful race and kept the pressure on Vettel in the closing stages, as he got everything out of his McLaren and set fastest lap. Hamilton’s race was compromised before it began after he lost a set of super-soft tyres to a puncture in qualifying, but a bad start when he was blocked by Webber did more to scupper his chances as he dropped to eighth. He recovered to sixth but then needed a new nose - and got a drive-through penalty - after a clash with Massa. The safety car threw him a lifeline, and he drove superbly thereafter to recover from 19th to fifth.

Ferrari
Fernando Alonso, P4
Felipe Massa, P9

Against expectations, the Ferraris just weren’t fast enough, even in high ambient and track temperatures and on the soft and super-soft rubber. Once Webber had passed him for a second time Alonso had no answer, and fourth place as Vettel won ended his slim title hopes. Massa was unlucky to get hit by Hamilton and to sustain a cut righ- rear tyre. Later he made a second unscheduled pit stop, but fought back thanks to the safety car to snatch ninth from Perez on the last lap, and to finish right in the wheeltracks of Sutil and Rosberg.

Force India
Paul di Resta, P6
Adrian Sutil, P8

Di Resta’s excellent two-stop strategy paid out well as the Scot drove another of his flawless races and passed Sutil when the German made a mistake. He couldn’t contain Hamilton on two occasions, the second when the latter had fresher rubber, but his sixth, and Sutil’s eighth right on Rosberg’s tail, gave Force India a major points boost as they pursue Renault for fifth in the standings.

Mercedes
Nico Rosberg, P7
Michael Schumacher, Retired lap 29, accident

Rosberg was lucky to get away without penalty after running wide over the kerb in the first corner at the start, and pushing Perez wide there on lap 29 in the incident which set-up Schumacher’s misjudgement which saw the veteran crash into spectacular retirement.

Sauber
Sergio Perez, P10
Kamui Kobayashi, P14

Perez somehow survived Schumacher’s assault without so much as rear tyre damage, having showed his class by re-challenging Rosberg when the German ran wide in the last corner on lap 28. Kobayashi made himself unpopular by holding up Button for a lap during the Englishman’s late-race charge, picking up a drive-through penalty for ignoring the blue flags.

Williams
Pastor Maldonado, P11
Rubens Barrichello, P13

Maldonado overtook team mate Barrichello in the closing stages, after a recovering Massa had already pushed the Brazilian out of the points. They then earned Button’s opprobrium after getting in his way as they battled one another as he tried to catch Vettel.

Toro Rosso
Sebastien Buemi, P12
Jaime Alguersuari, Retired lap 59, accident

Buemi fought hard to catch the points-scoring group but couldn’t get close enough. Alguersuari had a clash with Kobayashi early on, then hit Trulli and got a drive-through penalty, before finally hitting a wall late in the race.

Renault
Bruno Senna, P15
Vitaly Petrov, P17

In a very disappointing weekend, Renault had problems with both cars being in the wars during the race, but Senna was able to claw his way back from 21st to 15th by the finish on a track that did not suit the R31 at all.

Lotus
Heikki Kovalainen, P16
Jarno Trulli, Retired lap 48, gearbox

Kovalainen lost ground at the start but was able to claw some of it back in the lower midfield and was delighted to beat Petrov, even if the team did pick up a hefty fine for his unsafe release into Vettel’s path during their lap 49 pit stops. Trulli ran really strongly early on, as high as 11th during the first round of pit stops, but then he lost time after being hit by Alguersuari, and later suffered a gearbox failure.

Virgin
Jerome d'Ambrosio, P18
Timo Glock, Retired lap 10, accident

Glock blotted his copybook early on with a spin into a hard wall which deranged his suspension and made him the first retirement, but D’Ambrosio soldiered on to an 18th place finish in the sister car.

HRT
Daniel Ricciardo, P19
Vitantonio Liuzzi, P20

Ricciardo lost a lot of time after his front wing was damaged on the opening lap, but was later able to pass team mate Liuzzi when the Italian met with a broken front wing of his own.

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