Sebastian Vettel ended McLaren’s winning streak after taking victory in Singapore today. Vettel beat Jenson Button to the top step of the podium in a crash strewn race that saw Lewis Hamilton retire from the lead with a mechanical issue.
The Singapore race was dictated by crashes and safety cars and had to finish on the two hour limit rather than full race distance. Hamilton looked to be comfortably leading and heading for almost certain victory when he lost drive on lap 22 and was forced to retire. Vettel took over the lead and was untroubled by Hamilton’s teammate Button for the remainder of the race.
Vettel seemed unfazed in his quest for victory when the first safety car was deployed on lap 33 following Narain Karthikeyan stranding his HRT after hitting a wall. The safety car period lasted 6 laps whilst marshals removed the vehicle and within seconds the second safety car was deployed after Michael Schumacher drove into the back of Jean-Eric Vergne’s Toro Rosso. Schumacher was later given a ten place grid penalty for Japan after admitting to causing the accident. The second safety car lasted until lap 42 by which time Pastor Maldonado had retired with hydraulic problems.
Vettel continued to stay in front for the remainder of the race with Button posing little challenge. Fernando Alonso finished third after a quite race for him and Paul di Resta finished a career best of fourth demonstrating the strength of the Force India on the Singapore track. Nico Rosberg finished a strong fifth keeping the Lotuses of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean behind whilst Felipe Massa drove a good recovery race after a first lap puncture to finish eighth.
Daniel Riccardo finished ninth ahead of Mark Webber who thought he had scored the final point before he was later penalised with a 20 second penalty and finished 11th. Sergio Perez collected the final point after a battle with Nico Hulkenberg that resulted in Hulkenberg hitting both Sauber drivers and suffering a puncture. Kamui Kobayashi also collected damage after being hit by Webber and was forced to make another pitstop.
The battle of the backmarkers intensified after Timo Glock finished an impressive 12th to lift Marussia above Caterham and HRT in the battle for tenth in the constructors championship.
Vettel dedicated his win to the late Professor Sid Watkins at the first Grand Prix since his death. His win helps extend Red Bull’s lead in the constructors’ standings whilst moving him up into second in the drivers’ standings. Red Bull will hope that their return to winning ways will help them secure both the constructors’ and drivers’ for a third successive season.