Sunday, September 23, 2012

Vettel Night Rides to Singapore Grand Prix Win

Photo source: Pirelli Photo

The only time that the Formula 1 cars dazzle auto racing with the spectacle of night racing, the Singapore Grand Prix on the 5.073-kilometer Marina Bay Street Circuit has a history for creating some memories worthy of shining a light on. For 2012, the Singapore Grand Prix plays host to a driver's championship where Ferrari's Fernando Alonso has secured a healthy lead leaving competitors such as defending Formula 1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel desperate to cut into the deficit in the final six races.

McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton, 2012 Formula 1 tour's most recent race winner in Monza, grabbed pole on Saturday ahead of Williams-Renault driver Pastor Maldonado. While the race started well for the front row starters, both Hamilton and Maldonado would be brought to grief by mechanical problems to their respected race cars. Suffering a gearbox failure, Lewis Hamilton's chance to repeat a win from pole in the second straight Formula 1 race of the season was defeated after completing just 22 laps. Pastor Maldonado's race was ended on lap 38 by a hydraulic issue on his Williams F1-fielded race vehicle.

Photo source: Pirelli

Starting in 3rd, Sebastian Vettel was promoted into prime position leading the Singapore Grand Prix. Vettel's skill would be put to the test as two safety car periods erased his lead. On lap 33, the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG safety car was summoned onto the race course when the HRT-Cosworth of Narain Karthikeyan ended up in the wall. Shortly after the first was allowed to resume under green, a second safety car period was called as a result of contact that Mercedes GP's Michael Schumacher made on Jean-Eric Vergne's Toro Rosso-Ferrari. With both Schumacher and Vergne out of the race due to the collision, Formula 1 stewards also assessed a 10-grid position penalty to Schumacher to be served after qualifying for the next grand prix in Japan.

Following through with a trouble-free race with the help of two pit stops from the Red Bull Racing mechanics, Sebastian Vettel coasted at the Marina Bay Street Circuit to race his second-straight Singapore Grand Prix. In post-race, the German Vettel dedicated the victory to the late Professor Sid Watkins. A man who served four decades in the medical and safety of Formula 1 racing, Watkins was remembered by Vettel by saying, "It’s thanks to all the work he did to bring safety advancements to the sport that we can race on circuits like this."

Winning the Singapore Grand Prix with a commanding 8.9-second lead over Jenson Button's McLaren-Mercedes, the third win of the season for Vettel allowed him to cost 10 points into the lead of Fernando Alonso in the Formula 1 driver standings. Alonso drove his Ferrari to the final podium spot at Singapore retaining a 29-point lead in the driver's points heading to the Japanese Grand Prix.

Driving to a personal-best Formula 1 drive with fourth, Paul di Resta just missed the podium in Singapore as a race pilot of the improving Force India team. Powered as a customer to Mercedes-Benz engines, the Force India car of di Resta finished ahead of the sole-surviving Mercedes GP car of Nico Rosberg in who crossed the finish line fifth.

The Lotus F1 Team enjoyed a rather safe event in Singapore race with Kimi Raikkonen leading teammate Romain Grosjean across the Marina Bay Street Circuit for sixth place. Finishing seventh, Frenchman Grosjean's return behind the wheel of the Lotus-Renault race car was an effective effort after his one-race suspension by the FIA for dangerous driving in the opening lap of the Belgium Grand Prix. In the constructor standings, the Lotus F1 Team sits fourth in 2012 with only 14 points separating itself from third place Ferrari.

Photo credit: Andrew Ferraro/LAT Photographic

Honourable mention for the Singapore Grand Prix also goes to Timo Glock and his Marussia F1 Team. Finished twelveth, the Marussia-Cosworth crossed the finish line more than five seconds ahead of the Sauber-Ferrari of Kamui Kobayashi. Marussia F1 Team was one of three teams added to the series in 2010 under what was supposed to be a new cost-effective race formula. As of the Singapore 2012 race, the three teams (Maruassia, Caterham and HRT) have yet to score a point on the Formula 1 tour.

2012 Formula 1
Singapore Grand Prix
Race Results

Pos # Car #/ Driver/ Car
1 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault
2 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes
3 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari
4 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes
5 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP
6 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault
7 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault
8 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari
9 16 Daniel Ricciardo Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari
10 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari
11 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault
12 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth
13 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari
14 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes
15 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault
16 25 Charlie Pic Marussia-Cosworth
17 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT F1
18 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault
19 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault
20 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari
21 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP
22 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault
23 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT F1
24 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes

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