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2011 Formula 1 : Vettel wins at Singapore

Written By Nathen Bridgwater on Sunday, September 25, 2011 | 8:12 AM


2011 F1 - Singapore Grand Prix Winner : Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7

SINGAPORE : September 15, 2011 - Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull-Renault) dominated Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix but failed to secure back-to-back world titles in a dramatic race.



Despite his 19th F1 victory, he remained just one point shy of becoming Formula One's youngest-ever double world champion, depending on Jenson Button's results over the remaining races. The McLaren driver finished second, his fourth consecutive podium position, and pressed Vettel hard over the closing stages of the race, crossing the line just 1.7 seconds behind.

Mark Webber was a distant third followed by Fernando Alonso (+55.4) and Lewis Hamilton (+67.7), the only others to finish on the lead lap.

Vettel has amassed 309 championship points and can now only be caught by Button who has 185 points. Alonso (184) and Webber (182) are close behind but no longer in contention for the title.

Red Bull leads the Constructors' Championship with 491 points, followed by McLaren (353) and Ferrari (268).

As the race started, Vettel had an untroubled run from pole to the first corner, but his team mate Mark Webber who started alongside Vettel was swamped from behind by the McLarens of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton. Button got past into second, but Hamilton got squeezed and had to back off, dropping to eighth.

At the end of the first lap, Vettel was leading from Button, Fernando Alonso (Ferrari), Webber, Felipe Massa (Ferrari), Nico Rosberg (Mercedes), Michael Schumacher (Mercedes), Hamilton, Adrian Sutil (Force India-Mercedes) and his team mate Paul di Resta.

On lap 4 Hamilton got past Schumacher into seventh and quickly caught Rosberg and passed him a lap later.

Vettel had started from pole for the 11th time this season and with a clear track ahead of him set a fastest lap of 1'53.910 on lap 5, building an eight-second cushion over Button.

Despite being a night race, conditions were very hot at this track which straddles the Equator with the track surface at 33°C and the air at 31°C. The humidity level was 62% with a light breeze and no rain predicted.

By lap 7, Webber had closed to within one second of Alonso, allowing him to start using his DRS to get closer, but he also had Massa just one second behind him and would have to defend as well as attack. Hamilton also moved closer to the three cars ahead and was 1.4 sec behind Massa, reducing that to 0.7 sec on the next lap.

Rosberg was the first to pit for new tyres on lap 9, choosing a three-stop strategy.

Webber made a determined pass on Alonso for third on lap 10 and the Spaniard stopped for tyres.

Timo Glock (Virgin-Cosworth) retired on lap 11 as Massa and Hamilton both pitted for tyres line astern and left nose-to-tail in the same sequence. Hamilton made a run on Massa as they returned to racing speed, but there was contact between the two cars, Hamilton losing part of his front wing and Massa getting a punctured right rear tyre, so Massa returned to the pits again on the next lap while Hamilton remained out, losing about two seconds a lap. He pitted on lap 14 for new tyres and a new front wing. The incident had dropped Hamilton to 16th and Massa to 20th.

Race leader Vettel pitted on lap 15 and was followed in by second-placed Button, ten seconds behind. Meanwhile, race stewards gave Hamilton a drive-through penalty for causing an avoidable collision with Massa, which he took on lap 16, rejoining in 19th place

There were no problems for Vettel, who set a new fastest lap of 1'53.269 on lap 16 stretching his lead over Button to 11.6 seconds.

Hamilton was flying after his earlier indiscretion, matching second-placed Button's lap times, and passing cars on his way back towards a points-scoring position. He got past Kobayashi for 14th on lap 21 with Sébastien Buemi (Toro Rosso-Ferrari) 0.3 sec ahead and Massa two seconds further up the road.

Vettel went faster still, setting a 1'53.113 on lap 21 and increasing his lead to 20 seconds as Hamilton passed Buemi and took aim at the back of Massa's Ferrari once more. Alonso's Ferrari was battling with rapid rear tyre wear and Webber closed up to the third-placed Spaniard who pitted for fresh tyres.

Massa was also battling a Ferrari with poor rear grip and Hamilton speared past him and took up an attacking position behind another Brazilian, Rubens Barrichello (Williams-Cosworth) in 11th place, who he took on the next lap.

Rosberg and Perez began a spirited battle for seventh place, which Rosberg took, and Schumacher, who was close behind, took advantage of the situation to get close to Perez, but he ran into the back of the Mexican, launching his Mercedes into the air and on into the tyre wall at Turn 8, terminating his race. The accident led to the deployment of the safety car and the field bunched up again behind race leader Vettel.

Afterwards, Schumacher said: "In the moment I was just about to go on the inside he lifted the throttle. I did not expect him to slow so early."

Many drivers took the opportunity of pitting for fresh tyres, including Hamilton who chose the super-soft option.

The safety car withdrew on lap 32 and Vettel dashed away from the pack. Webber was once again right behind Alonso and as the traffic bunched up into Turn 10, the Australian caught the Spaniard napping and took third place.

Hamilton was up to eighth on lap 35 and arguing with Sutil over seventh place as the pair threaded their way through slower traffic.

Vettel set a 1'50.992 on lap 36 of 61 as Hamilton got past Sutil into seventh place and targetted Rosberg a second-and-a-half further up the road, but he caught and passed the German within just one lap, with Di Resta next, less than a second ahead. He caught and passed the Scot and took fifth place, 13 seconds behind Alonso.

On lap 39, Kobayashi was given a drive-through penalty for ignoring blue flags.

On lap 40, Hamilton was the fastest driver on the track, lapping 0.3 sec a lap faster than the race leader and catching Alonso at nearly a second a lap.

