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Singapore GP 2012

SEPTEMBER 23, 2012

Race Notes - Vettel wins in Singapore

Podium, Singapore GP 2012
©  Active Pictures

Sebastian Vettel won the Singapore Grand Prix tonight in the Red Bull-Renault, 8.9 seconds ahead of Jenson Button in the McLaren-Mercedes in second place, and Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari 15.2 seconds behind the winner in third place.

Pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton was in the lead for the first third of the race but dropped out with a suspected gearbox problem,

Vettel takes his 23rd career win, equaling Nelson Piquet. It is his second win of the 2012 season, and his first win since Bahrain in April.

Alonso now leads the drivers championship with 194 points - 29 points ahead of Vettel, 45 points ahead of Raikkonen, and Hamilton drops to fourth in the standings, 52 points behind. Red Bull leads McLaren by 37 points, followed by Ferrari and Lotus.

Before the start, the top 10 drivers start on super soft compound tyres. Hulkenberg, starting 11th, is the first runner on the soft compound tyres. Most runners planning a three-stop strategy, while some might try for a two-stopper.

Paul di Resta (19.0s) in the Force India-Mercedes had his career best finish in fourth place, followed by Nico Rosberg (34.7s) in the Mercedes GP in fifth place, Kimi Raikkonen (35.7s) in the Lotus-Renault in sixth, his team mate Romain Grosjean (36.6s) in seventh, Felipe Massa (42.8s) in the second Ferrari in eighth, Daniel Ricciardo (45.8s) in the Toro Rosso-Renault in ninth and Mark Webber (47.1s) in the Red Bull in the final points paying position.

Before the race Hamilton, second in the championship starts from pole, while leader Alonso starts fifth, and third placed Raikkonen starts from 12th.

Bruno Senna was penalised for a gearbox change, and drops from 17th to 22nd on the grid.

Hamilton leads the first lap, while Vettel and Button pass Maldonado during the first two corners. A number of drivers cut across the apex of the second corner to avoid contact. Hamilton leading Vettel, Button, Pastor Maldonado, Alonso, Di Resta, Webber, Grosjean, Rosberg and Michael Schumacher and Raikkonen.

Vitaly Petrov pits for a new front wing, while Massa pits for tyres.

One lap 4, Hamilton sets fastest lap at 1m55.7s and leads Vettel by 1.7s. Running in clean air at the tail of the field, Massa sets fastest lap at 1m55.6s.

On lap 6 the stewards announce that no further action will be taken from the first lap cutting of the chicane.

Senna passes Heikki Kovalainen for 16th place.

On lap 9 Webber is the first driver to pit, switching to soft tyres, and rejoins in 20th.

Timo Glock touches the barrier but continues.

On lap 11 Vettel pits from second place for new tyres and switches to soft tyres and rejoins in 12th behind Sergio Perez. Senna pits as well.

On lap 12 Alonso pits from fourth along with Schumacher and Ricciardo. Alonso rejoins in 12th. Vettel is closing on Raikkonen.

On lap 13 leader Hamilton pits for soft tyres. Di Resta pits as well. Vettel passes Raikkonen.

On lap 14 Maldonado and Raikkonen pit for softs. Button pits from the lead on the next lap and rejoins in third. Grosjean pits as well. Vettel sets fastest lap at 1m54.9s. Hulkenberg and Perez yet to pit.

Alonso passes Perez for seventh place in turn 14. Rosberg passes Kamui Kobayashi. the two make slight contact but continue.

On lap 17 Alonso passes Nico Hulkenberg for fifth place.

On lap 18 Webber passes Perez on old tyres for eighth place. Di Resta passes his team mate Hulkenberg for sixth.

On lap 19 both Hulkenberg and Perez make their first pit stops, as well as Pedro de La Rosa. Petrov and Massa.

At lap 20 Hamilton leads Vettel by 1,5 seconds, followed by Button (4.3s), Maldonado (8.3s), Alonso (12.4s), Di Resta (20.2s), Webber (22.3s), Rosberg (28.1s), Grosjean (29.4s) and Schumacher (34.9s) in tenth place.

