S ebastian Vettel is again the king of the night. As in the previous year, the Heppenheimer won the prestigious floodlight race in the city-state and thus returned to the World Championship fight after his failure in Monza. A strategically and driver-free performance alone would not have been enough to win. Only the retirement of Pole man Lewis Hamilton while in the lead ensured that the path was clear.
The McLaren driver had controlled the race for 23 laps and kept the distance to his pursuers constant between three to five seconds. Then Hamilton suddenly reported problems with upshifting in his pits. A minute later the switch box on the chrome arrow only spat out smoke. The Englishman had to get out of his car shortly after turn two.
Two crashes, two safety car phases
Hamilton's retirement was the prelude to an exciting second half of the race. Nine laps later, Narain Karthikeyan slid into the wall in the underpass. Until the HRT was recovered, the safety car had to deploy again. The field was neutralized for a long five laps. And no sooner was the Mercedes SLS off the track than it crashed again.
As in the previous year, Michael Schumacher crashed into the rear of a competitor. After Sergio Perez, Jean-Eric Vergne was now the victim of the record champion. When braking onto Turn 14, Schumi underestimated the Toro Rosso's deceleration and took his rivals on the horns. Both pilots were shaken thoroughly, but then shook hands.
'I didn't brake too late, earlier than I usually brake at this point,' Schumacher then defended himself against allegations. 'The car didn't really slow down. At least not as much as the cars in front of me. I saw that right away. The tire pressure may have become too low after the safety car phase.' The race management has announced that they will look at the situation again. As in the previous year, Schumi is threatened with a penalty again.
Vettel keeps Button at a distance
Sebastian Vettel was not disturbed by the two safety car phases. Neither in the critical restart phases nor in the rest of the race, which had to be reduced from 61 to 59 laps due to the long neutralizations in between, the Heppenheimer offered his closest rival Jenson Button an attack surface. With a lead of 8.9 seconds, the Red Bull driver finally crossed theFinish line and celebrated the second Singapore victory in a row after 2011.
Of course, he gladly accepted the gift of the Hamilton failure. 'Otherwise it would have been difficult, but not impossible. The car got better and better towards the end,' the German analyzed afterwards. 'Unfortunately, the safety car reduced our lead backwards in between. But in the end I was able to accelerate and control the race.' At the moment of success, the world champion thought of the recently deceased racing doctor Sid Watkins 'I dedicate this victory to him. Without people like him we couldn't have so much fun on tracks like this.'
Jenson Button would have Vettel in the final sprint gladly put under more pressure, but had to back off early on: 'I couldn't cope with the harder compound. I couldn't divide the tires as well as usual.' Nevertheless, the Briton drew a conciliatory conclusion after second place. 'Of course we want to win. But you can't always win. I'm very satisfied. The most important thing is that we have a fast car and can win races.'
Alonso keeps damage within limits
Behind them, world championship leader Fernando Alonso was able to keep the damage in the drivers' standings within limits. The Spaniard benefited not only from Hamilton's failure, but also from a hydraulic defect on Pastor Maldonado's Williams. The Venezuelan, who started from the front row next to Hamilton, fought an exciting duel with Alonso for third place for laps, but then had to clear the field without a fight.
'In Monza Hamilton won and Sebastian was out . Here it was the other way around. If it goes on like this, then that's okay, 'Alonso grinned afterwards. 'We weren't particularly competitive on this race weekend. Fortunately we managed a good lap in qualifying and started in fifth place. Third place in the race is a fantastic result. We only lost ground to one World Cup competitor.' br>
Di Resta celebrates best Formula 1 result
In fourth place, Paul di Resta surprisingly rolled across the finish line. The Scot, who started in sixth place, was able to keep his place during the safety car phases thanks to a good strategy and thus celebrate the best result of his career. Nico Rosberg's factory Mercedes crossed the finish line behind the Force India. Three failures in front of him and the better tactics than Romain Grosjean washed the Silver Arrows driver four places up.
Grosjean would actually have finished sixth behind Rosberg. But Lotus decided to pilot Kimi Räikkönen, who was better placed in the World Cup, past the French. Felipe Massa landed behind in eighth position. The Brazilian fell back to the bottom of the field with a puncture on the opening lap, but then made an impressive comeback.
Clean trouble in the final phase
Daniel Ricciardo in the Toro Rosso and Mark Webber in the second Red Bull first landed on the last two points. The Australian was unlucky because he had switched to the super soft tires in the middle of the race when the safety car hit the track. The competition was able to drive through to the finish on the harder compound. Webber was ahead of Rosberg when he had to pit for the third stop.
Webber had to push past Kamui Kobayashi's clean to try to contain the damage. The rock-hard maneuver outside the track was investigated by the FIA stewards after the race, who showed no mercy and issued a drive-through penalty was subsequently converted into a 20-second time penalty.
The penalty for Webber slipped Sergio Perez to tenth and grabbed the last World Championship point. In addition to Webber, Nico Hülkenberg also fell with the two Saub he at. On lap 50, Perez was the first to damage his front wing in a duel with the German. When Webber passed Kobayashi, Force India wanted to go along and also caused damage to the second Sauber.
Glock brings Marussia forward
Hülkenberg also did not survive the collision without a trace. With a flat tire, he slipped back to 14th place. Kobayashi came in 13th. Timo Glock in particular benefited from the trouble between the Force India and the Saubers. Due to the safety car phases, the Marussia driver was in direct striking distance of the midfield and thus finished the race in twelfth place. A Marussia pilot has never landed so far ahead. In the team standings, the team pushed past Caterham to tenth place.
Fernando Alonso is still leading the field in the drivers standings with 194 points. Vettel shortened his deficit to just 29 points (165). Kimi Raikkonen remains in third place with 149 points.