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GP Week : Issue 168
MONZA IS A SPIKE IN THE SCHEDULE THAT MUST BE SCRUPULOUSLY OBSERVED, AN ENGINE CIRCUIT IN THE OLD TRADITION. 25 GPWEEK.com // 25 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> SINGAPORE W hile many pundits – both armchair and professional – predicted that neither Lewis Hamilton nor Pastor Maldonado would see the chequered flag in Singapore, the expectation was that the hot-headed Williams driver would cause multiple retirements with a first corner collision. But for those men at the front of the pack, the first lap of the Singapore Grand Prix passed without incident. Maldonado was passed off the start by both Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button, and Hamilton powered off into the distance, opening up a 1.2s lead by the end of the first lap. The first third of the race was duller than ditch water, and slightly less exciting than watching paint dry. Bruno Senna passed Timo Glock on lap 4, in what was the first overtaking manoeuvre of the race (the movements off the start notwithstanding), and it looked as though we were settling in for a long, slow procession. With brief moments of action on track in the opening phase of the grand prix, primarily limited to those backmarkers whose performances have little bearing on the race as a whole, the dark skies over Marina Bay lent themselves more to an extended nap than they did a night of watching stars under the stars. But Formula One is a high-speed sport, and change happens in a heartbeat – or a heartbreak. On this occasion, the broken heart belonged to race leader Hamilton, who delivered a sterling performance over the first 23 laps of the Marina Bay Circuit before a gearbox failure saw the Briton draw slowly to a halt at Turn 5, hamstrung by a box of neutrals. Hamilton was in the ideal position to cement his claim on the driver’s title, but a potentially self-inflicted gearbox problem putanendtohisraceandadentinhis dreams. The British driver was seen to skim the walls on his qualifying run on Saturday evening, in a move not all that dissimilar to the prang that forced Williams’