F1 Singapore Race Results and Full Race Report: Hamilton Keeps His Head, and the Race Win


What Happens When Brakes Ruin Title Hopes

10:12am EST —McLaren’s speed has returned in full force, with Lewis Hamilton’s race win at Singapore.  Timo Glock and Fernando Alonso finished out the podium.  Sebastain Vettel (despite a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit-lane), Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello made the rest of the top six.  Mark Webber had a brake failure that finished his hopes for the driver’s championship.  Nico Rosberg, looking fast all weekend, crossed the white line on a pit exit and had to serve a drive-through penalty that left him finishing in eleventh.

With rain possibly threatening for the race, Hamilton started the 2009 Singapore GP on the front row after Rubens Barrichello’s last second crash during qualifying stopped late charges from Sebastain Vettel and Nico Rosberg.  Nick Heidfeld, who was to start seventh (after Barrichello’s five-place gearbox change penalty), started the race from the pit lane after being found to be underweight after qualifying instead of his punishment: starting last.

The Singapore GP with a great start by Alonso and Rosberg, with Hamilton leading into turn 1.  Vettel made a slow start.  Alsonso lost time and space to Webber and Glock, though Hamilton and Rosberg led clearly.  After the first lap, it was Hamilton, Rosberg, Vettel, Webber, and Glock for the top five.  Button moved up two spots to tenth while teammate Barrichello moved up two to seventh.  On L4, Romain Grosjean pitted from last, after the team was bleeding the brakes just before the start.  He got out of the car and retired.  On L5, Hamilton had a KERS issue, with Martin Whitmarsh radioing a new electronic setting for him, shutting off the KERS for the rest of the race.

On L6, Webber had to let Alonso and Glock past, losing six and a half seconds, because he gained position over Alonso by going off-track at turn 7.  He ought not have had to allow Glock around him, but for the fact that Alonso was behind Glock.  L9 had Adrian Sutil hearing from his team that his engine was running too hot.  Giancarlo Fisichella was then encouraged by engineer Rob Smedley to push harder and pass Sutil.  L10 had Hamilton, Rosberg, Vettel, Glock, Alonso as the top five.  Button was tenth, Barrichello seventh, and Webber sixth.

Vettel went one lap longer than expected, stopping on L17 and keeping the same tire choice, necessitating another stop.  he returned to the track behind Barrichello, who was in seventh.  Rosberg pitted on L18, as did Webber.  Rosberg crossed the white line on the pit exit quite dramatically, and subsequently recieved a drive-through penalty.  Barrichello pitted on L19, and nearly had the same pit exit problem with the new exit for this year that did Rosberg.  Hamilton pitted from the lead on L20 and rejoined just ahead of Alonso.  He kept the lead.

L20 brought out a safety car as Sutil spun trying to pass Alguersuari and collected Heidfeld, strewing debris across the track.  Alonso, Button, and Kovalainen all stopped to take advantage of the time, as did Buemi and Nakajima.  Alguersuari attempted to leave his pit as soon as the rear jack came down, even as the lollipop stayed down in front of him, and the fuel hose was still connected.  Just before the restart, the running order was Hamilton, Rosberg (who would serve his drive-through as the SC came in), Vettel, Glock, Alonso as the top five.  Button was eighth, Barrichello sixth, and Webber ninth.

L25 brought the SC back in, with Rosberg not immediately following the SC in as his team told him to do.  The restart was quite clean, with Alonso filling up Glock’s mirrors, as Barrichello returned the favor behind him.  Rosberg stayed out for another lap, leaving him required to stop on the next lap or be black flagged.  He did so on L27, returning to the track on fourteenth.  Without Rosberg in front of him, Vettel began catching up Hamilton, as required by his shorter pit strategy.  By L30, Vettel could see Hamilton directly in front of him by only one second on L31.

Just past the halfway point of the race, the top five was Hamilton, Vettel, Glock, Alonso, and Barrichello.  Vettel was just half a second behind Hamilton and pushing hard.  On L35, Rosberg made his second stop, but scraped the wall (barely) after exiting.  On L36, Hamilton set another fastest lap, while following Vettel set fastest first sector of L37.  L37 also brought more debris to the track, as Vettel’s right mirror flew off.  The stewards would be allowed to bring him in for repairs and ruin his race and championship hopes.

L40 brought Vettel in for his last stop, and he rejoined the field in seventh, just behind Button, and was investigated for speeding in the pit lane, just after seriously scraping the bottom of the car and damaging it, along with receiving a drive-through penalty.  He served his penalty on L43, rejoining in ninth in front of Raikkonen.  Webber pitted on L44 with quite a lot of brake dust and a slow 14.7 second stop, rejoining in fourteenth.  Glock pitted on L45, rejoining in sixth, just behind Button.

L45 also saw Webber with a big, but not messy, crash as his brakes failed.  His championship hopes are dashed.  Hamilton immediately pitted and rejoined just behind Alonso in second.  L47 had Alonso, Hamilton, Button, Glock, and Vettel as the top five, with Alonso and Button still needing to stop.  Buemi and Alguersuari were both brought in and put in the garage on L48, leaving Vettel as the only Red Bull chassis on-track.

Alonso pitted for the last time on L50, rejoining in fourth, just ahead of Vettel.  Only Button of the top five still needed to pit, and he came in on L51 and rejoined in fifth.  L53 had Alonso give the fastest lap of the race, attempting to catch Glock for second.  Glock responded and maintained a safe gap.  With four laps left, Ross Brawn was on the radio to Button, telling him to consolidate his fifth and bring the car home, instead of pushing Vettel for fourth as Button looked to have the same brake dust issues that crashed Webber.  Barrichello received a message from the pits as well to save his brakes, being told he was the same speed as Button just ahead and could not catch him, despite the fact that he was lapping a full second quicker than his championship-leading teammate.

Hamilton kept his head, did not crash on the last lap, and won the 2009 Singapore GP, with Glock and Alonso behind him.  Vettel was the last Red Bull chassis car left on-track with brake issues.  Button and Barrichello, with Barrichello catching up his teammate, were also suffering brake issues near the end, and eased the cars home.

Final (unofficial) Standings from the Singapore GP:
1. Hamilton
2. Glock
3. Alonso
4. Vettel
5. Button
6. Barrichello
7. Kovalainen
8. Kubica
9. Nakajima
10. Raikkonen
11. Rosberg
12. Trulli
13. Fisichella
14. Liuzzi
Alguersuari (DNF)
Buemi (DNF)
Webber (DNF)
Sutil (DNF)
Heidfeld (DNF)
Grosjean (DNF)

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