When Sebastian Vettel qualifies at the front, there is nothing that can stop the German from grabbing the top step on the podium. Out of 88 race starts he has with Infiniti Red Bull Racing - from Australia 2009 to Singapore 2013 - he has 22 lights to flag victories and three Grand Chelem titles (currently tied with Nelson Piquet) - meaning he has qualified in pole, won the race after leading every lap of the race and set the fastest lap of the race in the same weekend.
Still his record is one more than Juan Manuel Fangio who has five world championships under his belt, but one less than the legendary Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher. Even Fernando Alonso, Niki Lauda and Stirling Moss only have one each and interestingly James Hunt and Kimi Raikkonen have none.
As the Singapore Grand Prix concluded - minutes before 10:00pm - with fireworks lighting up the already colourful and vibrant Marina Bay CBD area with stunning backdrop from the Singapore Flyer to Marina Bay Sands and ANZ to Maybank towers and hysterical cheers from the attendees - Vettel recorded his third consecutive win this season, his third consecutive win at the street circuit and his seventh podium overall.
The question remains if there is anything that could stop the German driver. Unless Adrian Newey is removed, I doubt so. The problem with F1 right now is not about the lack of overtaking or people getting bored with the same person winning - it's just that rival teams have yet to produce their own Adrian Newey
including legendary ones like Scuderia Ferrari and Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. McLaren seem to be a little off pace this year while only one of the two Ferraris seem to be interested in any actual racing.
Over the past two years, the sport has evolved from who is winning and fighting for the championship to who had the best recovery or who managed to finish third after a strenuous battle. As stated earlier, as soon as Vettel qualifies on the front grid - you can prepare tomorrow's sports headlines today.
Even yesterday at the sixth SingTel Singapore Grand Prix, Vettel won the race after qualifying in pole with a record setting time of 1:42.841 - which is even faster than Kimi Raikkonen's lap record. Not even the tropical climate of heat and humidity or the intervention of the safety car - courtesy of Daniel Ricciardo's Toro Rosso - could hinder or delay the triple world champion from claiming another this season.
After 61 laps, Vettel won by a staggering 32.6 seconds over title contender, Fernando Alonso in the Prancing Horse, who leaped from seventh at the starting grid while Kimi Raikkonen catapulted to third from starting 13th
on the grid – despite suffering from back pain.
Besides the strong start by Nico Rosberg in the other silver arrows that saw the purple-blue hued car getting out dragged to the first corner - it was the usual lights to flag victory for the German. By the end of the first lap, Vettel was already 1.9 seconds ahead which increased to 4.1 seconds a lap later - and none got close to him thereafter until the safety car when Ricciardo - Webber’s replacement for next year - had a contact at Turn 18 on the 24th
When racing resumed at the end of lap 31, Vettel instantaneously built a lead of 3.2 seconds and zoomed away until lap 61, building a lead that was light years away.
Alonso moved to second after Rosberg pitted to clear rubber that was clogging his front wing - hindering the car's aerodynamics. While Alonso's brilliant driver brought valuable points home, Vettel's dominant performance ensured that Alonso wasn't even within the range of his wing mirrors to challenge him for podium.
Raikkonen's chase to the final podium position was cleared when he went round the outside of Button's McLaren in Turn 14 on the 54th
lap, causing McLaren to delay their first podium appearance of the season. At the end of the day, the McLaren recorded a good seventh and eight from Button and Sergio Perez respectively while the other gold on black Lotus - piloted by the uprising Romain Grosjean - had to retire from sixth place due to pneumatic valve problems from his Renault engine on the 33rd
Webber, as in Monza, had recurring gearbox issues and was instructed to start short shifting gears. This obstructed his chase on Raikkonen and Alonso, and eventually retired on the final lap and hitched a ride home with his buddy Alonso. Both were later reprimanded for their actions and Webber was slapped with a ten-place grid penalty for his next race in Korea as this was his third reprimand this season.
The silver arrows duo managed a best of fourth and fifth ahead of Massa in the other Ferrari in sixth. Nico Hulkenberg in the Sauber and Adrian Sutil in the Force India round up the top ten after yesterday’s Singtel Singapore Grand Prix. Besides Grosjean and Ricciardo, Paul di Resta in the other Force India retired after going off at Turn 7 on the 54th
lap – with the car recovered without the need of a safety car.
At the end of the 61 laps, Sebastian Vettel leads the drivers’ championship boards at 247 points over arch rival Fernando Alonso of Ferrari at 187 points and Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes-Benz works team with Raikkonen slightly apart, but catching up, in fourth at 151 and 149 points respectively.
In the constructors' championships, Infiniti Red Bull Racing leads miles ahead over Scuderia Ferrari with 377 to 274, as Mercedes trails behind in third with 267 points. The high octane F1 action continues in Korea on the 6th
of October and unless Vettel retires or crashes, I believe this season’s championship hunt is sealed.
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