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Race - peerless Vettel wins tense Singapore round 22 Sep 2013

Race winner Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing celebrates in parc ferme.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 22 September 2013 (L to R): Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari, race winner Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing and 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 Race winner Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9 crosses the finish line to win the race.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 22 September 2013 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing gets a lift back to the pits with Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F138 after his engine failed on the final lap.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 22 September 2013 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-28 at the start of the race.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 22 September 2013 Ferrari's Fernando Alonso on his way to second place Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo crashes at Turn 18 which brings out the safety car The leaders weaving behind the safety car to keep their tyres up to temperature

Three on the trot, the seventh of the season, a thoroughly dominant success. What more could Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel have asked for in Singapore as he moved ever closer to a fourth world championship title?

His only moment came at the start when he got outdragged to the first corner by Nico Rosberg's Mercedes, but the latter went in a fraction too deep and as he ran wide, Vettel pounced. By the end of the lap he was 1.9s ahead. A lap later the gap was 4.1s. Thereafter nobody got close to him, even after a shunt by Daniel Ricciardo brought out the safety car on the 24th lap as the Toro Rosso was cleared away. At the end of lap 31 when racing resumed, Vettel was already 3.2s clear, and he built steadily on that.

Rosberg faded as he lost aerodynamic downforce with rubber clogging his intricate front wing, and as he had that cleared during his second stop Fernando Alonso moved into second place. The Spaniard had made a magnificent start from seventh, going down the outside into the first corner and swooping up to third. The Ferrari might struggle in qualifying, but Alonso is a brilliant racer and yet again he brought home a decent haul of points as he chased Vettel home. But he was never in a position to challenge and finished 32.6s behind.

Kimi Raikkonen took third after an excellent run for Lotus, who lost Romain Grosjean from sixth midway through due to pneumatic valve problems on his Renault engine on the 33rd lap.

Crucially, Alonso, Grosjean, Ferrari's Felipe Massa, McLaren's Jenson Button, Raikkonen, McLaren's Sergio Perez, and Sauber's Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez had all gambled on pitting for medium tyres the moment the safety car came out, which meant doing another 36 laps on them. Meanwhile the invisible Vettel, second placed Rosberg, fourth placed Mark Webber in the second Red Bull and sixth placed Lewis Hamilton is the second Mercedes all stayed out on their original strategies. That put several drivers out of kilter, but it was key for Alonso and Raikkonen as it left them a clear run to the flag so long as they could nurse their rubber. While they were able to do so, however, the McLarens and the Saubers were in trouble in the closing stages.

Raikkonen's path to the final podium position was cleared when he went round the outside of the struggling Button in Turn 14 on the 54th lap, just when it seemed McLaren might be due for their first podium of the season. Webber, Rosberg and Hamilton were all hungry and on fresher rubber, which led to the most gripping parts of the race as they in turn deposed Gutierrez, Hulkenberg, Perez and Button after a lot of dramatic wheel-to-wheel racing. Massa, who had really looked after his tyres, was also quite racy towards the end. Webber, however, was in big trouble with his engine and for some time had been instructed to start short shifting gears as he had been at Monza; that stymied his chase of Raikkonen and Alonso, and culminated in his retirement on the final lap. He hitched a ride home with Alonso.

As Rosberg sprinted back up to fourth Hamilton followed him home chased by Massa, as Button, Perez and Hulkenberg were each separated by just 0.4s in their sprint to the finish line. A charging run by Adrian Sutil, after an appalling start, brought Force India the final point as Pastor Maldonado was also able to force his Williams ahead of Gutierrez's fading Sauber to take 11th.

In the second Williams Valtteri Bottas spent a fair amount of time behind a charging Giedo van der Garde, and did not get by the Caterham until the 17th lap. The Dutchman briefly found his way back ahead on the 33rd lap before the Finn was finally able to settle their battle two laps later. In the end Bottas got 13th ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne's Toro Rosso, the motionless Webber, Van der Garde, the Marussias of Max Chilton who beat team mate Jules Bianchi fair and square, and Caterham's Charles Pic.

Besides Ricciardo and Grosjean, Paul di Resta failed to finish after crashing his Force India out of the fight for ninth place on the 55th lap. Like Ricciardo, the Scot was unhurt.

Vettel now has a 60-point lead over Alonso, 247 to 187, with Hamilton third on 151 and Raikkonen closing again on 149. Webber has 130. In the constructors' stakes, Red Bull have 377 to Ferrari's 274, Mercedes' 267, Lotus's 206, McLaren's 76 and Force India's 62.

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