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GP Week : Issue 135
F1 SINGAPORE >> Team-By-Team: Singapore Grand Prix, Singapore Eighth and sixth places for Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil marks Force India’s best race result since their podium at the 2009 Belgian Grand Prix, adding a much-welcomed 12 points to their tally to consolidate sixth in the championship. Starting on the hard tyre proved pivotal for di Resta, who went until lap 19 before pitting for the first time and comfortably held onto sixth at the end despite spending 32 laps on the same set of tyres. Sutil lost a position to Rosberg behind the safety car when he had to be stacked behind Paul in the pits, and failed to get the place back on-track despite intense pressure. 12th was the best Sebastien Buemi could do with the STR6 on the streets of Singapore, a decent effort after starting 14th on the grid. His conventional three-stop strategy didn’t allow much room for advancement but was probably the right way to go as team-mate Alguersuari crashed in the closing stages on severely worn tyres on his two-stop strategy. The Spaniard was hit with a drive-through penalty a third of the way through the race for making contact with Trulli, but said it was unfair as he only made ‘very light contact’ with the Lotus. Sergio Perez was back in the points for the first time since Silverstone after another one of his customary long-run races, taking tenth place in his Sauber on a two-stop strategy. A long first stint allowed him to climb into the points from 11th on the grid and he was set for 9th place until the final lap when he was overtaken by Massa. Team-mate Kobayashi’s crash in qualifying cost him dear as he was unable to do anything from 17th on the grid despite his stash of fresh rubber. He had to serve a drive-through penalty for ignoring blue flags but claims he never saw them. Jerome d’Ambrosio brought his MVR-02 to the finish of his first ever Formula One night race in Singapore thanks to a well-executed two-stop strategy. Unlike other two-stoppers, his laptimes didn’t drastically deteriorate in the closing stages, although he did have to cede positions to Kovalainen and Petrov in the final ten laps. Team-mate Glock was hampered by the first- lap contact with Ricciardo which knocked his steering askew and caused excessive tyre degradation, ultimately resulting in contact with the wall at turn 18 leading to his immediate retirement on lap 10. HRT knew it was going to be a tough night in Singapore on Sunday and true to form Ricciardo and Liuzzi finished four laps behind the leader in a race of their own. Ricciardo’s race was ruined at Turn 8 on the first lap when he hit Glock’s Virgin, damaging his front nose. A switch to his qualifying tyres on lap 45 resulted in Liuzzi tapping the wall, damaging his front wing, because of the reduced grip, meaning he dropped behind Ricciardo to finish last. Heikki Kovalainen put a feather in his cap by finishing ahead of Renault’s Vitaly Petrov on pure pace, after an otherwise disappointing race for the former newcomers. It was a topsy-turvy evening for team-mate Trulli who jumped to 17th on the first lap, but then got a puncture when he was hit by Alguersuari after his first stop, dropping him well down the order. He then retired with a gearbox failure on lap 48. Kovalainen’s beating of Petrov will be a major boost however, as will him setting the race’s 13th fastest lap.