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Singapore analysis - Alonso ‘wins’ at Marina Bay 23 Sep 2013

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing celebrate on the podium.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 22 September 2013 Race winner Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9 crosses the line.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 22 September 2013 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB9 suffered a Renault engine failure on the final lap of the race.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 22 September 2013 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F138.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 22 September 2013 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus E21.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 22 September 2013 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1 celebrates on the podium.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 22 September 2013 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W04.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 22 September 2013 Sergio Perez (MEX) McLaren MP4-28.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 22 September 2013 Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Sauber C32 leads Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus E21.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Singapore Grand Prix, Race Day, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 22 September 2013 Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India VJM06 is pushed onto the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 22 September 2013 (L to R): Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sauber C32; Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams FW35 and Sergio Perez (MEX) McLaren MP4-28.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 22 September 2013 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR8.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 22 September 2013 Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams FW35 and Charles Pic (FRA) Caterham CT03 at the start of the race.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 22 September 2013 Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 22 September 2013

Such was Sebastian Vettel’s dominance of Sunday’s 2013 Formula 1 Singtel Singapore Grand Prix that Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso said finishing second tasted like victory. It was a ‘win’ that kept Alonso - who started the race seventh - in title contention. By his own admission, the Spaniard’s championship hopes now depend on Vettel hitting trouble in the remaining six rounds, but as Mark Webber’s last-lap retirement showed, even Red Bull are not invincible. We take a team-by-team look at the Singapore formbook…

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, P1
Mark Webber, P15, retired lap 61, engine

What can one say about Vettel’s drive? Perhaps for the first time this season he had to pull out all the stops in case of a safety-car intervention, and he simply dominated from the moment he grabbed the lead back from fast-starting Rosberg in the first corner. Thereafter he ruled with disdainful ease, so much so that brake vibrations late in the race caused him zero problems in practical terms. He won by 32.6s, and is now well on his way to a fourth consecutive title. Webber had to fight back from a less than great start but was charging after Alonso and Raikkonen on fresher rubber in the closing stages when he was instructed to start short-shifting because of an engine problem. He lost places as the Renault V8 lost power, and eventually retired on the final lap. He hitched a ride back with Alonso, but running across the track and flagging down the Ferrari earned him his third stewards’ reprimand of the season, which means a ten-place grid drop at the next round in Korea.

Ferrari
Fernando Alonso, P2
Felipe Massa, P6

Ferrari’s fortune lay in Alonso’s brilliant start which took him from seventh to third by the first corner, and by the strategic decision to pit him under the safety car. After that superb driving and careful tyre preservation, allied to Rosberg’s long second pit stop, moved him to second place. It tasted like a victory, he said. Massa made three stops, and was thus able to come bulling through behind the Mercedes to take sixth place by the finish.

Lotus
Kimi Raikkonen, P3
Romain Grosjean, Retired lap 38, engine pneumatics

Grosjean made a poor start and was running sixth when his Renault engine’s pneumatics went awry and forced him to retire on the 38th lap. Lotus gave Raikkonen a great strategic leg-up with their pit stop under the safety car, and by diligent tyre management he was able to stay in play and to overcome Button for the final podium place. His run was all the more creditable because of the back problem that nearly made him drop out on Saturday.

Mercedes
Nico Rosberg, P4
Lewis Hamilton, P5

Rosberg made a brilliant start to snatch the lead from Vettel, but only until Turn One where he ran wide and dropped to second. He was able to stay there until rubber debris clogged his front wing, and while that was cleared in his second stop he fell behind Alonso and Raikkonen. Hamilton admitted that when Webber dropped out he thought he and Rosberg were running third and second after fighting back on fresher rubber. But by gambling on pit stops under the safety car Alonso and Raikkonen had snuck ahead and stayed there after managing their tyres well. Fourth and fifth were thus a huge disappointment to Mercedes.

McLaren
Jenson Button, P7
Sergio Perez, P8

Just for a moment it seemed that pitting under the safety car was about to bring McLaren their first podium of a tough season, but by the closing stages neither Button nor Perez had the tyres left to fight as those who had stopped later came on strong. Button said that seventh and eighth were probably the best they could have hoped for, regardless of what strategy was adopted.

Sauber
Nico Hulkenberg, P9
Esteban Gutierrez, P12

Sauber looked good for a while after the pit-stop gamble under the safety car, but in the final stages Gutierrez had nothing left to fight with and fell from a points-scoring position to 12th. Hulkenberg also struggled, but managed to bring another two points home.

Force India
Adrian Sutil, P10
Paul di Resta, Retired lap 55, crash

Sutil secured the final point for Force India after a typically gritty drive, but after fighting in the mix for ninth place in the closing stages after a long opening stint moved him well into the upper midfield runners, Di Resta crashed in Turn 7 on the 55th lap.

Williams
Pastor Maldonado, P11
Valtteri Bottas, P13

Maldonado pushed hard in the closing stages but couldn’t get close enough to Sutil to fight for the final point, while Bottas’s race was compromised when he couldn’t pass Van der Garde’s Caterham, and also by a problem with the clutch.

Toro Rosso
Jean-Eric Vergne, P14
Daniel Ricciardo, Retired lap 24, crash

Toro Rosso had a tough day, with neither driver making good starts. Ricciardo triggered the safety car intervention on the 25th lap after crashing on the 24th. Vergne was in the fight for points at the end after switching from a two- to a three-stop strategy, until overheating and worn tyres dropped him back.

Caterham
Giedo van der Garde, P16
Charles Pic, P19

Van der Garde was a star as he held off Bottas’s Williams for the first 17 laps, then later repassed it for six laps on the 33rd. He was always well ahead of team mate Pic except when the Frenchman delayed his final stop of three, after which the latter dropped back to 19th place behind the Marussias.

Marussia
Max Chilton, P17
Jules Bianchi, P18

Chilton and Bianchi had a race-long fight, which went the way of the Briton by a hair over seven seconds. The Frenchman had some gearshift difficulties mid-race, which were cured by a change of steering wheel.

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