F1 Driver of the Day: Singapore GP



The fifth Singapore Grand Prix may not have been the most exciting, at least not in the mould of others in 2012, but still contained a handful of performance worthy of debate as the best of the race.

Sebastian Vettel was in the right place at the right time to inherit the lead when Lewis Hamilton's gearbox cried 'enough', overturning a disappointing qualifying performance that had left him third on the grid, despite dominating the free practice timesheets. A good start saw the German vault past Pastor Maldonado to claim second and, while unable to match Hamilton's pace, was running comfortably ahead of the other McLaren when fortune smiled on him. From there, the double world champion was able to respond to anything Button offered by way of challenge to claim his second win of the season.

Button also got past Maldonado at the start, taking advantage of Vettel pushing the Venezuelan wide through the first couple of corners, and threatened the Red Bull driver prior to the safety car interruptions, but ultimately didn't have the performance to make a charge for victory, even if he was well clear of the rest of the field.

The pack was headed by points leader Fernando Alonso who, having overcome Maldonado as the Williams driver pitted, wrapped up another useful points haul and took home some more silverware as he limited the damage done to his championship advantage. Just as he has done on similar occasions when the Ferrari hasn't been a match for its rivals this season, the Spaniard still took home as many points as possible as he edges towards a possible third world title.

Not far behind Alonso, and having threatened his podium position for some time, was Paul di Resta, who not only equalled Sahara Force India's best result of the year, but also raised his own personal best a notch with fourth place. The Scot, having qualified just a breath behind Alonso on Saturday evening, ran in the upper echelons of the points all night, making a two-stop strategy work better than his team-mate's ultimate three-stop alternative.

Nico Rosberg completed the top five, the Mercedes driver benefiting from the spare set of tyres he had saved by going for a Q3 time on Saturday. His pace in rising from tenth to fifth kept him ahead of both Lotus entries and went a long way to covering for another disappointing race for his multiple-champion team-mate.

Felipe Massa added to Ferrari's points haul in eighth place, overcoming a disappointing qualifying effort and then a first lap puncture to climb through the field. There were a couple of leery moments along the way, but the under-fire Brazilian kept his car intact to record his fourth straight points finish.

Two other drives of note ultimately went unrewarded, as neither Hamilton or Maldonado saw the chequered flag through no fault of their own. The Briton looked every inch the race winner as he cruised along at the front of the field. Unfortunately, he had warning that all was not well with his gearshift a couple of laps before the entire system went down, stranding him - and his championship potential - trackside on lap 23.

Maldonado, too, deserves credit for his efforts. Having qualified a fine second, the Venezuelan avoided the temptation to fight over position at the start and kept his head down to hold fourth spot despite pressure from Alonso. The likely recipient of a podium when Hamilton retired, he lost ground to the Ferrari during a third pit-stop, before being radioed to stop the car with hydraulic problems during the first of two safety car periods.

So, who lit up the night in Marina Bay?

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F1 Driver of the Day: Singapore GP









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