Singapore analysis - Vettel stands on the brink 26 Sep 2011
Red Bulls 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 wouldnt be sitting back and playing the numbers game in Singapore and, true to his word, he won in spectacular style. McLarens 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
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 Spaniards title hopes.
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. Hamiltons 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.
Fernando Alonso, P4
Felipe Massa, P9
Against expectations, the Ferraris just werent 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.
Paul di Resta, P6
Adrian Sutil, P8
Di Restas 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 couldnt contain Hamilton on two occasions, the second when the latter had fresher rubber, but his sixth, and Sutils eighth right on Rosbergs tail, gave Force India a major points boost as they pursue Renault for fifth in the standings.
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 Schumachers misjudgement which saw the veteran crash into spectacular retirement.
Sergio Perez, P10
Kamui Kobayashi, P14
Perez somehow survived Schumachers 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 Englishmans late-race charge, picking up a drive-through penalty for ignoring the blue flags.
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 Buttons opprobrium after getting in his way as they battled one another as he tried to catch Vettel.
Sebastien Buemi, P12
Jaime Alguersuari, Retired lap 59, accident
Buemi fought hard to catch the points-scoring group but couldnt 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.
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.
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 Vettels 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.
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 DAmbrosio soldiered on to an 18th place finish in the sister car.
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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