Hulkenberg sets fastest lap at 1m54.4s. Reports that Senna is having a gearbox problem. Massa sets fastest lap at 1m54.4s.

On lap 22 race leader Hamilton pulls off the track with a gearbox failure. The disappointed British driver walks away from his McLaren. Vettel takes over the lead from Button and Maldonado.

On lap 25 Jean-Eric Vergne pits from 13th place, for his second stop, switching to super soft tyres. Senna pits the next lap for super soft tyres as well. Glock also pits.

On lap 27 Senna in 15th place sets the fastest lap at 1m53.6s.

On lap 29 Webber makes his second stop for super softs (having pitted early on his first stint). Vergne sets fastest lap at 1m53.5s.

On lap 30 Maldonado and Alonso pit from 3rd and 4th places, the order remaining the same. Maldonado on super soft tyres, while Alonso takes on soft tyres.

At lap 30 Vettel leads Button by 2.9 seconds, followed by Di Resta (20.4s), Rosberg (33.8s), Grosjean (34.6s), Maldonado (35.1s), Alonso (35.5s), Schumacher (42.1s), Raikkonen (42.6s) and Hulkenberg (43.5s) in tenth.

Rosberg has a line of cars behind him with Grosjean Maldonado and Alonso following. Alonso pressures Maldonado for the position.

On lap 33 Karthikeyan hits the wall and the safety car is deployed. Vettel, Button, Di Resta, Rosberg, Grosjean, Maldonado, Schumacher, Senna, Raikkonen and Massa pit.

Behind the safety car Vettel leads Button, Alonso, Di Resta, Hulkenberg, Webber, Perez, Rosberg, Grosjean and Maldonado in tenth place.

Williams reporting a possible hydraulic problem with Maldonado's car.

On lap 37 Maldonado retires in the pits.

At the end of lap 37 the safety car pulls off and the race resumes with Vettel in the lead.

Hulkenberg and Webber battle - Webber taking fifth. Schumacher, Rosberg and Grosjean pass Perez.

On lap 39 Schumacher runs into the back of Vergne under braking and both out of the race in runoff area. The safety car is deployed again.

On lap 41 Webber, Hulkenberg, Perez, De la Rosa and Petrov pit once again. Petrov stops at the end of the pitlane and is pushed back to the pits.

The collision between Schumacher and Vergne will be investigated after the race.

Behind the safety car, Vettel leads Button, Alonso, Di Resta, Rosberg, Grosjean, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Senna and Massa in tenth place.

Petrov rejoins.

The race now looks like it might end at the two-hour limit - two or three laps shorter than scheduled.

At the end of lap 42 the race resumes. Raikkonen pressures his team mate Grosjean for sixth place.

Massa battles Senna for ninth place - the two touch, but Massa takes the position.

On lap 43 Vettel sets fastest lap at 1m53.3s, and pulls away from his chasers.

On lap 46 Massa on the super soft tyres passes Ricciardo for eighth place. Button in second place sets fastest lap at 1m53.0s, and is 1.8 seconds behind Vettel. Button re-sets fastest lap the next lap at 1m52.6s.

On lap 49 Perez and Hulkenberg make contact but continue.

On lap 50, Webber passes Kobayashi - Hulkenberg and Perez follow his through. Hulkenberg and Kobayashi make contact, puncturing tyres. Both end up pitting for new tyres, the Sauber taking on a new wing.

At lap 50 Vettel leads Button by 2.5 seconds, followed by Alonso (10.8s), Di Resta (12.3s), Rosberg (19.0s), Raikkonen (20.4s), Grosjean (22.1s), Massa (22.8s), Ricciardo (27.6s) and Senna (30.2s) in tenth place.

On lap 52 Hulkenberg on new tyres sets fastest lap at 1m51.0s.

On lap 54 Force India tell Di Resta to push and try to catch Alonso.

On lap 56 Webber passes Senna for tenth place.

Senna pulls off the track with a mechanical problem.

The race ends after the two-hour mark, at 59 laps, with Vettel going on to win over Button and Alonso.