Saturday, September 28, 2013

Vettel Reveals Winning Late Season Form with Singapore GP Victory

Photo Credit: Pirelli Photo Service

The 2013 Formula 1 season is drawing closer to a conclusion. Despite the efforts of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and the emerging force of Mercedes AMG, the class of the paddock remains the Red Bull Racing team and their German driver Sebastian Vettel. Under an evening sky, Formula 1 cars rolled for Sunday's 2013 Singapore Grand Prix. Kicking off a tour stint that involves competing in four Asian continent locales, the Singapore event on the Marina Bay Street Circuit provides a nearly surreal atmosphere for the Formula 1 drivers and teams. However, as Sebastian Vettel gained the pole position in Saturday night qualifying, the unique race involved a rather familiar sight. 

The Red Bull-Renault of Sebastian Vettel was simply too tough to catch throughout the 61-lap event on the Marina Bay Street Circuit. Quick on the start, Vettel pulled out a nearly two second lead on the second-place vehicle on the opening lap. A near clockwork race for the Red Bull-Renault driver, the German driver left rest of the field fighting for the runner-up positions.

With exception to Sebastian Vettel, the first two rows of drivers in qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix encountered a race full of difficulty. After qualifying third, Frenchman Romain Grosjean was forced to retire from the 2013 Singapore Grand Prix on lap 33 when his Renault engine developed issues. The retirement list for the race was rather light as the Lotus-Renault driver was joined by just four drivers after 61 laps. The first driver out of the race was Daniel Ricciardo on lap 24. His Toro Rosso-Ferrari crashed into the turn 18 wall on the Marina Bay Street Circuit. Ricciardo's derelict race vehicle required a safety car period that briefly erased leader Sebastian Vettel's track position advantage. As soon as the safety car returned to the pits and the race restarted, Vettel would once again sail away from the competition. The three-time and reigning Formula 1 champion crossed the line 32.6 seconds ahead of second-place Ferrari's Fernando Alonso to claim his seventh grand prix victory in 2013. Though the drive was masterful, Sebastian Vettel was greeted by a detectable amount of boos on the podium.

Photo Credit: Pirelli Photo Service

Starting on the front row with Vettel but losing the drag race into the first turn, Nico Rosberg would lose time on track for one period of the race as tire rubber gummed up a portion of his Mercedes AMG car's front wing. Rosberg would hold on to finish fourth ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton. Fourth in qualifying, Mark Webber piloting the second Red Bull-Renault race car met with late-race misfortunes. Running in the top-four late in the Singapore event, Webber lost power and soon his Renault engine ending the race in 15th place.

Stranded near a retired car at the end of the race, Webber received a gracious invitation from the runner-up finisher Alonso for a ride back to pit road. A classy moment rekindles memories of a 1991 British Grand Prix where race winner Nigel Mansell stopped to provide a famous ride for Brazilian Formula 1 legend Ayrton Senna. There was also another incident occurred at the 1995 Canadian Grand Prix where the winning Ferrari of Jean Alesi ran out of fuel. On this occasion, it was future Ferrari driver and seven-time World Driving Champion Michael Schumacher allowing the Frenchman the honour of a full victory lap and ride back to the pits. Unfortunately, in this 2013 case, Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso would run afoul with Formula 1 stewards not as much for the ride but for the fact stopping on track potentially endangered other competitors. Webber has been penalized with a 10-grid position penalty at the next race in Korea since it earned the Australian driver his third reprimand of the 2013 Formula 1 season. Alonso was handed a reprimand for his part.

Fernando Alonso improved greatly on a seventh place qualifying result to finish second at the 2013 Singapore Grand Prix. In regards to the drivers' championship where Alonso holds second place in the standings, the Singapore Grand Prix result means that Sebastian Vettel has padded his points lead with an additional seven markers. The gap between Vettel and Alonso now stands at 60 points following the Marina Bay Street Circuit race.

Photo Credit: Glenn Dunbar/ Lotus F1 Team

A more impressive improvement than the effort of Fernando Alonso to place in the runner-up spot, his future Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen driving a Lotus-Renault climbed from 13th to finish 3rd. Struggling with back pain throughout the weekend in Singapore, Raikkonen felt better during the 61-lap main event Sunday. While the Lotus F1 Team was a favourite in the opening race of the year thanks to Kimi Raikkonen's Australian Grand Prix victory, the organization has been fighting to keep pace with the improvements of Red Bull Racing, Ferrari and Mercedes AMG as the 2013 season progressed.  

Behind sixth place Felipe Massa, the McLaren drivers Jenson Button and Sergio Perez are continuing to soldier on with a race car that has simply been off-pace with the frontrunners this season. The Singapore Grand Prix was the fifth time in 2013 that both McLaren cars finished in points paying positions. Behind the McLarens was the Sauber-Ferrari of Nico Hulkenberg and Adrian Sutil claiming the final championship point.

2013 Formula 1
Singapore Grand Prix
Race Results

Pos # Car # Driver Team Engine

1 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Renault
2 3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari Ferrari
3 7 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus Renault
4 9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes AMG Mercedes-Benz
5 10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG Mercedes-Benz
6 4 Felipe Massa Ferrari Ferrari
7 5 Jenson Button McLaren Mercedes-Benz
8 6 Sergio Perez McLaren Mercedes-Benz
9 11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber Ferrari
10 15 Adrian Sutil Force India Mercedes-Benz
11 16 Pastor Maldonado Williams F1 Renault
12 12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber Ferrari
13 17 Valtteri Bottas Williams F1 Renault
14 18 Jean-Eric Vergne Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari
15 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Renault
16 21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham Renault
17 23 Max Chilton Marussia Cosworth
18 22 Jules Bianchi Marussia Cosworth
19 20 Charles Pic Caterham Renault
20 14 Paul di Resta Force India Mercedes-Benz
21 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus Renault
22 19 Daniel Ricciardo Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari

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