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GP Week : Issue 135
Team-By-Team: Singapore Grand Prix, Singapore From a low point of 19th on lap 16, Hamilton did a brilliant job to climb back to fifth at the finish, although it was otherwise overshadowed by his tangle with Massa on lap 12. He completed no fewer than 15 overtaking manoeuvres, including four at the start of his final stint. Button spent the entire race in second place but was only able to find the pace to close in on Vettel in his final stint when the German was cruising, having lost a second per lap to him in the opening stint. Sebastian Vettel brought himself to within a point of his second world championship with victory on Sunday and also helped push Ferrari out of the title race for the constructors’ championship. He led every single lap of the race and was mostly untroubled for the 309 km distance, even with his 20-second lead evaporating when the safety car emerged. Despite a good start off the line Webber lost two places into turn 1 and, after a race-long battle with Alonso, was able to take the flag in third but lost touch with Button in the final stint. ’61 laps of misery’ was how technical director James Allison saw the race from Renault’s perspective, as they slumped to their worst Grand Prix performance in two years. Senna, despite tapping the wall in the early stages of the race and making an extra pitstop to get a new wing, finished ahead of Petrov in 15th place, two laps behind Vettel. Petrov had the humiliation of finishing behind Team Lotus’s Heikki Kovalainen however, and by a decent margin of 15 seconds too. He was hampered slightly by a KERS failure however. Six points was the scant reward for Mercedes from their trip to Singapore, with Nico Rosberg finishing 7th and Michael Schumacher retiring. Rosberg was involved in a tight race-long scrap with di Resta, Sutil and Perez for positions but lost touch with di Resta during the final stint. He managed to stay ahead of Sutil and Perez despite losing over five seconds in laptime towards the end with his severely worn soft tyres. Schumacher was just behind Rosberg when he hit the back of Perez on lap 29 before ending in the barrier. He was reprimanded by the stewards. Williams split the strategy on their cars for the race, with Pastor Maldonado stopping three times and team-mate Barrichello twice, but it was Maldonado’s strategy that ultimately won out as Barrichello fell off the cliff in terms of laptimes with eight laps to go, losing over 30 seconds to the Venezuelan in those laps. The Brazilian lost three places in the final six laps, but Maldonado was unable to replace him in the top ten as Ferrari’s Felipe Massa scythed his way through, meaning Pastor took the flag 9 seconds off 10th. Alonso finished off the Singapore Grand Prix podium for the first time on Sunday, as the Ferrari continued to struggle for overall pace. His fastest lap was 2.4 seconds slower than the quickest, underlining the pace deficit that the car is suffering at the moment. He stayed ahead of Webber for half the race, before losing the place soon after the safety car period. Massa could do no better than ninth place after getting a puncture in the contact with Hamilton on lap 12, before a long final stint on the soft hurt his chances of climbing further up the field.