F1 Singapore Results & Full Race Report: Alonso Dominates a GP at Turns Both Boring and Exhilarating

What Happens When Kovy Changes Careers

10:11am EST — Fernando Alonso never gave up the lead, winning the 2010 Singapore Grand Prix from pole, despite two safety cars, some investigated incidents between Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton, Michael Schumacher and Nick Heidfeld, and a fire on the front straight that required Heikki Kovalainen to become his own fireman, and a challenge from Sebastian Vettel for much of the race. Vettel finished a close second, with Webber, Jenson Button, and Nico Rosberg rounding out the top five. The racing incident between Webber and Hamilton knocked the Briton out of the race, his second DNF in a row, while the drive of the race might have been Robert Kubica’s return to seventh after a late puncture dropped him back to eleventh.

Fernando Alonso made it two poles in a row for Ferrari winning pole position for the 2010 Singapore Grand Prix halfway through Saturday’s qualifying session, with second-place starter Sebastian Vettel unable to beat the Spaniard in their final flying laps. McLaren duo Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button with Mark Webber round our the top five starters, while Rubens Barrichello put in a good showing for Williams to start sixth. Michael Schumacher again made it into Q3, qualifying in what feels like his typical ninths. It was a mixed-emotion day at Ferrari, with pole-sitter Alonso’s teammate Felipe Massa starting last after an electronic issue kept him from posting a time in Q1 and leaving him to start last on Sunday. Alguersuari started from the pit lane because of a water leak.

Nearly the entire grid was on the soft tires as the lights went out to start, with Alonso moving over on Vettel to keep the lead as Button and Hamilton fought, with Hamilton keeping his position and fighting between Rosberg and Kubica for sixth. Massa made a couple of positions up on the start and first few turns, while Alonso had a second lead at the end of the first lap. Massa pitted, as did a damaged Heidfeld for a new front wing, with Massa switching to the harder tire, as per regulations. Meanwhile, Liuzzi had stopped on the circuit with what appeared to be a broken suspension, causing a local yellow, then the safety car on L3. Alonso led Vettel, Hamilton, Button, Webber, Rosberg, Kubica, Barrichello, Schumacher, and Petrov as the top ten as the SC deployed. The rear of the field stopped, barring Massa, to a man, with Webber also getting new tires and getting stuck in the pit whilst waiting for traffic to clear. As the SC picked everyone up, the the top four remained the same, with Webber falling to eleventh on the stop, right behind Timo Glock. The top eight, barring Webber, had not stopped, but twelfth back was Petrov, Hulkenberg, Sutil, Massa, Buemi, Kovalainen, Trulli, Alguersuari, di Grassi, Klien, Senna, and Heidfeld. Heidfeld had quite a lot of action with Force India on the start, getting hit from the back, and hitting the rear of Liuzzi, causing the broken suspension.

Alonso had a clear and safe restart, keeping the lead. Webber was soon around Glock, while Sutil pitted from in front of Massa. Trulli also went in with a low left rear. Alonso had regained his gap at the front by the end of the first non-SC lap, to 1.2s. Webber took ninth from Kobayashi, though the tenacious young driver fought back for a moment. Behind them, Hulkenberg and Petrov had a scrap and contact while fighting for position as well, with Hulkenberg taking the position. While Alonso had nearly a second and a half on Vettel, Hamilton was almost two second behind Vettel, with Button dropping back a bit, two and a half seconds behind his teammate. Button had dropped back another half second or more by the end of L9, while Alonso keep eking out a tenth a lap on Vettel. In something that might effect the leader, Massa (up to fourteenth) had a warning of higher gearbox temperatures in the Singapore heat.

In Webber’s fight to move forward, he was just a few tenths behind circuit rookie Schumacher for eighth while Alonso had gained another four tenths on Vettel, as Red Bull requested Vettel attempt to cool his brakes. There was little fighting between Webber and Schumacher for eighth, as Webber neatly got past the German after he had run a bit wide. Alonso pulled out another half second over two laps on Vettel, and was nearly twenty-one seconds ahead of Webber, the highest-running driver who had pitted. Webber’s nearly second gap ahead to Barrichello was the closest running of any drivers until Sutil hung up behind Glock, with Hulkenberg, Massa, Petrov, Buemi, and Alguersuari all running about a half second each behind the man ahead. Vettel finally posted a race fast lap, taking back some of the gap to Alonso, around the time he told the team he wasn’t pushing on the radio. Further back, Sutil broke the Virgin Racing train by getting around Glock for eleventh, though Hulkenberg had a fight on his hands when he attempted to pass. he did so, but it was side-by-side through the first three turns for the two drivers. Massa also took the position while Glock ran on top of the kerbs, allowing Petrov through for a moment, then for good. His momentum lost, Glock dropped back to seventeenth as both Toro Rossos also passed the German, who finished second in 2009.

Alonso had 3.3s over Vettel by the end of L17, and nearly thirty-two seconds on Webber, more than enough to stop and keep a position ahead of Webber, with not even a third of the race over. The team told Alonso that they were the fastest car on the track at the moment and there was no risk of the safety car “at this stage,” so they would keep going. At about the one-third over mark, the top ten had not changed position from the start, except for Webber dropping two positions through his pit stop to eighth and Rosberg and Kubica gaining two, so ALonso led Vettel, Hamilton, Button, Rosberg, Kubica, Barrichello, Webber, Schumacher, and Kobayashi as the top ten, with no one but Webber having stopped. It wasn’t a good look for Hamilton, as he was fourteen and a half seconds behind Alonso, with Button another six and a half seconds behind. If Alonso and Vettel were to continue to lap as they were, it might be possible to stop and keep the McLarens behind them.

