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Singapore GP 2008

SEPTEMBER 28, 2008

Race Notes - Alonso wins dramatic Singapore GP night race

Fernando Alonso, Singapore GP 2008
© The Cahier Archive

Fernando Alonso won the first ever Singapore Grand Prix in dramatic fashion, taking his first win of the season for Renault. Nico Rosberg took his career best finish in second place in his Williams-Toyota, 2.9 seconds behind, while Championship leader Lewis Hamilton finished in third place in his McLaren-Mercedes, 5.9 seconds behind the leader.

After running strongly during the weekend, but suffering a mechanical problem during qualifying that left him starting from 15th on the grid, Alonso started on the super-soft tyre, and run a short first stint. After making his first stop the race came to Alonso when his team mate Nelson Piquet crashed, bringing out the Safety Car, and allowing the Spaniard to go to the lead after all the pitstops played out.

The win is Alonso's 20th career victory and 50th podium finish. With Felipe Massa and Ferrari finishing out of the points, Lewis Hamilton stretches his lead in the World Championship to 84 points - seven points ahead of Massa with 77 points. While in the Constructors Championship McLaren-Mercedes overtakes Ferrari to lead by one point at 135 to 134.

Timo Glock (8.1s) in the Toyota finished fourth, followed by Sebastian Vettel (10.2s) in the Toro Rosso-Ferrari in fifth, Nick Heidfeld (11.1s) in the Sauber-BMW in sixth, David Coulthard (16.3s) in the Red Bull-Renault in seventh, and Kazuki Nakajima (18.4s) in the Williams-Toyota in the final points paying position.

When the race began, Alonso was the only driver starting on the super-soft tyre option.

At the start Felipe Massa led the field into the first corner followed by Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen and Robert Kubica. Kubica touching the side of Heikki Kovalainen into turn 3, Kovalainen losing out and getting passed on the first lap by Vettel and Glock. Alonso up from 15th to 12th on the first lap.

On lap 4 Rosberg tries to pass Jarno Trulli for 9th, but overshoots into the corner and Trulli retains the spot, while behind Nakajima is pressured by Alonso, a train of cars backing up behind Trulli with a heavy fuel load.

Up front Massa pulled out over a 2 second lead over Hamilton, while Raikkonen was 5.5 seconds further back.

On lap 7 Rosberg passes Trulli for ninth place in a late breaking move, while leader Massa appearing to run over a piece of debris.

On lap 9 Nakajima and Alonso get past Trulii, the Italian driver running

At lap 10 Massa led Hamilton by 3.3 seconds, followed by Raikkonen (7.3s), Kubica (14.9s), Vettel (21.9s), Glock (23.6s), Kovalainen (25.8s), Heidfeld (27.3s), Rosberg (38.0s), Nakajima (47.8s) and Alonso (51.5s) in 11th place. Raikkonen putting in a number of fast laps, slowly closing the gap to Hamilton.

On lap 12 Alonso is the first to pit from 11th place, switching to soft tyres, and rejoining at the back of the field.

On lap 14 Sebastien Bourdais overshoots and goes into the runoff area, but continues.

On lap 15 Nelson Piquet spins and backs into the wall. Mark Webber, David Coulthard and Rubens Barrichello dive into the pits before the Safety Car comes out.

Rosberg pits under the Safety Car period. Barrichello then rolls to a stop one the circuit, while Kubica then makes a pitstop from fourth.

On lap 16 the pitlane was opened, and nearly all the cars stop. Leader Masse is released by the team and leaves his pit with the fuel hose still attached, ripping off the hose and balling over a mechanic.

The Brazilian stopping at the end of the pitlane, while his mechanics run down the pitlane and after much effort to remove the fuel filler from the car he rejoins in last place.

On lap 19 the race restarts with Rosberg leading Trulli, Giancarlo Fisichella, Kubica, Alonso, Webber, Coulthard, Hamilton, Vettel and Glock in 10th, Raikkonen in 16th, and Massa last of the runners in 18th. Rosberg and Kubica expected to be penalised for pitting while the pits where still closed.

Rosberg pulls away at the front of the field while Trulli and Fisichella, who have yet to pit, bunch up the field behind them.

On lap 25 Massa serves a stop-and-go penalty for unsafe release from the pitlane. While the stewards hand out 10 second stop-go penalties for Rosberg and Kubica.

At lap 25 Rosberg leads Trulli by 11.2 seconds, followed by Fisichella (16.6s), Kubica (17.2s), Alonso (18.2s), Webber (19.8s), Coulthard (20.8s), Hamilton (21.4s), Glock (22.3s) and Vettel (23.0s) in tenth, while Raikkenen runs 15th and Massa 18th.

On lap 28 Kubica serves his 10-second stop-go penalty, while Webber goes wide at the first corner and loses several spots.

On lap 29 Rosberg comes in for his penalty, rejoining in fourth place.

On lap 30 Fisichella pits from second place for his first pitstop.

On lap 31 Webber retires in the pitlane.

At lap 31 Trulli on a one-stopper leads Alonso by 10.6 seconds, followed by Rosberg (14.1s), Coulthard (17.7s), Hamilton (18.5s), Glock (20.8s), Vettel (22.4s), Heidfeld (23.1s), Nakajima (24.3s) and Button (27.8s) in tenth - Kovalainen 11th, Raikkonen 12th, Kubica 15th and Massa 16th.

On lap 31 Kubica passes Massa for 15th place, and Massa then pits.

On lap 34 Trulli makes his first stop from the lead rejoining in eighth place handing the lead to Alonso, while Bourdais and Kubica also pit.

On lap 35 Kovalainen makes his second stop, Button pitting the next lap.

On lap 38 Nakajima passes Trulli for 8th place, while Raikkonen passes him as well the next lap.

On lap 41 Rosberg makes his final stop from second place, rejoining in seventh place. Followed by leader Alonso the next lap, remaining in the lead, while Hamilton passes Coulthard for second place.

On lap 42 Hamilton and Coulthard pit from second and third places, Coulthard almost leaving with the fuel hose attached, but luckily disaster being averted. Nakajima also pits from ninth. The next lap Vettel and Heidfeld make their stops.

At lap 45 Alonso leads Glock by 6.1 seconds, followed by Rosberg (14.8s), Raikkonen (18.6s), Hamilton (25.8s), Trulli (35.2s), Vettel (36.3s), Heidfeld (37.9s), Coulthard (40.6s) and Nakajima (51.2s) in tenth place - Kovalainen in 12th, Kubica 13th and Massa 15th.

On lap 47 Glock pits from second place, rejoining in fifth place, while Coulthard reports that his brakes are getting soft.

On lap 51 Raikkonen makes his final stop from third place, rejoining in fifth, while Trulli slows.

On lap 51 Massa spins and lightly hits the side of his car into the barrier. He then rejoins coming out just before Adrian Sutil arrives, but the young German driver noses his Force India into the barriers, bringing out the Safety Car out again.

With 10 laps remaining the field bunches up behind Alonso, Rosberg, Hamilton, Glock, Raikkonen, Vettel, Heidlfeld and Coulthard in eighth place.

On lap 53 the Safety Car pulls in and the race restarts, Alonso jumping out to a big lead, 3.7 seconds on lap 54, 6.1 on lap 55.

On lap 58, Raikkonen, while chasing Glock, clips the kerbs in the chicane, losing control and hitting the wall - his race coming to an end.

Alonso continues to lead to the chequered flag and takes his first victory of the year for Renault.