Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) has picked up his bottom lip following his qualifying disappointment and made good on Lewis Hamilton’s (McLaren) misfortune to win the 2012 Singapore Grand Prix. It’s Vettel’s second win of the year and his second victory under the lights in Singapore.
Hamilton looked in control of the race for the first 22 laps and then on lap 23 his gearbox failed forcing him to retire. Vettel inherited the lead and only surrendered it during routine pit stops.
Jenson Button provided some smiles for McLaren by finishing second, while Fernando Alonso once again managed to minimise the damage from those chasing down his title lead, despite his Ferrari not having the raw pace to challenge for the win.
This is Singapore so it had to be influenced by the Safety Car, and so it came to be when Narain Karthikeyan (HRT) crashed out on lap 33. Shortly after the restart Michael Schumacher (Mercedes) locked his brakes heavily and drove into the back of an innocent Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso), who was sitting in the points in P10.
It’s unclear if it was the mistake of an old man or some sort of mechanical failure. To Vergne’s credit he immediately accepted Schumacher’s apology with good grace. Perhaps having seven world titles does give Michael a few credits in the bank.
After the second restart things remained mostly in control, save for a squabble involving the two Saubers and Nico Hulkenberg (Force India) with about 10 laps to go. The result was a broken front wing for Kamui Kobayashi and a puncture for Hulkenberg. Mark Webber (Red Bull) narrowly escaped the action by passing Kobayishi moments earlier.
It was disappointing day for Webber who was running strongly in fifth but a gamble to change tyres during the second Safety Car period didn’t pay off and the best he could muster was the one point offered for tenth place.
Just ahead of Webber was Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso) who finished in P9. Daniel has been relatively strong in qualifying, but hasn’t always managed to put it together on Sunday. This is just his second points finish for the year, after his debut race with Toro Rosso in Melbourne.
The heat and humidity of Singapore makes this a tough race for the drivers, reinforced by the fact the drivers could only cover 59 of the planned 61 laps. The race ended after it reached the two hour time limit.
We have a break of two weeks now before back to back races in Japan and Korea. Vettel’s win has moved him into second place in the drivers’ championship and we’re shaping for another fantastic fight for the title with six races remaining.
UPDATE: We understand Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button are facing the stewards after the two narrowly avoided contact during the first Safety Car period. If any late drama unfolds we’ll let you know.
UPDATE #2: The stewards left Vettel and Button alone, but nabbed Mark Webber for gaining advantage by going off the track to overtake Kamui Kobayashi. He was given a 20 second time penalty, which means he drops to P11.
2012 Singapore Grand Prix final placings
- Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing) 59 Laps – 25pts
- Jenson Button (McLaren) +8.9 secs – 18pts
- Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) +15.2 secs – 15pts
- Paul di Resta (Force India) +19.0 secs – 12pts
- Nico Rosberg (Mercedes AMG) +34.7 secs – 10pts
- Kimi Räikkönen (Lotus) +35.7 secs – 8pts
- Romain Grosjean (Lotus) +36.6 secs – 6pts
- Felipe Massa (Ferrari) +42.8 secs – 4pts
- Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso) +45.8 secs – 2pts
- Sergio Perez (Sauber) +50.6 secs – 1pt
- Mark Webber (Red Bull Racing) +67.1 secs
- Timo Glock (Marussia) +91.9 secs
- Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber) +97.1 secs
- Nico Hulkenberg (Force India) +99.4 secs
- Heikki Kovalainen (Caterham) +107.9 secs
- Charles Pic (Marussia) +132.8 secs
- Pedro de la Rosa (HRT) +1 Lap
- Bruno Senna (Williams) +2 Laps
- Vitaly Petrov (Caterham) +2 Laps
Jean-Eric Vergne (Torro Rosso), Lap 38
Michael Schumacher (Mercedes AMG), Lap 38
Pastor Maldonado (Williams), Lap 36
Narain Karthikeyan (HRT), Lap 30
Lewis Hamilton (McLaren), Lap 22
Fastest lap: Nico Hulkenberg (Force India), 1:51.033 (Lap 53)
2012 World Championship top 10 (Drivers) – Round 14
- Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) – 194
- Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) – 165
- Kimi Räikkönen (Lotus) – 149
- Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) – 142
- Mark Webber (Red Bull) – 132
- Jenson Button (McLaren) – 119
- Nico Rosberg (Mercedes AMG) – 93
- Romain Grosjean (Lotus) – 82
- Sergio Perez (Sauber) – 66
- Felipe Massa (Ferrari) – 51
2012 World Championship (Constructors) – Round 14
- Red Bull Racing-Renault – 297
- McLaren-Mercedes – 261
- Ferrari – 245
- Lotus-Renault – 231
- Mercedes AMG – 136
- Sauber-Ferrari – 101
- Force India-Mercedes – 75
- Williams-Renault – 54
- STR-Ferrari – 14