On lap 45, Hamilton's pace slowed and he was lapping slower than Alonso 12 seconds ahead of him. With 14 laps left, he probably had no option but to pit again for the harder option tyres, though he had 15 seconds in hand over Di Resta.

With 13 laps remaining, third-placed Webber made a final stop for fresh tyres, rejoining in sixth behind Hamilton.

Button pitted next opting for super-softs and returning in second behind Alonso as Hamilton ran out of traction and had to yield fourth place to Webber. Hamilton pitted on lap 48, his fifth visit to the pit lane, and rejoined down in ninth place.

Race leader Vettel pitted n lap 49 and avoided an accident by millimetres as Lotus released a car into his path as he was leaving the pit.

With fresh tyres, Hamilton caught and passed Perez and then Sutil to go seventh with nine laps remaining and three cars within eight seconds ahead of him. Rosberg tried to possess the racing line, but with worn tyres he had not enough traction out of the corners and Hamilton drove past him and set off after fifth-placed Di Resta four seconds ahead and 10 seconds behind Alonso.

Di Resta was despatched on lap 53 but Alonso would prove harder to catch - 12 seconds ahead with seven laps remaining.

On lap 54, Button set a new fastest lap of the race - 1'48.454 - reducing race leader Vettel's lead to nine seconds.

Button was catching Vettel at a second a lap, and McLaren team mate Hamilton was catching Alonso at two seconds a lap, setting the stage for a showdown finish.

With five laps left, Vettel's lead was down to seven seconds as Button was mindful of a similar situation in Canada where he psyched Vettel into an error that allowed him to get past and win.

Four laps to go, and Vettel was approaching slower traffic as Button began to get sight of his quarry - just 3.7 seconds ahead. But Button lost two seconds when he had to get through the same back-markers, and Vettel survived the attack.

Jaime Alguersuari (Toro Rosso-Ferrari) ran off the track into the Armco barriers on the penultimate lap.

Vettel will have to wait at least two weeks for the Japanese GP at Suzuka on 9 October to secure the championship.

2011 Formula 1 : SINGAPORE Gran Prix - Race Result

Pos
No
Driver
Team

Laps
Time/Retired
Grid
Pts
1
1
Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault
61
Winner
1
25
2
4
Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes
61
+1.7 secs
3
18
3
2
Mark Webber RBR-Renault
61
+29.2 secs
2
15
4
5
Fernando Alonso Ferrari
61
+55.4 secs
5
12
5
3
Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
61
+67.7 secs
4
10
6
15
Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes
61
+ secs
10
8
7
8
Nico Rosberg Mercedes
60
+1 Lap
7
6
8
14
Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes
60
+1 Lap
9
4
9
6
Felipe Massa Ferrari
60
+1 Lap
6
2
10
17
Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari
60
+1 Lap
11
1
11
12
Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth
60
+1 Lap
13
12
18
Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari
60
+1 Lap
14
13
11
Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth
60
+1 Lap
12
14
16
Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari
59
+2 Laps
17
15
9
Bruno Senna Renault
59
+2 Laps
15
16
20
Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault
59
+2 Laps
19
17
10
Vitaly Petrov Renault
59
+2 Laps
18
18
25
Jerome d'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth
59
+2 Laps
22
19
22
Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth
57
+4 Laps
23
20
23
Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth
57
+4 Laps
24
21
19
Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari
56
Accident
16
Ret
21
Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault
47
+14 Laps
20
Ret
7
Michael Schumacher Mercedes
28
Accident
8
Ret
24
Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth
9
+52 Laps
21

2011 Formula 1 : Drivers' Championship Standing

Pos
Driver
Nationality
Team
Points
1
Sebastian Vettel German RBR-Renault
309
2
Jenson Button British McLaren-Mercedes
185
3
Fernando Alonso Spanish Ferrari
184
4
Mark Webber Australian RBR-Renault
182
5
Lewis Hamilton British McLaren-Mercedes
168
6
Felipe Massa Brazilian Ferrari
84
7
Nico Rosberg German Mercedes
62
8
Michael Schumacher German Mercedes
52
9
Vitaly Petrov Russian Renault
34
10
Nick Heidfeld German Renault
34
11
Adrian Sutil German Force India-Mercedes
28
12
Kamui Kobayashi Japanese Sauber-Ferrari
27
13
Paul di Resta British Force India-Mercedes
20
14
Jaime Alguersuari Spanish STR-Ferrari
16
15
Sebastien Buemi Swiss STR-Ferrari
13
16
Sergio Perez Mexican Sauber-Ferrari
9
17
Rubens Barrichello Brazilian Williams-Cosworth
4
18
Bruno Senna Brazilian Renault
2
19
Pastor Maldonado Venezuelan Williams-Cosworth
1
20
Pedro de la Rosa Spanish Sauber-Ferrari
0
21
Jarno Trulli Italian Lotus-Renault
0
22
Heikki Kovalainen Finnish Lotus-Renault
0
23
Vitantonio Liuzzi Italian HRT-Cosworth
0
24
Jerome d'Ambrosio Belgian Virgin-Cosworth
0
25
Timo Glock German Virgin-Cosworth
0
26
Narain Karthikeyan Indian HRT-Cosworth
0
27
Daniel Ricciardo Australian HRT-Cosworth
0
28
Karun Chandhok Indian Lotus-Renault
0

2011 Formula 1 : Teams' Championship Standing

Pos
Team
Points
1
RBR-Renault
491
2
McLaren-Mercedes
353
3
Ferrari
268
4
Mercedes
114
5
Renault
70
6
Force India-Mercedes
48
7
Sauber-Ferrari
36
8
STR-Ferrari
29
9
Williams-Cosworth
5
10
Lotus-Renault
0
11
HRT-Cosworth
0
12
Virgin-Cosworth
0
[Source : F1, SUPERSPORT, ZA, CRASH.NET]
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