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Singapore analysis - Vettel revitalises title hopes 24 Sep 2012

Race winner Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing on the podium.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 23 September 2012 Race winner Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB8 crosses he line.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 23 September 2012 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-27.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 23 September 2012 The car of race retiree Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-27.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 23 September 2012 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F2012.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 23 September 2012 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F2012.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Singapore Grand Prix, Qualifying, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Saturday, 22 September 2012 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India VJM05.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 23 September 2012 Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W03.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 23 September 2012 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus E20.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 23 September 2012 Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal and Franz Tost (AUT) Scuderia Toro Rosso Team Principal on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 23 September 2012 Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber C31, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR7 and Bruno Senna (BRA) Williams FW34 go off track at the start of the race.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapor Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Sauber C31.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 23 September 2012 Timo Glock (GER) Marussia F1 Team MR01 on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 23 September 2012 Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Caterham CT01 and Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR7 at the start of the race.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 23 September 2012 Narain Karthikeyan (IND) HRT Formula One Team HRT F112.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 23 September 2012 Pedro De La Rosa (ESP) HRT Formula One Team HRT F112 battle Bruno Senna (BRA) Williams FW34.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 23 September 2012 Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams FW34.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 23 September 2012

Once Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren had retired on the 23rd lap with gearbox failure, Sebastian Vettel had things all his own way in a Singapore Grand Prix which went right up to its two-hour time limit and thus ran for 59 rather than the intended 61 laps. Jenson Button gave chase but never looked like taking the fight to the Red Bull, while Fernando Alonso could count himself lucky to go home with third place on a day when his Ferrari was no match for either of them. We take a team-by-team look at the Marina Bay form book…

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, P1
Mark Webber, P10, penalised to P11

Vettel owned the race the moment that Hamilton stopped, and said that his Red Bull had great pace all the way through, he was able to control Button and respond to his challenges, and his only real worry came after the race when the stewards investigated his behaviour during the first safety-car restart when Button thought he had been short-braked and only just avoided running into the back of him. They decided there was no case to answer. Webber, however, fell foul of them. A gamble on a third pit stop under the second safety car worked against him as he had too much ground to make up, and after finishing 10th on the road the stewards deemed that he had gone outside the track limits while overtaking Kobayashi, and the added time for a post-race drive-through penalty dropped him to 11th.

McLaren
Jenson Button, P2
Lewis Hamilton, Retired lap 23, gearbox

For 22 laps it seemed that Hamilton was all set for McLaren’s fourth victory in a row, until he started to encounter problems with his gearshift around the 19th lap. Some suggested that his subsequent gearbox failure might have been caused by the light brush he had with a wall on his second qualifying lap, but the team say that they crack-tested everything and found nothing amiss. Button lacked the same pace, after looking good initially on the super-soft tyre, and said that his MP4-27 was not as well balanced on the soft. Second place helped in the constructors’ championship, but once again only one McLaren was there at the finish.

Ferrari
Fernando Alonso, P3
Felipe Massa, P8

Luck plays a major role in racing sometimes, and it did so for Alonso in Singapore as the retirements of Hamilton and Maldonado elevated him from a likely fifth place finish to third. That was, he admitted, the best he could have expected from the F2012 this weekend. Massa was yet again unlucky, this time getting his left rear tyre slashed on the opening lap by Petrov. He fought back superbly, however, managing 26 laps on the super-soft tyre in his final stint, to grab a hard-earned eighth place.

Force India
Paul di Resta, P4
Nico Hulkenberg, P14

Di Resta drove beautifully all weekend and a superb drive in the race yielded a deserved fourth. At one stage it seemed he might even challenge Alonso for the final podium slot, but the Force India didn’t quite have the pace to pull that off. It was, nevertheless, the Scot’s best showing thus far in his burgeoning F1 career. Hulkenberg was unlucky, after a strong start on the soft tyres had looked promising. He got stuck behind Raikkonen and Schumacher early on, then the timing of the safety cars went against him. Near the end he slid into Kobayashi as he snatched a place from the Sauber, and the resultant pit stop to replace a punctured left rear tyre dropped him out of points contention.

Mercedes
Nico Rosberg, P5
Michael Schumacher, Retired lap 39, accident with Vergne

Rosberg’s unobtrusive race, and the smart strategy of holding back a new set of super-soft Pirellis in qualifying, paid off with a good run to fifth place during which he kept the Lotuses at bay with ease. Schumacher was on the same strategy but blotted his copybook by taking Vergne out as the race restarted after the first safety car on the 39th lap. The German gets a 10-place grid penalty for Suzuka as a result.

Lotus
Kimi Raikkonen, P6
Romain Grosjean, P7

Both Raikkonen and Grosjean made encouraging noises after finishing sixth and seventh - the Frenchman had let the Finn by on the 47th lap to maximise his world championship chances - but the truth was that Lotus lacked pace here on a track that in theory should have suited them so well.

Toro Rosso
Daniel Ricciardo, P9
Jean-Eric Vergne, Retired lap 39, accident with Schumacher

Vergne was in great form and held 10th place, after an intense battle with team mate Ricciardo, when he was attacked from behind by the errant Schumacher. Ricciardo made amends for the team by taking ninth place, fending off Webber in the closing stages.

Sauber
Sergio Perez, P10
Kamui Kobayashi, P13

This was a tough race on a circuit where the Swiss team had not expected to excel. The C31s simply lacked pace, but there was a ray of light at the end when Webber’s drive-through time penalty elevated Perez to the final points-scoring position, ironically after the Australian had overtaken the Mexican’s team mate and inadvertently given Hulkenberg the chance to follow suit which saw the German collide with the Japanese and damage his front wing near the end of the race.

Marussia
Timo Glock, P12
Charles Pic, P16

The changes to the MR-01’s rear suspension proved highly beneficial this weekend, and the strength of the car also helped Glock after he walloped the wall in Turn 19 but was able to keep going. That proved very advantageous, as Marussia wound up with an excellent 12th place which could be very helpful in the constructors’ rankings at the end of the season. Pic battled with his team mate but finished 16th, including the 20s penalty he got for is red flag overtaking indiscretion on Saturday.

Caterham
Heikki Kovalainen, P15
Vitaly Petrov, P19

At one stage Kovalainen was in 11th place as faster runners made pit stops, but he could not sustain that after staying out too long. After his second stop he ran out of time to try to catch and repass Glock’s Marussia, though he did pass Pic’s on the final lap. Petrov took off his front wing after colliding with Massa on the opening lap. That ruined both their races, and a pit stop delay later on left the Russian firmly in last place. 15th and 19th places in a race of attrition, allied to Glock’s 12th, made this an unhappy outing for the Leafield team.

HRT
Pedro de la Rosa, P17
Narain Karthikeyan, Retired lap 31, accident

De la Rosa had a relatively uneventful race, but after his great qualifying effort Karthikeyan came back down to earth with a bump - literally. He got on the marbles and slid into a wall, bringing out the first safety car.

Williams
Bruno Senna, P18
Pastor Maldonado, Retired lap 37, hydraulics

What started as a race full of promise for Williams became a little compromised when Maldonado lost places to Vettel and Button at the start, but he was looking feisty and bullish when he was told, on the 36th lap, that a hydraulic issue obliged the team to withdraw his FW34. That was a bitter blow, and was followed by Senna stopping with a suspected KERS issue with a lap to go. The Brazilian had set fastest lap at one stage after a pit stop, but had a clash with Massa, later touched a wall, and then dropped out of points contention as his tyres faded. He was classified 18th.

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