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Singapore Grand Prix

September 27, 2009

The second Singapore Grand Prix took place this afternoon, UK time, the defining characteristic being that this is a night race on a street circuit, run under very bright lights.

Singapore GP

Singapore GP

The track is typical of recent additions to the calendar, there are few overtaking opportunities, and without the intervention of a safety car, if you have pole and don’t mess up, you’ll likely win. All points confirmed by last year’s race.

This year, Lewis Hamilton had pole, with Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg behind. The race started well, Rosberg catching and passing Vettel off the line, whilst further back Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso replayed scenes from a few races this year, Mark eventually managing to get around him at turn 7.  Unfortunately, he ran wide in doing so, and by the time the stewards had noticed and decided what to do about this, Fernando had also been passed by Timo Glock, meaning that Webber was instructed to let both through. He was unimpressed with the penalty, and a bad race was finished altogether by a complete brake failure after his second pitstop, with the car ending up in the barriers.

Rosberg, meanwhile, failed to capitalise on his good start, as he misjudged the exit to the pitlane, crossing the white line, and earning himself a drive-through. Sadly for him, just after this was announced, the safety car came out to allow the marshalls to clear some debris from the track, Nico had to serve his penalty as soon as the safety car went in, meaning the field had closed up, and he dropped right back.

Jenson Button made the most of the safety car, which fell at a good time for him, and pushed his strategy to the limit, managing to jump from 11th to 5th, finishing ahead of team-mate and rival Rubens Barrichello, and extending his championship lead by a point. He also benefitted from a late drive through for Sebastian Vettel, for speeding in the pitlane, which dropped the German from second to fourth. Vettel’s championship dream is pretty much over now, he is 25 points down, with 30 remaining, whilst Webber is officially out of contention.

So, Lewis drove away with the race, and the other podium places were taken by Timo Glock, who put in a stunning performance compared to team mate Jarno Trulli, and Fernando Alonso, who dedicated his podium place to disgraced Flavio Briatore. This means speculation he is off to Ferrari has reached fever pitch. At this point, I wish they’d just get on with it.And sadly a Lewis win means that there were cuts to pitlane reaction shots of ‘that woman’ every 5 minutes. Grrrr.

Official idiot of the race goes to Adrian Sutil, who spun, and whilst trying to get back on track drove straight into the side of Nick Heidfeld. Heidfeld had been on a record-creaking run of finished races, which is now over, but he did give a fantastically funny interview after the race

When asked if there was any action BMW should take over the incident, Heidfeld replied: “Maybe we try to find a brain for him!”

Nick Heidfeld, after being bashed out of the race by Sutil

Nick Heidfeld, after being bashed out of the race by Sutil

Pos  Driver        Team                      Time
 1.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes      (B)  1h56:06.337
 2.  Glock         Toyota                (B)  +     9.634
 3.  Alonso        Renault               (B)  +    16.624
 4.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault      (B)  +    20.261
 5.  Button        Brawn-Mercedes        (B)  +    30.015
 6.  Barrichello   Brawn-Mercedes        (B)  +    31.858
 7.  Kovalainen    McLaren-Mercedes      (B)  +    36.157
 8.  Kubica        BMW Sauber            (B)  +    55.054
 9.  Nakajima      Williams-Toyota       (B)  +    56.054
10.  Raikkonen     Ferrari               (B)  +    58.892
11.  Rosberg       Williams-Toyota       (B)  +    59.777
12.  Trulli        Toyota                (B)  +  1:13.009
13.  Fisichella    Ferrari               (B)  +  1:19.890
14.  Liuzzi        Force India-Mercedes  (B)  +  1:33.502

Fastest lap: Alonso, 1:48.240

Not classified/retirements:

Driver        Team                      On lap
Alguersuari   Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B)    48
Buemi         Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B)    48
Webber        Red Bull-Renault      (B)    46
Sutil         Force India-Mercedes  (B)    24
Heidfeld      BMW Sauber            (B)    20
Grosjean      Renault               (B)    4

Next weekend, the circus moves to Suzuka in Japan, which should be a much more interesting race, and means a return to F1 at daft o’clock, which is great for me, as I get to watch uninterrupted!

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