F1 »

Vettel gifted win by neutralised Hamilton

Sebastian Vettel emerged triumphant in the 2012 Singapore GP, even though Lewis Hamilton looked to have the race in his pocket early on until his gearbox failed suddenly.
The expectation for an entertaining night race under the floodlights of the Marina Park Circuit set against the glittering city skyline of Singapore was given added spice by some of the line-ups on the grid: Lewis Hamilton on the front row alongside Pastor Maldonado, Mark Webber lining up next to most recent F1 'bad boy' Romain Grosjean, back after his suspension at Monza. There was just time for a poignant moment's silence on the grid in memory of the pioneering safety work of Professor Sid Watkins, before the drivers climbed into the cockpit and made themselves ready for action.

A solid start for Lewis Hamilton allowed him to take care of the threat from Pastor Maldonado starting on the front row alongside him, releasing the McLaren into the first corners and allowing Hamilton to start pulling away from the danger zone almost immediately.

That left Maldonado as Sebastian Vettel's problem, and while the world champion was careful not to invite disaster by pressing too hard too soon, he was right on the back of the Williams when a slightly flustered Maldonado consequently understeering out of turn 1 and giving Vettel the chance he needed to get past. Button also opportunistically sneaked past in the same move, and Maldonado found himself having to settle into fourth place just ahead of Fernando Alonso.

Things had been messier further back: a dive down the inside of the start/finish straight by Michael Schumacher ended up with the other Mercedes of Nico Rosberg being bumped off the outside of turn 1 by Mark Webber, who was having to avoid Romain Grosjean in a four-wide moment through the apex. Rosberg wasn't the only car to run off the track limits at the start - Sergio Perez and Daniel Ricciardo were among a number of others to do the same - but the stewards were satisfied that no one had done so intentionally to gain an advantage and so no penalties were applied.

Otherwise the opening laps were remarkably free of actual collisions, with the exception of Vitaly Petrov who appeared to lose his front wing in contact with the back of his Caterham team mate Heikki Kovalainen, and Ferrari's Felipe Massa who sustained a puncture and joined Petrov in pit lane for running repairs.

Almost of the drivers at the front of the grid had started the race on supersoft tyres, but they were shortlived. While two-stop strategies were the aim of most of the teams it was by no means unanimous: Webber was clearly opting for a three-stop approach and was in at the end of lap 8, just 15 minutes into the two-hour race, and that dropped him down to 20th place by the time he came back out on track behind Marussia's Charles Pic.

Hamilton and Vettel had pulled away from Button at the front in the early laps but Vettel then mishandled the Singapore Sling chicane on lap 10 which allowed Button to close up on the Red Bull. Vettel was evidently unhappy with the way his car was handling, and he ended up following the lead of his team mate by pitting for new soft tyres relatively early at the end of that lap. He came back out immediately behind 11th-placed Sergio Perez, who Vettel quickly dispatched.

More drivers were deciding that their initial supersofts were degrading badly and needed changing: Alonso and Schumacher were in the next time around, and at the end of lap 12 it was the race leader Lewis Hamilton who was in for new tyres; Hamilton resumed in fourth place ahead of Vettel who was scrapping with Kimi Raikkonen. Next time around it was Maldonado and Raikkonen in to pit lane, which left Jenson Button and Romain Grosjean briefly leading the race but yet to stop. It was clear that those on fresh tyres were much faster than those trying to stay out, as an easy pass by Alonso on the yet-to-stop Sauber of Sergio Perez dramatically illustrated.

Button and Grosjean both came in for their own second set of tyres at the end of lap 14, but a slow stop for Button meant that he resumed in third place behind Hamilton and Vettel again once the initial round of pit stops had shaken out. Behind them, Maldonado retook fourth place from a yet-to-stop Nico Hulkenberg but not before hanging on to a wild sideways slide as he deployed his DRS. Alonso had a far calmer time of it when his own opportunity to pass the Force India came up minutes later, and after giving sixth place away to his team mate Paul di Resta, Hulkenberg finally came in at the end of lap 18 for his new tyres at the same time as the similarly struggling Perez.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
23.09.2012 - Race, Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB8
23.09.2012 - Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F2012
23.09.2012 - Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-27
23.09.2012 - Race, Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 Team E20
23.09.2012 - Podium: winner Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB8, 2nd Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-27, 3rd Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F2012
23.06.2017 - Free Practice 2, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
23.06.2017 - Free Practice 2, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32
23.06.2017 - Free Practice 2, Mercedes AMG F1 W08, detail
23.06.2017 - Press conference, Robert Fernley (GBR) Sahara Force India F1 Team Deputy Team Principal, Eric Boullier (FRA) McLaren Racing Director and Cyril Abiteboul (FRA) Renault Sport F1 Managing Director
23.06.2017 - Press conference, Jock Clear (GBR) Ferrari Engineering Director and Rob Smedley (GBR) Williams Head of Vehicle Performance
23.06.2017 - Free Practice 2, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
23.06.2017 - Free Practice 2, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
23.06.2017 - Free Practice 2, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB13
23.06.2017 - Free Practice 2, Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren MCL32
23.06.2017 - Press conference, Rob Smedley (GBR) Williams Head of Vehicle Performance
23.06.2017 - Free Practice 2, Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren MCL32
23.06.2017 - Free Practice 2, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
23.06.2017 - Free Practice 2, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.


September 23, 2012 4:23 PM

"In his pocket" with Vettel less than 2 seconds back & Jenson 4 seconds back of Hamilton with not even half way through the race. It's hardly having the racing in the bag, it was close up to that point.


September 23, 2012 4:49 PM

Jules, you may be right about that but Vettel had two alternator failures which seems to be Red Bull's Achilles Heel. Ferrari may not have the race pace of McLaren and the Red Bulls at the moment but their reliability is ridiculous! As long as Alonso racks up points this year's WDC title is effectively his.

© 1999 - 2017 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.