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GP Week : Issue 168
Sebastien Vettel’s second consecutive win under the stars in Singapore has left championship leader Fernando Alonso with a somewhat diminished 29-point advantage in the Drivers’ standings. Defending Champion Vettel arrived in Singapore trailing Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and the stealth-like Kimi Raikkonen in the championship, following a dismal weekend for Red Bull Racing at Monza – its worst since Korea in 2010 – when both cars failed to finish. But Formula 1 moving on from the fastest track on the calendar, where the RBR8’s straight-line speed deficiency was most evident, to the tight, technical Marina Bay street circuit, marked a return to form for Red Bull Racing. Vettel looked imperious as the weekend got under way and topped the times in all three practice sessions. The young German could only qualify third behind Hamilton and the blisteringly-quick Pastor Maldonado, but snatched second place from the Williams driver on the run to turn one. From there he traded quick lap times with pole-sitter Hamilton, keeping the Briton honest until he was gifted the lead when the McLaren’s gearbox failed. “It’s great to get the win today,” said Vettel. “Looking at the race, Lewis had to retire which is a shame for him. I know how it feels and have been in that position before. I think we could have had a tight battle. “I felt very good on the harder tyres and we had a lot of pace. I think it’s very good to get this win here today. We know the next few races will be tough, but that’s the challenge.” However, yet another sterling drive to third place from Alonso as another of his chief title rivals – this time Hamilton – falters, means the damage to his points advantage was relatively minor. With six races remaining he has a 29-point buffer, but the Spaniard said: “In the end it went well, but we definitely can’t go on like this. It can’t always be the case that my closest rival retires, as has happened in the last two races and we can’t think of carrying on to the end of the season with qualifying sessions like yesterday’s, when our performance was almost a second off the best.” VETTEL TAKES THE CHALLENGE TO ALONSO 28 GPWEEK.com // 28 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> SINGAPORE