Vettel survives Button’s assault to win in Singapore

Sebastian Vettel once again had the luck of the gods, as he won the Singapore Grand Prix. The Red Bull was being caught massively by Jenson Button in the closing stages, but slow backmarkers ruined the McLaren’s charge. Mark Webber completed the podium, while Lewis Hamilton clashed with Felipe Massa – and the stewards. Here is the full report:

Vettel leads, while Button and Alonso tear past Webber

Vettel leads, while Button and Alonso tear past Webber

At the start, Webber bogged down as expected, dropping to 4th behind Vettel, Button and Alonso. Lewis Hamilton had a torrid start, falling to 8th behind Michael Schumacher.

Vettel started to pull out a massive lead after Lap 3, while Lewis tried to get past Schumacher. A poor exit from Turn 5 allowed the McLaren to get past, with the help of DRS. In a similar move, Hamilton quickly found a way past Rosberg 2 laps later.

Soon Felipe Massa found himself being chased by Hamilton. Nico Rosberg was the first driver to pit, on Lap 10, indicating a 3-stop strategy. Mark Webber sliced his way past Fernando Alonso, with the Ferrari pitting on that lap for a set of prime tyres.

Timo Glock became the first retirement from the race, the Virgin car pulling off the field just 11 laps in. Replays showed Glock spinning and hitting the wall at Turn 18, before soon retiring.

Hamilton makes a foolish move on Massa, with disastrous results

Hamilton makes a foolish move on Massa, with disastrous results

The battling Hamilton and Massa pitted the next lap, with no change of position. When the McLaren tried a move on the Ferrari at Turn 7, Lewis clipped the back of Massa, breaking his front wing and giving Felipe a puncture.

Both cars, as well as Webber, pitted for repairs. Vettel and Button stopped on Lap 15 for primes. Paul di Resta bravely dived down the inside of Sergio perez to take 3rd position – effectively 10th after the pit stops.

A drive-through penalty was swiftly served to Hamilton for his collision. A struggling Vitaly Petrov in 13th was swamped by both Williams cars, losing two places in 3 laps.

After staying out on the primes and moving up to 3rd place, Paul di Resta was the last of the frontrunners to stop, taking on the super-softs. Alonso began to lose his second set of tyres, as Webber honed in on his 3rd place.

Both Ferraris pitted on Lap 26, indicating 3-stoppers for both Massa and Alonso. Further back the field, Adrian Sutil willingly allowed teammate Paul di Resta past for 5th place.

However, the strategy aspect of the race was soon turned on its head, as the safety car was deployed. Michael Schumacher was challenging Sergio Perez for position, but clipped the back of the Sauber, launching the Mercedes into the barriers.

The top 3 drivers all pitted under the safety car. Once the safety car peeled off, Mark Webber launched another move on Fernando Alonso to retake 3rd place.

Incredibly, Vettel managed to pull out a 10-second lead over Button within a few laps, mostly due to backmarkers holding up the McLaren. The other silver car was scything through the field, taking Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta to move into 6th, after previously falling to 16th.

Two slow Williams drivers held up Button and ruined a possible last-gasp charge

Two slow Williams drivers held up Button and ruined a possible last-gasp charge

With both Vettel and Button measuring the life left on their tyres, Webber pitted on Lap 48, taking on the option compound. Both Button and Hamilton pitted a lap later, leaving Sebastian in complete control of the race.

Vettel and Alonso stopped from 1st and 2nd with 11 laps to go, the Red Bull nearly colliding with a Lotus at pit exit. Soon after, Jarno Trulli pulled over due to a gearbox problem.

After yet another fightback, Hamilton worked his way back up to 5th after his pit stop. Meanwhile, Button decided to pile on the pressure to Vettel in the final few laps, reducing his 12-second lead to 7 in only 5 laps.

Vettel is within one point of the championship

Vettel is within one point of the championship

In fact, for a while it appeared as if Jenson was going to take the lead, being almost 2 seconds per lap faster. However, backmarkers soon ruined Button’s party, as both slow Williams cars destroyed whatever advantage the chasing McLaren had.

After Jaime Alguersuari binned his Toro Rosso into the wall at Turn 18, Vettel’s victory was secured. He crossed the line 1.7 seconds ahead of Button, who ensured the title fight would continue to Suzuka. Mark Webber was 3rd, with Fernando Alonso 4th, and Lewis Hamilton fighting back to 5th. Paul di Resta took an excellent 6th place, after a risky strategy paid off.

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