Ferrari’s Alonso seals 25th career victory in Singapore
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso held off Sebastian Vettel in a thrilling finish at the Singapore Grand Prix to record his second victory at the Marina Bay Street Circuit.
The Spaniard led from start to finish, but was pressured throughout by Red Bull’s Vettel, who managed to keep pace with the flying Ferrari.
“I tried to push him into a mistake but he didn’t make a mistake,” said Vettel. “It’s difficult to overtake here and it would have just been too risky.”
Alonso’s last victory in Singapore came in 2008 while driving for Renault in a now infamous race when former Renault team principal Flavio Briatore asked Alonso’s team-mate Nelson Piquet Jr to crash to improve Alonso’s chances of victory.
But Alonso needed no such help this weekend as he crossed the line under a cloud of smoke from Heikki Kovalainen’s Lotus on fire nearby.
Speaking after the race, Alonso said: “After the first stop the race was pretty much under control. I was not too much worried about the gap with Sebastian; I was more worried about the people we were lapping.”
Vettel’s Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber finished third after surviving a mid-race collision with McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and the resulting damage to his front right tyre, which Bridgestone believe would not have lasted another half mile. Hamilton, meanwhile, was forced to retire.
Hamilton got the jump on Webber following a safety car period and was ahead of the championship leader approaching a corner on lap 35 of 61, but the Australian opted not to yield the inside line and collided with the McLaren.
The collision was investigated by stewards, but ultimately they chose to take no action, agreeing with most pundits that it was a simple racing incident rather than a dangerous move.
Hamilton’s third DNF in four races means he is now 20 points behind Webber in the championship standings, while Alonso has moved into second place ahead of Hamilton. With four races remaining, Webber leads with 202 points, followed by Alonso on 191.
Hamilton’s team-mate Jenson Button finished fourth, ahead of Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg and Williams’ Rubens Barrichello.
Renault’s Robert Kubica was seventh after pitting late and flying past several cars on fresh tyres in the closing stages of the race. Force India’s Adrian Sutil was eighth, Williams’ Nico HÃƒÂ¼lkenberg ninth and Ferrari’s Felipe Massa -who started from last on the grid -got the final point for 10th.
Alonso’s 25th career victory now puts him joint sixth on the all-time list with Niki Lauda and Jim Clark, and Ferrari’s number one has finished on the podium in all three of his races at Singapore.
Adrian Sutil was handed a 20-second post-race penalty for gaining an advantage after cutting Turn 7 on the opening lap. Force India initially appealed the decision before withdrawing it after their complaint over HÃƒÂ¼lkenberg was considered.
An updated statement from Williams read: “Further to a Stewards’ enquiry following the Singapore GP, Nico HÃƒÂ¼lkenberg was adjudged to have left the track and gained an advantage on the opening lap of the race and has been penalised with a 20s penalty.
“His final race classification is thus P10.”
The next race will be in Suzuka for the Japanese Grand Prix on 10 October.