2010 Singapore Grand Prix – Race Report

After a slow start the Singapore GP actually began to pick up after the first Safety Car session which allowed some drivers like Mark Webber to take serious gambles that paid off. On the narrow circuit there were naturally several crashes and plenty more excitement than in Monaco earlier this year.

On with the results…

EDIT: There was another penalty handed out after the race. Results have been corrected accordingly.

The Top-10:

Fernando Alonso lead the race from start-to-finish. Although Sebastian Vettel tried to overtake him at the start Alonso forced him near the wall and Vettel had to lay off. When Alonso and Vettel came into the pits at the same time Seb had a chance to pass Alonso on the pit-lane due to a shorter stop but his car stalled when he tried to take off on second gear. Never-the-less Vettel stuck to it and would finish second.

Red Bull‘s day couldn’t have gone much more perfectly. Mark Webber was the only driver in the Top-10 to pit during the first safety car and was able to pick off practically every car in front of him except for Seb and Alonso. Webber finished third thus ensuring there were two Red Bulls on the podium and he also managed to keep himself as the top man in the championship race (also becoming the first driver to break the 200 points mark).

Jenson Button tried to chase Webber down towards the end but fourth place was still the result of a solid drive. Nico Rosberg, who finished fifth, and Rubens Barrichello, who was sixth, also enjoyed a solid race. For Williams it was a good day as Nico Hülkenberg also finished on points, finishing eighth but was dropped to to tenth after the race due to a penalty.

Robert Kubica seemed as if he was going to fall out of the points race due to a second pit stop he had to take towards the end of the race. However, Kubica then got onto an aggressive streak and passed five drivers (including his team-mate) to finally finish seventh. I have never seen such aggressive overtaking action from one driver that wouldn’t have eventually lead to an accident but Kubica was the definite man of the day as far as I’m concerned. A fantastic drive.

Felipe Massa whose car stopped in the middle of the track during the first qualifying yesterday was also able to finish on points as the ninth driver. Good on you Felipe.

Adrian Sutil’s pace was also good today but unfortunately a penalty after the race dropped him from eighth to tenth, he was raised to ninth after Hülkenberg’s penalty which meant he only lost one point today. Force India’s race weekend could have been much better though as unfortunately their second driver, Liuzzi, retired already on the first lap.

The Golden Pineapple Award: Vitaly Petrov (Renault) – With all the talk surrounding Petrov, finishing eleventh and getting overtaken by your team-mate was hardly the sort of result he was hoping for. This is now Petrov’s second Pineapple Victory which puts him in the shared second place on the Pineapple chart along with Schumacher, Alguersuari and Buemi. He also raises Renault into the shared second place on the Team Chart with Force India.

Petrov knows his actions are being closely watched by his team and even though he has strong Russian sponsors supporting him his contract as of yet has still not materialized. Still, best wishes for you, Vitaly, and better luck next time.

Drop-out count: 8

Technical difficulties caused the retirements of Liuzzi, Christian Klien (HRT), Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock which in the case of Glock was most unfortunate after the man had driven such a great race. Liuzzi leaving his car right at the Singapore Sling caused the first safety car session to occur.

Kamui Kobayashi who had been driving a good and solid race eventually dropped out when he hit his car against the wall in one of the tight 90 degree turns. Immediately afterwards Bruno Senna crashed his car into Kobayashi ending his own race and causing the Safety Car to come on to the track. A fun oddity in this crash is the fact that Senna was already down by one lap at the time of the accident and therefore his retirement is registered one lap before Kobayashi.

Adding to the Sauber team’s misery, F1-returnee Nick Heidfeld was crashed off the track by Michael Schumacher who also broke his own front-wing in the accident and ruined an otherwise okay race (finishing 13th).

After the second safety car session Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton were fighting for position 3 and unfortunately when Webber passed Hamilton their cars made contact and Hamilton’s McLaren was damaged badly enough that he had to retire. This was a truly sad event for Lewis but thankfully didn’t put him out of the championship race yet – merely dropping him down to third (with Alonso rising to second place in the standings). However, in the next race Hamilton had better finish on points otherwise his chances of winning his second championship will look especially slim.

Back of the Lot News:

Today the back-lot teams caused plenty of excitement. HRT had a miserable time but Virgin’s Timo Glock impressed me today. Glock was one of the drivers who didn’t pit during the first Safety car and as a result Glock drove position 11 for several laps keeping Adrian Sutil and a number of other middle-tier team drivers behind him. If Glock had finished it might have been a fairly glorious day for Virgin but sadly technical problems dropped him out of the race.

Virgin was the only new team to have (so called) perfect result with Lucas Di Grassi finishing 15th. However, even though Heikki Kovalainen didn’t actually finish the entire race-length he did classify 16th in the race and went out with a flair. Literally. Towards the end the back of Kovalainen’s car caught fire for reasons unknown and Heikki parked on the main-straight. Race marshals took a long time to get into the scene and so Heikki was instead handed an extinguisher from the pit-lane and managed to put out the fire all by himself. At the very least Kovalainen provided the audience with some entertainment.