As Webber had a moment through turns 11 and 12, Hamilton was informed that he needed “to find three tenths to half a second.” While Alonso had nearly three and a half seconds on Vettel, but Hamilton was nearly twenty seconds behind Alonso. Alonso had nearly enough time to stop and keep position in front of Hamilton and the rest of the field, though Vettel was beginning to gain, dropping that gap down to two and a half seconds on L26. The race had become on of strategy and dueling lap times, hoping against a SC (by Ferrari), and hoping against something breaking for many of the teams as the halfway point approached. Trulli became the second man to retire, with hydraulic issues again, on L28.

The next lap, Hamilton pitted, bringing him out well behind Webber, making some championship issues far less clear. Alonso and Vettel pitted at the same time, after the leader had lost over a second to Vettel. Alonso got back out in front of Vettel in the pit lane, as Vettel looked to have a minor issue while leaving his box, having been in second gear while leaving. Button also pitted, leaving Rosberg in the lead, until he pitted the next time around. Alonso had a 1.2s lead over Vettel after their first lap back out, though Vettel was pushing hard to keep Alonso close. While the drama was occurring in the pit lane, Schuamcher got a bit of his own medicine as Kobayashi gave him a bit of a push when Schumacher attempted to pass, forcing Schumacher into the pits. Then, the SC was brought out as Kobayashi ran into some Armco and tire barrier, then Senna ran into him, leaving a large mess on the circuit.

Kubica and Barrichello pitted under the SC, bringing Alonso, Vettel, Webber, Hamilton, and Button together as the top five, just past the halfway point. Buemi and Klien also pitted, every driver having fulfilled their regulatory tire change, though Klein was in to end his race. The SC was back in on L35 as Alonso kept his lead nicely while Webber cleared lapped cars and Hamilton was slightly stuck behind, until he went side-by-side with Webber around a lapped car. The two came together at Turn 8 when Webber pushed it into the turn beside Hamilton where there wasn’t quite room, leaving Hamilton with a damaged and unable to continue car, chucking his steering wheel out as he was pulled off down and escape road. While Webber seemed undamaged, the stewards announced that the incident was under investigation.

Meanwhile, Schumacher and Heidfeld came together as the former champion slid Heidfeld into the tire barrier, also at Turn 8. Schumacher pitted for a new nose, but Heidfeld’s race was finished. Their incident also came under investigation by the stewards. At the front, Alonso’s lead was 1.4s while Vettel was pushing, with Webber, Button, Rosberg, Kubica, Barrichello, Sutil, Hulkenberg, and Massa the top ten. With twenty laps left, the gap between Alonso and Vettel was decreasing, while that between Webber and Button was increasing. Alonso gained a bit more time, then a bit more again on Vettel, but it appeared very touch and go for the two drivers to gain or lose ground. While Vettel had gained time, to be just a second behind Alonso on L44, it was Sutil (in eighth), Hulkenberg, Massa, Petrov, Buemi, and Alguersuari who were all less than a second apart. Kubica pitted from sixth on L45 for a right rear puncture.

With fifteen laps left, the gap was back up to 1.3s, with Webber nearly twelve seconds behind his teammate, and Button almost three seconds behind Webber. Rosberg rounded out the top five another four seconds behind Button, and twenty seconds back from Alonso. L47 brought the news that no action would be taken over the Webber/Hamilton incident, general consensus in both the stewards’ room and in the media that it was a racing incident. The gap at the front was back down to one second with ten laps left of the sixty-one lap race. Glock pitted and retired on L52, leaving sixteenth to teammate di Grassi. Kubica also took eleventh from Buemi after a long fight, post pitstop. In other news, no action waas taken on the Schumacher/Heidfeld incident. Kubica took tenth from teammate Petrov after the rookie lost a bit of momentum.

Kubica, in his push for the front on fresh tires, took ninth from Massa with a bit of a shove, but quite neatly. The gap between Alonso and Vettel remained at one second with seven laps left. Webber was nearly twenty-four seconds behind Alonso. Kubica made his way, again closely but neatly, around Hulkenberg and set his eyes on Sutil and seventh place. He attacked through Turn 8, a la Hamilton/Webber, Schumacher/Heidfeld, and muscled his way around Sutil, with the possibility of very slight contact. He would not catch Barrichello, who was thirty-three seconds ahead, unless something drastic happened. Vettel took four tenths off Alonso in the first sector on L57, and another four in the second sector, and had a faster third sector, bringing the gap below a second for the first time of the race with four laps left.

With three laps left, Vettel was recieving tips over the radio to focus on entry and clean exits in the turns, as the gap went back up to 1.2s with the top five as they had been since the restart. It dropped again to .8s, likely as they went through a local yellow caused by a spinning Buemi and Kovalainen. The Finn was soon on fire, and dramatically, on the front straight, getting out cleanly and getting a fire extinguisher to stop the fire himself. The gap was a tiny two tenth on the final lap between Alonso and Vettel, as they went through lapped traffic. It was Petrov ahead, then Massa as they tightened up closer and closer in the race and championship fight. Alonso held off the younger German to keep the win, his second in a row.

Final Positions for the 2010 Singapore Grand Prix:
1. Alonso
2. Vettel +.2
3. Webber +29.1
4. Button +30.3
5. Rosberg +49.3
6. Barrichello +56.1
7. Kubica +86.5
8. Sutil +
9. Hulkenberg
10. Massa
11. Petrov +1 Lap
12. Alguersuari +1 Lap
13. Schumacher +1 Lap
14. Buemi +1 Lap
15. di Grassi +2 Laps
Kovalainen +3 Laps
Glock +12 Laps
Heidfeld +25 Laps
Hamilton +26 Laps
Klien +30 Laps
Kobayashi +31 Laps
Senna +32 Laps
Trulli +34 Laps
Liuzzi +60 Laps


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