23 September 2013
F1 2013 POLL: Who was the star of Singapore?
Sebastian Vettel may have won - again - but was the real light of the Singapore Grand Prix buried in the chasing pack? To have your say, CLICK HERE...
Once again, to the untrained eye, the Singapore Grand Prix was about one man but, dig a little deeper, and there were others worthy of note on an evening that went from mild to manic.
As has become the norm since the summer break ended, the headlines were all about Sebastian Vettel, the three-time world champion taking another major stride towards title number four with a crushing display that left his rivals more breathless than usual in the heat of Marina Bay.
The German, having repelled Nico Rosberg's impudent attempt to take the lead at the start, was simply imperious, disappearing into the darkness at every opportunity and eventually winning by more than 30secs to take his championship advantage to 60 points with six races remaining.
Fernando Alonso, however, refuses to give up on his title ambitions, the Ferrari man rapidly becoming the only threat to Vettel, albeit an increasingly distant one despite taking another second place. Key to the Spaniard's race was a blinding start that took him from seventh on the grid to third by turn two. From there, the Scuderia used strategy to get Alonso ahead of Rosberg during the stops, before leaving him to manage his tyres in a long run to the flag in order to maximise his points haul.
Third place eventually went to Kimi Raikkonen, having been hotly contested for the second half of the race. The Finn was the least expected occupant of the position, having started 13th with a back injury exacerbated by the rough nature of the Marina Bay layout. Raikkonen's initial progress was less dramatic than Alonso's, but he was perfectly placed to take advantage as others' gambles came undone, passing Jenson Button around the outside to claim the podium place.
Similarly, the two Mercedes of Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton were involved in a late push through the points. Running in tandem with the luckless Mark Webber and Ferrari's Felipe Massa, the Silver Arrows progressed from the bottom of the top ten to eventually fill fourth and fifth, with front row qualifier Rosberg edging his team-mate.
Massa, who had outqualified Alonso in the first timed session since announcing that he would be leaving Ferrari, had to make do with sixth after being the Scuderia's guinea pig when it came to tyre choice, but still gave a good account of himself as he looks for new employment in 2014.
Webber, meanwhile, was missing from the group at the end, a water pressure problem having scuppered his charge just when a podium looked possible. The Australian tried to limp on to the flag but saw his race cut short by a lap, leaving him with a smoldering RB9 and requiring a lift home from good mate Alonso - for which he earned a costly reprimand!
Also missing from the final reckoningg was the second Lotus of Romain Grosjean. The Frenchman had had the upper hand oin team-mate Raikkonen for much of the weekend, despite missing track time in practice, but was denied the chance to turn third on the grid into a podium finish, when his engine began gasping for air. A lengthy top-up process took him out of the points, before a recurrence ended his evening once and for all.
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