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FERNANDO ALONSO made it back-to-back victories for Ferrari by winning last Sunday’s (26 September) Singapore Grand Prix around the Marina Bay Street Circuit. The Spaniard won the 61 lap night race in a time of 1:57:53.579 (97.822 mph). He also set the fastest lap of the race with a 1:47.976 (105.023 mph) lap. Alonso led every lap of the race, and because he started from pole-position, he completed his first ever Grand Slam. Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel chased Alonso hard for the entire race, finishing just 0.293 seconds behind the Ferrari. World Championship leader Mark Webber (Red Bull) finished third, thus extending his points lead.

He’s happy isn’t he?

The start saw Alonso move across the track to block any chance Vettel had of passing him into the first corner. Reigning Champion Jenson Button traded places with his McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton, and having started last, Felipe Massa (Ferrari) came into the pits at the end of the lap in order to get his pit stop out of the way.

On the third lap the Safety Car was deployed so as the rescue crew could fetch Vitantonio Liuzzi’s Force India by the infamous Turn 10. He had collided with the Sauber of Nick Heidfeld who was starting his first race since Abu Dhabi 2009. Several drivers took this as their opportunity to pit, including Mark Webber. But when the race got back up to speed at the end of lap five the Australian found himself down in 11th behind Timo Glock’s Virgin, which he passed with ease later on in the lap.

Webber continued to climb up the order, passing Kamui Kobayashi’s Sauber and Michael Schumacher’s Mercedes.

The next high profile action came at the end of lap 28. Lewis Hamilton pitted and Webber went though, leaving the 2008 World Champion down in eighth place.

Next time around both Alonso and Vettel pitted. Both pit crews were flawless, as was Alonso’s get away. But Vettel was in the wrong gear and almost didn’t get away at all, losing vital ground on the man he had been chasing all night.

The SC was back out on track on lap 32 after Kobayashi ended his race in the wall at Turn 18. He was then joined in the barrier by the HRT of Bruno Senna, who was going so fast he would probably have hit the wall anyway.

The race was back on at the end of lap 35 with Alonso still leading followed by: Vettel, Webber and Hamilton. But Webber had both Virgin cars in his way, and as he was lapping them Hamilton got close enough to be able to pull alongside and ahead of him on Raffles Boulevard. But on the entry to the Nicoll Highway left-hander, Webber (who was on the inside) hit Hamilton’s McLaren and broke it’s suspension. The Englishman limped into the run-off area at Turn 8 and retired from his third race in four. 😦

I was livid with Webber when I saw this happen live, but having seen it again and again, I now realise that it was a very 50/50 incident.

On lap 54 Robert Kubica (Renault) passed Massa having already seen off his team-mate Vitaly Petrov. Kubica would soon go on to pass Adrian Sutil’s Force India and Nico Hülkenberg’s Williams. For you see, he had pitted later than these drivers who had older and more worn out tyres than him, so he had a huge grip advantage.

While I’m on this group of drivers, you may have seen Sutil finish in eighth place, in front of Hülkenberg and Massa. But it was Massa who took eighth place after the results had been classified. Sutil was given a 20 seconds penalty for illegally gaining an advantage at Nicoll Highway on the first lap, and Hülkenberg was also given a 20 seconds penalty for gaining and advantage illegally after Force India complained. I thought you didn’t get time penalties for stuff that happened on lap one?

The drama was not over yet however. With just one lap to go, Heikki Kovalainen’s Lotus’s Cosworth engine burst into flames. The Finn decided it would be a bad idea to bring the car into the pits, so he parked it on the start finish straight by the pit wall. He then jumped out of the car (as you would) and bravely tackled the blaze with a fire extinguisher handed to him by someone on the pit wall.

Singaporean cuisine is harmful to Finns...Official!

Alonso and Vettel avoided this last obstacle, and the former took his 25th Grand Prix victory. This now puts him ahead of Juan Manuel Fangio (24 wins) and level with Jim Clark and Niki Lauda. The only drivers who have won more Grand Prixs than these three are: Sir Jackie Stewart (27), Nigel Mansell (31), Ayrton Senna (41), Alain Prost (51) and Michael Schumacher (91).

The next race is the Japanese Grand Prix on the weekend of the 8-9-10 October at the legendary Suzuka circuit. Will you be getting up to watch it live? I will.

DRIVERS’ STANDINGS (15/19 GPs)

Pos

Driver

Constructor(s)

Points

Gap From 1st

1

Mark WEBBER (AUS)

Red Bull

202

2

Fernando ALONSO (ESP)

Ferrari

191

11

3

Lewis HAMILTON (ENG)

McLaren

182

20

4

Sebastian VETTEL (GER)

Red Bull

181

21

5

Jenson BUTTON (ENG)

McLaren

177

25

6

Felipe MASSA (BRA)

Ferrari

128

74

7

Nico ROSBERG (GER)

Mercedes

122

80

8

Robert KUBICA (POL)

Renault

114

88

9

Adrian SUTIL (GER)

Force India

47

155*

10

Michael SCHUMACHER (GER)

Mercedes

46

156*

*Can’t win title.

There are 100 points still available

CONSTRUCTORS’ STANDINGS (15/19 GPs)

Pos

Constructor

Engine

Points

Gap From 1st

1

RED BULL (AUT)

Renault

383

2

MCLAREN (ENG)

Mercedes

359

24

3

FERRARI (ITA)

Ferrari

319

64

4

MERCEDES (GER)

Mercedes

168

215*

5

RENAULT (FRA)

Renault

133

250*

6

FORCE INDIA (IND)

Mercedes

60

323*

7

WILLIAMS (ENG)

Cosworth

56

327*

8

SAUBER (SUI)

Ferrari

27

356*

9

TORO ROSSO (ITA)

Ferrari

10

373*

Yet to Score

LOTUS (MAL), HRT (ESP), VIRGIN (ENG)

Cosworth (All)

0

383*

*Can’t win title.

There are 172 points still available

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