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Vettel wins at Singapore as Hamilton retires

24th Sep 2012 4:12 am

The Red Bull driver benefited from Lewis Hamilton's McLaren suffering a gearbox failure while holding a narrow lead.

Sebastian Vettel finally scored the second victory of his latest Formula 1 title defence in the Singapore Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver benefited from Lewis Hamilton's McLaren suffering a gearbox failure while holding a narrow lead.

Jenson Button claimed second in the other McLaren, with Fernando Alonso's third place maintaining the Ferrari driver's world championship cushion.

Front-row starter Pastor Maldonado had to retire with hydraulic failure having battled with Alonso for the final podium spot.

Hamilton and Vettel ran in close company prior to the McLaren's problem, although the Briton seemed under control.

Third-placed Button fell away at first, before regaining some ground as he got better tyre longevity than those ahead.

Vettel made his first pitstop two laps earlier than Hamilton, and though this initially looked costly as he dropped into time-consuming traffic, once he was in clear air his pace on fresh rubber was sufficient to make up all the time lost and keep him between the McLarens.

That position became the race lead on lap 22, when Hamilton's car ground to a halt with a gearbox failure.

Button then kept Vettel honest to the finish, without it ever looking like the Red Bull's lead was in jeopardy. By the end, Vettel had edged away into a very secure lead.

Vettel stayed cool through two mid-race safety car periods: the first for Narain Karthikeyan sliding his HRT into the barrels at the tunnel entrance, and the second when Michael Schumacher ploughed into Jean-Eric Vergne on the restart lap.

Those cautions resolved the third-place battle. When Maldonado, who had fallen from second to fourth at the start, pitted for a second time under the first safety car, he rejoined 10th while Alonso stayed out and moved up to third. That decision probably secured the place for Ferrari even before Williams ordered Maldonado to retire with a hydraulic problem before the green.

Paul di Resta kept the frontrunners in sight throughout to score an excellent fourth for Force India, outpacing fifth-placed Mercedes man Nico Rosberg.

Lotus salvaged sixth and seventh with Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean on its least competitive weekend of 2012 so far.

Ferrari's Felipe Massa picked up a puncture on lap one, yet fought back impressively to secure eighth. On the way, he overtook Bruno Senna with an incredible move that saw him bounce off the Williams and the wall before arriving at Turn 13 sideways but in front.

The safety car timing hurt Mark Webber's strategy, and the best he could manage was to battle through to 10th, right on Daniel Ricciardo's tail.

Among other incidents, Nico Hulkenberg clashed with both Saubers on consecutive laps late on, with Sergio Perez the only one involved to get away without having to pit for repairs.

Also notable was Timo Glock's 12th place, which moved Marussia ahead of Caterham in the constructors' standings.

PROVISIONAL RACE RESULTS

The Singapore Grand Prix
Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore;
61 laps; 309.316km;
Weather: Clear.

Classified:

Pos  Driver        Team                       Time
 1.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault           2h00:26.144
 2.  Button        McLaren-Mercedes           +     8.959
 3.  Alonso        Ferrari                    +    15.227
 4.  Di Resta      Force India-Mercedes       +    19.063
 5.  Rosberg       Mercedes                   +    34.759
 6.  Raikkonen     Lotus-Renault              +    35.700
 7.  Grosjean      Lotus-Renault              +    36.600
 8.  Massa         Ferrari                    +    42.800
 9.  Ricciardo     Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +    45.800
10.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault           +    47.100
11.  Perez         Sauber-Ferrari             +    50.600
12.  Glock         Marussia-Cosworth          +     1 lap
13.  Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari             +     1 lap
14.  Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes       +     1 lap
15.  Pic           Marussia-Cosworth          +     1 lap (*)
16.  Kovalainen    Caterham-Renault           +     1 lap
17.  De la Rosa    HRT-Cosworth               +     1 lap
18.  Senna         Williams-Renault           +    2 laps
19.  Petrov        Caterham-Renault           +    2 laps

Fastest lap: Hulkenberg, 1:51.033
(*) Pending 20-second penalty

Not classified/retirements:

Driver        Team                         On lap
Vergne        Toro Rosso-Ferrari           38
Schumacher    Mercedes                     38
Maldonado     Williams-Renault             36
Karthikeyan   HRT-Cosworth                 30
Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes             22


World Championship standings, round 14:                

Drivers:                    Constructors:             
 1.  Alonso       194        1.  Red Bull-Renault          298
 2.  Vettel       165        2.  McLaren-Mercedes          261
 3.  Raikkonen    149        3.  Ferrari                   245
 4.  Hamilton     142        4.  Lotus-Renault             231
 5.  Webber       133        5.  Mercedes                  136
 6.  Button       119        6.  Sauber-Ferrari            100
 7.  Rosberg       93        7.  Force India-Mercedes       75
 8.  Grosjean      82        8.  Williams-Renault           54
 9.  Perez         65        9.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari         14
10.  Massa         51       
11.  Di Resta      44       
12.  Schumacher    43       
13.  Kobayashi     35       
14.  Hulkenberg    31       
15.  Maldonado     29       
16.  Senna         25       
17.  Vergne         8       
18.  Ricciardo      6       

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