Sebastian Vettel takes advantage of McLaren and Williams reliability problems to take the win at the Singtel 2012 Formula1 Singapore Grand Prix. It’s difficult to imagine a more spectacular backdrop for a race than the brilliantly lit Marina Bay night streets of Singapore. The spectacular and unique architecture bedazzled with lights of every color and the tight street circuit lit up by 3.5 gazillion watts make this a highly desirable race to spectate in person. It is also one of the most challenging tracks for the drivers. The narrow streets leave zero room for error and high humidity and warm temperatures do not make it any easier.
Lewis Hamilton was able to be quickest when it counted most, the last lap of the last qualifying session, to take his 24th career pole position. A very satisfied Pastor Maldonado was a whole half a second behind in second qualifying spot. Then there was the dumbfounded Sebastian Vettel, who was quickest in practically every practice and previous qualifying session, wondering how he lost the pole position by a large margin. Championship leader Fernando Alonzo struggled a bit and ended up fifth on the starting grid behind the McLaren of Jenson Button in forth. Then came very good efforts from Paul di Resta and Romain Grosjean, who started sixth and eighth respectively. Mark Webber put his Red Bull racer into seventh spot. The top ten was rounded out by the two Mercedes racers of Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg. Interestingly, the Mercedes teammates never turned a single lap in the last qualifying session, presumably saving the tires for the race. Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa could not find good qualifying pace and thus started from mid pack.
Lewis Hamilton had a good launch and cleared the first corner in the lead. The others shuffled spots behind him as many drivers had to leave the track to avoid collisions at turn one. There were just two casualties as Vitaly Petrov lost his front wing and Felipe Massa received a rear puncture. Both were able to bring their cars in for a quick fix. Felipe had a great race after he recovered from the early setback and progressed from dead last 24th to finish 8th and perhaps give his career at scuderia Ferrari one more chance. Same goes for Kimi Raikkonen, who took advantage of Schumacher/Vergne crash ahead of him and piloted his Lotus nice and steady to finish in 6th, just ahead of his teammate Grosjean.
Lewis looked well in control of the race and in the lead when the gearbox of his McLaren decided to quit after just 22 laps. What a huge disappointment! This promoted Sebastian Vettel into the lead, which he never relinquished. On lap 36, Pastor Maldonado had to park his Williams head first in the garage when he suffered a hydraulics problem. This played well into the hands of Alonzo, who was just behind. In the end, Jenson finished second and Alonzo third.
As far as the championship is concerned, Alonzo now holds a 29 point lead over Vettel in second. Kimi advanced to third and is 16 points behind. Hamilton, Webber, and Button round out the top six.
Here is to impatiently waiting for the next Japanese Grand Prix at the famous Suzuka Circuit.
See detailed results here: 2012 Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix